Choosing the right Potting Mix
Container plants are very popular but when it comes to potting mix, confusion reigns. Is potting mix really necessary? How do I know it’s going to do the job? Is it true that potting mix can be dangerous to handle? Here, from Yates, the most experienced name in Australian gardening, are the answers to these common questions.
Why should I use a quality potting mix?
- A quality potting mix provides the best growing medium for container plants. Quality potting mixes, unlike soil, always maintain a good balance between holding moisture and draining well. This means that plant roots can obtain sufficient water without drowning. Because soil texture varies greatly, soil is not always suitable to use in pots. Yates potting mixes, which are based on recycled organic materials, don’t contain any soil.
- Potting mixes can be specifically formulated for special purposes and plant types. This means you can provide plants with the most suitable conditions for healthy growth.
A quality potting mix provides the best growing medium for container plants. Quality potting mixes, unlike soil, always maintain a good balance between holding moisture and draining well. This means that plant roots can obtain sufficient water without drowning. Because soil texture varies greatly, soil is not always suitable to use in pots. Yates potting mixes, which are based on recycled organic materials, don’t contain any soil.
How do I know I’m buying a good quality potting mix?
- Good quality potting mixes carry an Australian StandardsMark set of ticks. This shows that they have passed a series of stringent tests.
- There are two standards for quality potting mixes: Regular (black ‘ticks’) and Premium (red ‘ticks’).
Good quality potting mixes carry an Australian Standards Mark set of ticks. This shows that they have passed a series of stringent tests.
What’s the difference between these two standards?
- Both demonstrate that the mix they contain is of good quality (they wouldn’t be allowed to carry the StandardsMark otherwise), but the red premium mark indicates a top performer that lasts longer and needs less initial fertilising.
- Use premium (red ticks) potting mixes when you want the very best for your plants, especially expensive, long-term container plants.
- Use regular (black ticks) potting mixes when you are growing short-term plants (like annual flowers that last for just one season).
What do the potting mix standards tests measure?
- How well the potting mix drains
- How well the potting mix holds water
- How easily the mix absorbs water
- Whether the mix has the right amount of nutrients
- Whether the mix has a suitable pH (acid or alkaline) level
- Whether the mix will harm the plants in any way.
Which mix should you choose?
These quality mixes perform well in a range of situations but fertiliser (especially growth-promoting nitrogen) needs to be added at potting time. These mixes carry black StandardsMark ‘ticks’ and are the ideal choice for potting short-term colour or fast-growing vegies.
These potting mixes (Yates Dynamic Lifter All Purpose Potting Mix is a good example), as well as having an organic base, have extra organic additives that improve the life and workability of the mix. Dynamic Lifter Potting Mix is enriched with organic Dynamic Lifter, fish meal and seaweed to provide gardeners with the natural solution to potted plant health.
Premium mixes are the first choice when you want the very best for your plants. Premium mixes have greater water-holding capacity, contain added nitrogen, and remain at peak performance for a longer period. They are a worthwhile investment, especially for those superior plants that are important decorative specimens. Premium mixes are identified by red StandardsMark ‘ticks’.
Specialty potting mixes have been formulated to provide particular plant types with the most appropriate growing medium. Yates’s list of specialty mixes includes: African Violet Mix – a fine, light mix for indoor flowering plants; Bulb Growing Mix – extra drainage to keep bulbs in peak condition; Camellia & Azalea Mix – quality mix with low pH to suit these acid lovers; Orchid Mix – very well drained; Seed Raising Mix – fine particles to encourage successful germination.
This area is for general comments from members of the public. Some questions or comments may not receive a reply from Yates. For specific gardening advice visit Ask an expert Alternatively you may wish to contact us.