The physical and chemical properties of the potting mix you use may affect the health and growth of your plant's roots. A well-developed, healthy root mass is required to support the development of the aerial parts of your plants (stems, leaves, petioles, flowers, fruit and seeds).
The by-products of photosynthesis are what plants use to produce cellular structures (growth). One of the ingredients required for this chemical reaction to occur is water.
It is fair to reason that if moisture is undersupplied, the rate of photosynthesis will be reduced, i.e., reduced growth.
One of the keys to maximising the rate of photosynthesis is to manage how much moisture a plant has access to. House plant growers (pot plant growers) do this by managing how frequently water is applied to the potting mix and selecting a potting mix that retains enough moisture without becoming waterlogged.
The above decision will be influenced by the type of plant we are growing. Some plants prefer dryer potting soil, others a moist potting mix, and others somewhere in between.
The water-holding capacity of a potting mix is influenced by three properties: drainage, structure, and the water-holding capacity of the potting mix ingredients.
- Drainage: Good drainage is essential for a healthy potting mix. Adequate drainage allows excess water to flow out of the mix, preventing waterlogging. If the mix retains too much water and does not drain well, it can lead to soggy conditions that may harm plant roots.
- Structure: The structure of the potting mix refers to the arrangement and size of the particles within it. A mix with good structure strikes a balance between water retention and drainage. A well-structured mix allows water to move through it easily, ensuring proper distribution and availability to plant roots.
- The water-holding capacity of the ingredients: The water-holding capacity of the individual components used in the potting mix also affects its overall water-holding capacity. Different ingredients, such as peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, or coconut coir, have varying water-holding properties. Some ingredients can retain more water, while others may facilitate better drainage.
By considering these three properties and creating an optimal balance, gardeners can ensure a potting mix that provides adequate moisture to plants while preventing waterlogged conditions.
Considering the above, there may be a better approach than using any old potting mix. Bio Leaf potting mixes have been designed with the above in mind. It should retain enough water for plant growth without causing waterlogging or drought.