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Our approach to houseplants mimics how we care for the veggie and herb garden outside, we use all the same inputs, making it easy to care for plants of all types, with just a few adjustments for the smaller pots and lighter soil mix most houseplants are kept in.
Our soil for the veggie garden is rich with minerals from rock dust and high in compost and worm castings. By building the plants fertilizer needs right into the soil it makes for easy gardening with little to no fertilizers needed through the growing season. But this same soil mix is too rich for most all houseplants and can retain too much moisture leading to issues in the root zone.
But the solution is simple! As you might note in the soil recipe section below, we essentially start with the same soil mix but increase aeration components and reduce the fertlizer / soil amendments. A soil mix that dries out easier, not retaining excess moisture, and still has enough nutrients to sustain plants for at least a few months or even up to a year, largely depending on plant species.
What about when it comes time to feed the plants?
Both of the above applications are affective enough to use sparingly (once a month or so in general) but gentle enough to use more frequently if you really wanted to see how fast your plants can grow!
Plant Health & Pest Prevention:
Our Botanical Tonics & Leaf Shine cover pest prevention/eradication along with enhancing plant health and a growth stimulant! We have natural products for foliar spraying or for soil drench in the root zone.
Use Leaf Tonic in place of an insecticidal soap. The naturally derived plant saponins not only deter pests but plants can absorb these compounds and can trigger a plants natural immune system. Leaf Tonic also contains a wide range of botanicals to stimulate growth and plant health.
Use Leaf Shine in place of Neem Oil, horticultural oil or any other organic or synthetic pesticide. Not only do you get the pest prevention/eradication benefits Leaf Shine also includes many of the same plant health and growth stimulating botanicals as the Leaf Tonic! Wiping down leaves where possible after spraying will add an amazing shine to your plants as well as of course removing any dust buildup or water spots which in itself is important for plant health as it will allow the plants to more efficiently photosynthesize!
My favorite routine is to alternate these two each time I foliar spray, best of both worlds!
Soil Tonic is our best selling product to aid in preventing and getting rid of fungus gnats, root aphids and other soil born pests but also acts as a mild fertilizer, stimulates growth, natural plant immunity and encourages plant health. Apply on average once a month. For existing pests apply three waterings in a row.
As noted at the top our potting soil recipes have natural and organic fertilizers built right into them so at least for some time after transplant there is no need to fertilize. Plant species and care will determine how soon any additional fertilizer is needed but in a broadly general way about 3 months after transplant is average for houseplants.
When it comes to houseplant potting soil a big topic is aeration. How much is needed and what type? We have two soil recipes below that can be used interchangeably. The second recipe uses three different types of aeration while the first recipe combines the total amount of aeration into just one ingredient to simplify the process. I personally got tired of too many ingredients so that’s the one I use now. :D
Diversity in aeration inputs can be nice and they each have their intended reason but really the ultimate goal is to provide pockets of air for roots, prevent soil compaction and prevent overwatered/soggy soil. Perlite or Pumice are the most ideal for any potting soil and can be used exclusively.
Biochar is optional, but I use it in all my soil recipes at 5%-10% by volume and is available here on our website where you can read all about the benefits and why I don’t grow without it. :)
Updated Simple Organic Houseplant Soil Blend:
5 parts / 5gal sphagnum peat moss and/or coco coir
5 parts / 5gal perlite or pumice
2.5 parts / 2.5gal worm castings and/or compost
1 part / 1 gal biochar
Amounts below are per the Gallon measurement, 13.5 gallons total base soil mix as noted above, adjust as needed for the amount you make.
1 cup rock dust
1/2 cup kelp/alfalfa
Alternate Houseplant blend:
We used this mix for years but wanted to simplify the recipe. What it comes down to is the variety of aeration ingredients. Perlite or Pumice can be used as the sole aeration component, but sometimes it is fun or personally preferential to use a variety and you’ll notice ingredients like the chunky coir and orchid bark in this recipe that are excluded in our newer recipe!
Makes 25 Gallons, perfect to mix and store in a 45gal. storage tote. “Parts” are noted so one can adjust volume as needed but make sure to adjust the amount of soil amendments also.
2 parts or 5 gal 50/50 Canadian sphagnum peat moss
& coco coir
2 parts or 5gal perlite or pumice
2 parts or 5 gal quality compost or castings
2 parts of 5gal chunky coir
1 part 2.5 gal bark
1 part 2.5 gal biochar
1 cup rock dust
1 cup kelp / alfalfa
1 cup neem/Karanja
Anthuriums: Extra aeration! 2 or 3 parts Houseplant Soil to 1 additional part Aeration. Perlite, pumice, chunky coir, bark etc…
Hoya, Succulents, Cacti: 4 parts Houseplant Soil and 1 part Perlite, Pumice or Lava Rock.