Potting Mix 101

If you’re looking at growing your own herbs and vegetables in pots or containers, then you need to invest in the best quality premium mix you can buy.

Professional potting mixes are designed to help your plants grow quickly and stay healthy.

So what should you look for when growing vegies and herbs in pots?

  • Quality
  • Suitability
  • Fertiliser and nutrient content
  • Wetting agents and water holding capacity
  • Australia Standards

 

What makes a good potting mix?

Not all potting mixes are created equal and the differences are much greater than just price. When choosing a potting mix, you should consider:

Potting mix

 

Quality

Always choose a mix labelled 'Premium' or Premium Plus. These are made from top quality ingredients composted and combined to create a growing medium specifically designed to sustain plants growing in pots.

Premium mixes hold nutrients and have good aeration and excellent water holding ability.

The old saying that 'you only get what you pay for' has never been more true. Cheap potting mixes quickly become water repellent (hydrophobic), compact or 'slump', have no nutrients and do not support or encourage plant growth.
 

Suitability

Potting mixes are often formulated with specific plants in mind. This is to ensure that growing plants have everything they need for optimal growth.
Always choose a potting mix designed for the plants you wish to grow, like vegetables and herbs, or fruit and citrus.

Fertilisers and nutrients

A good quality potting mix will have a fertiliser incorporated into the mix to support plant growth for at least three to six months. Controlled release fertiliser or slow release fertilisers that may include organics are essential to support the developing seed, seedling or plant.

Soil wetters

Premium or professional potting mixes should not become water repellent (hydrophobic) because of the quality of the ingredients, including coir, used to make them. However, wetting agents and water storing crystals may be incorporated in the mix to improve moisture penetration and retention as well as nutrient uptake.

Standards

The expression 'you are what you eat' could also be applied to the potting mix you choose for growing herbs and vegies.

These edibles absorb nutrients, water and other ingredients from the potting mix. For that reason, many people prefer to use an organic mix. Always choose a 100% natural mix that has complies with the Australian Standard AS3743 (look for the five red ticks), to give both you and your plants the healthiest start.

Potting mix checklist

  1. Are the words Premium or Premium Plus on the bag?
  2. Is the mix designed for the plants I want to grow?
  3. How long will the included fertilisers support my plants?
  4. Does the mix have coir, water storing crystals or soil wetter included?
  5. Does the mix meet the Australian Standard for potting mix?

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