In this post, I will be answering your question of can I use outdoor soil for indoor plants? So read on…
Irrespective of the seasons, gardeners always have something growing in pots. Apart from growing vegetables and fruits, pots are a great source of showing flowers and succulents. Potting soil is not expensive, but it is not too available either. Some gardeners save the trouble and dig up their garden soil to use it for their indoor plants. That is highly unhealthy for plants because garden soil has a different composition, and indoor plants do not want that. You must look at the ideal properties of potting soil and practice commercially available solutions to meet your needs.
Can I use outdoor soil for indoor plants?
Homeowners work on their garden soil for years to make it rich in nutrients. They enrich it with composted kitchen waste, make worm forms and plant indigenous varieties and species that can grow well in that soil. But none of this is in favor of indoor plants. There are a few reasons why outdoor soil is no good for indoor plants.
It is usually observed that either the outdoor soil is very dark, heavy, and full of moisture, or it is dry and hard with vegetable particles. These two categories are gesturing that your garden soil is already failing to be good for pots. Whether your soil is wet or dry, it is going to be very dense. Suppose you compare equal parts of garden soil with equal parts of potting compost, the former weighing much more. The high density of garden soil prevents easy aeration of plants’ roots if used in the pot. Another drawback is that the high density is a cause of much greater water retention.
If you are the owner of a well-established garden, you must have a whole ecosystem at work that is maintaining and enriching your soil. Most gardens have everything in balance with predators and prey, keeping things in check. You can cause an imbalance in things in smaller environments if you isolate a small amount of garden soil. Your garden can get full of pests, and your potted plants can fall prey to bugs, fungi, and other things you wouldn’t have had before.
Seeds that nobody wants
Take out any patch of garden. It will have hundreds of seeds. Established lawns and plants are in check with these seeds. If you use garden soil, you will have to face an upwards battle ridding your pot of weeds.
Soil mix benefits
Research shows that container plants require soil that provides proper aeration and drainage. It should still retain enough moisture to sustain the plants. It must be rich with the nutrients that are in balance to feed the plants as they grow. If you choose the right soil mix, a lot of unnecessary problems can be avoided. These problems may include the accidental introduction of weed seeds, pests, and diseases caused by garden soil. For the needs of container plants, commercial potting soils are specifically formulated. Whatever the type of plant you are growing, you can alter the mix according to that.
There are many mixes available commercially. Peat moss is one of them. It is very useful for indoor plants as it increases the acidity of the mix. It also helps the mix retain moisture. African violets are an example of mixes that are intended for acid-loving plants. They contain a higher amount of peat moss. Potting soil mixes are usually rich in perlite, sand, rice husks, and pine bark. These ingredients are helpful for indoor plants as they increase drainage. Herbs and vegetables need well-drained soil. The mixes used for these plants should contain a lot of perlite and sand work. Fertilizer is an important ingredient in the potting soil mix.
Improving potting soil
You have to make sure your plants are getting the soil they need. For this purpose, take steps to improve your potting soil.
Repot every year
For healthier and more productive plants, repot them every year. That is the easiest and most practical of all the other options of caring for potting soil.
Improve your bagged soil
That is not a long-term solution, but still, you can improve the mix by adding a few handfuls of perlite. That is useful because it increases aeration and doesn’t slow the decomposition rate of the peat.
Flushing the soil
Soil can get filled with accumulated salts from fertilizers and deposits from tap water. That is why it needs to be flushed thoroughly every month. Take the pots outside or in the kitchen sink and give them a thorough cleaning.
Wick your pots
You can reduce the chances of your roots getting rotten by improving the drainage. For this, insert a wick through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. It doesn’t help in compaction but takes away excess water in the pot.
Make your potting mix
You can make your potting mix if you possess the right soil additives. Based on pumice, composted bark, coconut coir, vermiculite, peat, and perlite, you can make an excellent potting. Your soil can last for two or more seasons if you enrich it with your self-made potting mix.
Filling the pots
If you need to grow vegetables in your pots, you will need a large amount of soil to fill those pots up. Before adding the soil, add filler into the bottom of the pot, and hence you can save money and strain on your back. Small foam pieces and yoghurt cups turned upside down can be effectively used as good fillers. First, you need to fill the bottom third of your pot with the filler. Then, cover the filler with a layer of landscape fabric. Lastly, add your soil mix and leave an inch of room at the top of the pot.
Will garden soil kill my potted plants?
Garden soil is not good for your potted plants. The reason is that it can be full of pests and is usually heavy. It can end up compacting and suffocating your plants. It also lacks the nutrients that indoor plants need. It is usually recommended to use potting compost for indoor plants.
What is the best soil to use for indoor plants?
Indoor plants can be planted in a good potting mix composed of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. These mixes are very good at absorbing moisture and resisting compaction. Their flaw is that they may dry out very quickly. They also lack valuable nutrients, so you have to supply fertilizers to your plants additionally.
Can you reuse an old potting mix?
If you are good at careful handling, you can use your old potting mix and use it for next year’s container. It can also be used to solve your other gardening problems. When you store your old potting compost, don’t dry it out or don’t moist it either because too much moisture can give rise to cushy conditions for unwanted moldy microbes. Dry soil is less in weight too.
When should I change soil for indoor plants?
Spring and summer are the best times for you to change your soil. This time is in good condition for repotting too. In these seasons, indoor plants show maximum growth. They can benefit themselves from larger pots, and fresh soil can provide them with a nourishment boost.
While starting indoor container gardens, most of the people are tempted to save money and a trip to the store. To fill the pots, they start using outdoor garden soil from the backyard. That is wrong because no matter how fertile and rich your outdoor soil is, it is still not suitable for your indoor plants. It is heavy and should be used only for outdoor plants. You can rather use potting mix for your indoor plants. It provides the plants with the preferred air, nutritional balance and moisture it needs. Please make sure you supply your indoor plants with fertilizer because potting mix doesn’t contain any nutrients, and it dries out quickly.