Use of low quality soil for flowering plants makes the plant lose its leaves early, turn yellow and infected with pest. This makes the plant weak, unhealthy and die early which nobody wants. To increase the life of the plant it is essential to consider certain factors:
- Soil components: Soil mixed with mineral aggregates such as perlite, calcined clay, sand and vermiculite should be chosen. Vermiculite and perlite are volcanic rocks that are naturally loaded with air. An added advantage of perlite is it neither gets decomposed nor loses its aerating capacity even after compressing the soil. Vermiculite is also a very useful mineral aggregate as it serves as a source of magnesium and potassium and prevents escape of nutrients.
- Moisture retaining capacity of the soil: The moisture holding capacity of the soil is determined by the organic matter contained in the soil. Materials such as sphagnum moss, peat moss and coir are used as organic matter of the soil. These organic materials not only prevent excess drainage of water but also hold the nutrients. Of all the listed organic matter coir is best at holding the nutrients.
- Aerating capacity: Soil should hold only required amount of water so as to let the roots breathe. It should drain away the water to make air accessible to roots. Greater the size of the pores greater would be the amount of air that can fill the empty spaces. Soil mixed with mineral aggregates would carry water through the soil to the bottom of the pot and outside. This in turn provides space for air. If water gets accumulated at the bottom of the pot then the roots become rotten due to lack of air supply.
- Nutritional composition: Commercially available potting soil contains fertilizers to provide essential nutrients to the plant and support better growth of roots. Nutritional composition of the soil can be increased by adding compost and leaf mold. If you are planning to include household organic waste to the soil then be careful not to include seeds and weeds. Kitchen waste such as fruits and vegetables provide nitrogen. To fasten the decomposition process and to provide a balance of carbon and nitrogen content to the soil include carbon containing substances such as paper products to the soil. These materials can be made to decompose separately in a closed container or directly placed deep in the soil. Depending on the materials added, it would take one to six months to complete the decomposition process.
- Weight of the soil: It is important to choose light weight soil. The soil should be light enough to allow free flow of air and water. However, it should be hard enough to provide required anchorage to the roots. It should support the plant against strong breeze. To provide better support a slightly heavier top soil can be chosen. However, make sure not to add the top soil close to roots.
By choosing the right type of soil for your flowers you can enjoy healthy flowering plants and avoid the risk of changing the soil periodically.