Best Non Soil Growing Media for Plants
One thing I love about gardening is the flexibility of how to garden.
You can have an outdoor or indoor garden; you can also do raised garden beds, greenhouse or grow your plants in pots (containers).
There are also different growing media to choose from.
So if you are bored growing your plants in outside dirt, there is a simple remedy. Consider trying your hand on a soilless growing medium.
In this article, we discuss some of the best soilless growing media to help you make an informed choice for your plants.
Before we go into the different soilless mediums, let’s take a look at what a non soil growing medium is and the benefits.
What is a Soilless Growing Medium?
It’s a sterile mixture of natural components that you prepare according to particular requirements for growing plants in controlled spaces such as beds, pots/containers and greenhouses.
Benefits of a Soilless Growing Medium for Plants
The benefits of soilless media are numerous, including:
Certain plants, such as orchids, benefit from soilless combinations in their early phases of life. Plant growth begins with seed germination, and soilless mixes often outperform natural soil options in early root growth.
Fewer Bugs and Diseases
Growing your plants on soilless mixtures reduces the infestation of pests, diseases and other problems associated with in-the-ground soil.
Soilless potting mix offers a much higher water retention capacity than conventional garden soil. If you add more moistening agents to the mixture, your plants will stay moist without regular watering.
Soilless growing mediums are generally less expensive than conventional soil for container gardens and potted houseplants. Hence, by opting for a soilless mix, you might get a lot more bang for your buck.
Now that you know what a soilless growing medium is as well as some of the benefits, below is a list of the best growing mediums you can choose from.
6 Best Soilless Growing Mediums
#1. Coco Coir
Made from coconut husk, coco coir is virtually pure fiber. Hence, it can store a lot of water, and the aeration level is above average, however overwatering can decrease the aeration level.
Depending on the region, it can be pretty inexpensive and is arguably the most environmentally sustainable growing medium.
Moreover, coconut coir has a pH ranging from 6 to 7. So you do not need extra lime to balance the pH level when planting.
The first production of coco had seawater pollution, which increased salinity and limited fertilizer application options, but the issue has now been resolved, so no need to worry.
Types of Plants that Do Well in Coco Coir
Perlite is a type of enlarged volcanic rock that’s usually white. It has great drainage and aeration and is lightweight.
Since perlite does not hold water and will float on top when you water your plants, it is wise to mix it with other media such as peat moss.
Types of Plants that Do Well in Perlite
#3. Peat Moss
Peat moss is also known as sphagnum and is often used in indoor gardening.
It is more commonly used in Canada because it is a common resource, and shipment might be costly owing to its heavy nature.
Although it has a tough texture, it is light and antiseptic. It allows for appropriate aeration and water retention.
However, it’s challenging to rehydrate peat moss after it’s dried, and it can cause aeration and pH problems. As a result, it’s always combined with perlite and vermiculite, as well as a pH buffer. This non soil growing medium is perfect for seed germination.
Types of Seeds Grown in Peat Moss
#4. Rock Wool
One of the most widely used seeds starter media is Rock wool. It’s produced by fusing a variety of rocks and spinning them into a thin fiber. As a result, a fluffy, wool-like substance is created.
Rockwool is commonly sold in big sheets of starting plugs.
Some of the well-known properties of rock wool are root aeration and water retention. It’s also sterile, inactive, and you can use it multiple times.
Keep in mind that some Rockwool has a high pH right out of the bag. This can be harmful to your plants, so make sure you wash or soak it first.
Rock wool has an added benefit over other mediums, such as clay pellets, in that it comes in pre-formed cubes, eliminating the need for a container.
All you have to do is just place your plant in the rock wool and attach it to a water source.
Types of Plants that Thrive in Rock Wool
- Leafy Greens
#5. Rice Hulls
Rice hulls are a waste product from the rice industry. They are an organic and biodegradable growing medium since they are a component of the rice plant.
Rice hulls, like perlite, add aeration and drainage to the soil. Many farmers choose to include it in their soilless mix since it’s green and maintainable.
If you decide to use rice hulls, keep in mind that they will degrade over time. Avoid reusing them more than thrice because they may do more harm than good to your plants.
Types of Plants that Grow Well in Rice Hull
- Leafy greens
#6. Clay Pellets
Clay pellets or pebbles are manufactured by heating a specific type of clay to above 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which forces the gasses inside the clay to expand, resulting in multiple bubbles.
Clay pebbles have great drainage and aeration, which are beneficial plant roots growth.
However, they do not contain as much water as other growing mediums, necessitating frequent watering.
For better drainage and greater surface area for absorption of oxygen, put the clay pallets at the base of pots that contain coco-based media.
Types of Plants that Grow on Clay Pellets
And there you have it! You now don’t have to rely on garden soil for gardening as there are other growing mediums you can utilize. However, ensure that you choose a medium or a combination of soilless growing media that are compatible with your plants.