What are Soilless Mixes?
An increasingly popular medium to pot plants in, soilless mixes can come in a wide variety of ingredients and properties to suit a wide variety of plants from aroids to succulents. Soilless is a broad term that refers to any planting media that isn't just soil that is just 'dug up from the garden' or consists of a rich sand - clay content like one would find naturally in the ground.
One major benefit of soilless mixes is that they are often perceived as a cleaner choice (especially for indoor plants), as well as how the mix can be tailored for each plant to best suit their growth.
While peat moss's appearance is frequently mistaken for soil since due to the dark brown / black color. It is in fact decayed, dried sphagnum moss. Peat moss is light, soft and absorbs water very well.
Made from ground up coconut shells, Coco peat is a surprisingly versatile by-product from the coconut farming industry that has risen in popularity in recent years. Coco peat has a number of properties that makes it a great planting media. Coco peat soaks up water very well like peat moss, is an even lighter media and is airy when dried. It can also be added to peat moss if a faster drying mix is desired.
Amendments are small granular materials added to the peat moss or coco peat base to help improve the mix's drainage, aeration and to prevent clumping. Popular choices includes perlite, pumice, vermiculite, bark chips, rice husks & coco chips. The type of materials and ratio used in the mix can affect how airy the mix is and how quickly the mix dries.
Nutrients & Organic Materials
Adding nutrients will be essential for plant growth, it is an important component since soilless ingredients are not rich in organic materials or nutrients. It is a great way to revitalize the media with nutrients and to encourage healthy soil microbial activity. Organic compost or vermicast are typically used, compound fertilisers can also be in.
If you prefer not to go through the trouble of preparing your own soilless mix, there are plenty of different ready-to-use mixes available to be used right out from bag!