Soil additives - for looseness and more


And there will be a harvest ...

When growing seedlings, as well as heat-loving plants in greenhouses, gardeners sometimes encounter clearly undesirable properties of soils and ordinary soil. For example, there are high humidity, density, soil caking.

But plants need the soil in which they grow to contain sufficient amounts of water and air. Therefore, in some cases, it is desirable to add special supplements, both of mineral and organic origin.

Mineral substrates

Some minerals are capable of imparting good texture to soils, providing stable moisture and preventing soil crust formation. These include vermiculite and agroperlite. Let's figure out what the usefulness of both minerals is.

Vermiculite. It is a mineral from the group of hydromica, which has a layered structure with additional molecular interlayer water. It is a swollen mica. Adding it to the soil mixture improves its structure, improves water-physical properties. In particular, it increases the water-holding capacity of peat-containing soils. For example, when 25-75% vermiculite is added, the peat mass maintains an almost stable moisture content even in drought conditions. Another useful property of vermiculite is its ability to prolong the effect of mineral fertilizers. Porous granules of vermiculite are able to quickly absorb mineral salts and gradually give back, thereby softening their effect on plant roots and prolonging the supply of nutrients. This reversible sorption of various substances by vermiculite also makes it an effective carrier for many plant protection products.

The main advantages of vermiculite.

  1. Increases the resistance of plants to frost and drought, prevents the reproduction of pests, fungal development of mold, promotes the immunity of plants to various diseases (which is especially important when growing crops in greenhouses).
  2. As an ideal loosening agent, it prevents soil cracking, compaction, crust formation, which is especially important for heavy soils. Reduces seed germination time and accelerates plant growth, as it is a biogenic stimulant to increase yields.
  3. Accelerates the ripening of vegetable crops and seedlings for 2-3 weeks, increases the yield by 30-50%, improves quality (increases the content of protein, carotene, ascorbic acid), increases the preservation of fruits.
  4. It is used to protect the surface layer in open ground from drying out, as well as for winter warming of plants.

Vermiculite also improves the development of seedlings, facilitates their extraction from the substrate while preserving even thin roots, thanks to which it takes root better in a permanent place, which ensures a higher yield.

Perlite. This acidic volcanic glass with a fine concentrically-shelllike separation (perlite structure), along which it splits into small balls, sometimes having a pearly luster, hence the name of the mineral. Perlite is an inert highly effective loosening additive to the soil, improves its structure, air and moisture exchange. Agroperlite is a substrate with a particle size of 1-5 mm and a bulk density of 100-130 kg / m³. The main properties of this additive are soil loosening and improvement of its structure. General use of agroperlite:

It is used by gardeners who prefer to use soil in mixtures. Such mixtures are made in proportions: for 0.75 m³ of garden mixture, 0.25 m³ of agroperlite, 0.25 m³ of humus, 0.25 m³ of soil are required. The most optimal composition of the mixture is obtained with the addition of 20-35% agroperlite.

Agroperlite is actively used for vegetative propagation of plants. The mixture is prepared from one part of the volume of moist agroperlite and one part of moist humus. The resulting mixture is filled in a nursery rack or bowls. The cuttings are stuck directly into the mixture, lightly compacted in place, and watered very well.

Agroperlite is also used for growing seedlings. To prepare the mixture, one part of the volume of wet agroperlite is also mixed with an equal part of the volume of moistened humus. This mixture is filled in seed pots or bowls. Then, on the surface of this mixture through a fine sieve, sod soil is sifted with a layer of 15 mm, after which the seeds are sown.

Perlite can also be used to package plants and cuttings. The mixture consists of half the volume of moist agroperlite and half the volume of humidified humus. Then the mixture is squeezed dry, after which the cuttings and plants are packed in the usual way.

Agroperlite for indoor plants. It is usually used as drainage. Before planting the plants, 5 cm of wet agroperlite is placed on the bottom of the nursery containers or pots. Such use of agroperlite guarantees sufficient drainage and, as a result, maximum root growth. Agroperlite is also used for storing tubers and bulbs, as it does not contain harmful insects and bacteria and has good thermal insulation properties. It reliably protects roots, bulbs and tubers from damage by insects, rodents, cold and moisture. For this, the storage container is filled with agroperlite to a depth of about 3 cm. After that, bulbs, strawberries are placed on this layer and covered with agroperlite so that the bulbs, fruits and tubers do not come into contact with each other.

Organic substrates

Seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and celery require a lot of moisture. But with excessive watering, either the root system rots, or the seedlings are excessively stretched. When grown in cups, it is usually necessary to monitor soil moisture every day.

Therefore, in some cases, it is desirable to use special preparations with high water-retention capacity, as well as metabolic absorption of nutrients and plant protection products. Such properties are possessed by a hydrogel, to a lesser extent peat gel, Gumin plus and Liposam.

Hydrogel. This tool was developed by order of agricultural complexes. It is a polyacrylamide - a polymeric compound that in dry form is granules. Upon contact with water, they absorb it in such quantities that they increase in volume by 200-300 times.

Due to the ability to retain and gradually release moisture, the hydrogel allows you to water the plants much less often, which is important not only for seedlings, but also in summer in garden plots. The hydrogel is especially useful for those gardeners who come to the sites only on weekends. The gel can be mixed with the soil both in dry form (after watering it will absorb moisture and swell), and after soaking. In the garden, the first method is preferable; it is more convenient to add already swollen gel to potted plants - otherwise it can be difficult to calculate its amount. The proportions in this case are selected individually - depending on the composition and other features of the soil, planting conditions, irrigation frequency and other factors.

When growing seedlings, the gel is recommended to be added in the ratio of 3-4 parts of the soil mixture to 1 part of the gel. With this mixture, lightly tamping it, fill the sowing containers. A rubbed (crushed) gel mass is spread on the surface in a thin layer, and seeds are sown into this layer of gel. Crops are sprayed with water and covered with a film, which is removed when sprouts appear. A little soil can be added to the sprouts on top of the gel so that the seedlings do not stretch out. This germination method works well for small seeds.

The peculiarities of plants should be taken into account: not everyone responds equally well to its introduction. The use of the gel is useful on dry sandy soils, where it helps to retain not only moisture, but also fertilizers, preventing them from being washed out.

Peat gel. This name was given to humic preparations obtained from peat. They have a gel-like consistency and an increased ability to absorb water, nutrients, and protective agents. On sale you can find peat gels of two brands: "Fertility of Siberia" and "Peat". Let's consider them using the example of the Fertility of Siberia peat gel. The technology for the manufacture of this gel is a special method of ultrasonic and hydromechanical treatment of lowland peat and water, which allows the raw material to be broken down to the molecular level. In this case, active extraction of fulvic acids occurs, which are the most biologically active part of humic acids. A highly concentrated colloidal solution is formed from peat matter and water with fulvic acids dissolved in it, which has a whole range of biologically significant properties.

The fundamental difference between the Fertility of Siberia peat gel and other humic fertilizers is the neutrality of the product environment, which is due to the absence of alkalis in the technological process. And therefore, the almost neutral environment of the product makes it safe to use even with repeated overdose of the working solution.

Pertaining to the class of gels by its physicochemical nature, peat gel is superior in its effectiveness to classical humates when processing seed material. Due to its structure-forming properties, the drug forms a kind of "shell" around the body of the seed, which is an active conductor of the necessary microelements and water at the very beginning of plant growth and development. This enables the plant to use the energy saved to maximize its growth potential.

NanoHUMIN PLUS. It is a sapropel extract. Contains in a highly concentrated form himatomelanic, humic and fulvic acids, enriched with calcium, phosphorus, microelements, including colloidal solutions of metal nanoparticles and microorganisms, physiological active substances.

NanoHUMIN PLUS acts as:

  • means that stimulates the germination of plant seeds;
  • a remedy for plants;
  • plant strengthening agent;
  • plant protecting agent;
  • soil improver.

Prepared by Alexander Zharavin,
agronomist

Photo by E. Valentinov


Using hay and straw in the country

Hay and straw are needed not only to feed livestock. They are used in dachas and personal plots for a variety of purposes, so it is worth stocking up on them even for those who have neither cows, nor horses, nor other living creatures. For ignorant people, both straw and hay are just dry grass, and for those who have long been engaged in gardening, these are valuable fertilizers and even building materials. Don't believe me? We will convince you of this!


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Land for indoor plants: we prepare the soil ourselves

Before everyone who starts transplanting indoor plants, first of all, the question arises: buy ready-made soil in the store or prepare it yourself.

Purchased mix is ​​fast. Soils, universal or specially formulated for individual crops, are produced from peat with the addition of macro- and microelements. An "average" set of fertilizers, more or less meeting the needs of most crops, is part of the universal soils - they are convenient if you have "every creature in pairs" on your windowsill. If the collection is dominated by representatives of one or more species or families, give preference to special soils, balanced taking into account the characteristics of these plants.

On the one hand, peat soil seems to be the easiest to use: bought, poured, planted - and you don't need to understand anything. But it is inexperienced growers who should think carefully before making such a choice. Peat is a very water-absorbing material. Drying, it loses in volume ("shrinks") and lags behind the walls of the pot.

In addition, dry peat is poorly wetted: water rolls over its surface without being absorbed. Late watering will have no effect until you can properly soak. Is it worth explaining how plants suffer in this case? Growing plants in such a substrate is the lot of disciplined owners who do everything on time and correctly.

An alternative is the preparation of earthen mixtures with your own hands. Such a land "forgives" some maintenance mistakes, as its characteristics are more reminiscent of natural soils. If you have had a lot of failures in growing houseplants, try making substrates for them from the materials at hand - it may be better that way.

Main components

Sod land.It takes two years to prepare such a land according to all the rules. In the spring or at the beginning of summer, sod is cut in forb meadows and fields, stacked in a pile and layered with manure. Before use, the soil is sieved and stored in closed plastic bags. In recipes for earthen mixtures for indoor plants, sod land can be replaced with a well-cultivated garden one.

Leafy land.Formed from semi-decomposed leaves of various tree species (preferably apple, ash, linden). After autumn leaf fall, the leaves of trees are collected, with the exception of oak, willow, poplar, chestnut, and composted with the addition of slaked lime.

Peat.For potted plants, factory-packaged peat can be used - it is usually ready-to-eat. Freshly prepared peat, which is brought to the sites by machines, must be stored until it acquires softness, flowability and a homogeneous structure. Only well-decomposed, weathered peat is suitable for substrates.

Humus.You can cook it yourself from fresh manure (horse, cow). It is folded into a wooden box or heap, covered with a dark film and allowed to refill for two years, after which it is sieved. High-quality humus should be loose, homogeneous - without lumps and a characteristic strong odor.

Sand.Well draining and permeable material. Provides air access to plant roots. Essential in almost all mixtures. It is recommended to use well washed river sand.

Coniferous bark. Crushed coniferous bark (pine, larch). It is removed from dead trees, then boiled in water and crushed. Used for growing orchids, ferns, epiphytic plants.

Coniferous land.The bottom layer of the litter of the coniferous forest (pine or fir). You can cook it yourself in the garden by composting coniferous litter in a separate container or wooden box, layering it through 15-20 cm with a mixture of peat and sand.

Sphagnum.Possesses aseptic properties, loosens the soil and retains moisture. Harvested in raised or transitional bogs in early autumn and dried outside living quarters. You can buy dry sphagnum at garden centers.

Fern roots.In late autumn, ferns are cut from the rhizomes (aspidium, bracken, osmunda, polypodium). Used when planting orchids.

Charcoal.Birch or Aspen Charcoal can be collected in an extinct fire. Ready-made charcoal is also suitable. It is crushed into pieces of about a centimeter and mixed in small quantities with potting mixes. Promotes looseness and water permeability of the soil, prevents soil acidification.

Additional components

Horny flour, shavings, horny hoofed meal.Valuable slow-acting phosphorus fertilizer. Can be found on sale in flower shops and garden centers. It is added to earthen mixtures at the rate of 1 part to 30 parts of the earth.

Wood ash.Contains a lot of potassium, normalizes soil acidity. As an additive to soil, deciduous stove ash (sometimes sold in garden centers) is suitable. Added at the rate of 1 part to 50 parts of the earth.


How to improve the finished soil for indoor plants

Ready-made packaged soil mixtures for indoor flowers seem to be the most convenient solution if you need to transplant two or three plants. They can be bought at any time without bothering with self-harvesting of land. They do not require storage space - bought, poured, thrown away the packaging. They have everything you need for the normal development and well-being of plants. But after the transplant, problems often begin.

How to improve the finished soil for indoor plants, what additives affect its quality? Let's consider the main components of soil mixtures.

Peat is the main component of soil mixtures

Peat - the main component of ready-made mixtures - is very moisture-absorbing. But, drying out, the substrate "shrinks" and lags behind the walls of the pot. Attempts to "spill" the soil do not entail much success: water rolls over its surface without being absorbed. The only way out, if it came to this, is to immerse the pot with the plant for a couple of hours in a bowl of water.

Photo: Ready-made high-moor peat

How to prevent a recurrence of such a situation? There are several options. You can carefully monitor the regularity of watering, and everything will be in order. But if you do not belong to disciplined people who do everything on time and according to the rules, you can try different additives to the ready-made mixture. Which ones and why?

The most affordable additives for ready-made peat-based soil

Let's go back to the composition of the finished soils. The vast majority of ready-made mixtures, the assortment of which is striking in abundance, consists of one or more types of peat, deoxidizing additives, mineral fertilizers, humic substances, sand and agroperlite. The most affordable and simplest ways to improve the finished substrate is to add the appropriate additives:

  • vermicompost
  • charcoal
  • sphagnum moss
  • hydrogel
  • perlite and vermiculite

Biohumus. It is possible to significantly improve the properties of such a mixture by adding humus, but here we again return to the need for self-harvesting of the earth. If this is not possible, you can search the sale of mixtures marked "biopergic" or "made by worms", usually Californian. Such mixtures will also be dominated by peat, but, in addition to it, there will be "vermicompost" - an organic fertilizer, a product of agricultural waste processing by worms. "Vermicompost" is also sold in separate packages. But in this case, it already acts as a pure fertilizer, which must be added in small quantities strictly according to the instructions so that the roots do not suffer.

Charcoal it makes sense to add to the finished peat mixture when transplanting. It is sold in flower shops as a ready-made substrate component. If you wish, you can stock up on them yourself. Birch or Aspen Charcoal can be collected in an extinct fire. You can also use ready-made charcoal for the grill. It is crushed into pieces of about a centimeter and mixed in small quantities with potting mixes. Coal promotes looseness and water permeability, and also prevents soil acidification.

Sphagnum moss is the third useful ingredient, also sold in separate sachets at garden centers. It has aseptic properties, loosens the soil and retains moisture. In the case of independent harvesting, it is collected in upland or transitional bogs in early autumn and dried outside living quarters.

Both charcoal and moss can be added to the substrate at the same time, bringing their amount to one fourth of the total volume of the mixture, depending on which plant is planned to be planted in such a mixture. For example, for succulents - less, for Saintpaulias - more. And when it comes to plants that consume a lot of moisture, for example, abutilones, hibiscus, fuchsiasthen it is better to use other additives. For example, a hydrogel or "seramis".

Hydrogel - a special water-retaining additive. In dry form, the hydrogel is colorless crystals, slightly similar to sugar, which, when soaked, absorb water and increase in volume dozens of times. When added to the soil, they improve its structure, and in addition, they act as reservoirs, giving the plants water as needed. Another very attractive point is that plants planted using hydrogel need to be watered less often. If everything is done correctly, then even "water lovers", even in the hottest season, usually have enough watering once a week. It is no less pleasant that plants planted in such a mixture do not need to "look for a nanny" if you are not leaving for too long.

You can also use the hydrogel in the garden: clay soils in this case become looser, and loose soils become lumpy. The hydrogel is very useful when it comes to moisture-loving plants that hardly survive in a rare "weekend" watering. For example, cucumbers planted in beds with hydrogel do not taste bitter even in the driest time. If you are adding hydrogel to potting soil, it must be soaked before combining with the rest of the ingredients. It is brought into the garden soil dry, after which the ground is watered very abundantly. It must be borne in mind that after this, the height of the garden bed can greatly increase.

Going in search of him, keep in mind that colored hydrogel is not quite what is required in this case, it is used for decorative purposes. The second point to consider: the hydrogel is not suitable for succulents and cacti. If planted using a hydrogel, watering will be reduced to several times a year. This may seem attractive, but, in practice, the soil in the pot will dry out for too long, as a result, mold and algae will begin to grow on it, the cultivation of which was unlikely to be in your plans.

The hydrogel is ideal for herbaceous plants with a large evaporation area (very large leaves or a large number of small ones) that tend to wither at the slightest delay in watering: abutilones, hypoestes, Coleus, Saintpaulias, Episios, passionflower, fuchsias and many others. Its amount, when applied to a substrate for indoor use, can be up to one third of the total volume of the pot.


Land for indoor plants: we prepare the soil ourselves

Before everyone who starts transplanting indoor plants, first of all, the question arises: buy ready-made soil in the store or prepare it yourself.

Purchased mix is ​​fast. Soils, universal or specially formulated for individual crops, are produced from peat with the addition of macro- and microelements. An average set of fertilizers, more or less meeting the needs of most crops, is part of universal soils - they are convenient if there are a couple of creatures on your windowsill. If the collection is dominated by representatives of one or more species or families, give preference to special soils, balanced taking into account the characteristics of these plants.

On the one hand, peat soil seems to be the easiest to use: bought, poured, planted - and you don't need to understand anything. But it is inexperienced growers who should think carefully before making such a choice. Peat is a very water-absorbing material. Drying, it loses in volume (shrinks) and lags behind the walls of the pot.

In addition, dry peat is poorly wetted: water rolls over its surface without being absorbed. Late watering will have no effect until you can properly soak. Is it worth explaining how plants suffer in this case? Growing plants in such a substrate is the lot of disciplined owners who do everything on time and correctly.

An alternative is the preparation of earthen mixtures with your own hands. Such land forgives some care mistakes, since its characteristics are more similar to natural soils. If you have had a lot of failures in growing houseplants, try making substrates for them from the materials at hand - it may be better that way.

Sod land. It takes two years to prepare such a land according to all the rules. In the spring or at the beginning of summer, sod is cut in forb meadows and fields, stacked in a pile and layered with manure. Before use, the soil is sieved and stored in closed plastic bags. In recipes for earthen mixtures for indoor plants, sod land can be replaced with a well-cultivated garden one.

Leafy land. Formed from semi-decomposed leaves of various tree species (preferably apple, ash, linden). After autumn leaf fall, the leaves of trees are collected, with the exception of oak, willow, poplar, chestnut, and composted with the addition of slaked lime.

Peat. For potted plants, factory-packaged peat can be used - it is usually ready-to-eat. Freshly prepared peat, which is brought to the sites by machines, must be stored until it acquires softness, flowability and a homogeneous structure. Only well-decomposed, weathered peat is suitable for substrates.

Humus. You can cook it yourself from fresh manure (horse, cow). It is folded into a wooden box or heap, covered with a dark film and allowed to refill for two years, after which it is sieved. High-quality humus should be loose, homogeneous - without lumps and a characteristic strong odor.

Sand. Well draining and permeable material. Provides air access to plant roots. Essential in almost all mixtures. It is recommended to use well washed river sand.

Coniferous bark. Crushed coniferous bark (pine, larch). It is removed from dead trees, then boiled in water and crushed. Used for growing orchids, ferns, epiphytic plants.

Coniferous land. The bottom layer of the litter of the coniferous forest (pine or fir). You can cook it yourself in the garden by composting coniferous litter in a separate container or wooden box, layering it through 15-20 cm with a mixture of peat and sand.

Sphagnum. Possesses aseptic properties, loosens the soil and retains moisture. Harvested in raised or transitional bogs in early autumn and dried outside living quarters. You can buy dry sphagnum at garden centers.

Fern roots. In late autumn, ferns are cut from the rhizomes (aspidium, bracken, osmunda, polypodium). Used when planting orchids.

Charcoal. Birch or Aspen Charcoal can be collected in an extinct fire. Ready-made charcoal is also suitable. It is crushed into pieces of about a centimeter and mixed in small quantities with potting mixes. Promotes looseness and water permeability of the soil, prevents soil acidification.

Horny flour, shavings, horny hoofed meal. Valuable slow-acting phosphorus fertilizer. Can be found on sale in flower shops and garden centers. It is added to earthen mixtures at the rate of 1 part to 30 parts of the earth.

Wood ash. Contains a lot of potassium, normalizes soil acidity. As an additive to soil, deciduous stove ash (sometimes sold in garden centers) is suitable. Added at the rate of 1 part to 50 parts of the earth.

All the best to you!
Beautiful and healthy flowers.


Where can perlite be used?

Fractions of perlite can be used for germinating planting material, rooting cuttings. They are able to reduce the risk of root rot and reduce the possibility of infection with fungal infections. But there are no nutrients in the perlite grains themselves.Additionally, cuttings and seedlings are recommended to be watered with fertilizers and bacterial preparations. Calcium formulations should not be used at this stage.

The substance is convenient to use when sowing small seeds. It will help spread them evenly over the surface. For this, the additive of the fine fraction is mixed with the grains. After planting, the soil can also be sprinkled with grains of the substance so that the substrate does not mold and dry out. Some areas of the soil where plants are planted that are afraid of the sun's rays are also recommended to be sprinkled with perlite.

The substance can be used as a soil component. Its share in the substrate can reach 40%. Such soil will become more porous, lightweight and loose.

The soil will stop sticking, compaction and caking. The top layer of the substrate will not be crusty when using the additive. The grains prevent the soil from overheating and overcooling. They reflect most of the sun's rays, smoothing out the daily fluctuations in temperature.

Fertilizers, nutrients and moisture are absorbed by the fraction. The plant and its roots receive water gradually as the perlite releases it. 100 grams of the supplement can absorb up to 400 milliliters of liquid.

When using perlite, the gardener rarely water and fertilize the plants, which saves time. When applied, the risk of waterlogging, moisture stagnation, and root rotting decreases. Water is distributed more evenly in the substrate. Perlite reduces the weight of the soil in the flower pot, which is useful when growing large plants.

Hydroponics

Grains of the substance are also used as hydroponics, replacing them with earth. And also it is used as a drainage, pouring it onto the bottom of the pot and leveling it. A flower grower can use it to increase the humidity of the air.

For this, large fractions of perlite are poured onto a pallet, moistened and flower pots are placed on it. This is convenient during drought and heating season, when plants need to be watered frequently. The moisture will evaporate gradually and remain in the air longer than after using a spray bottle.

Perlite is convenient for storing planting material and flower bulbs. The additive is poured in layers: a layer of substance - plant tubers. Finish off with another layer of pearlite. In such conditions, planting material is stored longer, rots less, does not germinate ahead of time. It reduces the likelihood of developing mold and fungal infections.

The moistened fraction is recommended to be used for preparation before planting and planting in open ground. The use of the additive improves the structure of the soil, making it lighter. Perlite reduces the acidity of the soil, making it more alkaline. The soil does not swamp even with an abundance of rain. When using perlite, the roots do not freeze out in the spring after planting young plants. Flowers and crops are less likely to freeze in winter (if additional covering material is used).


Watch the video: How To Amend Clay Soil Without Tilling. 4 SIMPLE STEPS!


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