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Soils and Fertilizers: Questions & Answers

What is the difference between potting mix and fertilizer?

Potting mix is specially designed for potted plants and gives them the nutrients they need to grow. It's not technically soil — it's usually a combination of organic materials like peat, coir, pine bark and some stones like perlite for drainage. Fertilizer, on the other hand, is all nutrients. It can be added to depleted soil to revive it, and can be used to give your plants a bit of a perk up.

How often should I re-pot my house plants?

It depends on how fast your plant grows, but it's generally recommended that you re-pot your houseplants every 12-18 months. In some cases, this means moving it over to a larger pot. As time goes by, that small plant you bought will grow into a large plant. Its roots need space to stretch out, and the tiny pot will start to get overcrowded. Even if your plant is perfectly comfortable in its old pot, you'll still need to replenish the soil every year. This gives your plant the nutrients it needs to keep growing.

Why should I choose eco-friendly soils and fertilizer for house plants?

Eco-friendly options use natural ingredients, like humus, instead of harsh chemicals. As well as being better for the environment overall, and more encouraging towards the friendly microbes that live in the soil and help your plant grow, it also means that it's safe if you have kids or pets in your home. All of the natural ingredients are specially selected for indoor plants, helping the soil to retain moisture between waterings and keeping the soil porous so that the roots don't suffocate.

When should I fertilize my indoor plants?

Over time, your plants will slowly suck all of the nutrients out of the soil. To keep your plants healthy and happy, you have to fertilize them regularly. While wilted foliage is a surefire sign of underwatering, it's more difficult to detect that your plant is "hungry". It's best to think about the seasons — during spring and summer, it's going to need more nutrients to put out foliage and flowers. Most plants are dormant during the winter, so you can pause feeding while they essentially 'hibernate' — otherwise you run the risk of overnurturing the soil and burning the roots. Think about it like overeating at an all-you-can-eat buffet.