Potting Mixes For Propagating Plants

One of the most frustrating things about propagating plants and growing plants in pots is finding the right ingredients for potting mixes.

In the previous post Make New Plants… By Taking Cuttings, I mentioned obtaining a propagating mix. I have had to compromise with what is available locally. The basic idea of a propagating mix suitable for cuttings is to have excellent drainage, one that does not compact with watering, and maintains some moisture.

Traditionally, coarse sand mixed with peat moss was used. The difficulty is where does one get coarse sand? One of the potting mix companies now markets bags of coarse propagating sand. Whether you can buy it locally is another matter. Other ingredients readily available are blocks of coco peat (more environmentally friendly than peatmoss), vermiculite and perlite both of which are used in hydroponics. My compromise is a mixture of a reasonable bark based potting mix, coco peat and either perlite or vermiculite, in about equal proportions and moistened.

The main thing to do is to work on a recipe and if it works continue to use it. The most important consideration is to use clean ingredients.

Equally as important is to always mix the ingredients in the open and take care when opening bags of potting mix. Perlite floats. It can be a pest to use. A mask is a good idea as some people have been known to contract Legionnaires disease from dry potting mix floating in the air. Keep potting mix moist rather than allowing it to become powder dry.

No.2 of a series on Propagation


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