The Top 5 Potting Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes

Potting mix, soil, peace lily

You’ve probably been searching around the web for quite some time now, trying to learn as much as you can about how to find the best potting soil for your indoor plants.

Or maybe you’ve even tried to keep your houseplant alive but it didn’t turn out as well as you hoped.

Indeed, if you’re like a lot of beginner plant owners then you probably ended up having your favorite succulent die.

Don’t despair. You too can start keeping plants alive and happy, and all you have to do is tweak your growth strategy a bit.

Generally, that means you need to avoid making the following five common potting type of mistakes.

Read on …

Picking the Wrong Sized Pot Mistake #1: 

Terracotta Pots

Just guessing, but I’m betting that close to half of beginning plant growers make this mistake. Worse yet, some of the blogs and products you find around the web actually teach people this dire mistake! 

If you see someone advocating to use just any pot for your houseplant, run. That’s because a pot that is too large or too small is dangerous for the plant’s growth and overall health.

Instead, what you want to do is use a plant container 1-2 inches larger then the plants root ball. Make sure the pot has proper drainage holes.

If there are no drainage holes consider a different pot or use a plastic container with proper drainage that can sit easily inside of your favorite decorative pot.

Using the Wrong Potting Mix Mistake #2: 

Soil mix, indoor plants

Another exceedingly common mistake, simply because people assume all houseplants thrive in the same type of soil medium.

However, if you want to keep your plant happy in your home, then you need to make sure you don’t use a soil mixture that doesn’t give the plant’s roots enough drainage, fertilizer and air circulation.

Instead, focus on whether the plant likes moisture or if it would rather be on the dry side instead. 

Continue to follow my blog because I frequently like to write about plant care for specific species of house plants.

It’s much needed mom therapy 🙂 …

… Moving right along.

Over Watering Mistake #3: 

Overwatering, root rot

Don’t feel bad if you make this mistake. That’s because even some of the biggest experts in the plant growing industry do this.

Just look at Dennis Crum, Director of Growing at Four Star Greenhouse in Carleton Michigan, who regularly admits to green house staff making the same overwatering mistake.

So instead of overwatering succulents and other plants that prefer drier conditions ensure your soil medium has vermiculite, perlite or some other mix that will alleviate too much moisture retention.

Your cactus, orchid and snake plant will thank you for it. I also like to put lava rocks or river rocks at the bottom of the container to encourage proper drainage.

Not Watering Enough Mistake #4: 

Dry leaves, lack of water, indoor plant

From what I’ve seen by talking to a whole lot of plant beginners is that not as many people make the under-watering mistake.

However, those who do find it exceeding frustrating, because they have every intention to water their plants but life gets busy and they simply forget.

I’ve even known people who’ve just wanted to completely give up on owning live plants after they kill a few from neglect.

Fortunately, you can avoid it fairly easily, simply by paying more attention to the signs of when your plants need to be watered.

For example, some plants may begin to get yellow leaves or the leaves fall off when they need to be watered.

Other plants such as spathiphyllum also known as peace lilies like in the picture above will wilt.

Skipping the Fertilizer Mistake #5: 

liquid plant fertilizer, miracle gro

This one is a little tricky, simply because you could be perfectly on track and doing all the right things, but suddenly you realize it’s the end of the summer and you haven’t fertilized your plants at all during the growing season. Yikes!

If it happens to you, don’t worry – you can get back on track with your nutrient goals.

All you have to do is buy a good quality fertilizer for indoor plants from Home Depot, Walmart or your local plant nursery and give your plant a nutrient filled drink once every 4 weeks anytime from the beginning of spring until the end of the summer.

This will also give your plant babies the boost they need to thrive in their current pot.

You can also use fertilizer spikes and stick them in the soil around your indoor plant.

Dennis Crum, director of growing at Greenhouse Grower provides 8 effective and efficient tips on how to solve your plant fertilizer problems.

In sum…

Yes, it’s true – now you too can keep your house plant alive and healthy longer, especially if you avoid these common potting mistakes.

Try it out today to prove it to yourself!

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