Each soil has a particular chemical condition, which can favor or hinder the development of the plant. Choosing the right soil is very important and should be done both for potted plants and for gardens or outdoor areas.
In fact, a right soil guarantees the exchange of elements such as oxygen and carbon dioxide, retains the right amount of water, draining the excess, to avoid rotting of the roots, nourishes the plants and offers them support for growth.
To understand the type of earth, you take a handful of earth and work it a little between your fingers: the
good soil is firm but not compact and has a good smell of wood and leaves. Self
it smells musty or dusty, it is better not to use it, as it is old.
If the soil crumbles immediately in the hand it is very brittle and peaty: it is poor and quickly dehydrates. It should be improved by adding organic substance to make it firmer and capable of retaining nutritional factors.
If the consistency is thick and sticky, it is clayey, heavy and compact. It should be improved by incorporating organic matter and inert materials that promote porosity.
Plants sensitive to water stagnation require a part of sand, about one third, mixed with the substrate.
Each plant has its own requests: cacti and bulbous plants accept sandy soil, acidophilic plants (azaleas, camellias
etc) love it peaty; roses and trees such as pear and linden prefer clayey soil.
A tip: earthworms can be precious allies in the garden, their digestive work improves the
ground; even the composted dry leaves form an effective amendment at no cost; so is the organic mulch, which protects and enriches the soil and manure, the basis of organic farming.
Choose the soil according to the use you want to make of it and remember that young potted plants and flowering plants need more nutrients, which can also act as fertilizer for the first weeks.
The measurement of the pH of a soil (or of the water used for watering) clarifies whether it is an acidic, alkaline (basic) or neutral soil. The pH is calculated on a scale of 1 to 14: if it is
less than 7, the soil is acidic; around 7 the substrate is neutral; above this
value, alkalinity (basicity) conditions are outlined. There are kits available at garden centers, which allow you to obtain an indicative data on the pH quickly and economically.
When choosing the soil, the size of the plant pot must also be taken into account, to ensure the right amount of draining material, the larger the pot size.
Another factor to consider is the life cycle of your plant. Annual plants have a short life cycle: universal potting soil can be used. For long-cycle perennials it is better to choose a grainy soil, which will give the right drainage of water over time.