Soil aeration is such an important and often overlooked step in house plant care, typically because most new plant growers aren’t even aware of what it is! In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about soil aeration, including tips on how you can easily aerate your soil using tools easily found around your home!
What is soil aeration and why is it important?
the introduction of air into a material.
Soil aeration is the process in which air is circulated through the soil to provide optimal drainage and allow for nutrients from water to be evenly distributed while improving root growth structure.
While all tropical house plants will benefit from soil aeration, the process is especially beneficial to those who are:
Fighting soil compaction – soil lacking aeration causes a dense root structure which not only makes water and airflow through the soil more difficult, but will also make your plant hard to repot when that time comes. Aerating the soil will help break up the soil structure and promote stronger root growth.
Dealing with hydrophobic soil – some commercial soils lack quality structure (usually those high in peat moss content) which makes water hard to penetrate the surface of the soil. Aerating the soil will help the soil to be able to absorb water and distribute moisture throughout the root system.
Prone to over-watering! 😉 – aerating your soil will help it dry out faster in between watering, decreasing risks of fungal issues and root rot.
How to aerate your house plant soil
Using a tool – One of the best tools that can probably be found right now around your home is chopsticks! So, don’t forget to save and upcycle your takeout utensils. To aerate soil using a chopstick, gently insert the chopstick all the way into the pot and then give it a little wiggle before watering. Do this a few times throughout the pot creating multiple channels in which water can flow down. This will help evenly distribute moisture, allow for a smooth exchange of oxygen to the roots and help your soil air out after being watered. This manual method is the best for those who love being hands-on with their plant care routines.
Soil additives – Adding materials that break up and improve soil structure is a great way to provide aeration to soil. Materials such as bark fines, perlite, pumice, etc. are all fantastic at allowing water to flow through the soil more readily. This is great for those who have less time on their hands or can also be practised in addition to manual aeration using a tool!
We always talk about how optimal plant care means that we need to mimic our plants' natural habitat and growing conditions to the best of our ability. But we often forget what goes on where we can’t see it. In nature, there are entire ecosystems living in the soil alone where critters such as worms live and move through, naturally aerating the soil. Since we lack those organisms in our potted house plants, we need to take on that role ourselves. Practising soil aeration promotes strong, healthy roots. Strong, healthy roots = strong, healthy plants. Happy growing!
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