Can mulch be used to care for potted plants at home? Yes! Here, the best mulch for indoor plants. using mulch in flower beds with perennials and shrubs.
If any gardener knows about the benefits of mulching soil for garden plants, then for potted crops this technique is rarely used. And purely indoor plants are grown under protected soil very rarely. Meanwhile, this unique technique allows you to improve and preserve the substrate not only for colorful tub and balcony flowers. Mulching for indoor plants plays the same role as for horticultural crops. And just as easy to use. True, choosing the right mulch and its quality should be taken care of much more carefully.
Is mulch good for houseplants?
Mulching substrate for indoor plants has recently become fashionable. But those who not only grow indoor flowers, but also take care of plants on their site, have long known about all its advantages. The smaller mulching area does not change its essence in the least: it is still the easiest procedure for caring for any plant. But for indoor crops there are some special rules that are best followed strictly.
Mulching is the most effective technique for maintaining the properties and stabilizing the characteristics of any soil. It protects plants from many negative factors:
- from the loss of air permeability and water permeability of the soil over time – compaction, changes in texture, which can usually only be compensated by loosening;
- overheating and hypothermia of the soil;
- from rapid evaporation of moisture;
- uneven distribution of water;
- from the formation of a dense crust on the surface of the soil.
For indoor plants, mulching has several more “bonuses”:
- increasing or equalizing the humidity of the air (stably moist materials eliminate the risk of keeping the plant in too dry air, slowly evaporating moisture and playing the same role as humidifiers);
- protecting the substrate from pollution, plant debris, accumulation of salts over time, keeping the soil clean and reducing the risk of spreading diseases;
- reduction of contamination of adjacent surfaces, pallets and window sills with soil particles, including during watering.
But one of the most important functions of indoor plant mulch is purely decorative. It creates a magnificent aesthetic background for plants, emphasizes the style of the interior, its color scheme, helps add new notes to landscaping and emphasize the dignity of the plants themselves.
Regardless of whether we are talking about large or small plants, in what soil and what containers they grow, correctly selected mulch only improves the conditions for their maintenance.
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mulch types pros and cons
Unlike garden plants, in indoor plants, you can mulch not only the soil. Soil and plant protection products are conventionally divided into two categories:
- Mulching the substrate.
- Mulching (or lining) pallets.
The first is the usual mulching of the soil surface. Cover the substrate with a layer of mulch completely, over the entire area of the pot and as evenly as possible. The layer of “room” mulch should be much thinner than “garden”. For indoor plants, fine-grained mulch is poured in a layer from 0.5 to 1 cm, but coarse-grained – from 1 to 1.5 cm.
The thickness of the layer is determined by the effect of complete hiding under the soil mulch. If the materials are fine-grained, to protect the layer from erosion and mixing with the substrate, a fine-mesh mesh should be laid under it.
Pallet mulching – creating a layer of moist materials that slowly evaporate water on wide pallets or trays, which are placed under the plant so that the bottom of the pot does not touch the water or wet mulch. This is the simplest type of humidifier.
Plants can be placed on a special net or left in a compact regular pallet, placed on top of a layer of mulch. Several types of materials can be mixed in one humidifier tray.
What is the best mulch for indoor plants?
Materials for mulching indoor plants:
- sphagnum moss and other types of decorative mosses;
- fine crushed stone;
- expanded clay of different fractions;
- decorative stones;
- decorative stone chips and aquarium grounds;
- pine and other bark, bark chips;
- coarse coconut soil;
- perlite and agroperlite;
- decorative glass pieces, shells and other natural or artificial, reaction-neutral fillers.
Experimenting with such types of mulch as coffee grounds, mown grass, hay, tea leaves, crushed egg shells, etc. is not worth it: they are just as undesirable for indoor plants as mulch as in top dressing.
Types of mulch can be roughly divided into mulch for moisture-loving plants and those crops that are afraid of waterlogging. Drying and moisture-absorbing materials – sand, pebbles, expanded clay, vermiculite and perlite – are suitable even for succulents. But moss and stone chips, on the contrary, increase moisture and help to grow moisture-loving crops.
List of decorative mulch for indoor plants
- Shells and pebbles
- Colored marble chips
- multi-colored beads
- colored cocktail straws
Shells and pebbles
Shells and pebbles are the Best Mulch For Indoor Plants and natural shades will emphasize the beauty of any indoor plant.
At home, except to prevent Darkwing flies from laying eggs, mulch has purely decorative purposes. It will beautifully disguise the surface of the substrate and the ugly edge of plastic flower pots.
You need to choose the material carefully. Many beautiful and useful things can be found not only in the store but, for example, in your sewing accessories. The possibilities are endless, just a little thought.
From agate to corksWhat a thing – the original. River pebbles for us were polished and shaped by nature itself. Her natural shades of white, gray, and beige go with almost anything.
Marble chips are colored artificially. Bold colors ranging from pink to blue offer endless pairing possibilities. The natural, pure white color of the marble chips lends an elegant look to even the most common green plants.
Colored marble chips
The perfect combination. Colored marble chips offer exciting possibilities when combined with plants and accessories.
Your favorite houseplant can be adorned with luxurious gems such as agate, rose quartz, or a pleasant greenish opal. A pot decorated in this way will delight you like a cute original gift.
In the sunlight, shards of glass sparkle beautifully, whether broken or processed into granules with a smooth surface. Clear glass is shinier than milky glass. Colored balls look fun and not only in plants in children’s rooms. Multi-colored balls or cylinders are also made of ceramics. They are great for plants on the windowsill in the kitchen or bathroom.
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With multi-colored beads and a prickly cactus, it looks more welcoming.
Recycling advocates will not throw away any broken cymbal shards. If they have a beautiful pattern, they will create an original mosaic, which is especially effective in a large bowl.
A pleasant vacation by the sea is reminiscent of seashells and pebbles gathered on the beach. Palm trees and succulents will perfectly complement. And if you put a sea urchin near a flowerpot, you get a beautiful stylish corner.
The buds will create a cozy atmosphere. If you cover them with varnish, they will not close and will last longer.
Those who do not go to the sea can bring empty snail shells from walks. Nature offers a variety of materials that can cover the potting medium well and at the same time evoke a cozy atmosphere in the room. For example, cut birch branches with white bark. Or bumps. Cover both those and others with varnish, they will last longer.
Inspiration will come when you browse through the various drawers in your wardrobes. When you find buttons, straws, or wine corks in them, this is what you need. Mulch from them looks original and not without wit. A layer of beads or seed beads looks fun and can be mixed in any color combination. As they say, cheap and cheerful.
colored cocktail straws
A fat woman will never look boring. Just add chopped-colored cocktail straws as mulch.
Popular among arrangers are various colored rattan braided balls on a stick that can be shoved into a substrate. Instead of mulch, we will push them into the ground near the plant. It won’t hurt him.
How do I choose mulch?
Each houseplant requires individual care, selection of conditions of maintenance, and substrate. And it is precisely on the features of each individual type that you need to focus on when looking for the ideal type of mulch.
Finding a suitable option from dozens of available ones is not at all difficult: it is enough to take into account the preferred reaction of the soil and limit the available materials to a list of those additives that are used for the plant substrate or to create drainage at the bottom of the tank.
To choose the type of mulch for the plant, it is enough:
- Check what kind of soil and drainage the plant prefers. Crops that love acidic soil will thrive with mulch materials that keep the pH stable or slightly acidify the soil. For crops that prefer calcareous soils, options are limited to neutral inert or loosening additives and crushed stone that enhances alkaline reactions.
- Choose which plant needs the effect of mulch – preventing waterlogging of the soil, the role of upper drainage, or, conversely, stabilization – creating light or medium constant soil moisture.
- Think about the decorative characteristics – texture, color, the impact on the perception of plants and the interior.
So, for example, for indoor hydrangeas and rhododendrons, and for camellias too, the best mulch option is chopped pine needles or peat. All cacti grow best with fine stone chips, pebbles, or coarse sand mulch. The same materials are best used to create a thin layer above the substrate around the rosettes of violets and all types of fat women.
Decorative chips from the bark of non-coniferous species, like agroperlite, vermiculite, expanded clay, coconut mulch are suitable for all types of indoor plants without special soil requirements, including for indoor lianas, pelargoniums, hibiscus, fruit trees, ficuses, etc.
Before using any mulch, you need to make sure that it is safe, clean, disinfected, free of toxins and other harmful substances. And also to exclude the creation of a water and airtight barrier (for example, some types of sisal and other natural materials can have this effect).
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Simple rules for caring for mulch
Even in the garden, the mulch layer needs to be renewed periodically. For indoor plants this procedure is similar, but usually, it is about simple small “adjustments” in case of signs of loss of decorative characteristics or poor condition of materials.
The mulch is completely removed and replaced either when the plant is transplanted, or when it is severely contaminated and destroyed.
If the mulch erodes or settles slightly over time, the substrate begins to peep through it, it is simply refreshed, filling it up to the previous level and filling the voids. If there are signs of accumulation of debris or partial spread of mold, loss of aesthetic and practical characteristics along the edge of the pot, then the damaged fragments of mulch are carefully removed, placing a new one in its place.