A fertile and healthy soil is the basis of keeping a plant happy an healthy. Old and used soil can lead to slowed growth, rapidly drying soil, or a change in your plants overall health. I have seen multiple plants come back to life by reinvigorating the soil plant with these methods because they have reintroduced life sustaining nutrients and required characteristics every plants’ soil should have.
The best methods to reinvigorate old soil are: adding organic matter, aerating the soil, improving soil drainage, incorporating compost, add mulch, and add fertilizer. The methods will revitalize the soil and bring your plant back to life.
Want further tips and methods for dealing with your struggling plant? We will discuss the the methods in more detail in this article.
Understanding Soil Depletion in Old and Used Plant Soil
Plant soil that is used for many years without care can lead to soil that no longer provides the characteristics that soil should. As the plant has grown and sustained over time, it has been using nutrients and organic matter that have been stored within the soil. Once the nutrients have been used up the plant will have limited growth and will begin to struggle as it needs the nutrients. Additionally, over time the soil begins to loose other characteristics such as moisture retention, and also be very packed. Below are some expanded methods and tips to enrich soil.
Tips and Methods for Enriching Soil
- Adding organic matter can be a one of the best things you can do for your plant. Some examples of organic matter you can add to your plant is grass clippings, shredded leaves, and sawdust or wood chips. There is a ton of science behind adding organic matter but simply put the matter is decomposed the nutrients are converted into a form the plants can use right away.
- Aerating the plant soil is a simple and quick method for enriching soil. Old plant soil is often packed down from years of watering. This often makes it difficult for the soil to absorb the water and get down to the roots. You can aerate the soil a few different ways. You can take a pencil, chopstick, or metal stick to slowly work it the soil from the top of the plant. With this method you want to be careful to not damage roots underneath. Another way would be to take the plant out of the pot and agitate around the pot and fluff up the soil.
- Improving soil drainage can be refreshing to a plants health. Drainage is as important as the nutrients in a a plants soil. The best way to improve drainage is to add a non-porous material to the bottom layer of the soil within the pot. As the water is brought from the top of the pot to the bottom the roots are typically in very moist soil. Roots that are left in very moist/ wet soil can be damaging to the roots system and eventually lead to root rot. Some pots have a raised section that allows for adequate drainage to limit this from occurring. My preferred method to increase soil drainage is to add small gravel or stones at the bottom of the pot. You can do this by removing the plant from its pot, clearing away any excess soil at the bottom of the plant as well as removing some soil at the bottom of the plants root system and then adding a layer of gravel or rocks to the bottom of the pot. Another way to ensure you have enough drainage is to ensure there are holes at the bottom of the pot. Be sure that there holes are large enough for the pot size. The bigger the pot the bigger or more drainage holes are necessary.
- Incorporating compost into the plants soil can help with nutrients, aeration, and moisture retention. Compost is a mixture of ingredients that is often used as a natural plant fertilizer. This is typically a mix of food scraps and waste, animal waste, and grass clippings. You can buy compost at a landscape or gardening store or make it. Of course if you have limited space or time you may not have the ability to make compost at your home. There are many ways you can make your own compost at home but that is a whole separate writing all together. The EPA has information plentiful for composting at home that can be found here. Creating your own compost can help save food scraps and waste from going to the land fill and overall can lower your carbon food print. Composting can take some time and a fair amount of effort so you can decide if it is best for you to buy or make it yourself.
- Do not over fertilize your plants. Many plant parents start to heavily fertilize their plants with store bought fertilizer when they see their plants health decline. This is an option but is not the best option for long term plant growth, and sustainability (also bad for the environment). Be sure not to over fertilize when you see that your plant is not doing well as it used too.
Wrapping It Up
Fertile soil is the basis for plant viability and growth. If you see your plant showing signs of old and used depleted soil use the tips and methods provided to nurse your plants back to health. You can enrich your plants soil through adding organic matter, aerating the soil, improving drainage, incorporating compost into the soil, and carefully fertilizing. Take a look at you plant and evaluate what you find would be best for your plant and you!