If you are confused about what kind of soil is used for seedlings, then we have answered it all for you here. Seedlings are fun to grow yet hard to keep alive. Seedlings are tricky and hard to grow at the initial stage from getting your seeds to germinate and care after the growth. But after knowing what to do with seedlings, you can easily succeed in growing and making them thrive. In this Guide, I will show you everything you need to know about Seedlings right from soil to care.
What are the best methods for Testing Soil for Seedlings?
If you want to grow Seedlings, the first thing you should do is test your soil. Testing the soil will make sure the soil is acidic enough for the plant.
To know how to take soil samples for testing, click here.
To do the soil pH test:
- Litmus Paper Test– This traditional paper test is used to find if the soil is acidic or not. Mix the water and soil in a container and dip the paper. If the Litmus paper turns red, then the soil is acidic.
- Digital Tester– The Digital Tester is used in the soil to find the soil pH. This electronic device is made of metal which also shows the mineral levels that are present in the soil.
- Lab soil Test– Send your soil sample to a nearby soil lab or extension office to know about the soil. They also give more information to grow the plant along with the soil pH and contents in soil.
What is the Soil pH for Seedlings?
The Best Soil pH for Seedlings should range from 6.5 to 7.5. Seedlings like to grow best in slightly acidic soil. If the soil is too alkaline, it may affect the plant. To make your soil acidic, add peat moss to it. Seedlings are very sensitive to temperature at an early stage so give them good soil and light for growth.
pH is tested to find the potential of hydrogen and uses a chemical scale to identify the nature of the soil. Testing for soil pH is the first step in getting to know the soil. Ph can range from 0 to 14. Any soil with a pH higher than 7 is alkaline and less than 7 is acidic. Do a pH test to find the soil pH level.
What Kind of Soil is Used for Seedlings? Can I Use any Soil for Seedlings?
No, you can’t use any soil for Seedlings. Seedlings prefer to grow in the nutrient organic matter rather than in any soil. Soil may contain living organisms that may destroy the seed. They work well in nutrient-rich amendments. Avoid clay soil as they make the soil filled with water. Potting soil which is used for other plants also can be directly used for Seedlings. A special potting mix that is rich in organic matter can be used for Seedlings. Using soil that gives the right drainage, gritty and well-aerated place is the best soil for Seedlings.
Components of the Best mix for Seedlings
These are some of the components for the perfect Seedlings soil,
- Well-drainage- A well-draining soil is essential for Seedlings. If grown in a pot, it needs a drainage hole for proper drainage. Water sitting in the pot may lead to fungal disease and destroy the root. Adding pebbles to the pot with soil will help solve the problem. Adding coco coir will improve drainage in the mix of the Seedlings.
- Good aeration- Seedlings like the light mix that should have good aeration. As they love dry and porous soil to get the proper aeration, giving that will help them grow. Providing extra aeration to the soil will boost the growth of the plant.
- Texture- The texture of the mix for Seedlings should be from coarse to light. The seedling’s soil prefers very light and loose soil which also holds enough moisture which helps in root growth. The texture of indoor and outdoor soil can vary as one will be in a pot and the other in the land.
What Kind of Soil to Use for Seedlings?
The best soil for Seedlings is Loamy soil. Loamy soil has a mix of sand, silt, and clay content in it. It will give the right amount of drainage, retention, and texture as well nutrients in the soil for Seedlings. Select a soil that does have all the above-mentioned components for Seedlings soil. Buying potting soil or potting mix and making amendments with compost could do the work. Buying organic garden soil does do the work. But with the required amendments it will be made for the Seedlings.
How to Prepare Soil mix for Seedlings?
To prepare the potting soil mix for Seedlings, add one part of the Perlite, Two parts of the Coco coir to Two Parts of the Compost. Depending on the texture of the mix, add one or two parts of coco coir or vermiculite to it to improve the aeration. You can add gravel or marbles to increase the drainage of the soil.
The preparation of a potting mix for Seedlings is quite easy and cost-efficient. Succulent, cactus soil is quite opposite to garden or potting soil. Succulent soil loves to have very good porous drainage but having that for Seedlings might kill the plant. Adding potting mix directly for Seedlings is also good. But adding the minerals and mending the soil to improve drainage and aeration will make the potting mix more suitable for Seedlings.
The best soil mix for Seedlings is a mix of coconut coir, perlite, peat moss, clay pebbles, vermiculate, worm casting, pumice, manure, and forest hummus. These amendments make the best nutrient-rich ingredient mix in the soil for the Seedlings.
- Compost– Compost is a rich source of potassium. Compost is formed from waste recycling which is further used to improve the nutrients in the soil.
- Coconut coir– The best fiber source to lighten the soil. Coconut coir is taken from coconut and added to the ground to improve both aeration and drainage in the ground.
- Perlite– Perlite is made from volcanic glass. Provide and improve calcium in the soil. This natural source of calcium can be added to have excellent slow-release water stored in the soil.
- Peat moss– Containing all three essential nutrients, peat moss has high acidity in it. This is added to increase acidity in the soil for specific plants.
- Vermiculite- Storehouse of Potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Vermiculite is a mineral that is used to increase aeration without losing water and nutrients in the soil.
- Worm casting– Quick source of nitrogen to soil Worm casting is added to retain nutrients in the soil
- Pumice– Formed from volcanoes when they erupted explosively. The liquid explosion is formed to pumice rock making the aeration for the soil.
- Humus– Rich in nitrogen. Humus is half completed or almost decayed organic material which makes the soil fertile.
DIY Tips to make Seedlings Soil Mix at Home (Complete Guide)
To make your DIY soil for your Seedlings:
Some tips to know before you start making your soil mix for plants. Since it needs soil that holds aeration as well as drainage. Collecting everything beforehand will be good.
- Collecting all the ingredients before making the soil.
- Take time to mix the ingredients.
- Learn other items like reading a pH tester, types of nutrients, and their uses.
Now you can start making the DIY with the below-given ingredients and follow up,
- Gear up with gloves to avoid dirt from the soil.
- I am measuring a cup or instrument to measure the ingredients.
- Bucket or vessel to make space to mix the soil.
- A small shovel/ Trowel to mix the soil.
- Dust mask.
There are plenty of ingredients one can use to get great soil for your Seedlings. The plant’s need for certain ingredients changes depending on its location and environment.
- Coarse sand
- Peat moss
- Coconut coir
- Pine bark
- Potting soil
Here are my trusted recipes to make your Seedlings soil,
Half part Compost
Quarter part Coconut coir or draining ingredient
Quarter-part Potting mix
2 Parts Coconut coir
2 Parts Compost
1 Part Perlite
After collecting all the required ingredients and tools add the measured ingredients to the vessel with the help of a trowel and add half part compost, quarter part coco coir, and quarter part potting mix and blend it well so both are mixed. If you are using Recipe 2, mix 2 parts each of Compost and coco coir and one part perlite with some amendment as soil mix for the seedling.
Where to Buy Soil for Seedlings?
Soil for Seedlings can be bought in a nearby commercial store or online. In stores, you can get expert people in the field to explain and give soil according to the plant. Whereas online, you can make your choice based on the review, rating, and the right mix mentioned in the label. With whatever way of buying the soil, adding some soil conditioner will help for the betterment of the plant as well the soil.
3 Best Commercial Brands to Buy Soil for Seedlings
The miracle-gro Seed Starting potting mix is best for seedlings. This light and drain fast mix contains coconut coir, fertilizers, and other products. The product is certified by the mulch and soil council for the standard. they are specially formulated for root development which also is best for seed germination. They are enriched with plant food. Miracle-gro gives value-for-money products at a reasonable rate with premium quality. They also provide various other types of potting mixes, all-purpose soil, and fertilizers at affordable prices for the garden.
Espoma is a leader in garden fertilizer and a trusted brand that gives good results. They are fortified with earthworm castings with my tone which gives the right pH for maple. This product is all-natural and organic making it best for ground plantings. They have a pH of around 6 which helps the plant thrive. They also contain peat moss and feather meal in it. The direction to use is mentioned on the label and on its website too. The price of one bag of soil with 1 cubic foot quantity is $19.
Pro mix organic premium seed starting mix is best for seedlings as they are specially made for seed starting. The ingredients are cir, perlite, limestone, peat moss, and mycorrhizae. The brand is specially focused on psychoactive soil which helps to grow a healthy plant in soil. They help prevent plant disease and break down the fertilizer sooner for plants. They have moisture protection and feed plant seeds for 3 months. Certified by OMRI for safety in organic gardening.
Can I use Topsoil or Regular soil for Seedlings?
No, you can’t use Topsoil or regular soil for Seedlings. Topsoil may contain a mix of soil and mulch and various other organics and microorganisms which may affect the seed growth. The organisms can eat the seed even before the growth. Regular soil also has the same problem as Topsoil as well they both are not sterilized to be used for seedlings. Avoid topsoil at any chance as it will destroy the seeds rather than help to grow as a healthy plant or tree.
Can I use Garden Soil for Seedlings?
Yes, you can use garden soil for Seedlings after adding the drainage components to the soil. Even though Garden soil will have lots of clay content in it, just bake it to make it suitable for Seedlings. Garden soil will be heavy, damp, and moist pretended which is quite the opposite of seedlings soil. But with adding some amendments to garden soil and organic soil it can be used for the Seeds. Make sure to check for the pH and texture of the soil and see if it is suitable before planting.
Are Loam and Compost Good for Seedlings?
Yes, both loam and compost are good for seedlings. Compost is the best-growing medium for seedlings. Mature compost is best for seedlings as they eliminate many problems in growing seedlings. Humus-based composts are used for the seedling after breaking it down to be a fine-textured medium. Loam is the perfect kind of soil for growing a seedling because of its mix of sand, silt, and clay in it. Loamy is rich in nutrients and essential minerals for seed growth.
Selecting the Right Place and pot for Seedlings
The right place to grow a seedling is indoors with some light. Seedlings prefer a shady place as they can’t tolerate direct hot sun. Seedlings are not temperature tolerant as they have only soil mix and not soil to hold the moisture in it. So, keeping a seedling in an indoor shady place is best for it.
Picking the right pot is essential for every houseplant. The right pot for a Seedlings plant is categorized with the size and material of the pot.
The pot for the plant can be plastic, ceramic, or wood. But the best one for Seedlings is Terracotta because of the water storing nature. This will help to keep the plant moist even at high temperatures.
The Size of the pot for Seedlings can not be fixed. There is no perfect size pot for plants. The size of seedlings depends mainly on how many seedlings you place in a pot or tray in consideration of the space for them.
Common Seedlings Problems
Seedlings are prone to only some problems. Most plants with soil are affected by pests which is not a cause for worry in seedlings as they don’t have the soil base.
Some of the common problems faced by gardeners in growing seedlings are:
- When grown indoors, seeds may not get enough light to give them extra light to avoid the Leggy seedling problem.
- Even in lighting, the position matters for seedlings’ growth. Give them lighting accordingly so that it doesn’t get affected.
- The weather is to blame for the shun or no growth in the seedlings
- Yellow seedlings may appear if you are overwatering.
- Beware of diseases in growth and add disinfectants after the seed sprout to avoid them.
Even though the soil is essential for agriculture, Seedlings grow better in organic matters. Funny, isn’t it? Seedlings need special care for growth not because it is sensitive but because it needs more direct nutrients in the early stage of growth. I hope this article will help you know a bit more about seedlings and soil for them.
Do I need Special Soil for seedlings?
Special soil will be better for seedlings than using regular potting or garden soil.
Can I grow Seedlings without soil?
Yes, you can grow a seedling without soil.
Do Seedlings like Perlite?
Yes, perlite helps the seedlings to have faster growth.