Peat Moss or Not? The Ins and Outs of This Soil Additive
Peat moss is a common fibrous material used to encourage growth in plants. But what is peat moss, and how can you use it best to your advantage? Let’s dig up some dirt on what it is and why many plant lovers love this soil additive!
What Is Peat Moss?
Peat moss is an organic material found in peat bogs and harvested from wetland areas. It’ll often be called by its pet name, “peat,” but peat and peat moss aren’t exactly the same product.
Peat is more of an umbrella term for gardening material that’s created during decomposition. But peat moss is specific to peat bogs. It’s widely available for plant enthusiasts and landscapers and looks like dry, cakey soil.
How Should You Use Peat Moss?
Peat moss will be your best friend if you’re growing indoor plants from seed. You can use peat moss as a soilless potting mix when regular soil would weigh seeds down too much. The lighter peat moss gives new sprouts a chance to burst through the soil and soak up all that delicious sunlight!
Peat moss can be the missing ingredient for anyone looking to achieve more balanced drainage for their potted plants. Because peat moss is lighter than regular soil, water can pass through it more freely. The retained water can be a blessing and a curse — it all depends on what your plants need to survive and thrive.
When Should You Avoid Using Peat Moss?
Not every plant will appreciate what peat moss brings to the table. Peat moss leans more acidic, so you may need to take measures to raise the soil pH if your plants need it. The high acidity can benefit some plants like ferns or philodendrons, so it’s not necessarily bad!
It’s also considered to be a non-renewable resource. Peat bogs regulate carbon dioxide, and harvesting too much peat moss could hurt their climate control superpowers. Peat moss also isn’t a good source of nutrients, so you might need to use it with a high-nutrient soil additive to get better results.
If you're looking for a more environmentally friendly resource sphagnum moss or coconut coir are excellent alternatives.
What Are the Benefits?
The gardening community is cheering for peat moss for a good reason! Peat moss is relatively inexpensive and lightweight. You’ll get more for your money using this as a potting mix, and as an added bonus, it makes repotting a breeze.
Peat moss is fantastic at retaining water, and it’s sterilized before being sold so you’ll never have to worry about pathogens.
Beneath the Surface: Is Peat Moss for You?
Peat moss is a phenomenal option for anyone looking to boost the vibrance of their indoor house plants, but it’s not for everyone or every plant. For many, it’s a handy resource that can help your smallest sprouts grow into towering beauties. If your plants like alkaline soil or need extra nutrients, you’ll want to either balance your use of peat moss or skip it altogether.
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