, Newburyport, MA


January 29, 2014

Tim's Tips: Choose your potting soil wisely


The winter months are also the semi-dormant months for houseplants. They may need more humidity for the foliage, but they are not taking up extra water through the roots. If you are using a potting soil that works well for outdoor plants, it probably isn’t the best soil for your houseplants. The ability of the outdoor soil to hold onto the water means that your houseplants have too much water being retained in the soil.

Soil that stays wet all the time will definitely contribute to an increase in fungus gnats. If you use a soil that holds extra water as a soil for your cactus and succulents, they will be at an increased risk for rotting during the winter months.

So where is all of this going when it comes to potting up your houseplants? When potting or repotting, you always want to use a potting soil that doesn’t have anything added to hold extra water. If the soil naturally holds some water, yet allows the excess water to drain away, then you will have found the best potting soil for your houseplants.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.


Tim Lamprey is the owner of Harbor Garden Center on Route 1 in Salisbury. His website is Do you have questions for Tim? Send them to, and he will answer them in upcoming columns.

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