Product of the Month
April - Baileys Premium Potting Mix
Autumn is a good time to spruce up your potted plants after a long and stressful summer season. The choice of potting mix is a critical one as these can vary enormously.
Baileys have always striven to produce a top of the line potting mix without compromise. The benefit to you is that your plants will thrive in the mix from day one. Valuable plants can be entrusted to this mix with confidence.
What makes the difference?
Firstly this mix is the product of composting which makes it stable and ensures that nutrient is not stripped from your plants to facilitate the breakdown of immature organic material.
The composting process adds biology to the mixture and this is a very positive outcome. Years ago mixes were steam sterilised to keep pathogens under control. Researchers discovered that these mixes were biological deserts. The first organisms to come along we're able to colonise the mix and take over. If these happened to be the bad guys then they would be near impossible to dislodge.
We now know that the more complex life is in soils and potting mixes the more robust and stable the mix. And the better plants would grow.
Two types of control release fertilisers are included to keep your plants growing into the future. A 3 to 4 month release fertiliser gets your plant established and the 8 to 9 month release food keeps it going for three seasons. You can see the green jacket pills of controlled release fertiliser in the mix.
Aged finely screened (sieved) pine bark chips are incorporated into the mix to provide structure and air spaces. Air is an essential ingredient for plant roots and claggy or clay based mixes often cause major problems for these roots, leading to drowning and root rot issues.
Baileys mix has to pass a test called 'air filled porosity' to ensure that there are sufficient air spaces within the mix for optimal plant growth. Roots actually take up oxygen in order to grow.
Australia led the world in creating standards for potting mixes. A group of scientists and industry representatives came together to create the worlds first standard for modern potting mixes that were not based on clay. This comprehensive standard allows companies to sell their potting mixes with a quality symbol showing that the mix complies with the requirements.
Baileys Premium Potting Mix is a stellar example of the high level accreditation symbolised by the five red tick logo. There is a second tier standard for potting mix which carries the five black ticks logo. These mixes are stable and well drained but do not have controlled release fertiliser to nourish plants beyond the day of potting.
In addition Grosorb has been added to Bailey's mix to ensure good moisture penetration right through the mix, once it is in a pot. This helps plants make the most of any moisture available in the pot and also means that the mix will drain evenly. Drainage is important as waterlogged patches can lead to root death through drowning as mentioned above.
How do you use this potting mix? The answer could hardly be simpler. Just pour it straight from the bag. There's no mixing needed. Also you don't need to place bits of broken pot at the base of the new pot to improve drainage as the mix is designed to freely drain without any assistance.
You can use the mix for indoor plants going into small pots as well as for trees such as olive or citrus that are going into large pots to be grown in full sun.
It is important to realise that this mix will require supplementary feeding as the controlled release fertilisers are taken up by the plants. Also the mix will not last forever. After around 2 years many of the particles have begun to break down naturally into smaller sizes. This means that the air is not getting through as easily as before. Usually this coincides with the need for he plant to go into a larger pot so repotting is the solution with fresh mix coming in to surround the root ball.
If however you have large plants in a pot that defies all efforts to remove the rootball because of its shape you may need to keep the plant in its original pot. You can achieve this by removing a portion of the old potting mix and replacing this with fresh mix straight from the bag. In a case like this a bulb planting tool can be handy for pushing down into the mix releasing the handle grip and removing a couple of handfuls of old mix.
If you are able to tip a large pot on its side and gently ease the root ball out of the pot then it's a good idea to remove 10 to 20% of the root ball using a cleaver or some other sharp implement. Place the plant back in the pot and top up around the edges with new potting mix. While this pruning of roots sound like drastic medicine it will allow your plant to get growing vigorously again. Essentially this is what happens in bonsai where plants can live for hundreds of years in the same pot.
It's not a good idea to store potting mix for a long time because it is a living thing, a bit like a bottle of wine. Ideally use up all at once and get fresh material for the next job.