How important is a growing medium in your plant’s growth?

A plant’s soil, or growing medium, plays an essential to their growth and development.

Houseplant compost needs to provide water, nutrients and oxygen to the root system of the plant for lush, healthy plant growth. It must balance drainage and water retention, so plants are watered correctly, and must not become so compacted that the roots are starved of oxygen. Read on, to learn how you can balance a houseplants growing medium to encourage the healthy and happy houseplants.


Key takeaways

  • A growing medium is the substance in which plants grow, and there are various types with unique qualities that can help plants develop more quickly.
  • Growing mediums are important to a plant's health because they provide physical support and aeration, while also delivering essential nutrients and minerals.
  • Water retention and drainage are crucial to a plant's growth, and recycled coir is a great option for both.
  • Air flow is important for a plant's root growth, and compacted soil can limit this.
  • Nutrition is also key, and regular feeding with a balanced fertilizer can help ensure healthy growth.

peat free growing medium

What is a growing medium?

Quite simply, a growing medium, or a growing media, is the name given to the substance in which plants grow. There are various different types of growing medium, from soil and compost to recycled coir and clay pellets depending on the type of plant, although soil is the most common growing medium

Each type of growing medium will have their own benefits, and unique qualities such as their water holding capacity, pH level, air porosity and electrical conductivity, that will help your plants develop more quickly. However, they essentially have three main purposes.

  • Gives the plant bodily(physical) support.
  • Promotes the development of roots.
  • Sends oxygen, water, and other nutrients to the plants roots.


How important is a growing medium to plants growth?

Growing mediums are vital to the plants health due to the fact they deliver all the mineral nutrients to survive and grow, and they provide the physical support and aeration needed for a plant to be healthy. Here are the top 3 reasons why growing mediums are so important:


  1. Water retention and drainage

Plants need water for hydration and growth.  The aim of your growing medium is to absorb enough water to become fully and evenly saturated allowing the water to reach the roots of your plant. On the other side of this spectrum is drainage, you don’t want your plant to hold too much water meaning that your plant experiences root rot by sitting in too much water.

Recycled coir is great for water retention and evenly distributing the water.  Its fibrous structure allows for good drainage.


  1. Air flow

Plant roots grow through the gaps in your growing medium, rather than through the soil itself.  If the soil is too compacted this will limit your plant’s growth.

Again, recycled coir provides great aeration for your houseplant because the fibrous texture creates air chambers, and this is then increased with our addition of Perlite to the recycled coir.

Keep a close eye on your plant’s root growth, repotting is key for continuous airflow to your plant’s roots.


  1. Nutrition

Just like us, houseplants require a balance of nutrients for healthy growth.  In the spring and summer months make sure to regularly feed them with a balance fertiliser.  You will find some advice on the frequency of this on our Plant Care pages.

 potting peat free soil

Understanding your growing medium

Growing mediums are absolutely vital to maintain a happy and healthy houseplant. They are essential partners for a plant providing physical support, while delivering the minerals and nutrients to the plants roots.

Choosing the right growing medium for your plants can be an important decision for their long term growth and for the wider environmental impact. It is important to understand that not all products or substances gardeners use for their plants are necessarily good for the environment, using peat soil for example, although it may be great for the plants health, has hugely detrimental affects on the environment.

However, using more sustainable alternatives such as recycled coir as a growing medium, are not only great for the plants health but for our planet! To learn more about the use of peat read our article an ‘introduction to peat’.

At Geb & Green we add a slow release fertiliser containing Phosphorous, Nitrogen and Potassium to the growing medium when we plant them. All our plants are grown in a peat free medium from recycled coir, so not only are they great for your home, but the environment loves them too.