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What Is The Difference Between Soil-Based and Soil-less Potting Mixes?

Ask The Expert: Your plant-care guidelines for the Golden Pothos Ivy plant states that the plant needs a soil-based potting mix to prosperously flourish in, but at the Lowes, Home Depot, etc. nurseries, they have no potting mixes labeled “Soil-based” or even listing its soil contents, yet the stores claim that all of their potting mixes are soil-based?? I tried using Miracle Gro potting mix, but it rotted off (just above the top of the soil); 4 pots of Golden Pothos plants of mine, it did that time and time again as I would clip and replant them in the soil-and they got watered only once a week,(indoors): Could you kindly assist me in properly identifying good “Soil-based” potting mixes? thanks in advance: Sincerely,
Robert Campbell.

Plant Expert Reply:
It is kind of funny that the industry uses the terms soil-based and soil-less when referring to the type of potting mix in plant cultural information. Yet, they don’t use these terms when marketing the products for sale.

So here is a little guide to help you select the correct soil. Soil-based potting mixtures will contain things like peat, sand, vermiculite, or perlite. They generally weight more than soil-less mixtures. I like to think of soil-based potting mixtures as being a little “beefy” since they will clump together if you apply pressure. Soil-based potting mediums contain materials that naturally retain water and nutrients. Think of your soil particles – sand, silt and clay. Soil-based potting soils will have the same properties of these soil types.

Soil-less potting mixes are contain mostly peat, barks, pulmice type materials or a peat substitute like composted coconut husks. These airy and lighter weight materials allow water and nutrients a greater opportunity to evaporate or drain from the mixture. They “fluff” the soil but do not have any soil properties. Many soil-less potting mixes are specially labeled (referencing the plants that need this type of mix – like orchid soil or cactus soil).

Although Miracle Gro is an ok potting medium, it often contains a wetting agent and maybe the cause of your problems. In your case, I recommend Baccto potting soil – it is composed of reed sedge peat, perlite, sand, limestone and a few other ingredients.

I also recommend that you treat plants with established roots differently than the plants you are trying to root. With established plants wait until the soil is dry (at a 1″ depth) before you water and make sure your container has good drainage. On the plants that you are trying to root, keep the soil moist to the touch but not soggy. At the first sign of rooting pull back on your watering.

Please keep me posted. Good Luck.

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Propagating Golden Pothos

Ask the Expert: Golden Pothos propagation question
I would like to propagate my Golden Photos and I have found a lot of instructions and advice on the web. But my question is:
My plant hasn’t branched yet, it’s just one long plant, probably almost three feet if you would unfold it. So there isn’t a side branch to cut of.

Is it advisable to simply cut of the top of the plant – three or four top leaves (this would leave 13 or 12 leaves on the mother plant)? Would the mother plant automaticly start growing one or more branches afterwards if i did it?

I’m surprised it hasn’t branched yet. I got the plant from a friend half a year ago – he had had it in his bathroom and it had only about five sorry looking leaves on it. Now it look really healthy and perky, but it anoys me a bit that it’s just one long snake – that it doesn’t split itself.

I’ve been redirecting it towards the soil surface, so that it could re-root itself ith every new length (because it looked like it needed it). I’m wondering if doing his could have caused it to not branch – the fact that it never grew more than five new leaves away from the latest firmly rooted root. Shold i stop doing this in that



Plant Expert Reply:

Redirecting the plant as you say is one form of propagation.  Once those section have a strong root system you can cut them off the mother plant and you have a new plant.  When you cut it off the mother plant both plants will start to form new leaves.   You can also propagate a new plant by taking a leaf with a node and stick the node in the soil.  You can do this multply times from one long runner.  By doing this you will encourage more growth from the mother plant and often lateral grow as well.  Many times the plant will begin to form roots at the nodes on their own.  This makes it easy to propagate golden pothos. 

The nice thing about pothos is the tolerance of this plant.  You can cut, abuse it or ignore it and it will still live.  I personally find that trimming my pothos makes it healthier and thicker.  Sometimes I will start new plants from my cuttings and other times I don’t bother with it.  The one thing I do when propagating these plants it to keep the soil moist when the roots are forming.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Golden Pothos? Wasn’t He A Musketeer?

I hope that many who read this are chuckling because they know that Golden Pothos is actually one of the most versatile and popular houseplants. Easy to care for and pleasing to the eye, Golden Pothos is the exact opposite of Porthos, the colorful and arrogant character in the famous book by Alexandre Dumas.

Golden Pothos (Scindapsus aureus) plants are great gift ideas for those just getting started with gardening or caring for houseplants. When I say that Golden Pothos plant care is easy, I mean even black thumbs have a shot of maintaining a healthy plant. Golden Pothos plants thrive in the low light levels of a home, near windows, under bright fluorescent lights, or in the full light of the sun in a garden or as a patio plant. Pothos plants can be grown indoors or outdoors. They can be trained as climbers or cared for as houseplants.

I hardly think that it is a stretch to say that it is easy to grow Golden Pothos houseplants. Even watering your Golden Pothos requires minimal effort. Less is more because of a shallow root system. Because less soil must be penetrated to reach the roots, less water is required. The soil around Golden Pothos should be kept evenly moist but not wet so an occasional watering does wonders for the plant. Most pest and pathogen problems are causes of excessive watering or location and can be easily remedied.

For these reasons I say, “Bravo!” to sending a gift of Golden Pothos plants to your friends. Houseplant experts will enjoy going back to the basics. Beginners will enjoy learning the basics. Regardless of expertise, Golden Pothos are also popular for their beauty and dynamic addition to the décor of any room. How can anyone go wrong with this gift idea? Oh that’s right. You can’t.

Golden Pothos Houseplant Buy Golden Pothos houseplants from your local florist.

Plant Propagation for Golden Pothos and Parlor Palm

Ask the Expert: how and where do you snip the flower for replant  one is a golden pothos, other is a parlor palm i want replant.