I use sphagnum in my potting mix?
friend of mine told me she uses chopped-up sphagnum moss mixed in
with her potting mix for hanging baskets and containers because
she believes water crystals, when they swell, can damage the plant's
roots. Is this true?
best sphagnum to use is the pressed basket liners. As you line the
basket, water the liner, which swells, and then plant up as per
normal. Loose sphagnum is really hard to get evenly distributed
around the basket and the birds have a field day picking at it,
as they do coconut fibre, for their nests.
As far as mixing sphagnum
with potting mix, you would need to keep the mix well watered and
not let it dry out, as once sphagnum dries it repels water like
peat does and is hard to wet again this will do more damage
than water crystals shrinking and expanding. Wetting agents and
water storage crystals added to potting mix (Yates Hanging Basket
Mix contains both) are the best way to go. Water crystals do not
cause damage to plant roots.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH