If you are planning on potting up some indoor plants then you may be unsure what compost to use. After all, they do sell specific indoor plant food, but is this needed or can you use multipurpose compost for indoor plants?
Will multipurpose compost work for indoor plants?
Yes it will work and your houseplants will grow away in it perfectly happy
Houseplant compost might have a few things added to make it a bit more suitable for house plants but most of that will just be marketing fluff. At the end of the day, most houseplant compost is just multipurpose compost, maybe with a few added ingredients.
Why It Can Be A Bad Idea
There is one big reason why I would tell you to stump up the money and buy dedicated house plant compost, and that is gnats.
Fungus gnats are small flies that live in soil. The larvae eat your plant’s roots before turning into tiny flies and buzzing around your plants.
Both things are annoying, but for me, it is the surface flies that are the worst. They quickly reproduce and you can easily end up with a real infestation.
Why is this a problem with regular compost? Well, they can be in the composer already, and when you bring it indoors into a nice warm, environment, you create the perfect conditions for them to thrive.
Houseplant compost should be sterilised, usually through heat treatment, this kills off all the fungus gnats and any eggs, eliminating the problem.
Making your own houseplant compost
You can sterilise compost yourself, and its fairly straightforward but time-consuming. All you need to do is decant into a tub and give it a good blast in a microwave to kill off anything in the soil.
This takes a while and it makes a strange smell, but it does work.
If you want to make your own houseplant compost, then there are a few things you could add to multipurpose compost to make it perfect for use indoors.
Perlite is a volcanic rock that when added to compost helps it to drain water better and also increases the amount of oxygen in your soil.
This should help with root growth in potted plants as heavy soil will sink to the bottom of the pot where it can begin to hurt root development.
Add to your custom mix in a 4 to 1 ratio. 4 parts multipurpose compost to 1 part perlite.
- Naturally occurring material
- Improves aeration and drainage
- Ideal for healthy root growth
- Ideal for use when rooting cuttings
- Ideal for potting on seedlings
One problem with house plants is that they can soon work their way through all of the nutrients in the compost. One way to help with this is to add a slow release plant food to the mix.
These pellets are really easy to use and you can mix a couple of handfuls into the mix as you get it ready.
- Miracle-Gro Slow Release Plant Food
- Unique mix of 10 nutrients
- Feeds for up to 6 months