It is very normal for both beginner and avid gardeners to want to make gardening as easy as possible and to save some money on supplies, which leads many people to wonder about the safety and process of reusing potting soil. Whether you are transplanting plants, up-potting to a larger pot, or simply dividing a large plant into smaller ones, you need to make sure that you have quality soil for them.
When you know more about your potting soil and if you can safely reuse it without harming your plants, then you’ll be better prepared for working with your plants.
Can You Reuse Your Old Potting Soil?
The short answer is “Yes,” you can reuse your old potting soil, but we found that there is a lot more to this answer. Because your potting soil is the growing medium for your plants, you want to make sure that they will have a healthy environment that will help them grow as much as possible.
The experts at HGTV address this and say that there are a few things that you need to consider before reusing the potting soil you had in an old pot with a newer plant. If the plant suffered from a disease while potted in the dirt, then chances are very good that the pathogens are still living in the dirt itself.
These pathogens, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses, can actually sicken your new plant and cause it to die, according to DenGarden. Additionally, your old potting soil may not have all of the nutrients and minerals that your plants need to thrive, potentially causing them to suffer and die.
Preparing To Reuse Old Potting Soil
The experts at Gardenista lay out the steps that you are going to need to follow to ensure that your old potting soil will provide your plants a healthy growing environment. By following their steps we found that you can easily revitalize your old potting soil and reuse it without fear of causing damage to your new plant.
Even though you may be tempted to skip a step or two to speed up the process or try to save some money, if you want to make sure that your plants have healthy soil in which to grow then you need to follow each of these steps as they have been specifically chosen to help you improve your potting soil for reuse. Make sure that you:
- Remove any old plant matter from the soil, including twigs and leaves
- Fluff the soil to remove any bugs and aerate it to make it easier for root growth
- Add nutrients to the soil
- Take time to blend well
Plants Disease Risk Management
As mentioned, we found that there are some definite risks when you use your old potting soil with a new plant, but there are some ways that you can reduce the risk of spreading disease or your plant simply not having access to the nutrients and minerals that they need to grow strong and healthy. If you are really worried about the health of your soil then you can take extra steps to ensure that it will not be harmful to your plants.
Following the advice of the professionals at GardenGuides.com, begin by sterilizing your soil using boiling water. You can do this by placing soil in a colander and pouring boiling water over the soil. Alternatively, try moistening your potting soil and baking it in the oven at 300 degrees F until it reads 140 degrees, and then holding it at this temperature for half an hour to kill any pathogens or bugs.
We found that reusing your old potting soil is a great way to reduce the cost associated with gardening and to ensure that your plants have all of the nutrients and minerals that they need to thrive. While reusing old soil is a little more time-consuming than simply running to the store and buying a new bag of soil for your use.
It is a great way to decrease your gardening budget and ensure that you have the soil you need when you are ready to work with your plants. Following these steps will keep your plants healthy in their pots.