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What Are Substrates

What Are Substrates

People love growing plants, vegetables and flowers in their homes. Gardening has become the passion of many youths. But- Many people are facing problems in growing their plants because they aren't able to choose the right growing medium.

Due to the selection of bad medium for their plants, they are wasting their time and money. Choosing the right growing substrate for plants is an art. We should know what nutrients are available in different growing mediums.The growth success of plants and crops depends on the medium in which it is growing. The physical, biological and chemical factors are different in a different growing medium. Therefore, we should choose the right growing medium for our plants.

In this article, we are going to discuss the substrates that are used for growing plants and we will also discuss the best substrate for growing our plants.

Let's get started…




Any medium that provides a suitable environment, good anchorage to roots, drainage and nutrients supplement for the growth and development of plants is called substrates.

Soil is also a substrate. There are different kinds of substrates. Some are natural and some are artificial. Soil is a natural substrate. In artificial substrates, there is an addition of different minerals that provide additional support to plants. Some examples of substrates are:- Soil, Cocopit, Perlite, Zeolite, Vermiculite, Seaweeds like kelp, potting mixtures, etc

The good production of vegetables and crops we grow depends upon the type of medium we choose. Different factors like Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), Nutrients Availability, Water Holding Capacity, Aeration and Porosity all depend upon the growing medium. The growth and development of plants depend upon these factors of growing substrates. That is why we should choose the right medium.

There are different substrates available on the market depending upon the nature of plants whether it is acidophilic, hydrophilic, indoor, outdoor, flowering or non-flowering. Not only this we need different growing mediums according to the age of plants. From germination to the seedling stage- we need a fragile and nutrient-rich moist growing medium as plants are weak. But later, we can use dry medium also, as plants become stronger and more adaptive when it reaches to maturity stage...

Therefore, the selection of good growing materials is a very important task for gardeners. Let's discuss some growing medium.


Types Of Growing Substrates


Growing mediums are of different types. The different ingredients in different growing materials make them suitable for the growth of specific plants. Some of the widely used growing substrates are: -


Cocopeat is a fine fibrous growing medium that is made from coconut husk. It is one of the widely used growing materials. The main advantage of cocopeat is it helps in water retention maintaining the proper porosity. Cocopeat can be directly used to grow seedlings or it can be mixed with soil in a potting mixture. The advantage of cocopeat is it makes the pots lightweight. So- cocopeat can be used as a growing medium in hanging baskets also.

2.Peat Moss

 Different types of peat can be used as a Growing substance. Peat is a sterile medium. It is free from weed seeds and harmful materials. It reduces the compaction of the growing medium and increases aeration. Peat moss can be mixed with compost for the best result. The lower pH of peat makes it an amazing Substrate for acidophilic plants.


Vermicompost is a type of manure that is prepared by the decomposition of organic materials with the help of earthworms. Actually, the casting of earthworms is called vermicompost. Vermicompost can work as a good growing medium. The nutrients available in vermicompost are way more than the general compost. It can be mixed with soil and can be used to grow fruits and vegetables. It also works as a medium for the growth of flowers.


Perlite makes our growing medium more porous. It forms oxygen cavities and fulfils the need for O2 in the root zone of plants. They are white pebbles like in structure. Adding perlite with a growing substrate can help plants to grow healthier.


Seaweeds are an amazing source of nutrients and vitamins. It can fulfil all the needs of plants. We can get seaweeds from the ocean. They can be used in powdery or liquid form. They are organic and renewable growing Substrates.

6.Neem and Oil Cakes

We can make powdered form materials from Neem and oil. They can be added to the soil and use as a growing medium. Neem and oil cakes act as a slow-releasing fertilizer. That means- They provide nutrients to plant for a longer duration. Not only this, Neem and Oil Cakes keep the harmful insects away from our plants.

These are some of the substances which can be used to grow different plants. They have their own benefits. We should choose them according to our plant type. Among all of these growing Substrates containing perlite and seaweed is considered best.


Why Perlite And Seaweed Based Growing Medium Is Best For Many Plants?


Substrates containing perlite and seaweed provide amazing results to our plants. By the use of this mixture, we can make our plants fast-growing, robust and healthier than ever. This can ultimately help us to get higher production.

Perlite is found as volcanic glass. The mineral found during a volcanic eruption is heated to a high temperature of 1600°F and the mineral expands to form small-sized perlites. Perlite is also known as volcanic popcorn.

Similarly, Seaweed like kelp is found in nutrient-rich marine water. They grow very fast and are renewable resources.

A mixture of perlite and kelp can work as the best growing medium for almost every kind of plants

Some of the reason for using this mixture are: -

  • It can be used at any stage of plant growth i.e. from germination to flowering. This helps us to save our money because we don't need to buy another Substrate in different growing periods of the plant.
  • This mixture is relatively cheap and easy to use.
  • Both perlite and seaweed like kelp are inert media. That means it is free from harmful pathogens and weed seeds.
  • Perlite can be reused after washing. This makes its usage in the growth of different plants. It continuously provides a good growing medium for a longer period of time.
  • Perlite makes the soil porous by forming oxygen cavities and when it is mixed with kelp it forms a perfect medium because kelp provides over 70 Vitamins and minerals to plant. That means, the plant gets favourable conditions in its root zone due to perlite and can uptake minerals provided by kelp.
  • Both of these materials are found in a very large amount in this world. So-We doesn't need to worry about their extinction.
  • Perlite makes the plant root stronger and protects plants from temperature changes.
  • Plant growth hormones like Auxin and Cytokinin present in seaweeds help in amazing growth and development rate.
  • Both perlite and seaweed help to increase CEC, water holding capacity and nutrient holding capacity of the soil.
  • Perlite helps to loosen the compact clay soil.
  • Both kelp and perlite can be used in any type of soil. They can be used directly in the field or can be used in potting mixtures, hanging baskets and gardening works.
  • We can buy a mixture of Perlite and kelp from the market. Our website has also got the same quality product called Light mix. This contains a mixture of perlite and North Atlantic kelp. You can buy this at a reasonable price from this website.


Final Verdict


From this article, it is clear that different types of growing Substrates have their own advantage. But- The mixture of Perlite and Kelp is only such a medium that can help to grow any plant at any growth stage. They can do magic to our plants by providing all the necessary nutrients and creating favourable environment.

So- Next time while buying a good Substrate for your plant- Do consider for Perlite-Kelp mixture.

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