The Best Soil for Your Crispy Wave
Soil is vital to the survival of any houseplant, and the Crispy Wave is no exception. Why is it so essential? The soil you select determines your root’s moisture levels, oxygen levels, and nutrient absorption. Get it wrong, and you could have a drowning, suffocating, hungry plant on your hands! So, how can you determine the best soil for your Crispy Wave?
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Importance of Crispy Wave’s Origins
Crispy Waves are from the tropical rainforests of Asia and are naturally epiphytic (ep-eh-fih-tick). What does that mean? Rather than growing in the soil, they are suspended by their roots on tree bark. How does this translate into caring for your houseplant?
In nature, the Crispy Wave’s roots and fronds absorb all the nutrients and moisture it needs from the atmosphere. As a houseplant, your fern’s roots require high levels of oxygen and cannot cope with muddy soil. By placing it in dirt, you’re taking it out of its comfort zone, so selecting the right type is essential!
Understanding the Components of Soil
Soil only has one component: dirt. Right? Wrong. You should never use “dirt” from your garden to pot any of your tropical plants, including your Crispy Wave. Why? It contains silt, clay, and sand. (Not to mention insects, disease, and mold!) This combination compacts around your plant’s roots, eliminating necessary oxygen.
Potting Mixes contain no “dirt” and are sterile. What are they made of? Different varieties are comprised of different components, but these are what you will likely find on the ingredient list:
For the highest quality potting mix, select one that is “transparent” about its ingredients: meaning, the company tells you exactly what’s in it.
The Best Soil for Your Crispy Wave & Why
An unaltered, traditional potting mix is not suitable for your Crispy Wave. Why? The soil is too compact. When you water it, dirt gathers closely around the roots. This eliminates oxygen from the soil, suffocating your plant. Another problem? Traditional potting mixes retain too much moisture, contributing to symptoms of overwatering.
What is the best soil selection for your Crispy Wave? Plant your fern in cactus or succulent mix, with added perlite. Why? There are several reasons!
#1: Balancing Drainage & Water Retention
This is the all-important factor in selecting the best soil for your Crispy Wave! Why? When soil particles are too small, moisture cannot properly drain. Instead, water sits in the soil, causing root rot. Additionally, poorly draining soil does not thoroughly “flush” when you water, contributing to root burn from leftover fertilizer salts.
Cactus/succulent mix has a combination of peat (for water retention), sand (for drainage), and perlite (for aeration and moisture control). With these three components, you can maintain “consistantly moist” or “damp” soil without it ever becoming waterlogged.
Crispy Waves thrive in soils with moderate to high levels of aeration. What is aeration? Basically, something that prevents the soil from compacting, which allows oxygen, moisture, and nutrients to freely flow around the root system. Aeration can be achieved in different ways.
To boost the aeration of your cactus/succulent mix, add extra perlite. Orchid bark is also suitable but doesn’t have the same water retaining benefits.
An added perk? Improved aeration will encourage your Crispy Wave’s roots to grow. Bigger roots mean a bigger plant!
When it comes to pH levels, there is no “one size fits all.” Different plants have different requirements. Why is it important? The soil’s acidity affects nutrient distribution and overall growth.
Cactus/succulent mix has slightly higher pH levels (aka higher acidity) than traditional potting mix, making it the best soil for your Crispy Wave. Why? Your fern enjoys these higher levels of acidity.
Making Your Own Crispy Wave Mix
If you don’t want to purchase cactus/succulent soil, you can always create your own blend. How? Follow this simple “recipe”:
3 Cups Traditional Potting Mix
3 Cups Sand
3 Cups Perlite
Adjusting Your Watering Routine
Plants that are growing in well-draining soil require frequent watering. Why? The soil dries out more evenly and quickly compared to traditional potting mix. Keep your Crispy Wave “consistantly moist” by watering it when the topsoil is dry and crumbly.
Remember to alter your watering routine with the seasons. During dormancy (October-March), your plant doesn’t absorb as much moisture. Lessen your watering frequency, but never allow your soil to fully dry out.
Annual Soil Refresh
The majority of potting mixes (including the cactus/succulent mix) are peat-based. You should refresh your Crispy Wave’s soil on a yearly basis. Why? Over time, peat breaks down into smaller and smaller particles, destroying the soil’s aeration and drainage.
Throw away exhausted soil. Do not reuse it when you repot your Crispy Wave. Avoid unused soil that has “overwintered” or sat in a bag for more than six months. Old potting mix loses much of its nutritional value, and likely contains pests and mold.
Avoid upgrading your pot simply because your soil needs replaced. Your container should be 1-2 inches larger than your plant’s root ball. Crispy Waves that are placed in pots that are too large are susceptible to overwatering and root rot.
To wrap it up: The best soil for your Crispy Wave is cactus/succulent potting mix and extra perlite. Water more frequently. Replace your soil every year. It will serve your Crispy Wave well!