Do you love putting potted plants in the corners of your home? But do they look pale or yellow? The problem here can be said in three words:

Poor Soil Aeration.

Okay, now that you know what the problem is, how do you fix that? This is where the actual struggle is.

You’ll find quite the amount of resources on this online. But, what you need is something precise and instant.

So, where can you get a quick guide to improve soil aeration?

Well, you’ll have to follow 4 steps to get the job done. You’ll start by choosing the right pot. Then you’ll choose the potting soil, apply soil additives, and ensure airflow.

Those were the steps in short. Now, let’s jump into details.

A Comprehensive Guide to Improve Soil Aeration

Before we move on to the 4 steps, let’s quickly go through the basics of soil aeration. Along with that, we’ll also see how we can determine our problem.

Let’s start by getting to know this problem by getting to the ‘roots’.

Finding the Roots of the Problem

Water is essential for a plant’s growth. Moreover, it’s one of the four essential elements that a plant needs to grow.

Plants can withstand overwatering if it’s occasional. But frequently doing so will clog up the soil and block the supply of oxygen.

Water helps in the processes of both photosynthesis and respiration. Moreover, plants breathe in the oxygen when they respirate to make energy.

Now, if a plant cannot take oxygen during respiration, it’ll die due to a lack of energy. So proper aeration is necessary.

Dangers of Poor Aeration

Once roots are left in poorly aerated or overwatered soil for too long, the dangers of losing your plant set in:

  • Roots can’t take in air and deliver it to the plant.
  • Roots are weakened and become susceptible to harmful bacteria and fungi.
  • These organisms attack the roots causing damage and destruction and the ultimate demise of the plant if not treated quickly.

Those were the nitty-gritty of our problem. Now, let’s go and solve it.

How to Aerate Soil in a Potted Plant?

Let’s start getting some air moving through the soil. These 4 steps will show you how you can get the job done and keep your potted plants healthy.

Here goes:

Step 1: Choose the Potting Soil

Good potting soil needs to have a balance of aeration, drainage, nutrient content, and moisture retention. So, you can’t just dig up some old soil.

So, it’s important that you find some soft and fresh soil with good texture. Once you have found the right kind of soil, you can apply additives to make it better.

We’ll see how you can do that in the next step.

Step 2: Apply Additives to Soil

These additives will help aerate your potted plants by retaining moisture at the same time. Here they are:


These volcanic rocks are lightweight and airy. They can help in improving drainage and aeration. You can also use styrofoam as a substitute.

Coarse Sand

Thanks to the coarse texture, the particles of this kind of sand are large. They can help break up dense soil and improve drainage.


Heating mica chips will get you this mineral called vermiculite. It improves aeration and also retains water and minerals in the soil. Very convenient.

Peat Moss

This potting material is made from decomposing mosses and plants. It holds moisture and releases it when needed.

Sphagnum Moss

You’ll get this by drying bog moss. This is used to improve moisture retention and aeration.

Now that we’re done with the soil, let’s choose the pot in the next step.

Step 3: Choose the Pot

Choosing the right kind of pot is crucial for soil aeration. Your pot has to cooperate by letting some air flow through it for proper results.

You might end up choosing the best soil for your potted plant. But if the pot doesn’t let air in, it’ll all be for nothing.

The aeration depends on the kind of pot you’re using:

Clay Pots

Clay pots help a lot in natural aeration thanks to the porous nature of the clay used to make it. It enables water and air to flow freely through the pot walls.

Eventually, this helps increase airflow to the roots. Now, let’s check out some plastic pots.

Plastic Pots

Plastic pots are neither breathable nor porous. So they don’t allow air exchange. The advantage here is that you’ll have to water the plants less.

But, here’s the catch:

It’s very easy to over water the plants thanks to the properties of the pot. So, you have to monitor watering carefully if you use a plastic pot.

The plastic pot must have some drainage holes. You can make them yourselves. But do so very gently.

Try using a nail or a drill to put a few holes around the pot. If it’s too large, the soil will fall off and if it’s too small, it won’t serve the purpose. So do it right.

Metal and Ceramic Pots

These pots are mostly for decorations. You can’t do much to increase their porousness or airflow. The best you can do here is double pot the plant.

Start by placing some rocks at the bottom of the pot. Now, pot the plant in a clay or plastic pot that’s smaller. Now place it on the rocks. That’s it. All done.

Now, let’s move on to the next step.

Step 4: Ensure Airflow

Now that you have potted and set the plant, you’ll have to take some extra measures to ensure airflow.

Start by poking holes into the soil with chopsticks to make space for airflow. Check the drainage holes if there are any. And that’s it. You’re done aerating your potted plant.

If you’re interested in knowing more, visit this a good garden site for great tips and tricks.

Read More: Best Tools of a 21st Century Gardener

Parting Words

We hope our guide to improve soil aeration helped you out like it’s supposed to. We laid out these 4 steps with as much detail as we could.

Let us know about anything that we missed or other stuff that you want us to cover. Leave a comment below.

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