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Sand For Plants - 5 Excellent Ways To Use It

Sand For Plants? 5 Excellent Ways To Use It

Has someone recommended you to add sand for plants to your potted flowers? Don’t be surprised; sand is part of some soil types and a perfect medium for tough soil. It can help elevate the porosity, bringing more moisture and air to the plant’s roots.

But not all sand works. And not every plant needs sandy soil. As a rule of thumb, sand is perfect for succulents and drought-tolerant plants. Read along as we answer where to buy sand for plants and how to add it to the soil.

What Is Horticultural Sand

Sand is an essential part of the construction industry. But it’s also used in creating glass and in many recreational endeavors. Horticultural sand is part of the last example. Unlike the other types, horticultural sand is a mix of differently sized particles.

For example, constructors need fine sand for mixing cement. But gardeners need grittier sand to create more porosity in a clay soil type.

Horticultural sand is ideal for increasing the drainage and penetrability of the soil. This sand can turn your heavy soil into perfection, whether it comes to your garden or potted plants.

What Is Horticultural Sand

Why Your Plants Need Sand

Well draining soil is a must when potting almost all ornamental plants. Moreover, it’s easy to work, dig, and works well with compost. A ground that is packed and heavy retains moisture. While some plants can benefit from excess humidity, most plants suffer from root rot.

Porous soil makes room for excess water to drain, eliminating the chances of root disease. Using sand for plants contributes to more soil pores. These pores allow more air to reach the roots.

When the soil is too heavy and there’s no way for enough air to get the roots, the plant starts to die. It can result in yellow and wilted leaves.

Picking The Best Horticultural Sand

You might think that you can use any sand you have on hand. But it can give you the averse effect. The right type of sand makes the soil aerated and prevents clumping. Coarse sand helps dense soil become the perfect planting ground.

Using fine sand for plants additionally contributes to clumping and congealing the soil. It won’t let water drain and won’t open more pores in the ground. This is the play sand you may have laying around for your kids to play.

5.7 lb Coarse Sand Stone – Silica Sand for plants, Soil Cover Succulents, and Cactus – Horticultural sand

Don’t forget that sand that’s not intended for horticultural use or has been lying around might be contaminated. There can be pests, microorganisms, heavy metals, or even a disease that can kill your plant.

Spare yourself the trouble or learn how to sterilize sand for plants. The store-bought horticultural sand is safe as it’s already sterilized and packaged in airtight bags.

Read more about Houseplant Indoor Palm Plant Identification – 5 Best Tips To Identify This Plant

Using Regular Sand

If you want to save money, you can repurpose the coarse sand you have lying around. This works if you have a small amount of sand, don’t try it with a whole bag.

First, do a quick research on how to wash sand for plants. Then place the sand on baking sheets in a layer no more than 4 inches thick.

Cover the sheets with aluminum foil, heat the oven to 200°F, and bake the sand for 30 minutes. If you have a cooking thermometer, check the sand. The temperature should not exceed 200°F.

Take it out, let it cool, and it’s ready for use. Beware that this will result in an unpleasant smell in your kitchen!

Why Use Sand For Plants

Did you know that some plants can grow in sand perfectly well as in soil? Predominantly succulents and other air plants can survive with no soil, as they don’t thrive in moist environments. If you own a terrarium, you already know this.

But you may have wondered what kind of sand can I use in my terrarium for air plants? This sand is different than the potting sand.

In terrariums, the sand is used mainly as decoration and to help with drainage. You need no more than 1 inch of sand, and it can be fine, coarse, and even colored.

Here are some other reasons why you need to use sand for plants.

1. Increase Drainage

Good drainage is essential in preventing root rot and decay. Along with a good watering schedule, well-draining soil is responsible for a healthy plant.

Increase Drainage

2. Improve Heavy Soil

A clay soil garden shouldn’t deprive you of pursuing gardening. Adding sand for plants along with compost will improve the soil and make it ideal for vegetables and flowers!

3. Rooting Medium

You can propagate cuttings in sand! If you’ve never done it, here’s a quick guide. You can purchase propagating sand or regular horticultural sand. In a cup, pour 5 inches of sand and water it. Then place the cutting and wait for them to grow roots.

4. Handmade Potting Mix

Don’t spend money on a potting mix if you have good soil in your garden. Instead, mix some soil with sand and compost, and fill your pots. A layer of sand will improve the drainage and keep your potted plants healthy.

5. Prevent Tip Over

Sand, especially coarse sand, can add weight to the pot preventing a top-heavy plant from tipping over. Perfect for indoor plants!

Prevent Tip Over

Bottom Line: Why Use Sand For Plants

The small particles of the sand break up the clumps of even the heaviest soil like clay. This allows water to drain better, air to reach the roots, and compost to blend in better.

You might not need sand for plants if you have well-draining and rich soil. But if you’re dealing with heavy soil or preparing for potting plants, sand is a must.

Do you add sand to your potted plants? Share with us what kind of sand you use!


Where to buy sand for plants?

You can get sand for plants at most online retailers like Amazon, or your nearest garden center.

How to sterilize sand for plants?

To sterilize the sand, wash it first and then spread it in a thin layer on a baking tray. Cover it with foil and bake it for 30 minutes on 180°F to 200°F. Let it cool before use.

How to wash sand for plants?

Pour your sand in a bucket and fill it up with water. Move your hand through the sand to loosen up any dirt. Carefully drain the water and repeat as needed. You can also use boiling water and a wooden spoon.

What kind of sand can I use in my terrarium for air plants?

Fine sand, white sand, and even quartz are perfect for terrariums. They're decorative and provide good drainage.