What Is Peat

What Is Peat

Peat is the substrate that is most used in the cultivation of all types of plants . It is economical, maintains humidity and is the most recommended soil for most of our pots. But did you know there are two types? Each one has its utility, as I will tell you next.

Let us know more about the substrate that is most appreciated by gardeners 

what is peat

The peat is actually the generic name that is applied to various materials from the decomposition of vegetables, depending on the environmental conditions of the place where they decompose.

The peat bogs are lacustrine basins of glacial origin that today contain more or less decomposed plant material or freshwater peat. They are anaerobic means, that is to say, with excess humidity and deficient oxygenation, so the organic matter is partially decomposed. 

How is it formed?

Plants, as we know, have a limited life expectancy. As its leaves, flowers and stems dry, they fall to the ground, where a series of microorganisms such as fungi will decompose them. When this happens in swamps, marshes or wetlands, the microbial activity in these places is very scarce, so that the peat takes years to form and reach several meters thick . The process is so slow that it is estimated that it accumulates at a rate of about ten centimeters every one hundred years.

Depending on the area in which they are formed, we distinguish two types:

Types of peat

There are two types, which are:

  • Black peat (H7) : it forms in low areas, rich in bases. They are very decomposed, so their color is dark brown almost black. The pH is high, between 7.5 and 8. It has almost no nutrients. Now, it is the most suitable to cultivate practically all types of plants: horticultural, flowers , trees … Why? Because it allows them to have a good development.
  • Blond peat (H2): is formed in places where temperatures remain mild, and where rainfall is very abundant. These conditions give rise to a very poor soil in nutrients. The pH is low, between 3 and 4. It is used for carnivorous plants , since in addition to not containing almost nutrients allows them to grow without problems, and also to acidify the soil or even the substrate, something that will be great for plants acidophilic such as Japanese maples or azaleas . The percentage in the latter case will depend on the pH of the soil in the garden or the pot, but in general it is necessary to add 40% of blond peat.

What is it for?

In gardening

Nowadays it is used to cultivate practically all types of plants: cactus , ferns , flowers, trees, etc. The only thing that must be taken into account is that they have very few nutrients – in fact, nitrogen, an essential nutrient for the growth of plant species, does not reach 1% -, so that the plants we have should be paid regularly , except if with carnivorous, since otherwise they will be lost after a while.

The peat is the most suitable to grow plants, because it maintains a lot of humidity , which will allow us to save on irrigation water. Likewise, it favors the good development of the roots to be a porous material. But unfortunately we also have to talk about the inconvenience that they have: in areas with a strong insolation, or where the summer is especially hot, once it loses all the moisture we have to introduce the pot in a bucket or tray with water to hydrate it again. For this reason, we often choose to mix it with pearlite or coconut fiber.


Other Natural Peat Usages

The natural peat has chemical compounds that are used for the treatment of the skin, since it is acidic and contains a lot of water.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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