What Is Soil Aeration?

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What Is Soil Aeration? Soil aeration is defined as the exchange of gasses between the soil and the atmosphere. Since the soil breathes in and out, exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide with the air around it, throughout the day. 

We can say that soil aeration is one of the most important determinants to plant growth. Soil is filled with slime molds and bacteria. They work hard to get all of their nutrients from other man-made things. 

Like paper and other natural things like fruits to pass through them so they remain happy and healthy which helps maintain fertile plants that grow higher in quality.

What Is Soil Aeration?
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What Is Aeration?

Aeration refers to the amount of air that enters the soil. Properly aerated soil promotes good growth and root health of plants.

The roots grow deep and the overall ability of the plant to grow improves and the plant becomes stronger and healthier. Therefore, aeration can be considered a vital principle for having healthy plants.

It is important to ensure that nutrients can reach the soil and that water and fertilizer can better take root in soils where enough air enters.

Soil that is not aerated is often compacted, thus preventing the absorption of moisture and nutrients to the roots.

The reason for the need for aeration is soil compaction. Compacted soil is a large number of solid particles in a certain volume of space that prevents the proper circulation of air, water, and nutrients in the soil. This soil can cause the roots to starve.

In this case, creating small holes in the soil allows air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the roots of plants.

There are basically two main methods of soil aeration. One way to dig a hole manually is to dig or turn the soil.

The second way is earthworms and some other female tunnel creatures that naturally aerate when feeding and moving through the soil.

Why Do You Have to Aerate the Soil?

Plants grow outdoors, where their soil is regularly aerated by countless insects, worms, and microorganisms. These organisms carry oxygen to the plant roots. But why is soil aeration so important?

Two of the most important biological processes that plants do are photosynthesis and respiration.

Photosynthesis takes place in the green tissue of plants, and plants synthesize sugar using light energy and carbon dioxide.

Breathing breaks down these sugars in the presence of oxygen and produces energy.

Plants that cannot absorb oxygen from their roots are unable to continue one of the most vital processes that keep them alive.

That is why proper ventilation of plant-soil is very important and excessive watering of plants can have a devastating effect on their health.

Poor Effects of Poor Aeration

Potted plants need well-aerated soil to deliver oxygen to their roots, but they cannot rely on natural aerators, such as earthworms, to build air tunnels.

The following destructive effects occur when the roots remain for a long time in poorly or well-irrigated soil:

  • The roots can not absorb air and reach the plant.
  • The roots are weakened and susceptible to bacteria and fungi.
  • These organisms attack the roots and if left untreated, cause damage, destruction and destruction of the plant.

How to Aerate the Soil in Potted Plants?

Does your potted plant look pale or yellow and not juicy? If your plants are not growing, you may need to aerate the soil in your potted plants to increase drainage and airflow to improve root health.

You can aerate potting soil by breaking up existing soil, mixing additives to increase aeration in the soil, changing to a porous pot, or switching to a lighter, lighter pot mixture.

Select Pot Soil

Good potting soil should balance drainage, aeration, moisture retention, and nutrient content and should be commensurate with the type of plant in which it grows.

There are several materials that you can add to your pot mixture to increase ventilation and drainage and improve soil aeration. These materials help aerate the soil in potted plants while retaining some moisture.

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Common Additives for Soil Aeration in Potted Plants


Lightweight and supportive, this volcanic rock improves soil drainage and aeration. Polystyrene is sometimes substituted for perlite in inexpensive pot mixes.

Coarse Sand

Large particles of sand help break up denser soils and improve drainage.


A mineral formed by heating mica chips. Improves soil aeration while preserving water and minerals that can be released slowly. This material is ideal for plants that need more water.

Pete Moss

It is a material for pots that are made from decomposing plants and mosses. It can retain a lot of moisture and release it when needed while being light and well ventilated.

Sphagnum moss

Moss is a swamp that dries and is used in the soil to improve soil moisture retention and aeration. It is mostly used in hanging plants that dry quickly but can not be over-irrigated.

In short, the composition of the soil you use makes a lot of sense. Make sure you choose a mixture that is loose enough to provide breathing space for the roots and contains some moisture-absorbing material to retain water and release it if needed. Suitable soil provides nutrients and supports root growth.

Here we provide a recipe for preparing well-ventilated potting soil for your dear ones:

  • 1 part of peat moss
  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part of good quality surface soil

Once you have prepared the potting soil, it is time to make sure that your pot or container cooperates with the airflow.

If you have the best soil available, but your pot does not allow air to enter (or water to exit), soil aeration will be significantly reduced.

How the Plant Aerates Depends on the Type of Pot?

Earthenware Pots for Soil Aeration

 Earthenware pots are great. Due to their structure, these pots allow air to enter and leave the walls of the pot and increase the airflow to the roots.

The porous nature of the clay increases the water loss from the pot, which increases the water requirement of your plant. These pots can be very useful for plants that do not like to stay in the wet soil of the pot for a long time.

Are Plastic Pots Suitable for Soil Aeration?

Unlike clay, plastic is not porous. Retains moisture and prevents air exchange. One advantage of these pots is that you water the pots less.

The disadvantage of these pots is that over-watering the plant in a plastic pot is very easy and significantly reduces aeration. Irrigation should be done more carefully.

If your pot does not have drainage holes, gently drill holes. Using a nail or drill. Make a few small holes in the door. Only be large enough to allow air to enter the soil and allow excess water to escape.

Gardening tool soil and pots for cultivating home plants
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Decorative Metal and Ceramic Vases

Not much can be done to increase the porosity or airflow of these pots. If your container is large enough, one option is to place your plant in two pots:

Place a stone or stone on the bottom of the decorative vase. Place your plant in a plastic or earthenware pot that is slightly smaller than an outdoor decorative pot. Make sure the inside pot has drainage holes.

Place the indoor vase on the stones inside the decorative vase. This will allow you to enjoy the great beauty of a decorative pot, while your potted plants have excellent drainage and aeration.


P, S. (2016, August 17). Soil Aeration: Definition, Factors and Importance. Soil Management India. https://www.soilmanagementindia.com/soil/soil-aeration-definition-factors-and-importance/3509

Soil Aeration Methods & Management: Benefits For Agriculture. (2021, September 29). EARTH OBSERVING SYSTEM. https://eos.com/blog/soil-aeration/

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