How To Aerate Soil In Pots? ( Easy And Clever Ways )

One of the most important parts of indoor or outdoor gardening is to make sure that your potted plants get the breath of fresh air they need.

Your potted plants need aerated soil to drive oxygen-rich nutrients to the plant’s root system. That’s because potted plants do not have worms to turn and aerate the soil for them. 

But how do you make sure your potted soil is Aerated?

The easiest way to aerate soil in potted plants is to break up or poke holes in the soil with a wooden chopstick. You can also switch the plant to a more breathable pot, introduce aerating additives to the potting soil, switch to a breathable or porous pot.

Check out these top 3 ways to aerate soil in pots. 


  • Loosen the soil around the roots of the plants using a hand fork or chopstick.
  • Remember to always pick the right soil with good drainage, aeration, moisture retention, and nutrient content.
  • Adapt the watering routine to avoid overwatering and allow the soil to dry out between watering sciences.
  • Prune and trim your plants from time to time to let air goes within the foliage.
  • keep track of the watering, root health, and fertilization.
Two plants in pink pots, on a wooden table.
Image Unsplash

Why You Should Aerate Your Houseplant Soil?

Is aerating soil and plants necessary?

When a plant is in a pot, especially a plastic or other non-porous pot, it can get oversaturated with water or grow compacted and dry due to a lack of oxygen or aeration. 

As a result, the roots can not absorb the air that they need and send it to the plant.

Roots also grow weak and succumb to fungus or bacteria. These organisms can destroy a plant’s roots and kill the plant if you don’t treat the situation fast. 

A lot of people don’t know that they need to aerate soil in potted plants, and it is easy to do it without damaging roots. 

If you keep track of plant breathing, you can make your plants healthier, cherish and grow better! Aeration means letting air reach the soil, which keeps it in good condition and helps your plants stay strong and happy.


How to Aerate Houseplant Soil?

1. Aerate it with a Chopstick

Want an easy, fuss-free way to aerate your potted plants? You can aerate the soil in a simple 3-step process: 

  1. Locate a chopstick, a ballpoint pen, or a thin stick that is a similar size.
  2. Use the chopstick to poke holes into the soil several times. 

Make sure that you poke deep enough to reach the bottom of the pot. If the soil feels hard or compacted, this means that your plant is desperate for aeration. Wiggle the chopstick if you run into a thick root or clump of dirt.

When you aerate soil, you create a much greater benefit to the plant than the downside of breaking some roots. 

This technique helps aerate soil without damaging roots, if used carefully.

3. Use a watering can or other watering method to gently saturate your plant. 

As you water, listen for a bubbling or crackling noise as the water trickles through the soil to reach the root system. This lets you know that you’ve properly aerated the soil. 

2. Add Microbes to the Soil

You probably know that it’s a good idea to eat yogurt every day. Just it’s a good idea to take a good probiotic, your potted plant needs the right microbial nutrients in the soil to bring life back into your plants.

A plant’s lifecycle depletes the soil of nutrients. This can cause your plant to turn yellow, wither, and die. 

The good news is that finding how to aerate soil in pots is an easy fix. Here’s how to aerate plant soil using beneficial microbes to add healthy bacteria to your potting mix. 

Don’t want to spend a lot of money on fancy microbes? Not to worry. The simplest way to aerate the potting soil with fresh microbes is to add a bit of compost to the mix. 

If the soil in the pot looks dry and compacted, use Step 1 and aerate soil with the chopstick tool before mixing compost with existing soil in the pot until it is full.

It’s a good idea to avoid damaging the roots during the process to help your plant stay alive and healthy. 

On the off chance that there’s no room in the pot to add compost, you can add some worm castings, a compost tea, or buy a plant probiotic found online or in your local gardening store. Over time, reintroducing friendly microbes to the potting soil will create a fresh ecosystem for your plant to grow and thrive.

3. Use the Right Potting Soil

Is non-aerated soil getting the better of your houseplant? Try to aerate soil potted plants by using the proper kind and amount of potting soil

This third trick will show you how to aerate soil in potted plants that are on their last wobbly legs. 

There are three popular additives that you can use to perk up your plant.

Here are the best potting soil ingredients that will show you how to aerate soil in potted plants: 

Perlite is a lightweight volcanic rock that boosts aeration and proper drainage. Styrofoam is often mixed with inexpensive potting soil, but it acts more like filler than a proper aerator.

Coarse sand mixed with potting soil helps improve consistency for better aeration and drainage.

Peat moss is another good choice if you want to know how to aerate soil in pots. It is lightweight, retains moisture, and releases it slowly for better drainage.

Vermiculite minerals are derived from heated mica chips. This mineral option releases water slowly as the plant needs it.

Sphagnum moss is a dried bog moss that helps hold moisture and aerate plants that dry out fast and are sensitive to overwatering. 

Final Thoughts 

If you have followed each of these steps on how to aerate potting soil and revive a fading plant but there is no positive result, the best thing to do is to remove the potting soil entirely and refill the pot with fresh potting soil that allows for good oxygen flow and drainage. 

There is also an ultimate way to ensure that your potted plant soil has adequate aeration.

Skip plastic or ceramic pots and switch to a porous clay pot that allows for airflow and enables moisture to travel freely to the plant’s root system. 

Nadine is a passionate gardening writer sharing practical tips, innovative ideas, and valuable insights on plant and soil care, In her spare time, she tries to convince her plants to grow by singing them catchy tunes.

Calculate the amount of soil you need for pots, raised beds or planter with the help of this easy to use Soil Calculator