Different plants need different mulch

Strawberry plant with straw mulch

There is a mind-numbing amount of mulches on the market, and it’s never simple to find out which one is best for where you live and the plants you want to mulch.

That’s why we’ve prepared a detailed summary here, with our recommended options and even a few nice tips on the side.

Mulch for flower beds

Most types of mulch are perfectly suitable for protecting and decorating flowerbeds, nonetheless our preference is clearly either natural or colored wood chips. Natural woodchips have a lighter color, great to bring light to the garden, even in darker corners. Colored ones are amazing to have fun with your landscaping, and they really make all that greenery stand out! From the vast array of colors already available on the market, our vote goes to red hues which naturally fit and respond to the green of leaves.

Mulch made from wood chips is among the most nutritious in the long run

For a more authentic and noble appearance, bark mulch, especially that with somewhat larger slabs, really strikes a chord. Lastly, for a Zen garden atmosphere, slate mulch will be your best ally! It has a light, metallic color when dry, turns dark gray (nearly black) when wet, and will in both cases render that light Japanese touch to your garden bed. Pair slate mulch with hydrangea for a stunning effect.

First of our little tips: did you know that the alumina compound that leaches of of slate will give your hydrangea a rare blue color?

Mulch for edges and walkways

Pozzolana is a water-retaining mineral mulchA beautiful garden is marked by clean details! That’s why getting edges and walkways right is important. Favor mineral mulches that won’t decay in time (or much less so than plant mulches). Pozzolana, either black or red, slate mulch again, or even sand for the edges of your ponds and around water basins. Mulch will greatly reduce the number of weeds that appear in your paths and walkways.

Mulch around trees and shrubs

Another tip you might not be aware of: what if you tried mulching around your trees? It’ll transform your garden! Soap bush is a shrub which benefits of sawdust mulchThis idea is even more relevant for young shrubs since mulch will help retain soil moisture, a very important consideration especially when the weather is hot. Here, a better option than mineral mulch is plant-based mulch, for instance shredded poplar fiber, bark or even cacao hulls (not chocolate chips, but just as deliciously fragrant!).

Mulch for the vegetable patch

If you’re just starting out along the quest for the perfect mulch, the best place to start is always the vegetable patch. That’s where any benefits will be the most useful. Azalea and other heath plants love bark and leaf mulchOnce again, plant mulch should be favored here, since as it breaks down it turns into nutrients for your soil. You can again select cacao hulls as your preferred option here, and not only for its chocolatey smell. Husks from various types of grain will also help repel snails and slugs from your prized lettuce, as will flax mulch, one of the most favored mulches for the vegetable patch.

Mulch for potted plants

In pots, gravel mulch is a favorite because it won't decayLast but not least: your deck and terrace! Yes ma’am, yessir, even your potted plants deserve mulch! Why? In times of heavy heat, they’re the first to suffer, and a nice layer of mulch will help the soil mix underneath stay moist a bit long. For a long time, for a long time only clay pebbles were available for potted plants, but today there’s a much wider assortment to choose from, and you’ll certainly find the one to fit both plant and pot.

Typically, these are sold in smaller amounts in garden stores, which is great if you want to combine textures and colors without having to buy a truckload of each. Our favorite is the small-scaled mini-bark chips, which is perfect for all Mediterranean-type plants and citrus pots, and Copolight¬ģ, a light, pale-colored mineral mulch that will light your pots up and bring a touch of minimalism to your deck or balcony!


Image credits (edits: Gaspard Lorthiois):
Pixabay: Andreas, James DeMers, Ryan King, Ilona Ilyés, Galih Nuzuly
own work: Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois