A lot of people are afraid of using mulch because some plants will have a really difficult time growing through the mulch. The truth is that you have to use the mulch based on what and how you grow, and not just make a thick layer of mulch and hope for the best. Some plants will have no problem growing through the mulch while others will struggle, the more energy a small plant is using to grow through the mulch the less energy it can use to make strong roots.
Most plants will grow through mulch as long as you are using organic mulches like grass clippings, straw, hay, wood chips compost, and so on. Plants will not be able to grow through inorganic mulches like plastic, rubber, or decorative pebbles. Seeds will not grow through any kind of mulch, so make sure to remove the mulch and plant the seeds directly into the soil.
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Not all mulches are equal, some are extremely easy for plants to grow through it like grass clippings, but others like decorative pebbles and even wood chip mulches can be somewhat difficult for plants to grow through them. In addition to this how thick the actual mulch is layered will also determine what kind of plants will actually be able to grow through the mulch. It is all about energy, the more energy a plant has the easier it will grow through the mulch.
Plant bulbs tend to have a lot of energy and for the most part, they will not have any problems growing through the mulch, on the other hand, seed plants do not have a lot of energy and they will have an extremely difficult time growing through the mulch. If you want to mulch your vegetable garden then check out my recent article Best Mulch For Vegetable Garden ( Top 10 Mulches ).
Will Bulbs Grow Through Mulch?
Yes, bulbs will grow through most mulches, even if they are layered relatively thick. Bulbs have a lot of stored energy which they can use to grow through the thickest of mulches. Bulbs will have an extremely easy time growing through organic mulches like grass clippings, hay, straw, compost, and wood chips. On the other hand, if you are using inorganic mulches like plastic, rubber, or decorative pebbles then the bulbs might not be able to grow through them.
Bulbs will also grow through wood chips, although if you want to be extra safe then remove some of the mulch above the bulbs, this way they will have a lot easier time growing through the wood chips. Bulbs like tulips, crocus, gladiolus, and hostas will have no problem growing through the mulch. If you want to use mulch for flower beds then check out my recent article Best Mulch For Flower Beds ( Top 9 Mulches ).
Will Seeds Grow Through Mulch?
No, seeds will not grow through the mulch, and even a thin layer of mulch can hinder the growth rate of seedlings. Seeds do not have a lot of stored energy, and if they are below a thick layer of mulch they will use most of their energy to try and pierce the mulch. Some seeds will pierce through the mulch, but if you are mainly growing plants from seeds then do not use mulch for them. To grow seeds make sure to remove the layer of mulch, and place the seeds in the soil directly.
Do not cover the seeds with mulch as most of them will not be able to grow through the mulch. Once the seedlings get their first couple of true leaves then you can place the mulch around them, just make sure that the mulch is not touching the stem of the plants. If you want to mulch potted plants then check out my recent article Mulching Potted Plants ( Top 11 Best Mulches ).
Will Trimmed Plants Grow Through Mulch?
If you have plants that have to be trimmed to the ground and you cover them with mulch, then for the most part these plants will be able to grow through the mulch. Perennial plants for example tend to have a lot of energy in their roots, and as long as you are using some kind of organic mulch then they will be able to pierce through the layer of mulch.
Plants Growing Through Organic Mulches
Most plants will have no problem growing through organic mulches, although seeds will have a relatively hard time growing through them. Organic mulches like hay, straw, compost, grass clippings, pine needles, and wood chips will allow most plants to grow through them especially if their bulbs or root systems are healthy. Some weeds will also be able to grow through organic mulches, although you will have an extremely easy time removing them.
Plants Growing Through Inorganic Mulches
Inorganic mulches like plastic, rubber, or decorative pebbles will not allow most plants to grow through them. So if you have planted some bulbs and covered them with plastic mulch then do not keep your fingers crossed. Although plastic or rubber mulch seems relatively easy to pierce through but most plants simply do not have the required strength to pierce through these mulches. On the other hand weeds like quackgrass will have no problem piercing through a plastic mulch.
As you can see most plants will be able to grow through the mulch, although seeds will not be able to grow through it. Organic mulches are easier to grow through than inorganic mulches, so make sure to use organic mulches if you are planting bulbs.