2021 Guide to Biochar

2021 Guide to Biochar

Why All Of Your Houseplants Should Have Biochar: The Secret To A Healthy Indoor Garden

The benefits of happy, healthy indoor plants are numerous: they add beauty to any space, they bring the feeling of being outdoors inside, and they’ve been proven to provide stress relief. Unfortunately, if you weren’t born with a “green thumb” or you don’t have years of experience raising plants, keeping indoor plants alive can be a daunting, if not impossible, task for most people.

That’s where biochar comes in.

A 2,000 year old farming secret, biochar can be used to sustainably improve your plant’s soil, conserving and retaining water and improving plant and root growth.

Biochar: the ancient secret to a healthy indoor garden

2,000 years ago, farmers in the Amazon Basin invented a simple way to improve their farmland. Through a process called pyrolysis, they turned crop leftovers (like corn stalks) into biochar. The deep pores of biochar retain water and nutrients, and encourage beneficial microbial growth.

In fact, just 1 gram of biochar contains more surface area in its pores than an entire football field—lots of room to store the kinds of things plants love. Scientists have since discovered that this process also removes CO2 from the carbon cycle. By turning plant material into stabilized carbon, we can store CO2 in soil for thousands of years, helping to reverse the effects of climate change.


The many benefits of biochar

Biochar is an inexpensive, abundant renewable resource that’s incredibly effective in protecting and maintaining soil and plant health. When biochar is added to soil, it improves the underlying soil structure, and adds organic material while also providing nutrients and minerals that are not otherwise available in the soil.

Although biochar has been around for thousands of years, scientists only recently discovered the soil and climate-related benefits of this amazing substance:

  • Retains water and nutrients: perfect for the over- and under-waterers among us. The deep carbon-based pores of biochar hold onto just the right amount of water, making them available for whenever your plants need them.
  • All-natural, all-purpose, chemical-free: biochar works well for all plants, and can act as a replacement for non-sustainable materials such as peat moss and synthetic fertilizers.
  • Grows happier, healthier plants: multiple studies have shown a significant increase in plant growth when biochar is added.

Why is Biochar sustainable?

Biochar is a carbon-rich material, very similar in form to charcoal, which is produced from organic plant material. Willow Biochar, the product that we feature here on Cellar Door, is made from organic pine wood that would otherwise end up in a landfill, reducing the waste and greenhouse gas emissions from that material.

Because Willow Biochar is produced in an oxygen-free environment, the carbon from this organic material condenses and stabilizes, transforming what would have been CO2 escaping into the atmosphere into a beneficial soil amendment. This means that biochar is not only good for your houseplants, but good for the environment as well.

Imagine it as a high-tech version of backyard dirt, where elements of the soil are turned into charcoal, before being incorporated into plant roots and the surrounding soil as they grow. This takes “carbon neutral” to a whole new level, because biochar is actually “carbon negative.” For every pound produced, 2+ pounds of CO2 are removed from the carbon cycle.

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How do I use biochar?

Create Your Own Soil Blend: Mix with any potting, garden, or topsoil to instantly improve your soil health. A 20% mix is ideal. The 1lb bag of Willow we feature here blends perfectly with a 5lb bag of your favorite soil.

Existing Pots and Gardens: You can also add Willow to the base of existing plants. A good rule of thumb is 1-2 cups per plant. As you water, it will slowly work its way into your soil, bringing water and nutrients with it.


Biochar is a beautiful substance that farmers have been using to grow happy, healthy plants for thousands of years. Only very recently have scientists discovered the power of this substance, both for plant health and to help address climate change. You can unlock this secret to healthy house plants by adding biochar to your soil today!

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Christel Reile
Christel Reile
10 months ago

You are always so informative, I really value all you advice and tips for better plants. Thank you so.much.

Christel Reile
Christel Reile
10 months ago

Your advice and tips on how to take care of plants has been very valuable and easy to follow. I really appreciate your site. Thank you.

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