If you buy something from the links on this page, we may earn a commission. Why trust us?

Willow Organic Biochar Can Revitalize Thirsty Plants

Willow is a soil amendment that works — just mix it into your potting soil to make houseplants happy.

willow organic biochar in hand over planter

There are a lot of cool things out there that make us wonder — do they really work? In our I Tried It series, we set out to use them in the real world and have determined that, in fact, they really do.

On Trial: Willow Biochar Soil Amendment

Tester: Bridget Clegg, concerned plant parent

The Brief: While I'm not a crazy plant lady, I'm not not a crazy plant lady either. I've managed to keep a hearty roster of houseplants alive over the years, but always seem to kill off thirsty basil plants after a few weeks. With my eyes set on maintaining an indoor herb planter for summer salads and cocktails, I decided to bring in some Willow Organic Biochar to boost my chance of success.

bag of willow organic biochar
Bridget Clegg

Biochar is a soil amendment — something you add to potting soil to change its texture, enrich it with different nutrients, change the pH or encourage the growth of healthy microbes. It's made through pyrolysis, a process where plant waste is burned to create small particles of charcoal that, in turn, makes for richer soil. Chad Massura, the CEO and founder of Willow, explains: “Our organic biochar is made from Georgia soft pine wood and has not been mixed or blended with any other materials. We’ve partnered with lumber mills to help redirect their waste material from landfills and have converted it into a useful, carbon-negative amendment.”

Organic Biochar Soil Amendment

Key Specs

  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Ideal soil ratio: 1 part Willow to 5 parts potting soil
  • Pounds of CO2 removed from carbon cycle: 3

    Willow aerates soil and helps it to retain water so that you can water your plants half as often as you normally would. Massura adds, “Biochar improves the underlying soil structure, which allows it to do great things like retain more nutrients, improve beneficial microbial growth, develop healthier roots, and grow bigger, happier plants!”

    Willow aerates soil and helps it to retain water so that you can water your plants half as often as you normally would.

    Beyond the personal benefit of less-careful watering schedules, biochar also works to reverse climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide. Think of it as a CO2 storage unit that stays in operation for hundreds of years. "By redirecting organic materials from landfills and pyrolyzing them, we stabilize their carbon content, preventing those greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere," says Massura. Although it's not a new technology (the brilliance of biochar stems back to ancient farming techniques used in the Amazon basin), Willow packages it for today's green thumbs in 1-pound bags that sell for $20. According to the brand, that one pound of Willow means 3 pounds of CO2 are removed from the carbon cycle.

    willow biochar and soil in planter box with basil and mint
    Bridget Clegg

    I put Willow to the test with my new herb planter by mixing it into regular potting soil at a ratio of 1:5. For the math-challenged, this means you'll empty an entire bag of Willow into a 5-pound bag of potting soil. I planted my herb starters, watered them, and set them on my windowsill in fairly direct sunlight. I buried the remaining biochar into some of my existing leafy potted plants to help them out, too.

    Closing Argument: After a month of picking off basil and mint leaves for cold drinks and summer rolls, my planter is thriving! I check on the soil moisture, pay attention to any withering leaves, and drain about a cup of water into the planter every 4 days. I now have much less anxiety about keeping up with the watering schedule compared to my previous attempts at growing basil in terra cotta pots with only potting soil, especially during the extreme heat of high summer. Willow is a win for me!

    Shop Willow

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
    Advertisement - Continue Reading Below