How to Make Your Own Potting Mix

Give your container plants a good start with a healthy soil mix you can make yourself. Skip the store-bought bags and create a custom blend at home.

All potting mixes are not created equal. Your container plantings need soil that holds some moisture but drains well and offers plants a rich supply of nutrients. Purchase a reliable, high-quality commercial potting mix or make your own special blends for various uses.

If you fill containers with garden loam or packaged potting soil, they may be too heavy to move. In addition, the soil tends to become oversaturated when wet, and then dry out and turn rock hard. Add water-absorbing polymer crystals to your potting soil to minimize your watering chores. But remember, container plantings require watering more often than garden plants—daily in hot, dry weather.

Learn more about your garden soil.

All-Purpose Potting Soil

When to Use It

This blend is the most common type of potting soil, hence it's name. It works for most types of plants and is the middle ground between lightweight and heavy soil. The best time to use this nutrient-rich blend is when you're planting or replacing plants in containers.

What You Need

  • 8 quarts potting soil with vermiculite or perlite
  • 1 quart coarse sand
  • 4 quarts sphagnum peat moss, compost, and/or rotted manure

Lightweight, Enriched Potting Mix

When to Use It

Just like us, your plants need vitamins and minerals to be healthy, too. When your plants need a little nutrition boost in their diet, this potting mix will do the trick. This soil is especially beneficial for your acid-loving plants.

What You Need

  • 8 quarts potting soil
  • 1 quart perlite
  • 1 quart vermiculite
  • 8 quarts sphagnum peat moss
  • 1 cup greensand
  • 1 cup gypsum

Soilless Potting Mix

When to Use It

If your plants are prone to disease and infection, a soilless potting mix is the best preventative measure. This lighter-in-weight alternative to potting soil also helps with drainage where it's needed. It is especially helpful for plants that need well-drained soil.

What You Need

  • 8 quarts sphagnum peat moss
  • 1 quart perlite
  • 1 quart vermiculite

1 Comment

  1. Instead of using sphagnum peat moss try coir or cocoa peat. It is neither alkaline or acidic (as is peat moss) and is very lightweight yet holds some moisture.


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