Make Your Own Houseplant Soil Mix


Make your own houseplant soil mix and you will save lots of money. You will also give your houseplants and container gardening plants the perfect growing media they need for optimal health and growth.

One of the most critical aspects of houseplant and container plant care is soil. The right potting mix can mean the difference between a happy, healthy plant and one that struggles. While buying pre-mixed potting soil is possible, it’s also easy to make your own.

This article about how to make your houseplant soil mix will cover potting soil recipes and the proper ingredients. That’s because houseplants grow best in a soil mix that is specifically designed for them.

A good houseplant soil mix comprises several ingredients, including potting soil, peat moss, and compost. Each component adds a particular characteristic to the soil mix. By varying the proportions, you can achieve the desired attributes. Let us discuss in detail the essential characteristics of potting soil mix and how to make a great potting mix.


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Essential Characteristics of Houseplant Soil Mix

A good houseplant soil mix must provide these five things.


Houseplant Drainage

Plants require water to survive. However, excessive water can harm a plant. A well-drained soil mix prevents the roots from getting flooded and waterlogged.

Let’s explore the ideal mix of ingredients that drain the excess water to ensure the survival of the plant. Certain plants require good drainage, whereas others prefer wetter soil. Potting soils utilize perlite, sand, expanded shale, and sometimes slate to improve water flow through the soil.


Moisture Retention

Retaining water in the soil is crucial for a plant’s survival. It ensures a continuous supply of fresh water for plants during intervals between waterings.

Water retention is directly linked to the porous area within the soil’s structure. The more porous your soil is, the better it can hold water. Soil’s moisture-retention capability can be enhanced by adding vermiculite, peat moss, and/or coco coir.


Soil Aeration

Aeration of soil is the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the soil’s pores and the atmosphere. Aeration is critical to avoid oxygen deficiency and carbon dioxide toxicity in the soil air.

Appropriately aerated soil has sufficient oxygen to allow for the respiration of aerobic microbes and roots. It also facilitates oxidizing at an optimal speed. Orchid bark, perlite, and vermiculite are the most common ingredients to improve soil aeration.


pH Level

The pH level of soil determines whether it is acidic or alkaline. Some plants are acid-loving, favoring a pH of less than 6.5. Others prefer neutral soil with a pH of 7. Still others prefer alkaline soils having pH levels higher than 7.5.

The soil’s pH affects the ability of plant roots to absorb the available nutrients in the soil or potting mix. Certain nutrients are not available when the pH is either too high or too low.

Knowing the pH preferences of your plant will allow you to create soil conditions that work best for your plant. Organic materials, such as compost or worm castings, reduce the pH level. Lime can raise the pH of soil. For most plants, it is recommended to have a pH of around 6.5.


Plant Nutrients

Soil fertility is crucial since plants require nutrients from the soil. Mixes for potting soil can use slow-release fertilizers or water-soluble fertilizers to supply necessary nutrients.

Slow-release organic fertilizers break down over time and continue to release nutrients over the longer term. Mixing fertilizer with organic ingredients can result in producing the most conducive environment for the roots.


Ingredients for Making a Perfect Houseplant Soil Mix


ingredients to make your own houseplant soil mix



Advantage: Perlite enhances drainage and improves the aeration capability of soil.

Use for These Plants: Perlite is used for plants preferring well-draining soil such as cacti, calatheas, and succulents.


Perlite is a lightweight and sterile volcanic glass normally used as an additive for soil mixes. It is excellent for drainage and aeration and can help reduce compaction. Perlite is also pH-neutral and non-toxic, making it a safe choice for use around children and pets.


Coir fiber

Advantage: Coco coir is an excellent ingredient for potting soil because it retains moisture and provides good nutrients.

Use for These Plants: Almost all plants love growing in soil containing coconut coir, provided the mix contains other desired ingredients.


Coir fiber is a natural fiber made from the husks of coconuts. It’s an ideal ingredient for homemade potting mix because it is lightweight, absorbent, and doesn’t compact over time.

This fiber is a byproduct of the coconut industry. It can be purchased in bales compressed into bricks or bought loose at nurseries. Coir fiber is a natural and sustainable product used to make your potting mix.


Peat moss

Advantage: Peat moss possesses outstanding moisture retention capability.

Use for These Plants: Vegetable and fruit plants that favor low pH soil flourish in the presence of peat moss.


Peat moss is an essential constituent of many potting mixes. It is lightweight, and holds moisture well, making it ideal for indoor plants. Peat moss is also sterile, so it will not introduce harmful bacteria or fungi to your plants.



Advantage: Moisture retention and improved drainage.

Use for These Plants: All moisture-loving plants including marantas.


Vermiculite is a common ingredient in homemade potting mix recipes. It is a lightweight, absorbent material that helps aerate the mix and improve drainage. Vermiculite is also sterile so that it won’t introduce any unwanted pests or diseases to your plants.


Compost, fertilizer, worm castings

Advantage: Excellent source of nutrients and organic matter to ensure optimum growth.

Use for These Plants: Suitable for all plants as it provides organic nutrients for healthy growth.


Compost provides nutrients for plants, while fertilizer helps to encourage growth. Worm castings add beneficial bacteria and fungi to the mix, which can help to improve plant health.


Orchid bark

Advantage: The bark is excellent at aerating soils, preventing compaction, and allowing drainage in a mix of substrates.

Use for These Plants: Orchids, philodendrons, epiphytes, and other plants requiring a quick draining but moist soil.


Orchid bark is sourced from a range of coniferous trees. However, the most well-known is fir bark. Please note: Orchid bark refers to bark for orchids and not the bark derived from orchids. It is typically found in shavings or chips of various sizes. Orchid bark is utilized in horticulture in several ways.


Houseplant Soil Mix Recipes for Various Plant Types

Now that you know the ingredients used in most “make your own houseplant soil mix,” it’s time to reveal some actual recipes.



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Make Your Own Houseplant Soil Mix for Tropical and Flowering Plants

Tropical and flowering plants need a potting mix rich in nutrients and with good drainage. A good recipe for a tropical and flowering plant potting mix includes:

  • One portion of peat moss
  • One portion of perlite
  • One portion vermiculite
  • One portion of compost
  • One portion of sand


Houseplant Soil Mix for Succulents

Cacti and succulents are popular indoor plants that are easy to care for. They don’t require much water or fertilizer and can tolerate a wide range of light levels.

To pot your cactus or succulent, you’ll need a potting mix that drains well. You can make potting mix by mixing these ingredients:

  • One portion of perlite
  • One portion of coarse sand
  • One portion of sphagnum peat moss

If you’re potting a succulent that doesn’t have a lot of roots, you can add some small rocks or gravel to the mix. This will help the plant stay in place.


Potting Mix for Common Houseplants

Indoor potting mix recipes for popular indoor plant types are available in the section below.


African violets

  • Two portions of peat moss
  • One portion of perlite
  • One portion vermiculite



  • Two portions of peat moss
  • One portion of sand
  • One portion of leaf mold



  • Two portions of peat moss
  • One portion of perlite
  • One portion of sand



  • Two portions of peat moss
  • One portion of perlite
  • One portion of common houseplant potting mix


Additional Supplies You Will Need to Make Houseplant Soil Mix

Making your houseplant potting soil mix is actually quite simple. See the Ingredients for Making a Perfect Houseplant Soil Mix section above. In addition, you only need these items:

  • A large open container
  • A spade or any tool for mixing


homemade houseplant potting soil mix


Instructions to Make Your Own Houseplant Soil Mix

  • Combine all ingredients in a large container and stir together well.
  • Fill pots or planting trays with the potting mix, and plant as usual.
  • Water plants as needed and fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer.


Final Thoughts 

The potting mix recipe is a great starting point for most houseplants. If you have a plant that requires special care, you may need to adjust the ingredients to provide the right conditions.

To ensure your houseplant soil mix is healthy and balanced, mix it well and use high-quality constituents in the correct proportions. Follow these simple instructions and you can create a houseplant soil mix that will be perfect for your plants.




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