6 Homemade Potting Soil Recipes

With the right ingredients on hand, you can mix up your own batch of healthy potting soil.

by Jessica Walliser
PHOTO: iStock/Thinkstock

You can ensure healthy plants by taking control over the soil used to grow them. To make your own potting soil, tailor the ingredients you use in your mix to how you will be using it. Below are some sample recipes that can guide your venture, but feel free to experiment with ingredients to suit the nutritional needs of your container garden. Pick up these must-have soil-mixing ingredients before getting started. »

Large volumes of potting soil can be mixed in a cement mixer or compost tumbler. Smaller quantities can be made in a wheelbarrow or large bucket. Be sure to mix very thoroughly to ensure a well-blended, consistent product.

1. Seedling Soil Mix

  • 5 parts finely screened compost
  • 4 parts garden soil
  • 1-2 parts coarse sand
  • 1-2 parts sphagnum peat moss
  • 2 T. lime for each shovel of peat moss

2. Soil-less Container Mix

  • 1/2 cubic yard sphagnum peat moss
  • 1/2 cubic yard vermiculite
  • 10 pounds bone meal
  • 5 pounds limestone
  • 5 pounds blood meal

3. Soil-based Container Mix

  • 1 part screened compost
  • 1 part garden soil
  • 1 part coarse sand or a mix of vermiculite and perlite

4. Peat-Soil Combination Mix

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  • 2 parts vermiculite
  • 3 parts sphagnum peat moss
  • 2 parts perlite
  • 2 parts dehydrated manure
  • 3 parts garden soil
  • 1/2 part bone meal

5. Potted Perennial and Shrub Mix

  • 1 part compost
  • 1 part coarse sand
  • 1 part sphagnum peat moss
  • 1 part composted pine bark
  • 2 T. lime for each shovel of peat moss

6. General Potting Soil Mix

  • 6 gallons sphagnum peat moss
  • 1/4 cup limestone
  • 4¼ gallons vermiculite or perlite
  • 4¼ gallons compost

Mix together 2 cups rock phosphate, 2 cups greensand, 1/2 cup bone meal and 1/4 cup kelp meal, and add 1½ cups of this fertilizer blend to the finished mix.

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