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DIY Potting Mix Recipes For Different Plant Types

DIY potting mix recipes consist of a combination of ‘ingredients’ that provide the substrate required for your plant while adding nutrients and moisture that allow for plant growth. Comparatively, the all-purpose potting mix doesn’t always work best because it isn’t necessarily suited to the type of plant you are trying to grow. Of course, it is important to use different types of potting mix for the various types of plants you own as they require different levels of humidity, nutrition and water retention. Additionally, buying your own potting mix ingredients in bulk saves money and ensures that you always have a potting mix on hand for the type of plants you are housing.

Why use potting mix?

Potting mix compared to traditional garden soil is airy and light which allows the roots to grow easily and enable them to breathe. Potting mixes are more long-lasting than soil as they are less compacted and break down at a slower rate. The blend of ingredients in a potting mix also ensures that water is retained for a longer amount of time within the pot and contains some nutrients to sustain the plant without having to use liquid fertilizer as frequently.

What ingredients do I need to start my DIY potting mix recipes?

Different blends of potting mixes contain generally the same types of ‘ingredients’ at different ratios. The most popular types of potting mix ingredients include:

Sphagnum Peat Moss

Sphagnum peat moss is often used as the base ingredient of potting mix recipes as it requires a longer amount of time to breakdown while ensuring that the mix is well-draining and aerated. It is also a cheap ingredient and retains moisture to ensure the plant has time to absorb water through its roots.

Coir Fibre

Coir fibre holds more nutrients than sphagnum peat moss and takes an even longer amount of time to break down but comes at a higher cost. You can often find coir fibre sold in compacted locks that need water added to them in order to expand and be useable as part of your potting mix. Coir fibre is more environmentally responsible than sphagnum peat moss as it is long-lasting and a renewable resource as it is made as a by-product of the coconut processing industry.

Perlite

Perlite is used for its porous properties which improve drainage while not adding weight to the mix. Additionally, it has a larger surface area which benefits indoor plants that require a high humidity level.

Vermiculite

Vermiculite, like perlite, improves the porosity of the potting mix but also adds calcium and magnesium to the mix. It occurs as a natural volcanic mineral. It also retains moisture and nutrients which feeds the plants and maximizes growth.

Sand

Coarse sand is also used to increase the drainage of the potting mix but also adds weight. Succulent potting mixes therefore often have a high ratio of coarse sand in its recipe.

Limestone

Limestone is used to neutralize the pH of the soil. Adding limestone to potting mix increases the structure of the soil and encourages nutrient absorption into both the soil and the plant.

Fertilizers

Fertilizers are added to the potting mix to increase the nutrient intake of the plant in order for it to grow. They can consist of minerals, animal by-products, manure, and plant materials. Worm casting or vermicast are often used as a fertilizer as it holds and supplies nutrients while retaining water.

Mulch/Wood Chips

Wood chips and mulch can be used to allow air and water to travel through the mix. Wood chips also repel pests, control weeds while breaking down at a slower rate.

Compost

Compost can be used to increase water retention and nutrients in the mix.

What equipment do you need?

To start your potting mix project, collect the following items:

  1. Measuring container
  2. Mixing tub/bucket
  3. Watering can
  4. Shovel/fork/trowel
  5. Sieve
  6. Water container
  7. Your ingredients

Additionally, we have compiled a list of 5 different types of DIY potting mix recipes you may need for your home and garden.

  1. Indoors Plants
  2. Succulents and Cacti
  3. Tropical Plants
  4. Growing Seeds
  5. Trees and Shrubs

DIY Potting Mix Recipe For Indoor Plants

  • 2 kilograms of sphagnum peat moss or coir fiber
  • 1.5 kilograms of perlite
  • 250 grams of coarse sand
  • 10 grams of limestone
  • 10 grams of fertilizer

DIY Potting Mix Recipe For Succulents and Cacti

  • 3 kilograms of sphagnum peat moss or coir fiber
  • 2 kilograms of coarse sand
  • 1 kilogram of perlite
  • 1 kilogram of vermiculite
  • 10 grams of limestone

DIY Potting Mix Recipe For Tropical Plants

  • 6 kilograms of sphagnum peat moss or coir fiber
  • 6 kilograms of compost
  • 4.5 kilograms of perlite
  • 60 grams of fertilizer
  • 10 grams of lime

DIY Potting Mix Recipe For Growing Seeds

  • 2 kilograms of sphagnum peat moss or coir fiber
  • 2 kilograms of vermiculite
  • 1 kilogram of coarse sand
  • 10 grams of limestone

DIY Potting Mix For Recipe Trees and Shrubs

  • 3 kilograms of compost
  • 3000 grams of perlite
  • 3 kilograms of sphagnum peat moss or coir fiber
  • 2.5 kilograms of wood chips or mulch
  • 2.5 kilograms of coarse sand
  • 300 grams of fertilizer
  • 10 grams of limestone