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soilless mixes

4 Easy Recipes for Soilless Mixes

4 Easy Recipes for Soilless Mixes: How to Make Your Own Potting Mix

If you love plants as much as I do, you know how much of a hassle it can be to find the right soil for your beloved plant babies. Pre-made commercial mixes often include added fertilizers and unknown ingredients, all of which can harm, and even kill, your plant. When you create your own soilless mix, you know exactly what’s in your soil mix – plus, it’s often cheaper to DIY! Different plants have different needs, so I’ve included 4 soilless mixes for you to choose from. However, you can also play around with the different ratios and create your own mixes!

Ingredients

Most soil mixes for a container plant contain little to no soil at all, which is why they are called soilless mixtures. They are usually comprised of a combination of organic matter and inorganic material. The 6 main ingredients of soilless mixes include peat moss, coconut coir, perlite, vermiculite, compost, and fertilizer. Peat moss and coconut coir are often used to increase the aeration and water absorption of the mix. Perlite and vermiculite change the water and nutrient retention levels in your soilless mix in different ways. Compost and fertilizer feed your soil and plant, respectively.

soilless mix
ingredients for a soilless mix

Soilless Mixes

For the following recipes, I provide ratios, rather than specific amounts, so you can choose the size of the container, which will determine the size of the part. For example, when I repotted Monte, my Montezuma Cypress, I filled a wheelbarrow with a mixture of 1-part peat moss, 0.6-parts coconut coir, 0.38-parts perlite, and 0.02-parts slow-release fertilizer. Since I needed approximately 20 gallons of my soilless mix, I mixed 10 gallons of peat moss, 6 gallons of (expanded) coconut coir, 3.8 gallons of perlite, and 0.2 gallons of fertilizer together.

You will need the ingredients listed for the recipe you want to create, the correctly sized container, and gloves. I recommend mixing outside or in a well-ventilated area to prevent inhalation of any dust particles from the ingredients.

1. Basic Mix

This simple mix is great for most outdoor container plants.

  • 1-part peat moss or coconut coir
  • 1-part compost
  • 1-part perlite

For example: Say you have a 13in (33cm) planter, which you need to fill with a mixture of approximately 8 gallons. You would need about 2.6 gallons of peat moss, compost, and perlite.

2. Succulent Mix

This well-draining mix ensures a dryer environment for your cacti and other succulents, preventing root rot.

  • 1-part perlite
  • 0.5-parts peat moss or coconut coir
  • 0.1-parts compost

For example: You need a mixture of approximately 8 gallons to fill your 13in (33cm) planter. You would need about 5 gallons of perlite, 2.5 gallons of peat moss, and 0.5 gallons of compost.

3. Houseplant Mix

This nutrient rich mix is perfect for tropical species, such as Dracaenas or Ferns.

  • 1-part peat moss or coconut coir
  • 1-part compost
  • 1-part perlite
  • 0.1-parts slow-release fertilizer (such as bone meal)

For example: You need a mixture of approximately 8 gallons to fill your 13in (33cm) planter. You would need about 2.5 gallons of peat moss, 2.5 gallons of compost, 2.5 gallons of perlite, and 0.5 gallons of a slow-release fertilizer.

4. Vegetable & Herb Mix

This veggie-and-herb mix ensures that your crops will receive the nutrients they need to thrive.

  • 3-parts compost
  • 2-parts peat moss or coconut coir
  • 0.5-parts perlite
  • 0.3-parts slow-release fertilizer

For example: Say you have a planter that can hold approximately 61 gallons of the soilless mixture. You would need about 31.5 gallons of compost, 21 gallons of peat moss, 5.25 gallons of perlite, and 3.15 gallons of a slow-release fertilizer.

Images of Ingredients for Soilless Mixes

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