Setting up plants can be pricey – and one of the biggest culprits is the soil you grow them in. Seedling compost; potting mix; different soil for different plants… You could always save yourself some pennies and learn how to make your own potting mix for houseplants – this is where we come in!
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How To Make Your Own Potting Mix For Houseplants?
Making your own potting mix is a great thing – it will save you money, plus you can tweak the recipe to make it perfectly tailored for each plant.
It’s very simple to make your own potting mix – there are generally only 3 ingredients, and this mix is ideal for just about any houseplant.
- Peat moss is generally used in potting mix as a base ingredient, and it also helps by retaining moisture in the soil.
- Perlite, small white pieces that you will find in store-bought potting mix, is there to keep the soil aerated and to help with drainage.
- Vermiculite, a natural mineral, helps to keep the soil from compacting and gives the mix its light, aerated feel. It also helps the mix to retain essential moisture.
- Take a large garden bucket – a 1 gallon one is ideal, but you can use any type you have lying around.
- Consider wearing a face mask before you start mixing; the dust from these ingredients is not harmful, but you don’t want to be breathing it in.
- Using a scoop such as a garden trowel, carefully mix together the 3 ingredients. You will want to use 2 parts peat moss to 1 part perlite and 1/4-1/2 vermiculite.
- Ensure that you mix together all the different parts very thoroughly, so that everything is distributed evenly.
- If you are using it straight away, add some water and a little all-purpose fertilizer to the mix to give your plants a little extra.
- If you are not using it straight away, store your potting mix in an airtight container to prevent bugs and creepy crawlies from getting in.
- Bear in mind that succulents, cactus and orchids will have different requirements and many cannot be grown in potting mix – but for everyone else, this should be spot on.
This video shows you some great ideas to make your own potting mix:
Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Potting Mix?
In a word, yes it is. If you think of all the potting mix that you buy for your various plants, you will definitely be saving yourself money!
Yes, buying the ingredients initially is a bit of an outlay – but it still works out cheaper in the long run.
You could even, if you are so inclined, make up big batches of potting mix and sell it to friends – it would be cheaper than what they would buy, plus you’d make a few pennies!
If you are spending a lot on potting mix at the beginning of the season to plant your seeds and seedlings, you should definitely consider making your own potting mix as a cheaper alternative.
What Is The Difference Between Potting Mix And Potting Soil?
These terms are sometimes bandied about as if they were the same thing – but actually there is a big difference.
Potting mix is a mix, and it doesn’t actually contain any soil at all – generally it is made up of Peat moss, vermiculite and perlite.
Potting soil MAY contain actual soil, though it doesn’t always. Are you confused yet? We are!
Potting mix is generally used for plants kept in pots. It is better draining, and the mix doesn’t get too heavy and cause issues with the roots.
Potting soil can also be used for potted plants, but mainly the ones who are less fussy about their growing medium.
What Is Better For Plants Potting Soil Or Potting Mix?
A growing medium is a growing medium, right? All plants should just be able to grow in the same thing, shouldn’t they?
Well, actually this is not the case! Soil can be too heavy for the delicate roots of many houseplants, and they can struggle to grow.
Potting mix may not be enough for some plants to grow through, and they may need more of the nutrients that soil gives them.
As a general rule, potting mix is best for indoor plants, as they will need their medium to be well-draining and light.
Potting mix is generally a sterile environment, which is ideal for indoor plants which can get infested and damaged by bugs and microbes.
Potting soil is better for outdoor plants, which may be more used to the heavier mix, and will benefit from the nutrition soil gives.
This interesting article is filled with information about all the different types of soil, potting mix and potting soil.
Can I Use Garden Soil As Potting Mix?
If you have a lot of topsoil lying about, it may be tempting to just scoop some up and use it as potting mix.
However, garden soil can be too heavy, or infested with disease and bugs, or not aerated enough to use as potting soil.
You can always add a little garden soil to your mix – particularly if you are planning on planting things into the garden soil – as long as you maintain the other ingredients.
The main keys behind a successful potting mix is to keep everything well-draining, moisture retentive, and able to support a plant’s stem.
Garden soil is generally not well draining enough to support the types of plants that use potting mix, so you should only add it for larger, more robust plants, if you add it at all.
You can make your plant growing journey cheaper – and more fun – by making your own potting mix that is tailored to your plants.
It’s super easy and simple to make, and you can get all the ingredients you need from your local garden centre. Give it a go; you’ll never look back!