Potting Soil Mixtures for Container Gardening

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potting soil mixture

A well-made potting soil is very essential while growing plants in a container. When the plant is confined to a container, most of the external elements usually available in the garden soil might not be accessible.

That’s why you must prepare an excellent potting mix that will provide your plant with all the nutrients that it requires. 

When you specifically observe, a plant growing in a container will need moisture, well-aerated, and drained soil. 

Though the garden soil might seem to help your ground plants grow healthily, when it comes to container plants, it wouldn’t work the same. You will have to alter the soil for it to be ready to grow your plant.

Potting mixes are readily available in the market, or you could make your own potting mix too. 

Making your own potting soil is not hard if you know the measurements and your plants’ requirements.

What is a Potting Soil?

Potting soil is not natural ground soil. It’s made of mixtures that blend together to help your plant attain all the nutrients and elements it needs to grow. 

All the plants that can be grown in pots and containers will need well-mixed potting soil to grow well, even in their confined territories.

Another noteworthy aspect of potting soil is that the soil is capable of draining better than garden soil. So, the plant will take what is needed and drain the remaining water from the container. 

The characteristics of potting soil are that it’s easier to handle than other types of soil, and it’s relatively lighter. Air and water enter the soil in the right amounts because of these features.

Thus, the soil would be ready to grow a healthy plant.

Like mentioned before, you must be aware of what your plant needs the most. The various ingredients will have different elements in them, like density, nutrient level, texture, and more.

You’ll have to balance these elements to make perfect potting soil.

Here’s a short guide that will tell you which type of potting mix is ideal for what kind of plants.

Types of Potting Mixes

Finely textured mixes

This is thin and fine soil that would be best for germinating seeds and plants your want to propagate after root cutting.

The fine-textured soil will be a great starting companion to your plant.

Coarse sand and pine bark

Mixes with these ingredients are ideal for growing think plants. Shrubs and small trees grow best with these ingredients added to the soil.

Gravely and sandy

Best for dry plants. Cactus and succulents that don’t need much water to grow will need this potting soil to sustain their nature.  

A mixture of all kinds of soils

The all-mix potting soil is great for growing a wide variety of plants. It’s simply because it has all the essential elements collected in one place that will surely help the plants grow bigger and healthier.

Are you wondering how you can make your own potting soil?

You can step forward and make your own potting soil by mixing the right ingredients and the right kind of soil. Once you know what your plant needs, you can start making the perfect soil for your plants.

Listing out the potting soil ingredients and their properties, so you’ll know which ones to add to your blend.

Soil Ingredients

Sphagnum peat moss

Did you know that peat moss is the primary ingredient of potting soil?

The Sphagnum is a very powerful mixture. Peat is an element that wouldn’t break down easily. It will take time. This ingredient is not expensive and will fill your pots earthly. It’s not even heavy.

The Sphagnum peat moss is capable of holding water well. So those plants that need to be hydrated can have a suitable feed on this soil. 

The draining and aerating aspects of this soil are great, but it’s very less when it comes to the nutrient levels. It also has an acidic pH.

To make use of it for the best of the plants, ideally, the stone is added to this potting soil to neutralize the pH.

Ideally, you should add 1/4 of limestone to 6 gallons of peat moss to get working.

Coir Fiber

Coir can be used as an alternative sphagnum peat moss. But the major difference is that your fiber has more nutrients than what you’ll find in peat moss.

The durability and effectiveness are also higher than what peat moss establishes. We could say that coir fiber is the best alternative. 

But when it comes to affordability, the coir fiber more expensive than peat moss. Ultimately, coir fiber beats peat moss with its sustainability too.


It’s a volcanic rock. Perlite is obtained from mining. Perlite needs to be burnt to turn into white particles that should look like Styrofoam. 

With its lightweight nature, neutral pH, retaining water, perlite is a significant addition to your potting mix.  

You can easily get access to perlite either from local stores or nurseries around you.


This element is also obtained from mining, and it has to be prepared to use just like perlite. It needs to be heated to be expanded and slowly transform into tiny particles that can be used in the potting mix. 

These particular elements add calcium and magnesium to your soil, and it has a high amount of water holding capacity. 


Sand is very great for dry plants. It doesn’t hold much moisture and is heavy. 

Succulents and calculus need to have sand to drain out excess water and keep them as dry as possible. 


Compost is a soil-less mixture that holds a very high amount of nutrients. Adding nutrients to the soil will establish a very healthy plant soil.

It’s very significant to use compost for your potted plants to keep them lively, healthy and to feed them with a good amount of nutrients.

You must note that compost cannot be used when you list planted a seed or when it has just germinated. Compost could be very powerful, and other are chances for your plant to die. 

Make sure to make your compost as light and airy as possible. It needs to help the plants with aeration. 

How to make your own potting soil?

You can make your own potting soil according to the plant you are using it for.

Here is a Basic Potting Soil mix, you’ll need:

  • 6 gallons of sphagnum peat moss or Coir fiber.
  • Use 1/4 limestone if you are using peat moss to help keep up the pH level.
  • Perlite about 4.5 gallons
  • Compost -6 gallons
  • A fertilized mixture (Rock phosphate and green sand 2 cups each and 1/2 cup of bone meal and 1/4 cup of kelp meal)

Mix them all by adding one by one. Before starting to make the mixture get prepared by wearing a mask and gloves.

It’s advised that you use them to protect your skin from any of these ingredients reacting with it. Avoid making a potting mix on a windy day. Make sure to wear glasses to prevent dust from falling into the eyes.

Choose your potting mixture ideally and take care of your plant’s needs. There were times where an excellent potting mix revived the plants.

When the plants are in the containers, they need extra care because the only source they depend on is you. 

Feeding your potted plants with the right amount of nutrients and helping the soil pertain moisture will benefit your plants.

Look up the proper measurements and make the right mix for your healthy growing plants.

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