DIY Houseplant Soil
Instead of buying premixed potting soil, you can make your own! This allows you to create unique conditions to meet the specific needs of your plants, especially for more advanced houseplant care.
Most of us are accustomed to getting premade soil from the local garden center for our plants. While this is completely fine, making your own soil can benefit your plants even more. You may notice that certain types of store bought soil do not last long, may be overpriced, and have a lot of artificial nutrients that drain out quickly. This post will help you make your own high quality custom soil that you can adjust and use for all of your plants.
Collecting the ingredients
Coconut Coir or Peat Moss
First, we need a base that we can start adding to. A Coconut Coir or pure peat moss bass is recommended because they both will keep your plant moist and will not dry out so fast. Peat moss is a finite resource, so coconut coir is the more eco-friendly option. Peat moss can be extremely hard to rehydrate when it completely dries out, so adding coconut coir can balance that and help keep the soil damp.
Ever wonder what those white dots are in soil? It's perlite! Perlite is necessary for a DIY soil because it helps aerate the soil. Not all plants like to be wet for extended periods of time after a watering. Perlite will help the soil drain faster and will prevent coil compaction. If you are feeling fancy, you can switch the perlite for pumice stones which have the same function. Although, perlite has a tendency to float to the top of the pot overtime and pumice does not do that.
Next, it's good to add some orchid bark to add texture to the soil. I use orchid bark because I think it's a great material for preventing the soil from becoming compacted. Other bark such as aged pine bark also work. This helps keep the soil aerated and will help in making a healthy root system for the plant. These bark chunks will slowly break down over time and add some nutrients to the soil.
Lastly, we need to add nutrients to give the plants something to feed on. A slow release fertilizer can be added, but earth worm castings or a natural compost are recommended for your plants because these are organic nutrients. Be careful because some slow release fertilizers come in pellet form and will cause micro plastics to be present in your soil.
Mixing Your Ingredients:
After you gather all the necessary soil ingredients, you don't just mix it all together. Following the right recipe for the soil base is important so you end up with the perfect mix.
You want to do 2 parts peat moss and coconut coir base, 1 part pumice or perlite, 1/2 part orchid bark and 1/2 part earthworm castings or compost.
Adjusting the Recipe:
Not all plants like the same soil conditions, which is why you can add other additives to the DIY soil to make it perfect for your plant. If you have succulents or cacti you can add sand to your mix to help the soil drain even faster than it already does. If you have aroids that really don't like being soaked around the roots you can add some more orchid bark to fit an epiphytes needs.