Potting Soil & Fertilizer Recipes

Save money and know what's in it by making your own.


There are various reasons why you may want to make up your own potting soil. You could be trying to grow organic, or you just want to make sure you know exactly what is in the soil because you'll be growing vegetables or herbs.

You may be having problem with retaining moisture, or maybe the soil is too wet and plant roots keep rotting.

Everyone's weather conditions are different, and everyone grows different kinds of plants, so it's not far fetched to want to customize your potting mix to the conditions at hand.

With a little tweaking, you too can solve a lot of problems by using the appropriate soil mixture. Use the recipes below as starting points. I've also included some fertilizer recipes below that you can add to the mixes.

PerliteSoil Mix for Greenhouse Growing

  • 2 parts sifted topsoil
  • 2 parts compost
  • 1 part peat moss
  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part sand

Soil Mix for Containers - General Growing

Heavier Mix (for areas that may get a lot of wind)

  • 2 parts commercial potting soil
  • 1 part builder's sand
  • 1 part compost

Soil Mix for Containers - General Growing

Lighter Mix (ideal for hanging baskets or window boxes)

  • 5 parts perlite
  • 5 parts compost
  • 1 part sifted topsoil

Soil Mix for Seed Starting

  • 1 part vermiculite or perlite
  • 1 part peat moss
  • 1 part compost

Green Sand

Soil Mix for Very Large Containers

  • 1 part compost
  • 1 part peat moss
  • 1 part composted pine bark
  • 1 part vermiculite
  • limestone
  • rock phosphate
  • green sand
  • granite dust
  • blood meal
Note: the amount needed for the limestone, green sand, granite dust, and blood meal will depend on the final size of the container. Check package instructions for amounts.

Super Easy Potting Mix

(This is the mix I use most often)

  • 1 part potting mix
  • 1 part compost

Fertilizer Recipes

To be added to the soil mix recipes from above.

General Purpose Fertilizer

Mix a handful into each pot, more for very large pots

  • 2 parts blood meal
  • 3 parts bone meal
  • 6 parts green sand

For Alkaline Loving Plants

Mix a handful into each pot, more for very large pots

  • Add a hand full of wood ash or oyster shells to the potting mix

Cottonseed MealFor Acid Loving Plants

Mix a handful into each pot, more for very large pots

  • Mix in more peat moss and/or cotton seed meal.
  • Powdered Sulfur

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