Best Potting Mix For Indoor Plants: Houseplant Potting Soil And Soilless Potting Mix

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While it might seem like soil is the ideal medium to use as a potting mix for indoor plants, the inclination to do so is incorrect. The best soil for houseplants is not soil at all, but rather a soilless potting mix composed of various ingredients integral to the health of container grown plants. There are a plethora of soilless potting mixes on the market, or with just a handful of ingredients you can make your own indoor potting mix

What is the Best Soil for Houseplants? 

Potting mix for indoor plants must provide them with excellent drainage, air circulation, nutrients, and water retention. An indoor potting mix should also be free of pests, diseases, and weed seeds. 

To this end, commercial houseplant potting mix is often sterilized to kill pathogens and weed seeds, and is also comprised of ingredients specific to the needs of container grown houseplants. While ingredients vary, a good soilless potting mix will always contain an organic component such as compost, coir, bark or peat moss, vermiculite, or perlite to aid in moisture retention, sand, nutrients, and limestone. Some commercial brands may also contain fertilizer. 

How to Make Homemade Houseplant Potting Mix

Different types of houseplants have their own unique requirements, which is why making your own DIY soilless potting mix can come in handy. A DIY soilless potting mix can be adjusted to include more or less of a particular ingredient depending upon plants’ needs. 

The basic recipe for DIY soilless potting mix is 2 parts peat moss or coco coir, 1 part compost, 1 part perlite or pumice, and a tablespoon (15 g.) of ground limestone if using peat moss. 

If you wish to make your own indoor potting mix for cuttings, use 1 part peat moss or coir combined with 1 part perlite or coarse sand. You can also root cuttings in moist vermiculite which has good water retention. 

Houseplant potting mix can be tweaked a bit to adjust to the needs of succulents, orchids, or even seed starting but the basic ingredients remain the same. 

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.