Here's a dirty little secret; The health of your houseplants stops and ends with the soil that it grows in and providing the nutritious light soil for your plant is essential! Potting soil should have a balanced mixture of coco coir or peat moss (for water absorption), compost (for supplying nutrients), and materials like pumice, sand, perlite, or wood chips (for aiding in proper drainage). Most potting soils for indoor plants do not contain any soil; rather, they include a series of other soil amendments that are lighter and better suited for your houseplants!
The good news is that most indoor plants can live and prosper using just one soil recipe, contrary to what you might have read about plants needing specific soil types. I am happy to share my go-to soil(less) mixture that I use for all of my indoor plants! Let's face it, who wants to do this more than once!
Keep in mind that this universal soil mixture works best for all plants if you monitor how often you water the soil, as different plants have different watering requirements!
For example, a succulent indoor plant (one that holds water in its thick leaves) should only be watered when the soil is dry. Plants with small thin leaves (ferns, ficus, and calathea) might need watering more often! This soil mixture will retain enough water for the roots to absorb. Still, environmental factors like light, temperature, and humidity will be different for every home, and you will learn to read your plant's needs and frequency of watering over time. This simple soil recipe can suit almost every houseplant if you keep this in mind! Also, feel free to watch our video on creating potting soil!
My Universal Potting Soil Recipe
55% coco coir or peat moss (try to use coco coir as it is a sustainable resource)
20% perlite, pumice, coarse sand, or small wood chips (or a combination of these materials)
25% organic compost (I use worm castings, but any organic compost will work)
Roll up your sleeves, and pull on your garden gloves.
Pour your ingredients into a tub (it's a good idea to use a tub with a lid for storage!).
Wear a mask as dry to prevent inhaling coco coir and perlite dust.
Use a small trowel to thoroughly mix all the materials by stirring from the bottom to the top.
Try to keep your mixture dry when storing it to help prevent bacteria or fungus from growing!
Choose a compost that is free of weeds and food scraps.
If most of your plants are succulents, add an additional 10% coarse materials to help drain the mixture faster.
When adding your ingredients, you do not need to be exact, but keep the ratio in mind.
Add a slow-release fertilizer to the mixture if your plants are heavy feeders.