4 DIY Potting Soil Recipes To Make Any Plant Thrive

One size doesn't fit all! Make these quality mixes at home and watch your veggies, flowers, and fruits shine.

February 14, 2017
Soil in hands
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Want superior succulents, tons of tomatoes, or fabulous flowers? The secret to your gardening success may just be your potting soil.

As any seasoned gardener knows, one type of potting soil certainly doesn’t fit all. The trick is to tailor your mix to your specific plants so they receive optimal nutrition and thus reach their full size and, in the case of veggies, flavor potential. Here, 4 potting soil recipes to meet almost all of your planting needs. 


(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)

Seedling Mix 

planting seeds
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Use this mix for—you guessed it—starting your seeds. (Here are 5 reasons you should start your own seeds.)

  • 2 parts compost

  • 2 part peat moss or coir 

  • 1 part perlite 

Soilless Mix

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A soilless mix works well for many indoor cacti and succulent plants. (Check out these 5 mistakes you're making with your succulents.)

  • 1/2 cubic yard Sphagnum peat or coir 

  • 1/2 cubic yard perlite 

  • 10 pounds bonemeal 

  • 5 pounds ground limestone 

  • 5 pounds bloodmeal 

Classic Soil-Based Mix 

tomato plant
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This classic mix is a safe bet for most plants.

  • 1/3 mature compost or leaf mold, screened 

  • 1/3 garden topsoil 

  • 1/3 sharp sand 

Prick-Out Mix  

seedling in pot
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‘Pricking out’ is gardening lingo for separating out the little seedlings from the large sturdier ones and transplanting them into their own individual containers. This soil mix works best for growing those seedlings to transplant size. 

  • 6 parts compost 

  • 3 parts soil

  • 1-2 parts sand 

  • 1-2 parts aged manure 

  • 1 part peat moss, pre-wet and sifted 

  • 1-2 parts leaf mold, if available 

  • 1 6-inch pot bone meal