If you have many houseplants, you may choose to mix up your own homemade potting mix. Learn how to make your own homemade potting mix for houseplants that outgrow their pots and need to be moved to larger ones. Homemade potting mixes will ensure your houseplants get the proportions they need. Newer gardeners or homeowners may have a tendency to want to go outdoors and dig up some soil, but this is a bad idea. Instead, read up on the requirements that your houseplants need and try mixing your own potting soil.
Soil from the garden can be infested with weeds and diseases, as well as other unwanted substances. Even if you choose to sterilize the soil, it can be overwhelming a task. If you don’t own a potting bench, this is the perfect time to have one available. They are great for organizing all of your materials and supplies into one place. A cedar potting bench does very well left outdoors. If you don’t have a potting bench, you can still use any outdoor table or counter top.
The perfect solution is to make your own potting soil. If you have bought small bags of potting soil from the store, you know that this can become very pricey, especially if you have a lot of potting to do. By mixing your own mixes, you will be able to mix up the proportions of ingredients that will benefit the type of houseplant that you are potting or re-potting. Different types of plants will require a specific type of soil for optimum growth. Be sure you are aware of the needs of your plant before mixing. For example, you would not pot cacti in a regular, rich loamy soil, but would choose a mixture that is made to include more sand than anything else..
Potting Soil Ingredient
A suitable potting soil should be able to hold enough moisture, but still friable enough to provide good drainage and air circulation. Its physical composition is actually far more important that its chemical content.
Potting soil should contain loam, the equivalent of purified topsoil; peat moss of leaf mold; and sand or perlite for drainage. Do Not use sand from a seashore, as it will pack down the soil too much and contains salt that is harmful to plants.
A good formula for potting soil is divided three ways. You should have ⅓ part packaged soil, ⅓ part perlite, and ⅓ peat moss. The formula, sometimes referred to as “houseplants thirds, “can be adjusted for special for special situations.
Special Mix Requirements
Some types of plants will require a special mix of ingredients. Orchids, for example, require a mix that contains tree bark or some similar porous substances, while cacti thrive on very sandy soil. Some garden center will carry specific types of varying formulas for soil mixes. The houseplant thirds will do for most other indoor plants, from ficus to geraniums.
Start Mixing Materials
1. Check your ingredients- After purchasing a bag of soil, perlite, peat moss, and sand (if needed), all of the ingredients are moist. You will have a hard time mixing them together if one of the ingredients are not wet enough before being added together. Place them into a bag. If the bag is kept sealed thereafter, the peat will stay moist.
2. Mix batches of Soil- Pour small helpings of each ingredient into a bucket or basin in roughly equal amounts and mix thoroughly with a trowel. Then add more of the ingredients in small, equal batches, increasing the total amount until you have what you need for the job at hand.
3. Adjust soil amounts for Special Requirements- You can add in extra amounts of peat moss or perlite to suit plants with particular needs. If you are mixing soil for African Violets, for example, you should add extra peat moss and extra perlite. Succulents require double the perlite and sand. If your soil needs to be more alkaline, add ground limestone to the mixture. If you need more acidic soil, then add more peat moss. You should not add any fertilizer to the mix, as it is rich enough.
4. Label your leftover mixes- if you end up with leftover mixes, be sure to label what you put into them so they will not get mixed up and used for the wrong type of plants. Plastic bags can be used to store your soil. For large amounts, put your soil into garbage bags and place the labeled bag into a plastic or rubber tub or can.
Regardless, of the type of houseplant you have, whether it is a sago palm, gloxinia, episcia, african violets, dracaena, etc., they will all benefit from your homemade potting mix, as well as save you some money.
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