DIY Indoor Potting Soil Mix

You know what they say: happy plants, happy home. Keeping greenery around is not just pretty, it feels good too. Figuring out how to get those plants exactly what they need though, especially when in the beginner stages, is a process of trial and error. Sunlight and water, of course, are no-brainers, but what about the soil? It’s easy to go to any garden center and grab a standard potting mix, but if you’re trying to perfect conditions for specific plants, the DIY indoor potting mix might be a better choice.

Customizing your potting mix gives you the freedom to adjust the amount of drainage, aeration, and nutrients your plants get. This makes all the difference. That’s why we made a tutorial on a DIY indoor potting mix that’s simple to follow!

In the video and tutorial, you’ll learn about:

  • The three qualities of a great indoor potting soil mix.
  • What soil amendments you might need in your indoor potting soil mix depending on what you’re planting.
  • How to plant and grow healthy wildflowers in your indoor potting soil mix with plantable seed paper.

Watch the video to see how to make an indoor potting soil mix or read the tutorial below.

Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 bag all-purpose potting soil
  • 1 bag pumice (a.k.a. lava rock)
  • 1 bag sand
  • 3 medium-to-large bowls (optional)
  • 1 pot with drainage holes and a tray
  • Gardening gloves (optional)
materials to use for your DIY indoor potting soil mix: sand, lava rock, all-purpose potting soil and a pot with a drainage hole

Here are the qualities of a great indoor potting mix:

  1. Light & Airy (a.k.a. Aeration) — This means your soil is not heavy or compacted, allowing plenty of room for your plants roots to grow. Peat moss helps with aeration.
  2. Water Retentive — This helps prevent overwatering and under watering, preventing problems that can stunt your plant’s growth. Lava rock, sand, and perlite are water retentive.
  3. Nutrient-Based — This means your soil contains the nutrients your plant needs to thrive. Worm castings and other organic fertilizers add nutrients to potting soil mixes.

Note: Perlite is an alternative to pumice, but it’s less sturdy and tends to float to the top of the soil over time. Because pumice doesn’t break down, it holds the plant roots in place. Coco coir is an alternative to all-purpose potting soil, but it’s harder to find in local stores.

Customize your soil mix depending on what you’re planting. Wildflowers prefer low-nutrient soil with no added fertilizers. Herbs and vegetables may benefit from added nutrients. Some other plants such as succulents prefer soil with a lot of drainage, in which case you’ll need more lava rock in your mix.

Step 1: Fill the pot ¾ of the way with all-purpose potting soil.

all-purpose potting soil in a pot

Step 2: Add 2 scoops of lava rock. Mix it in with the potting soil.

There’s no exact science to mixing indoor potting soil, so there’s no need to do any precise measurements. Go one handful at a time.

taking a handful of lava rock (pumice)

Step 3: Add 1/2 scoop of sand. Mix it in with the potting soil. Add another scoop or two depending on how big your pot is.

taking a handful of sand

Step 4: Keep mixing until you have balance 1 part potting soil to 1 part sand and 1 part lava rock.

a DIY indoor potting soil mix with sand, lava rock, and organic potting soil

Step 5: Start planting! If you’re planting seed paper, break up the seed paper into pieces and spread it out over the top of the soil. Sprinkle 1/8” of soil over top. Water thoroughly. Keep it moist during the germination period, but don’t drown it in too much water. Place your pot in the sunlight, preferably a south-facing window. Be patient and watch it grow!

planting seed paper business cards in an indoor potting soil mix

If you have any soil mixing tips or suggestions, please include them below!

Note: Personal preference and grow zone could affect what you like to put in your soil mix, and that information is helpful to other gardeners who are reading this.

Learn more about this special paper made by Botanical PaperWorks that uses post-consumer materials and is embedded with seeds so that it will grow when planted!

You can buy seed paper sheets for eco-friendly papercraft projects from Botanical PaperWorks. We have a variety of seed options, including wildflower, herb and veggie, and over 25 seed paper colors. Join our mailing list to receive emails with freebies, projects, coupons, green living tips, and decor ideas and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest


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