When it comes to growing healthy plants, few factors are as important as your choice of potting soil. By starting with a proper potting soil you can enjoy easier growing, healthier plants, reduce your carbon footprint and know exactly what your plants are being exposed to. Whether you are starting seedlings that you plan to transfer to a larger garden or flowerbed or filling your pots for indoor cultivation, a good potting soil will have a few characteristics that promote healthy plants and prolific growth.

best potting soil

Good Potting Soil Characteristics

  • Increased water retention

  • Proper drainage

  • Good aeration

Depending on your climate and intended growing method, sterile potting soil can provide benefits. By using sterile potting soil you can reduce the occurrence of weeds or fungal growth. However, be sure if you intend to transfer your seedlings or saplings to an outdoor environment that you harden them by introducing them to outdoor temperatures and fertilize the soil regularly. While sterile soil makes a great medium for starting plants, it does not allow the young plant to gain resistance to local parasites or acclimate to your soil chemistry.

best potting soil recipe

Both sterile potting soil and traditional potting soil can be purchased from most gardening retailers and websites for added convenience. However, with a little bit of time and labor you can create outstanding potting yourself and save a substantial sum. Whether you are looking to make bonsai potting soil for indoor cultivation or create a good seed starting medium for this year’s garden, potting soil recipes are pretty simple.

Basic Potting Soil Recipe

  • 1 Part Aged or Sterile Compost

  • 1 Part Coconut Coir

  • 1 Part Perlite, Pumice or Vermiculite

  • 1 Part Sand

best sterile potting soil

Steps for Making Your Own Potting Soil

  1. Hydrate your coconut coir in a large bowl. Use as little water as possible.

  2. Fluff the coconut coir.

  3. Combine coconut coir, compost, perlite and sand.

  4. Mix thoroughly.

Making Sterile Potting Soil

best bonsai potting soil

  1. Place the potting soil into a shallow baking pan. Soil should be no deeper than three to four inches.

  2. Place the soil in the oven and cover with aluminum foil.

  3. Increase the heat until the soil reaches approximately 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Soil temperature should not exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

  4. Allow the soil to remain at temperature for 30 minutes and remove it from the oven.

This homemade potting soil recipe is very versatile and provides a great medium for growing a wide variety of plants. Mixing in low quantities of time-released fertilizer can increase plant health and success. If you are new to gardening or plant cultivation, or do not have a personal compost pile, consider making small batches and mixing them with commercially available potting soils. The benefits are still very significant and you will still save some money.