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The Perfect Homemade Potting Soil Recipe – How To Make Great Potting Soil!

With this 100% organic, simple-to-make homemade potting soil recipe, you can power your potted plants and hanging baskets to your best growing season ever!

Even better, it can save big dollars on the budget compared to expensive commercial brands.

But perhaps best of all, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing what’s in your soil. And more importantly, knowing what’s not!

homemade potting soil recipe
Great potting soil needs to be both lightweight and filled with nutrients.

There are hundreds of brands and varieties of potting soil available today. Many with all types of added fertilizers, fungicides, and other additives that are far from organic.

In fact, opening a bag can sometimes make you wonder if there is any real “soil” in the mix at all. But there is simply no need for those ingredients. Especially when you can create incredibly powerful homemade potting soil from just a few basic organic ingredients.

What Makes Great Potting Soil

Great potting soil needs to have a few basic qualities and ingredients.

For starters, it needs to be lightweight for containers and baskets. It also needs to be able to retain moisture, but still be loose enough to drain away water.

homemade potting soil recipe
Great potting soil needs to contain the nutrients that plants will need to survive and thrive all season long.

And finally, great potting soil needs to have plenty of nutrients to help feed plants for the long haul. Ones that release and feed plants slowly.

And it just so happens, that “perfect mix” of soil can be made right at home. All with simple, basic, and most importantly, 100% all-organic ingredients.

The Perfect Homemade Potting Soil Recipe

For years, we have been tweaking with our potting soil recipe to come up with the “perfect” blend.

We finally settled on the specific recipe below 2 years back, after adjusting the mix with a bit more oomph of natural fertilizers. And after two years of growing our potted plants in it exclusively, it has been performed beyond our wildest expectations.

worm castings
We now add more worm castings and coffee grounds to our homemade mix, and it has made a huge difference.

It has been incredible for powering our flowers in pots, hanging baskets and containers. And works equally well for the vegetables we grow in containers too.

It is lightweight, has great structure, and is filled with a host of natural, slow release fertilizers. Best of all, at the end of each growing season, we can add it right back into our compost pile!

Along with our recipe below, we have included a short description of each ingredient below. The recipe can be scaled up or down to make as much or little potting soil as needed, as long as the ratios stay the same

Our OWG Homemade Potting Soil Recipe

  • Compost – 6 cups
  • Pulverized Top Soil – 6 cups
  • Worm Castings – 2 cups
  • Spent Coffee Grounds – 2 cups
  • Perlite – 2 cups

Compost – (6 cups)

Compost is a must in creating great potting soil. Not only is it lightweight, it’s filled with an incredible balance of nutrients as well. Nutrients that are released slowly to the roots of plants over time.


Compost will also absorb and retain water in massive amounts. In fact, it can absorb 10 to 15 times its own weight in water!

That absorbing power helps to create potting soil that keeps from drying out to quickly.

Pulverized Soil (6 cups)

Pulverized top soil is simply loose dirt / soil. You can often find it bagged, or in bulk at mulch & soil stores.

pulvarized dirt
Pulverized soil is simply finely broken up topsoil.

You can also soil from your garden as long as it is loose and friable. We have been using our garden soil for this portion of the mix for years.

Worm Castings (2 cups)

Quite simply, worm castings are one of the most crucial parts of this mix. They provide an incredible balance of slow-release nutrients to plants. All while keeping the soil lightweight and absorbing water.

worm castings usage

We use worm castings everywhere on our homestead to power our plants. As a tea for liquid fertilizing. And, in their natural state as a top dressing for potted plants and hanging baskets for natural fertilizing. See : Worm Castings

Coffee Grounds (2 cups)

Coffee grounds are one of the most powerful, humus-building organic ingredients around. And so readily and easily available!

using coffee grounds
Used coffee grounds are powerful for the home gardener

Much like worm castings, they help to add all-important structure to potting soil. And they also contain a fair amount of trace nitrogen, which is extremely important for it’s fertilizing capabilities. See : Using Coffee Grounds To Power Your Garden, Annuals & Perennials

Perlite – (2 cups)

It it’s natural state, perlite is 100% all-natural volcanic glass. But when heated, it pops open almost like popcorn.

But it has near magical powers when used as an ingredient in potting soil. Perlite not only helps to improve drainage, but keeps the soil mix light. And that popcorn-like substance also absorbs moisture, and a lot of it!

perlite - potting soil additive
All natural perlite is the perfect way to lighten potting soil, and help to retain moisture.

Like compost, perlite can keep moisture around the roots of potted plants, releasing it back out as the soil dries out. Perlite, with a neutral PH of 7, won’t affect the make-up of the potting soil. Just another reason it is the perfect soil-lightening additive!

Make this the year you create your own homemade potting soil – it the perfect recipe for success! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary

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