There are lots of good quality ready to use potting soil available in the Indian market.
So, why should you even bother to make your own potting soil at home?
Because, every plant has different needs, some requires more nutrition, others may want fast draining soil or some requires good water retention quality etc.
You just can’t find the perfect soil for your plant every time and on top of that you are not aware of the quality of ingredients used in them.
So, when you make it at home it is more economical, good quality, right type for your plant and organic.
Which takes us to the bigger question:
How Do You Make Potting Soil At Home in India?
Get all the ingredients required to make the potting soil according to the plant you are trying to grow. This mostly includes – garden soil, cocopeat, vermicompost, neem cake and perlite or vermiculite. Make sure all the ingredients are of good quality, take a big bucket or any other big container. Mix required amount of each very well and leave it for some time to blend. That’s it. Your potting soil is ready to use.
As you see, making potting soil at home is not a rocket science, all you need is to know the requirements of your plant and grab all the necessary potting soil ingredients.
Let’s see the whole process step by step.
How to Make Potting Soil at Home in India – The Complete Guide
Before jumping on to the process of making potting soil, lets first see its ingredients and the mixing ratio because once you know it, 90% of the task will be complete.
Potting Soil Ingredients – What Goes Inside It?
What ingredients are used to make potting soil?
There are quite a few ingredients used to make potting soil, out of which a few will be required in most cases others are required depending on the plants type and need.
A real life example:
Suppose, you are growing succulents they don’t need much compost but you will need to add some ingredients like perlite, sand or pebbles to make the soil fast draining.
Let’s look at them one by one
Essential Ingredients For Making Potting Soil At Home In India
Garden soil is the normal soil that you can get from any nearby garden or surroundings.
If you don’t have any such garden or access to such soil then you can buy it online or from nursery.
As a good percentage of it will be used in making potting soil.
If the garden soil in your area is not suitable for gardening then you should consider using this red soil in place of it.
It is the lifeline for gardening at home, it is basically the coconut dust that comes out of the coconut husk & is available in the market in the form of brick.
Coco peat is essential for container gardening,
Because it can retain moisture for a long period of time and also allow roots to grow freely which the normal garden soil fails to do.
You should soak coco peat brick in water and allow it to soak as much water as it can before using it.
Some of the best coco peat in the market are:
Compost is added in the potting soil to provide the nutrition required for plants to grow healthy and be able to produce vegetables, fruits or flowers.
Every plant requires some amount of nutrition to survive, so adding compost (fertilizer) every 30 – 45 days is a good practice to keep your plants healthy.
Vegetable, Fruit & Flower plant will require more nutrition during their active growing season.
Cow dung and Vermicompost (made from worms) are the most famous one.
Good Quality Vermicompost You Can Try:
Neem cake is added in the potting soil to protect it from pathogens present in the soil.
It also works as a pesticide repellent & also makes the soil nutritious.
So, adding a handful of neem cake can protect your potting soil from the attack of pesticides and kill the pathogens if already present in the soil.
Optional Ingredients: Added According to Plant Type
Perlite is mostly used to increase the draining speed of the soil.
Plants like Aloe Vera, Adenium and mostly succulents requires fast draining soil.
It also helps air to flow freely inside the potting soil, allowing the roots to breathe freely and stay healthy.
Vermiculite is added in the soil for those plants which requires moist environment.
It holds the moisture for a greater period of time.
Basic Tools You Will Require For Preparing Potting Soil
A Big Container
This is the container, where are all the ingredients will be mixed thoroughly. You can use a big tub or even an old suitcase as we use it.
You can use a bucket for this, as you need to be aware of the quantity of each ingredients you put inside the potting soil.
A good quality trowel to scoop out each ingredients into the container and for mixing it as well.
Obviously, a gloves, as there a lot of things you will be touching including fertilizer and pesticides which can cause problem if ingested. So always use a gloves and don’t touch them bare handed.
Potting Soil Mix Ratio – The Blending Begins
Usually the mix ratio depends on the type of plant you are trying to grow.
But the most common potting soil mix ratio used by home gardener looks something like this:
- Garden Soil/ Red Soil – 40%
- Coco Peat – 30%
- Compost – 15%-20% (Depends on the Plant)
- Neem Cake – 5%-10%
Optional Ingredients For Specific Plants
- Perlite – 3%-5% (Optional – To make the soil fast draining)
- Vermiculite – 3%-5% (Optional – to increase the water retention capacity)
This is not a hard and fast rule to use this ratio, but this is a general idea for you to start from.
You can do your own experiment and use that experience.
What should be our aim with the Soil?
- Lightweight (so that it puts less stress on your house)
- Has good moisture retention capacity
- Drainage is smooth (allows water to pass through easily)
- Fluffy in nature (allows oxygen to flow freely)
- Fight against pesticides
- Provides appropriate nutrition
So finally, the only thing left now is to prepare the potting soil for our home garden.
How To Prepare Soil For Planting in Pots In India – For Different Purposes
Making Potting Soil For Vegetables
The first step starts a little earlier
You need to keep the Garden soil/ Red Soil under sun for 2 days.
So that if there are any pathogens or pest inside the soil they get killed due to the sunlight.
It is called sterilization of soil.
Once you have sterilized the soil
Now you need to mix equal quantity of Garden Soil, Coco Peat and Compost.
The amount of compost added is equal in case of vegetables only, you can also add it later as well. But for others compost is always taken lesser in quantity.
Add a handful of Neem Cake.
Once adding all these ingredients, now you have to mix them together very well.
Toss them for a good number of times until you feel they are blended well.
After this keep this mixture inside a container for a few days and let it blend naturally. Make sure the container has air holes but shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight and rain.
That’s it after 2-3 days your Potting soil is ready to be used.
Making Potting Mix For Indoor Plants
Indoor plants usually don’t require much amount of nutrition as they are mostly grown for decorative purpose.
The whole process is same just the amount of compost is reduced by a huge margin and coco peat and soil is increased.
So, it looks something like this 40% garden soil, 40% coco peat and 10% -15% compost and rest is neem cake and perlite or vermiculite (depending on the type of plant).
If the plant bears flower then you can add a handful of compost to it time to time (once in 30 days).
Preparation of Succulent Potting Soil
Succulents are desert plants that can thrive well without nutrition.
So for the potting soil mix, the amount of compost is reduced significantly.
You only need to add a handful of compost in the potting soil.
But, good amount of sand and perlite is added to make the soil fast draining.
So this is how it looks:
- Garden Soil – 30%
- Sand – 30%
- Coco Peat – 20%
- Perlite – 10%
- Neem Cake
I hope this article will help you make your own potting soil at home in India.
If you still have any doubts and could not understand something. Do make sure to comment down below, so I can help you out.