Flows Plant Care Guides A Houseplant Soil Recipe

A Houseplant Soil Recipe

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The foundation of any healthy plant, soil ensures that our plants can support themselves, get enough water, and all the nutrients they need to produce the greenest leaves and the biggest flowers. If you want healthy houseplants, you need a good potting soil to get you started.

Today’s houseplant soil recipe comes from my book, Garden Alchemy. If you want to take a deep dive on soil and other organic gardening recipes and methods, this book is for you! It has over 80 recipes inside for indoor and outdoor gardening, all using organic methods.


Compared to the plants in our garden, houseplants are at a disadvantage. By living in pots, they do not have the opportunity to gather nutrients from the earth and the extra moisture held within deep soil. That’s why it’s especially important we give them the best chance possible by planting them in high-quality potting soil.

Have you ever noticed how often you need to water your houseplants? They tend to dry out quickly and require a potting mix that can actually retain moisture better to keep them hydrated. Indoor plant roots also need air circulation and drainage. So an indoor soil mix should balance the need to hold onto moisture, create air pockets, and allow for the excess water to drain freely through the drainage holes in your pot. In summary, the three things you need in a good potting soil structure are materials for:

Other key factors when it comes to indoor soil are not about the soil at all, but what we put the soil in, and what we put in it. We must ensure plants have enough room to grow and have the right nutrients.


With how much I talk about how outdoor soil is essential for plant health, you may think that it’s right for houseplants as well. But bringing in soil that is already full of nutrients, it’s also full of microorganisms and soil wildlife (like worms and bugs). By bringing this soil inside you’re also bringing in these organisms….BUT not their predators. Without the complete ecosystem that exists outdoors, the organism population can quickly get out of hand in a bad way.

While I love critters in the garden, it’s best to keep them there! Otherwise, you may get pests like fungus gnats inside the house. Instead, use a sterile houseplant soil recipe and add nutrients to it through an indoor plant fertilizer.

My indoor plants absolutely thrive with this houseplant soil recipe, getting all the nutrients and moisture they need to grow and grow. To begin, let’s break down the ingredients and how to get your soil ready for potting.


The most important ingredient of this houseplant soil recipe is the compost, so you need to make sure it is done right! Compost is made up of broken-down organic matter that is rich in microorganisms and adds life to soil. It holds moisture and allows nutrients to be available to plants; however, quality varies greatly on the inputs and composting methods.

Both urban and farm compost can be devoid of proper nutrients and contain undesirable materials such as pesticides, herbicides, and plastics. Use properly balanced homemade compost or purchase top-quality commercial compost from a trusted source.


Your compost is nearly ready. However, it is very important to sterilize the compost before you bring it into the house and keep critters, fungi, and bacteria at bay. Properly finished and screened compost is the cornerstone of building many potting soils. Sterilizing it will help to finish of harmful bacteria (while keeping the good bacteria), keep away pests, and prevent ailment.

I like to prepare compost for soil for houseplants by baking moist compost in the sun. Or, you can use an oven and let it run for at least thirty minutes at 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Warning, this method does get a little stinky!

Alternatively, you can purchase a sterilized compost. Store any leftover compost in an airtight container for future indoor and seed-starting potting mixes.

With the exception of compost, the rest of the soil ingredients in this recipe do not have active biology so they can be added as they are purchased.

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