What is the best soil for indoor plants? I share my houseplant potting mix formula

Over the years of killing more indoor plants than I care to admit, I’ve learnt a lot about what NOT to do… And simply digging up soil from your back garden for houseplants is one of those lessons! Indoor plants need a good quality soil that offers both water retention and aeration for them to grow and thrive.

So what is the best soil for indoor plants? This is probably debatable and would vary depending on the plant but 95% of the time, I use the same houseplant potting mix formula and my indoor plants LOVE IT!

Related article: Top 20 hard to kill indoor plants
Related article: Top 10 trending indoor plants and where to use them

Create a potting mix plants will love
An ideal soil mix for houseplants uses peat moss, perlite and vermiculite
Caring for your indoor plants

My potting mix formula

All plants prefer different conditions, such as the amount of sun, frequency of watering, and type of soil!

Although you can find plenty of different types of soil on the market, when it comes to choosing the right potting soil for plants I always use this formula. I find it keeps all my indoor plants happy and thriving everything from succulents to ferns!

50% potting mix / 25% perlite / 12.5% peat moss / 12.5% vermiculite

Or to put it simply, half potting mix, and then for the other half, I use half perlite and a quarter of peat moss and vermiculite.

Each of these added ingredients does something a little different and ultimately combined they create the ideal environment to grow.

Potting mix

There are plenty of bagged potting mix varieties on the market and I generally look for an all-purpose one that’s got ‘organic’ on the packet.

I find potting mix alone isn’t sufficient for my indoor plants as water runs too quickly through the soil and they aren’t able to retain enough moisture to grow. One day I was speaking with a horticulturalist who suggested adding several other ingredients…

Pilea plant in my potting mix formula

Perlite

Perlite is a lightweight volcanic glass that improves water retention, aeration and drainage. It feels a little bit like styrofoam and is best for keeping soil loose meaning water can easily travel to the roots of your plant. Because well-draining indoor plant soil mix is essential to prevent roots rotting.

When I’m growing or repotting plants that prefer dryer soil, such as cacti or succulents, I’ll generally increase the amount of perlite I use as it tends to drain water better than vermiculite. Just be aware that too much perlite can cause fluoride burn (brown tips on houseplants) so watch out for this and adjust your soil ratio to suit that plant’s needs.

Peat moss

Peat moss, as the name suggests, is a type of moss that helps to retain moisture in soil. It holds moisture and releases it to your plant’s roots as needed. Peat moss also helps to protect against extreme temperature conditions so if you find your plants struggle in summer or winter, this is probably something you want to consider mixing into your soil.

Vermiculite

The final ingredient I add to my indoor plant soil mix is vermiculite. This stuff almost feels like small wood chips and its main functions are to improve moisture retention and aeration resulting in healthier and more robust plants.

I hope sharing my indoor plant soil mix formula helps you grow your indoor jungle. The combination of ingredients creates a nutrient-rich soil for houseplants. If you’ve got a different recipe for the best soil for indoor plants, I’d love you to share your tips below!

More plant care tips here

Watering indoor plants
Gina Beschorner Style Curator

Welcome to Style Curator, your destination for daily interiors inspiration, styling tips, reno advice, home tours and DIY projects!

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