How to Make Potting Mix at Home Guide


(21 customer reviews)

Want to learn how to make potting mix at home? This one-of-a-kind, double-sided and laminated Guide shows you how to make a durable, high quality potting mix. In just 4 easy steps with illustrated instructions and tips. This Potting Mix Recipe is ideal for most plants and allows you to customise it to your own needs. You’ll learn what specific ingredients to include to supercharge your potting mix to make it last longer and provide vital nutrients for healthy plants.

A handy chart will help you choose the best ingredients to substitute or add to suit your requirements. You’ll also learn how to adjust the soil pH level of your mix.

The Conversion Chart makes it quick and easy to follow the quantities in this recipe and measure them in Litres, US or UK Gallons. No guessing needed!

BONUS: Includes 5 Organic Seed Raising Mix Recipes. [Scroll down to read more]

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How to Make Potting Mix at Home

Follow the Subtropical Planting Guide for sowing suggestions

This DIY Potting Mix Recipe has important properties for growing healthy plants. The ingredients in this recipe play vital roles including drainage, aeration, water and nutrient retention, plant food, root support, microbes, durability and thermal insulation. When you control the quality of your soil health, your plants will also be healthy. That means less pest and diseases to manage and greater joy as a gardener! You’ll learn what specific ingredients to include to supercharge your potting mix to make it last longer and provide vital nutrients for healthy plants.

What are the Benefits of Making your own Potting Mix?

  • You save money compared to buying many commercial premium quality potting mixes.
  • You can also save money by adding ingredients to make your potting mix last longer.
  • Safe ingredients – you control the outcome you want with no hazardous chemicals.
  • Save time and reduce water usage – your own potting mix will NOT dry out quickly or repel water like many commercial mixes based on cheap pine bark. This recipe holds moisture longer, requiring less frequent watering.
  • It’s convenient – you can make up exactly the quantity you need.
  • It’s satisfying, fun and rewarding being self-reliant and you can share these skills with others.

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Who is this Potting Mix Guide for?

Perfect if you:

  • are a gardener at any skill level wanting to make your own soil mix recipes;
  • are a garden club member wanting to optimise results for competitions or your own garden;
  • are a teacher/educator and want an indestructible teaching aid for student gardening classes;
  • want to grow nutrient-dense food and healthy plants in a high quality soil that holds nutrients and moisture longer;
  • are sick of using expensive bagged potting mix or have poor soil that dries out too quickly;
  • want to avoid chemicals and have total control over the soil your plants grow in;
  • need to save money by making your own soil mixes;
  • want one recipe that enables you to make a variety of potting mixes for different plants;
  • want an easy-to-use potting and organic seed raising mix recipe guide to use year after year;
  • are looking for the perfect present for gardening friends and family.

How to Make Potting Mix at Home – Guide Features:

How to Make Potting Mix at Home Guide with laminated surface and tick boxes

The guide has a laminated surface so it’s easy to tick boxes and wipe clean

  • List of equipment and materials; ingredients; and optional nutrients and soil amendments.
  • Laminated for long-term, practical use indoors or out in your garden shed.
  • Tick boxes so you can mark off each ingredient, equipment and materials with a whiteboard marker pen [not included] to make sure you have everything ready. Wipe off after use.
  • Detailed, illustrated step-by-step instructions with tips.
  • Instructions on how to change the pH of your potting mix if required.
  • Conversion chart for measurements used in this recipe, making it quick and easy to convert litres into US or UK gallons.
  • Comparison chart showing you the valuable roles each ingredient plays in your mix. The chart enables you to easily substitute or add ingredients to your recipe that best suit your needs and budget.
  • This attractive guide makes an economical gift that will last for years.
  • Compact size for keeping on your fridge with a magnet [not included].

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BONUS Organic Seed Raising Mix Recipes

Looking for an organic seed raising mix recipe? In addition to the DIY Potting Mix Recipe, with the many variations you can create, this Guide also has five easy organic seed raising mix recipes. These seed raising mixes contain a key ingredient that helps boost seed germination. So, if you want to successfully raise seeds and healthy seedlings, these recipes can help improve your success.

This double-sided, laminated guide is a great value tool that you can use year after year. A sustainable choice!

Product specifications: A4 size; double-sided; laminated; full colour; waterproof.


I live in the US/Europe. Will the measurements in this recipe work for me?

The Conversion Chart provides a list of volume measurements in litres and gallons (both US and UK). So this makes it super easy for you to customise the recipe to units of measurement you’re familiar with.

Make your own homemade potting mix in small or large quantities to suit your needs

What if I want to make a larger or smaller quantity of potting mix?

This recipe makes a total of 36 litres = approx 9.5 gallons (US) or 8 gallons (UK). So you can simply halve, double or multiply the quantities to suit your needs. Generally, this quantity of potting mix is suitable for most people to fill several average sized pots. So you can make a batch at a time and use it all at once or store it. No expensive equipment is needed and the weight/volume is easily stored, even in small spaces. Because it’s lightweight, this potting mix is also easy to carry, even if you make a large quantity. Perfect for balconies and rooftop gardens.

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How do I know if this Potting Mix Recipe will suit my needs?

Generally, this Potting Mix Recipe suits most plants and has been designed so you can adapt it to suit many different situations. For example: Are you time poor and want to water and feed your plants less often? Need a heavier mix for an exposed windy area so your pots don’t fall over? A moisture-holding recipe for thirsty plants in a dry climate? A more acidic or alkaline soil for specific plants? No problem! Because there are a variety of optional ingredients you can add to your mix to suit these and many other conditions, this recipe is really flexible.

How do I source the ingredients in this recipe?

The ingredients in this Potting Mix Guide are easily available at most hardware stores, nurseries, horticultural supply/produce stores and on Amazon. This Guide has been designed so you can succeed by following principles. You will also receive bonus tips and a shopping list helping you source ingredients if you don’t already have them. Even if you can’t find one ingredient, it’s not a problem, because by using the comparison chart in this Guide, you can still make a high quality potting mix.

The comparison chart lists 10 commonly available ingredients that perform a wide variety of roles to help you make the best choice for your location and budget. So this makes it easy for you to substitute with another ingredient that will do a similar job. This chart also enables you to confidently adjust the soil mix, so you can make up a variety of different potting mixes, and know they will work. If you still need help after purchasing your Guide, simply email me and I’ll assist you in sourcing the ingredients personally.

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I usually buy a bagged potting mix. Can I improve it by using this Potting Mix Recipe?

Absolutely! If you find it convenient to start with a commercially available potting mix, you can always improve the characteristics of this mix. So, for example, you can increase the moisture and nutrient-holding capacity of your regular potting mix. Use the Guide to add some or all the suggested ingredients in this recipe that perform those roles. This will be very useful to stop your bagged mix becoming hydrophobic (repelling water). It can also reduce the frequency you need to fertilise. If your regular potting mix does not contain slow-release nutrients, you can use the recipe to guide you what to add to feed your plants over time.

Does this Potting Mix recipe contain garden soil?

No! This is a soil-less growing medium designed for growing plants in containers with a balance of ingredients that are lightweight, provide excellent drainage, aeration, moisture retention, nutrients and neutral pH suited to growing most plants. It can also be used to plant straight into in raised beds as a solution to poor quality garden soil. The texture and properties of garden soils vary widely so are not generally suitable for container plants. Garden soil may not have the ideal particle structure for optimum drainage, have poor moisture-holding capacity and can contain pathogens, weed seeds and pests. Not what you want to introduce into your pots, especially if you’re growing indoors.

Potting mix is not the same as ‘potting soil’ or ‘garden soil’ which is generally sold as a commercial bagged mix containing a portion of garden soil along with other ingredients like sand and cheap organic material like composted bark and manure. This type of ‘garden soil’ or ‘potting soil’ is better suited to planting into garden beds as it’s a coarser mix.

I’m interested in making my own seed raising mix. Can the recipes in your Guide save me money?

There are 5 recipes you can choose from with low-cost or homemade ingredients, so you can tailor to your own budget using materials you may already have or make easily for free. This allows you to grow a more sustainable garden rather than paying for packaged seed raising mixes, with the embodied energy in manufacturing and transport. You can also sprinkle your own seed raising mix blend into your garden for sowing seeds directly.

Can’t I just make my own seed raising mix by sifting garden soil?

These recipes are soil-less. This ensures no soil pathogens are present that could cause damping off and other diseases that stop germination or healthy seedling growth. Pathogen-free growing media is essential for successful seed raising. By making your own blend, you control the growing environment. So you are more likely to avoid potential problems with soil-based mixes. Predominantly sandy soils won’t hold moisture or nutrients sufficiently. Clay soils may not contain adequate oxygen and air spaces for roots to breathe and can become waterlogged. Customers who have had poor germination previously, have shared their success stories by using the recipes in this Guide.

How was this Guide developed?

This unique recipe, comparison chart and instructions were developed as a result of three years of tried and tested research. It has been endorsed by Australia’s foremost potting mix guru, John Daly who makes commercial potting mix blends for major Australian company brands as well as his own.

Is this product sustainably produced?

We are proud to partner with Snap Maroochydore, a local printing company that focuses on sustainable printing practices and has Sustainable Green Print Certification. This includes measures to improve environmental impacts, such as the use of certified forest fibres, alternative renewable energy sources, and reducing chemical, energy, water usage and effluent. Sustainable Green Print (SGP) is a nationally recognised environmental certification program based on the ISO14001 framework and focuses on compliance with environmental policies and risks. We are proud to work with a business that aligns with our sustainability values. This laminated guide is waterproof, long-lasting and designed for you to buy once and use forever. If your product does not last the distance, we’ll happily replace it. We also ship this guide in FSC packaging, supporting responsible forestry. So there is no net loss of forest over time. Plant and animal species are also protected along with local communities.

I have another question not answered here. Can you help?

Of course! Click on Discussion (just above this product description) and Leave a Comment with your question or use the Contact Form to send your query. You can also read tips in my article on making potting mix.

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Additional information

Weight34 g
Dimensions215 × 300 × 2 mm

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5 out of 5 stars

21 reviews

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13 reviews with a 5-star rating

  1. One person found this helpful
    Theresa Letch

    Easy to understand but very comprehensive

    Theresa Letch

    THE POTTING MIX RECIPE GUIDE is well done, easy to understand but very comprehensive, and the conversion chart makes it user friendly.

    I also like the sections on balancing soil, and soil nutrients and amendments, when you are in the garden and you don’t have much time you don’t want to be thinking about what to do and how to do it.

    Having it laminated is great. I can take it outside and not worry about it being damaged !!!!

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    • Chandler

      Is this available in an electronic form? I would rather not wait the week (or longer) it would take to get here.

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    • Debbie Sheegog

      Hi,I have been learning through experimenting over the years, resulting in many lessons so I feel as a constant student of gardening, so to speak, but confident with tried and true ways to do things. I love your whole page!
      This was great, and I am all for this. I would love to also share more information, as I thank you for sharing. I also have a really simple recipe, if you don’t mind, I can leave it here for those of us who for example, have lower back issues and have to mix up batches w/ help into a wagon that can be easy to move or scoop from. I got this from a degree’d woman, who has decades of professional experience in her own landscaping company. It works so well that it’s silly-easy, and the natural topsoil you choose can be varied depending on what the store has. The basic ingredients, and remember, always go for the most organic, natural you are able to find: Mix all- (into a wagon works so well for me), one portion of organic top soil; one portion of mushroom compost; one portion Black Cow compost; one or use your judgement on this, a portion of peat moss. It stays under my house where I can access it by scoops from the wagon if it’s a small project, rather than pulling it out, and when I need just a gallon or 2 so put it into a plastic container I am able to lift. I have had incredibly good garden soil developing now for several years, where there was once only sandy stuff, or at one home, clay. It breaks down over time as it also takes care of the new plantings, and eventually the entire bed is constantly being renewed; along with the good hard-wood nicely shredded, (no pine straw is good as mulch, as it does not break down), and no big pieces of wood in the nice, fine mulch. I really see the way they both break down over the years , and other people seem shocked at how well the former-lower blooming gardens that now we see are growing into beautiful blooming ones. I am thrilled when I see earthworms because they are great help for creating these areas. I use this mix in container gardens, as well,(though I do usually add in mostly soil intended for containers with the mix), in the ground as I mix it with the soil dug out kept to the side,for the new planting so as to keep a bit of the old w/ the new, and back-fill it carefully with the mix. I swear by this mix, and as I said, it’s simple. I find the ingredients usually best luck for all of them at a Lowe’s’Garden Center as the mushroom compost is normally there, but not at all stores. Note: tricks for roses and my Hydrangeas- toss a handful of epsom salts around each bush now, early February in my coastal N. C. garden. Rake it in lightly. Whatever it does, my friend &”pro guide” is always right, and I have never had such awesome blooms that go all summer, the hybrid roses are in the ground, and they were in full bloom at least twice totally this past summer. All of the plants around the garden-surround at our beach house were dug up a few years ago and replanted due to a broken aged water system which we replaced with a new drip watering system, and after replanting them, they were immediately doing great. I use organic fertilizer as an extra boost when doing the epsom salts, as well, like Osmocote which my pro friend advises me to use. Read the ingredients, discover that it , too, is a natural product. Another way to extend the amount of soil mix: if you have soil sitting around in which once lived potted plants now gone , add it into the large mix, (as long as they were not diseased!) Best of luck to all! I will keep up with the tips here!

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  2. One person found this helpful

    Love the mix--used it for last few years


    Love the mix–used it for last few years — I to like to mix a whole batch and save for when I go out and garden.

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    • Admin Anne Gibson

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with making your own potting mix using this recipe. Great to hear you love it! Warm regards Anne

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  3. One person found this helpful

    Very informative and easy to understand


    The Potting Mix Guide is very informative and easy to understand and the fact it’s laminated is an added bonus as can use and not worry about it being damaged and then losing the print as has happened so many times in the past. Can’t wait to try.

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    • jessie

      Hi Anne Unfortunately at this stage I haven’t had to opportunity to start. I’ve been away and only came home on Friday. Fortunately I have all the required ingredients to start. As of this week am reconstructing my garden and preparing for the winter harvest keeping fingers crossed, we are still in throes of summer too hot to plant, but will be starting up the seeds will keep you informed.

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    • Admin Anne Gibson

      Thanks for your feedback on the Potting Mix Guide Jessie. Being waterproof, it should give you many years of use outdoors. Enjoy making your own mixes. Cheers Anne

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  4. One person found this helpful
    Ron Harders

    Ron Harders

    Great info. Plants growing like crazy.

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  5. One person found this helpful
    Merryl Bartley

    Fantastic resource!

    Merryl Bartley

    Some time ago I made up a basic Word document just for the potting mix recipe itself with the info from your site. Of course it got battered, dirty and faded even though it was in a plastic sleeve. This laminated guide is SO much better, and having all the additional information in one place is fantastic. You’ve thought of everything, well done 🙂 My plants love the potting mix, and I love your website – a huge amount of resources that I refer to frequently.

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  6. One person found this helpful
    Beren Coulthard

    So practical and user-friendly

    Beren Coulthard

    Commercial potting mixes have always been a disappointment, but I have been daunted at the prospect of making my own mix. Not anymore! Now that I have The Micro Gardener’s simple, easy to follow step by step guide I feel enthusiastic about mixing up a brew. The laminated instruction sheet is so practical and user-friendly I highly recommend it. It has been too hot and dry for me to put it to use yet, but I think it is beautifully done and now that the weather is wet I am raring to go.

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  7. One person found this helpful


    Hi Anne I have been making and using your garden mix. Make a large batch and keep on hand for potting and refreshing an old garden bed. A little while ago after pulling out all the finished plants, I refreshed the bed and transplanted a bunch of chives from another spot. They absolutely love it. They look more like spring onions. So do the garlic chives. Put some springs in and taking off like a rocket. They certainly love it. I will send photos. The tomatoes are so huge. So will continue making and yes trying to plant and sow by the moon calendar.

    Thanks for all you wonderful and informative tips.


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  8. Jessie


    Hi Anne
    Forgot to mention, I’ll continually be updating as I remember or as things occur. We have an equestrian centre where I live and there has been horse poo for the taking. How sustainable it is I don’t know but it can’t be too bad. It breaks down reasonable quickly and no weeds. Sometime last year hubby got me a few bags and I just left in a corner in the back yard for the past 12 months. Yesterday I was tidying up and found these bags. Tipped into a wheel borrow and its the most luscious soil. The worms have gotten into them and worked their magic. I will now mix with my home made soil. I will be starting more bags to put aside for future use.

    Something for those who may have access to horse poo.


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  9. John

    Potting mix recipe feedback


    I’ve used the “How to Make Potting Mix at Home Guide” many times to make a wheelbarrow full of potting mix. With some plants, I’ve literally done testing where I have used a commercial potting mix in one pot and the above home-made mix in another pot and after several months the difference was enormous. The plant growing in the commercial mix did very poorly whereas the one growing in the home-made mix did very well and flourished. The difference was very noticeable over time. I tend to go for the best quality compost I can find at Bunnings in my mix as I don’t have great compost readily available at home. I use all the ingredients recommended in the mix and I think they’re all helpful. I did notice that some plants didn’t do as well in this mix and I’m still not sure why but certainly the above-mentioned test using two pots with the same plant, planted at the same time, but one in commercial Bunnings potting mix and the other in the home-made mix showed a dramatic difference with the home-made mix providing far far better results.

    Update: I thought further about the plants that didn’t work and from memory it was some Madonna Lily indoors that seem not to like the mix, however I’ve since learned that they also don’t like to be overwatered and prefer to dry out between watering. Hence your mix might have been too good at retaining moisture and kept them damper than they needed to be, particularly if I was watering them too frequently.

    Also the plants that did extremely well in my test example were Mandevilla. There were three large ceramic pots outdoors, and two had an average Bunnings potting mix, whilst the third had your potting mix recipe. Over a period of several months the difference was incredible. Eventually the two in commercial mixes died, whilst the Mandevilla in your mix is still thriving years later today.

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    • Clara

      Hi Anne,
      I have been using store-bought (organic) potting soil as I don’t currently have the space/means to make my own soil, but I’m very curious about what you’ve mentioned as a way to add nutrients to the soil to “neutralize” potential leaching of chemicals from metal containers. I just put in some powder coated galvanized steel raised beds, not knowing there could be a potential of chemical leaching. I see in a previous comment you mention that adding zeolite can be a way to address this and absorb any chemicals present? If I have already planted beds, is this something that can be added to the soil after the fact?

      And lastly, I am looking at purchasing some smaller vertical planters that include metal (either zinc or iron) containers (small troughs), and I’m wondering if I should be concerned about those too, and if adding zeolite would address any possibility of harm? Thanks so much

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  10. Tamsin


    Hi Anne, thankyou for sending the potting mix recipe so promptly and very sweet to pop in seeds for the garden, such a lovely gesture. I’ve made my mix and am still waiting on a couple of optional ingredients to come. The PH is quite high. Do you normally have to play with that when you make a batch? It was great fun to make and smells divine. Can’t wait to see how the plants like it.

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  11. Dominique Pahud

    No more plastic wrapped compost for us

    Dominique Pahud

    Since getting this chart we have made lots of potting mix and the plants love it. Just love watching the cycle of waste going to worm farm and compost bin and then turned into lovely gorgeous potting mix.

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  12. Darlene

    The mix feels awesome!


    The mix feels awesome! It’s rich but savvy. Anne has done all the hard work yet doesn’t rip you off both in research and layout of the laminated recipe. My rhubarb crowns are loving it. My Leucadendron had bounced back to vitality. I’m saving water. Anne seems to have thought of everything for human and plant health and is communicable. The Moon Calendar Gardening Guide and Potting Mix Guide have helped me see garlic sprout in 2 days. I’m loving the resources, flexible structure and guidance.
    Cheers, Darlene

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    • Skori

      I’m so excited to get this! What’s even better is that Anne automatically sent me an email with a shopping list so I don’t have to wait to get started! Thank you!

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  13. Ann Lloyd

    Complete with instructions

    Ann Lloyd

    I purchased the Potting Mix Recipe Guide complete with instructions because I am not happy with the contents of pre-packaged potting mixes.

    Finally I bought the Subtropical Planting Guide because I wanted a quick, easy-to-understand planting guide for the 4 seasons I have where I live. Not only does it list “sowing suggestions” and “garden tasks” for each season, it has a list of what pests to look out for in each season.

    These products are the most useful of their kind that I have seen.

    And they are such a time saver because of the way they are set out and they cover everything I think a gardener needs to know and that’s important for a novice like me.

    Well done Anne.

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