Soil for Houseplants – Ultimate Guide with DIY Tips

Who doesn’t want their houses to look aesthetic? To add to the beauty and prosperity of our houses we add houseplants. No matter what plants you have they need proper care and soil, even if they are indoor houseplants.  Knowing the right soil for houseplants is thus, equally important. But it can be confusing and tedious surfing through the internet to find reliable sources which would tell you exactly how to take care of your houseplant.

This article is a one-stop solution to all your confusion related to the soil best for your indoor plant. Continue reading to find a step-by-step guide for your indoor plant soil! Let’s first begin by understanding why it is important to have a specific kind of soil for your indoor plant. 

The Best Soil for Houseplants

The Best Soil for Houseplants

Most garden soil and topsoil are too heavy and dense for potted plants which include houseplants/ indoor plants. With time, they suffocate the roots of the plant as they become compacted in the pots.

The most suitable soil for our houseplants is a potting mix or potting soil. While you might have heard these terms before it is important to understand what they exactly are and how they are different from garden soil or topsoil.

Here’s a little explanation of what potting mix or potting soil is:

Potting soil, commonly referred to as potting mix, is made up of many components that give potted plants a healthy environment in which they flourish. The use of these mixtures is to avoid the soil becoming overly compacted, which suffocates roots and obstructs the movement of water and nutrients. A potting mix high in quality will be fluffier, lighter in weight, and able to retain moisture. Both more specialized mixtures and all-purpose blends come in a wide variety of varieties.

What is the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Potting Soil? 

Indoor Potting Soil Outdoor Potting Soil
Ingredients Perlite, coco coir, peat moss, charcoal, and biochar may be present. Peat moss, pine bark, compost, and fertilizer might be present.
Characteristics Good drainage and aeration, with light coarse good aeration and moisture retention.
Applications Indoor container gardening Outdoor potted plants and landscaping
Soil Types Seen in organic potting soil, seed starting mixture, succulent soil mixture, and other forms. Used as garden potting soil, raised or garden bed potting soil, and all-purpose potting mix.

What is the Soil for Indoor Plants?

So now, what are the potting soil and potting mix for indoor plants?

The answer to this is a little intricate, but here’s a simple layout of the details for you.

Despite being widely referred to as “potting soil,” the majority of commercial potting soils lack soil. They are frequently constructed from wood items that have been reinforced with elements that aerate the soil and deliver nutrients to the roots. These soils are typically referred to as “potting mix” and are lighter and fluffier.

The texture of high-quality potting soil will be loose and crumbly. Roots will decay and mold will have a chance to grow in soils that retain too much water.

Different indoor plants require different types of potting soil depending on their individual needs. Given below is a tabular representation of all the different potting soils for a simpler understanding.

Can you Use Outdoor Potting Soil for Indoor Plants?

Can you use outdoor potting soil as a soil for houseplants?

Indoor plants can be used for outdoor plants, however, the use of outdoor soil for indoor plants should be avoided.

The reason for this is explained below:

Outdoor plants can survive in the structure of indoor potting soil. Because indoor soil tends to dry out rapidly, all that is needed to add is fertilizer and a wetting agent.

Organic materials and surplus nutrients in outdoor potting soil can attract pests like fungus gnat larvae. In addition to that, it might result in root rot in an indoor plant due to its weight and excessive water retention.

Now that we know that our indoor plants need a specific kind of soil and how this soil is different from outdoor potting soil, let us get into details of indoor potting soil.

Can we use Orchid Potting Mix for Houseplants?

Can we use Orchid Potting Mix for Houseplants

In the orchid potting mix, some plants will thrive and grow healthily. These plants are relatives of orchids like air plants (Tillandsia). They have the same method for absorbing nutrients and moisture. by way of their roots.

Scientists refer to all plants that utilize their roots in this manner as epiphytes. Some plants are semi-epiphytic, such as bromeliads. Such plants can be effectively potted in orchid potting soil.

However, the other plants are what most people use as houseplants. possess a typical root system. This means that for their roots to absorb water and receive nutrients, a medium (soil) is required.

They also have little roots. The large gaps between the particles of the orchid potting mix cannot be tolerated by those tiny roots. For them, ordinary potting soil works fine. The fact that the orchid potting mix drains water so quickly makes it unsuitable for other plants that aren’t orchids.

As a result, the plants won’t get enough water. Finally, as I already indicated, a significant amount of the nutrients that orchids need come from the air.

Can we use Organic Potting Soil and Organic Potting mix for Houseplants? 

You might wonder if there is a healthy “organic” composition of potting soil and potting mix for your houseplants. And yes, organic potting mix and potting soil are available. You can also make them on your own!!!

Natural components like compost, worm castings, worm dung, and plant manure make up organic garden soil. There are no toxic pesticides or chemicals involved that could potentially harm your health.

The best method to get the most out of your plants and create gorgeous, lush, and bright flora in your indoor garden is to add healthy soil. Your indoor garden will remain toxin-free and require little upkeep if you use organic soil.

How to make Potting Soil for Houseplants?

How to make Potting Soil for Houseplants?

Do you have to buy potting soil from stores or can you just make it on your own? You can make your own potting soil!!

Although it may seem tough, creating your own homemade indoor potting soil is very easy! This mixture, which only requires three ingredients, is ideal for nurturing indoor plants since it is organic and keeps your indoor plants away from toxins.


  • Peat Moss or Coco Coir
  • Perlite or Pumice
  • Vermiculite



*A “part” is just a generic term for a unit of measurement. Depending on the size of the amount you intend to prepare, one “part” may be a cup, a gallon, a scoop, or a handful.

How to Mix Potting Soil for Houseplants

  1. Pour every component into a bucket, wheelbarrow, potting tray, or garden tub.
  2. Then use your soil scoop or trowel (or your hands) to mix it all together.

And there you have it! Your own homemade indoor potting mix!

Can we use Peat Moss for Indoor Plants?

Can we use Peat Moss for Indoor Plants?

Peat moss is a suitable ingredient for most plants. It is also an important ingredient in our homemade potting mix.

But is it good for indoor plants? Is the best-suited ingredient for the homemade mix or can it be substituted? Your plants’ indoor and outdoor growth and health can be significantly enhanced by using peat moss in potting. Peat moss has a lot to offer, whether you’re a rookie gardener still getting the hang of plant care or a savvy plant parent who simply wants their plants to live their best lives.

The benefits of using a peat-based potting mix include:

  • Improved soil drainage to prevent soggy soil and root rot
  • Lowered soil pH for plants that thrive in acidic conditions—especially blueberries
  • Slower decomposition and resistance to compaction 
  • Better absorption, so it holds onto water and gradually releases it into the plants’ roots
  • Increased nutrient retention, so the good stuff doesn’t get flushed out from frequent watering
  • No unwanted weed seeds or harmful bacteria that could be lurking in a sub-par compost mix

In case you have mold on plant soil, then do not worry as all solutions are given here.

Where can I Buy the Houseplant Soil?

Now if you are someone who doesn’t want to make the potting mix at home and are looking for a readily available option you can get houseplant potting soil from your nearest local store or can purchase houseplant soil online. Before purchasing the soil, you must make sure to keep in mind the specific needs of the plants.

What are the Soil Amendments for Houseplants?

What are the Soil Amendments for Houseplants?

Everyone has been there:  purchasing soil or potting mix only to discover that it either retains too much moisture or not enough. Alternatively, you purchase a plant and discover that the mix has to retain moisture or be well-draining when you seek care instructions.

What do you then?

The solution is actually quite straightforward; you just add something to either increase drainage or moisture retention.

Vermiculite A portion of vermiculite is utilized to aerate the soil. It is best to use it with plants that require soil that retains more moisture because it has a higher ability to retain water by acting like a sponge. Its pH neutrality, which implies that it is neither acidic nor basic, is another one of its positive traits.
Perlite Perlite is frequently used to aerate the soil in order to improve drainage. This is because of its hard design, which makes airtight areas around it that are advantageous for plants like succulents that require adequate drainage.
Pumice If you have a plant that requires soil that drains well, pumice is an excellent material to utilize. Due to those tiny holes, it also provides excellent aeration. It is odorless, quickly leached, and has pH neutrality. Magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, manganese, and copper are among the trace elements found in pumice. It can also hold nutrients from soluble fertilizers because of how porous it is.
Orchid Bark The finer the material, the slower it will dry up, and it is utilized to help increase airflow in soil mixtures. With a pH of roughly 4-5, the fir, a kind of pine, naturally has acidic bark.
Sphagnum Moss Sphagnum moss is pH-neutral, pure, soft, and with long fibers. The ability of plant fibers to absorb water like sponges allows them to hold onto it and utilize it to help maintain soil moisture.
Peat Moss In order to make potting mixtures lighter and to improve airflow, peat moss is included. This can assist reduce the weight of a large pot. It has a lot of tannins and is acidic as well. The drawback is that if you add too much, the mixture may hold too much water and turn into a soggy mess.
Choir Coir helps make potting mixes lighter, improves soil air flow, and effectively holds water. It is best to rinse it out before using it because it can contain a lot of salt. Potassium, iron, manganese, zinc, and copper are also abundant in them.
Sand This is a common ingredient in succulent and cactus potting mixtures because it enhances soil aeration and drainage.
Charcoal It helps boost air movement and can hold water and nutrients due to its porous nature. Charcoal enhances soil pH, removes pollutants, increases water absorption, and makes fertilizer more effective.

You are now all set to set up your own indoor plant kingdom!

Soil for Houseplants


Do house plants need special soil?

Most indoor plants require a soil structure that retains moisture and drains efficiently, allowing the roots of the plants to have access to both water and air. To aid in the growth and health of plants, certain potting mixes also contain slow-release fertilizer. When you select a soil specifically created for the type of plant, you give your indoor plants the ideal potting soil for their requirements.

Does it matter what soil you use for indoor plants?

Indoor plants have distinct requirements from those of outside plants. They will prosper if the proper potting soil is used. Most indoor plants require a soil structure that retains moisture and drains efficiently, allowing the roots of the plants to have access to both water and air.

Can I use the same soil for all indoor plants?

A generic potting soil blend will work for many houseplants, but something pricklier, like a succulent, would need a more specialized blend tailored to its requirements. However, it is recommended that you use soil specific to the type of plant you have.

Do different indoor plants need different soil?

Different indoor plants have different soil needs. The potting mix must be selected according to the individual needs of the different types of plants.

How often do I need to change the soil in my houseplants?

Repotting should be done every 12 to 18 months on average, depending on how quickly the plant is developing. Some slow-growing plants, like cacti, can live for years in the same pot with only a soil resupply. The ideal time to repot your plants is typically during the growing season, which runs from early spring to late summer. Because they are actively growing at this time, your plants will benefit the most from the extra room and new nutrients.

How to avoid bugs on my indoor potting soil?

The majority of household plant pests eat plants and can be found on leaves, flower buds, and/or stems. Here are some recommendations for naturally getting rid of pests on indoor plants

  • Isolate the plant – To stop the infection from spreading to your other houseplants, isolate the plant right away. For a few weeks, make careful to keep a close eye on the nearby plants for any indications of indoor plant pests.
  • Clean surrounding area- Keep the space tidy since certain insects can leave the plant and spend a long time hiding there. So, make sure to use soapy water to properly clean the place where the plant was sitting. If you’d like, you might also use rubbing alcohol to sterilize the area.
  • Clean the pot: Wash the plant tray and pot in soapy water as well. Pests of houseplants can readily conceal themselves on the bottoms of pots and trays as well as under their rims.
  • Get rid of the bugs – To get rid of and remove the bugs from the plant, dab a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol.