Soil Recipes

Soil Recipes

Posted by Annie Algren on Jul 28th 2022

July 29th, 2022

July 29th, 2022

Tonkadale’s Custom Indoor Plant Soil Recipes

The foundation of any healthy plant starts with one thing – the soil. A proper potting mix ensures that your plant has everything it needs including micro and macro nutrients, aeration (oxygen), and water retention.

When determining a proper potting mix, it is important to consider the needs of your plant. Does your plant like to dry out before watering or does it prefer to stay evenly moist? Maybe it prefers a more acidic mix, or alternatively an alkaline soil. If you have a little extra time, it can be beneficial to research the plant’s natural habitat and growing conditions. You can use this information to mimic the conditions your plant is accustomed to and create the most suitable environment for it to enjoy.

At Tonkadale, we carry various kinds of potting mix that on their own are great but are also the foundation of specialty mixes for your most special plants. Most potting mixes contain a carefully balanced proportion of soilless media such as peat moss, bark, sand, or perlite, organic nutrients such as humus and worm castings, and beneficial fungi called mycorrhizae (those special root colonizing fungi that increase water and nutrient retention). When choosing a potting mix as your foundation, take into consideration it’s water retention, aeration, acidity, and available nutrients.

Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix
A general potting mix for most plants which includes 45-55% peat moss, hummus, perlite, worm castings, limestone, kelp, shrimp meal, Myco-Tone (a special blend of mycorrhizae), and alfalfa - all the good nutrients that most indoor plants desire.

Espoma’s Cactus Mix
This mix is recommended for cactus, succulents, palms, and citrus. 40-50% peat, hummus, sphagnum peat, sand, perlite, worm castings, limestone, and Myco-Tone. This mix has good drainage and is the correct pH for making semi-desert plants happy providing optimum aeration and drainage.

Espoma’s Orchid Mix
Not only the perfect mix for orchids and bromeliads, but the great addition to soil mixes when growing epiphytes. Contains 65-75% aged pine bark with perlite and horticultural charcoal added for extra drainage. Lime is also an ingredient which adjusts the pH of this soil mix.

Tonka Terra
Our house blend potting soil mixed to our specifications. Organic compost, sphagnum peat moss, perlite, and fine composted bark. A heavier mix usually advised for outdoor potting, but suitable for most indoor plants as well with some modifications. We recommend adding additional perlite, peat, or orchid mix for added drainage.

Fox Farms’ Coco Loco
A Coconut coir-based mix which is a great substitute for peat moss. Ingredients include 50-60% coconut coir, aged forest products, perlite, earthworm castings, bat guano, kelp, oyster shells, dolomitic lime, and mycorrhizae. This soil holds moisture 2 to 3 times longer than peat moss blends as the coir acts like little sponges releasing water when needed. It also allows for better root aeration.

Horticultural Charcoal
Horticultural charcoal is produced by heating untreated hardwoods to a very high temperature without oxygen in a process called pyrolysis. The result is an excellent soil conditioner to for improving potting mixes and keeping terrariums fresh. Improves drainage and acts like a filter to remove impurities that can be harmful to roots.

Perlite is a form of volcanic glass, heated until it expands, used for aeration in soil to loosen and prevent compaction. Aerates soil and promotes root growth.

Worm Castings
Broken down organic matter (thanks to worm digestion), packed with nutrients and minerals that plants love! Worm castings contain over 60 micronutrients and trace minerals. Acts as a neutralizer when pH levels are too high or low. Humus in castings extracts toxins and harmful fungi and bacteria from soil.

Orchid Bark
Fir bark is a great media for orchids by also adds great oxygenation and drainage to soil mixes.

Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral like perlite but retains more moisture. Helps loosen heavy soils and prevent compaction.

Peat Moss
This al sphagnum peat moss holds moisture and aids in preventing soil compaction. Offers slightly more acidity than coco coir.

Take the guesswork out creating custom potting mixes. Here are five potting mix recipes for all your planty needs.

Arid Mix
For use with: Cactus, Succulent, Euphorbia, Sansevieria, Jade (Crassula), Aloe, Opuntia

Plants in this category are characterized by succulent, waxy, or leathery leaves and thrive in hot, dry environments. They require sharp drainage and less frequent watering.

  • 1 Part Cactus Mix
  • 1 Part Perlite

Aroid/Epiphyte Mix

For use with: Monstera, Philodendron, Anthurium, Pothos, Alocasia, ZZ Plant, Syngonium, Peace Lily, Aglaonema, Hoya, Bromeliad, Ficus, Lipstick Plant, Orchid Cactus, Peperomia, Staghorn Fern, Birds Nest Fern

Plants in this category thrive in humid environments, but rarely in wet soil. Many plants in this category are also considered epiphytes, meaning they grow on other plants in their native habitat and derive moisture and nutrients from air and rain. These plants require regular watering, but quick drainage that allows for a drying out period.

  • 1 Part All Purpose Potting Mix
  • 1 Part Orchid Bark
  • 1 Part Perlite
  • 1/2 Part Charcoal
  • 1/2 Worm Castings

Tropical Terrestrial Mix

For use with: Begonia, most Ferns, Palm, Fittonia, Bird of Paradise

Plants in this category grow exclusively on land. These plants prefer a nutrient rich soil that holds on to moisture longer, but still allows for the mix to dry out a bit between waterings.

  • 2-3 Parts All Purpose Potting Mix
  • 1 Part Vermiculite
  • 1/2 Part Worm Castings

Carnivorous Mix

For use with: Monkey Cups (Nepenthes), Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia), Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea)

Plants in this category are bog-dwelling and require evenly moist soil and higher humidity to thrive. These plants are also sensitive to excess minerals in potting mix and often prefer distilled or filtered water.

  • 3 Parts Peat Moss
  • 1 Part Perlite

Prayer Plant Mix

For use with: Maranta, Calathea, Ctenanthe, Stromanthe

Plants in this category prefer a well-draining, but consistently moist soil. Their leaves have adapted to open and close to allow for collection of additional water that drains towards the interior of the plant.

  • 2 Parts Peat Moss or Coco Coir
  • 1 Part All Purpose Mix
  • 1 Part Perlite
  • 1/2 Part Charcoal

As you get to know your plants and feel comfortable with their care requirements, consider mixing up a custom mix for your next re-potting project. And hey, you don’t have to be too precise. Plants are flexible, they have to be!

Happy Planting!