Save Money on Soil: DIY Mix Recipe Inside

In this video, Sheffield Made Plants will demonstrate why expensive premium house soil mixes from stores should be avoided. Instead, making your own mix can lead to significant cost savings and other benefits beyond just the price.

The currency used in the video is Great British pounds and Euros, but the same principles apply regardless of location. By following this method, you can make great savings no matter where you are. USD conversions will also be provided for context on costs.

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Ribbon Organics OMRI Certified Organic Compost Size: 7.9 Gallons, 32-35 Pound Bag

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Let’s take the example of a house plant soil mix from Grow Buddha available on Amazon. Currently on sale for £11.99 ($12.85) for a two-liter bag, that’s a whopping £6 ($6.43) per liter. Quite steep, right? Now, let’s analyze the marketing strategy behind this bag.

It mentions fancy ingredients like clay minerals, cast meal, fermented biochar, rock phosphate, and humic acid, which may sound impressive. However, these are also commonly found in good-quality compost. Looking at the blend of ingredients, it’s a pretty standard mix with coconut coir as the main component, vermiculite for water retention, perlite and charcoal for drainage, and volcanic minerals for nutrients.

The problem is that we’re paying a premium for this mix, which can easily be made at home for a fraction of the cost. When you buy individual ingredients separately, the prices can vary. Here’s a breakdown of the cost per liter based on the prices I found on Amazon for delivery. You can buy a 50-liter bag of coconut coir for £20.53 ($22), which works out to be 41p ($50.97) per liter.

Alternatively, a massive 100-liter bag is available for £29 ($31.07), which is only 29p ($36.05) per liter. I highly recommend purchasing perlite in bulk as it’s much cheaper than buying it in small containers from the shop. Charcoal is relatively expensive at £3.60 ($3.86) per liter, and volcanic minerals cost £7.50 ($8.14) per liter. Vermiculite can be obtained at a more affordable price.

Sheffield Made Plants wants to emphasize that the choice to make your own soil mix is entirely up to you. However, the significant cost savings and the ability to customize the mix according to your plant’s needs are undeniable advantages.

By creating your own mix, you’re not only saving money on expensive pre-made mixes, but you’re also avoiding the convenience fees associated with buying ready-made products. Convenience is often a selling point in the house plant world, but with a little effort, you can achieve great results at a fraction of the cost.

So, don’t hesitate to give it a try and start making your own soil mix. Sheffield Made Plants is confident that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the savings and the satisfaction of providing a customized blend for your beloved house plants.

Sheffield Made Plants bought a soil mix for 52p ($64.64) per liter, which was considerably more expensive than perlite for unknown reasons. To compare the cost with the mix from Grow Buddha, let’s consider a one-liter mix consisting of 40% coconut core, 20% perlite, 20% charcoal, 15% vermiculite, and 5% volcanic minerals.

Although the exact blend of volcanic minerals is unknown, this ratio appears reasonable and results in a more respectable cost of one pound and forty pence per liter. This cost is four times cheaper than the premium soil mix from Grow Buddha, representing a fantastic saving. However, Sheffield Made Plants has an even cheaper solution.

Sheffield Made Plants keeps their soil mix super simple, using just two ingredients: compost and perlite. Here’s how Sheffield Made Plants creates their mix. To ensure safety while handling perlite, Sheffield Made Plants prefers to work in an open environment, such as the garden.

If indoor space is limited, wearing a mask is advisable to protect one’s health. The necessary ingredients are perlite and regular multi-purpose compost, which can be obtained from a local DIY store or garden center.

Sheffield Made Plants suggests picking up a decent-sized bag of regular compost, which is good for the plants with its dark, nutrient-rich composition.

To create the soil mix, Sheffield Made Plants uses a Tote box. The process involves layering the compost and perlite, similar to assembling a lasagna. This layering technique makes it easier to incorporate the ingredients rather than dumping them in all at once, which can be challenging to mix thoroughly.

Initially, large clumps of compost are broken up before filling the Tote box with approximately one-fifth of its capacity. Next, Sheffield Made Plants adds perlite using a scooper, typically two or three scoops for every five parts of compost. The perlite may cause fine dust to become airborne, so caution is necessary, even when working outside.

After adding perlite, Sheffield Made Plants thoroughly mixes the bottom part of the box to ensure proper distribution. Although the mix doesn’t require exact measurements, a rough ratio of five parts compost to two parts perlite is used.

A layer of perlite, approximately three scoops, is added, and the bottom part of the box is mixed again for better integration. At this point, Sheffield Made Plants achieves a visually appealing mix, characterized by a good blend of dark compost and white perlite particles.

If desired, a bit of fertilizer can be added at this stage, although Sheffield Made Plants prefers using water-soluble fertilizer and chooses not to include it. The process continues with topping up the box with compost and repeating the layering steps.

Clumps are broken up again, and a few scoops of perlite are added. Throughout the process, Sheffield Made Plants emphasizes the importance of wearing a mask due to the fine particles released by the perlite. The box is filled up to approximately three-quarters capacity, and one final round of compost and a small amount of perlite is added to avoid needing to create a new mix in the near future.

After ensuring the lid is securely closed, Sheffield Made Plants gives the box a shake to thoroughly incorporate the components.

The resulting soil mix is visually appealing and suitable for house plants. Sheffield Made Plants has realized that purchasing the best soil mix is unnecessary, as garden compost provides the necessary nutrients for plant growth, especially when combined with a proper fertilization schedule.

While volcanic minerals and charcoal can be beneficial additives, they are not essential in Sheffield Made Plants’ experience. All-purpose compost, such as the Miracle Grow brand available on Amazon for 21p ($26.11) per liter, can be used. By buying perlite in bulk at 29p ($36.05) per liter, Sheffield Made Plants achieves a total cost of just 23p ($28.59) per liter, providing incredible savings compared to the soil mix from Grow Buddha or other pre-made mixes available online or locally.

Sheffield Made Plants acknowledges that there are a few downsides to this approach. The upfront cost and storage can be challenging. However, Sheffield Made Plants prefers to invest upfront with the knowledge that significant savings will be made in the long run. The initial investment for compost and perlite is around £30 ($32.15), while the equivalent from Grow Buddha costs £12 ($12.86) for a two-liter bag.

If one wishes to include all the expensive ingredients provided by Grow Buddha, the initial investment can reach £75 ($80.36). Storage may also pose issues, especially for the large bag of perlite, which cannot be left outside or stored in the house due to its fine dust particles. Sheffield Made Plants shares their experience of storing perlite in an awkwardly positioned shed, which requires precautions to prevent damage and ensure safety.

The advantage of making one’s own soil mix is its full customization according to specific plant needs. If succulents require more perlite for improved drainage, a small batch can be prepared. Similarly, adjusting the compost amount or adding vermiculite can address issues of excessive drying in specific climates.

Sheffield Made Plants encourages experimenting and treating the provided recipe as a starting point. While compost is preferred due to its nutrient content, coconut core can be used instead, and the mix can be tailored to individual preferences. Sheffield Made Plants also highlights the environmental aspect, mentioning that some pre-made mixes contain peat moss, which raises sustainability concerns. By making their own mix, individuals can make informed choices.

Sheffield Made Plants emphasizes the significance of perlite for its ability to maintain light and airy soil, ensuring proper water penetration and preventing waterlogging, which can harm plant roots.

In conclusion, Sheffield Made Plants has discovered a cost-effective and customizable approach to creating their own soil mix using compost and perlite.

By doing so, they achieve substantial savings compared to commercial options like Grow Buddha. While acknowledging the upfront cost and storage challenges, Sheffield Made Plants believes that the long-term benefits outweigh the initial investment.

The customizable nature of homemade mixes allows for specific adjustments, and it also enables conscious decisions regarding sustainability and environmental impact. Sheffield Made Plants encourages others to explore and experiment with their own mixtures, tailoring them to meet the unique needs of their house plants.


I’m just a plant lover from Central Florida with a passion for sharing knowledgeable facts about all things plants.

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