How to Substitute Sand for Perlite


Some gardeners prefer to use a commercially prepared potting mix for planting containers of flowers and vegetables. Others prefer to mix their own blend of mediums to create a planting mixture that will nourish and sustain their plants. If you seek to mix your own potting soil, you will need to add a medium to the soil that will improve the drainage capabilities and lighten the soil density. Either coarse sand or perlite will serve this purpose, and you can substitute sand for perlite in any planting medium recipe you find.

Step 1

Gather the mediums you will combine to create the potting soil. An all-purpose mixture includes soil, peat moss, fertilizer and perlite. Another all-purpose mixture includes compost, soil, perlite and limestone.

Step 2

Measure 1 part soil, 1 part peat moss or compost and 1 part coarse sand in the large bucket. When you substitute coarse sand for perlite, make the substitute a straight conversion without changing the amount of sand from the amount of perlite you would have used.

Step 3

Add either 1 tsp. of the granular fertilizer or 5 lbs. of limestone to the bucket.

Step 4

Stir the ingredients thoroughly with the shovel to mix them completely.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Perlite or coarse sand
  • Granular fertilizer (5-10-5)
  • Limestone
  • Large bucket


  • National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: Potting Mixes for Certified Organic Production
  • University of Massachusetts Extension: Organic Growing Media and Fertilizers for Greenhouses
Keywords: planting mixture, potting soil, sand for perlite

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.