Soiless Planting


Gardeners who tend containers filled with flowers or vegetables often select soilless planting media to fill their planting containers. Because of the high incidence of soil-borne pathogens and fungi that exist in soil-based planting media mixtures, using a soilless media instead can effectively eliminate these gardening struggles. When you opt to use soilless planting methods, often you mix your own media by combining several different ingredients into a beneficial mixture that will support and nurture your plants.

Step 1

Pour one part peat moss and one part vermiculite or perlite into the large bin or bushel basket. Add 2 oz. of crushed limestone and 1 cup of granular slow-release fertilizer for every bushel basket of soilless planting media. This creates an all-purpose, soilless planting media.

Step 2

Mix the ingredients well with your hands or with a shovel.

Step 3

Add only enough water to the ingredients to moisten them slightly. Mix the ingredients again with the shovel after adding the water.

Step 4

Fill planting containers approximately three-quarters full of the soilless media and place the plants into the containers. Add additional soilless media around the roots of the plants to finish planting them. Water the plants thoroughly to saturate the media.

Step 5

Keep the soilless media evenly moist at all times. Generally, soilless planting media requires approximately twice as much water to stay moist as soil-based media because of the large percentage of peat moss in the mixture. Never allow soilless planting media to dry out. You will have difficulty rehydrating it sufficiently if this occurs.

Step 6

Fertilize plants growing in soilless media every one to two weeks. Mix the fertilizer with water according to package recommendations for the size of the containers and carefully pour the fertilizer over the soil to feed the plants.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid porous planting containers when you grow plants in soilless media, because these containers will dry out the media even faster than normal.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss
  • Vermiculite or perlite
  • Large bin or bushel basket
  • Limestone
  • Granular slow-release fertilizer (10-10-10)
  • Shovel
  • Planting containers
  • All-purpose fertilizer (water-soluble)
  • Compost


  • ATTRA: Potting Mixes for Certified Organic Production
  • Pennsylvania State University: Homemade Potting Media
Keywords: soilless planting media, soilless media, mix your own

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.