Whether you're growing indoor plants in a container or need an outdoor soil amendment, you may have to use potting soil to get the best growth possible.
Soil provides the base for the plant and helps transfer nutrients and water for the green and healthy growth of the plant.
You may need different types of soils, depending on the plant you're growing. By using the best potting soil mixture, you can cut down on the effort and time required to get the desired results from your plants.
Quick Picks: Best Potting Soil Mix
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Top Rated Potting Mix You Can Buy Today
Our Top Pick
Miracle-Gro Potting Soil is our top pick. It provides an excellent base for both indoor and outdoor plants and is ideal for container gardening.
It helps the plant grow twice as big and helps produce more blooming and bright color flowers. It has slow-release fertilizer added to it that lasts up to 6 months. It’s a suitable potting soil for a novice to experienced gardeners.
Best Potting Soil Reviews
Looking for potting soil mix for your garden? Check out these high performing potting soil mixes.
#1. Nature’s Care Organic Potting Mix
Organic potting soil
Nature’s Care Organic Potting Mix is a perfect mix that you can use it in the garden beds or mix it up in a pot for container gardening.
This has a full-dried soil that expands 3 times the size when you add water. It holds 33% more water than basic potting soil and improves almost 90% more air circulation to the plant roots.
It helps prevent you from over-watering the plant. Plus, you don’t need as much aeration. The plant roots can have proper airflow to its roots that prevent the generation of fungi or molds.
It has premixed fertilizer that provides nutrients to the plants for up to 2 months. This organic mix also offers excellent drainage for plants that don’t need much watering.
It absorbs the excess water and drains it while maintaining a proper balance of nutrients and oxygen. The all-natural organic ingredients keep your plant such as cactus and succulent grow healthy.
#2. Kellogg Potting Soil
best potting soil for indoor plants
Kellog Potting Soil is used to amend garden soil for growing flowers and vegetables. This is a high-quality potting soil recommended by professional gardeners. You can use it to amend outdoor soils for in-ground plantings.
The nutrient-rich formulation provides stronger growth to the plants. It has added rice hulls and gypsum to help loosen the compacted clay soils. This improves the airflow inside the ground that plants love. It makes it easier for you to work in the garden.
Amending your soil is essential as it improves the soil drainage. This means when you water the plant, it will be able to reach plant roots for healthier and faster growth. The better water penetration in the soil means less watering to your garden.
It’s safe to use in your garden and is pet friendly. It does not contain any harmful synthetic compounds and has a pH range of 6 to 7.3.
Note: It doesn’t contain any added fertilizers that mean you can use any fertilizer depending on the plant you want to grow.
#3. Baccto Potting Soil
best potting soil for houseplants
Baccto Potting Soil is a premium quality potting soil. It contains a lightweight blend of pre-moistened sphagnum peat moss and other quality ingredients to help grow the plant.
You can use Baccto potting soil for both indoor and outdoor plants. It’s suitable to use for container gardening and garden beds. The unique blend of naturally nutritious dark reed sedge peat, perlite, and sand provides the best growth environment for your plant.
It also contains both a starter and slow-release fertilizer. We also found it perfect for indoor container gardening. The soil provides excellent moisture for growth in less time.
It doesn’t produce a bad smell that makes it ideal to use it indoor. You can buy it in a sealed bag with enough soil for an average size planter. When using outdoor, you can mix it with compost and soil to amend the soil.
You’re ready to use it right out of the bag. This is super convenient as you don’t have to add other mixtures to get started with gardening.
#4. Pro-Mix Potting Soil
potting soil for houseplants
Pro-Mix Potting Soil contains Biofungicide and Mycorrhizae. This is suitable if you have water sensitive plants or growing plants in a lowlight condition.
The active Biofungicide compound protects and enhances plant growth that saves time and money. The unique peat-based formula dries out more frequently than the general-purpose peat-based mix.
It makes it well suited to use in low-light growing conditions and high humidity. As this reduces the chance to overwater your crops. It prevents developing root disease, algae, and fungus gnats. If you're getting started with gardening, then this is an excellent potting mix soil for your garden.
It’s easy to use and provides excellent results in a short period. This all-purpose soil can be used both indoor and outdoor on many plants. We find it great potting soil for vegetables, flowers, herbs, and all other types of plants.
#5. Miracle-Gro Potting Soil
best potting mix for container gardening
The Miracle-Gro is one of the most famous gardening brands. You often find their various gardening products on stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart. The popularity of Miracle Grow potting soil is not without a valid reason.
This potting soil has lots to offer and provides an excellent result for the beginner to the experienced gardener. We find it great to use for container gardening that you can place it both indoor and outdoor. It has fertilizer added to it that can feed plants for up to 6 months.
The use of Miracle-Gro potting soil is very straightforward. You choose a container with a drain hole and fill it 1/3 with the potting mix and loosely place the plant in the container. Add some more soil to cover the roots of the plant and press the ground gently to make a better grip. Then water thoroughly and let the excess water drain.
The Miracle-Gro potting mix help grow several different types of flowers, vegetables, and herbs in the garden.
Here is some recommended potting mix based on plants:
Potting Soil Mix - Buyer Guide
No matter what type of potting mix you choose, there are a few things you'll want to look for when making your selection. Here is the potting soil guide for you.
What makes a Good Potting Soil?
Natural ground soil is a mixture of ground-up rock particles, organic matter of humus, and countless microscopic organisms and tiny invertebrates.
Good potting soil can keep moisture and nutrients for longer and provide it to plant as needed. The potting soil is not the average ground soil that you find in your garden. It’s a blend of ingredients that provides the best growing environment for plants.
It contains several ingredients such as peat moss, compost, coir fiber, vermiculite, perlite, pine bark, and several other compounds depending on the brand.
Good potting soil is lightweight and fluffy and may use moisture-retaining treatments. Some manufacturers also add a slow-release fertilizer to provide your plant extra boost in the growth.
Here are some characteristics of the best potting soil:
Good potting soil should be able to hold moisture well and resist compaction. Proper drainage is vital to prevent generating mold or rot in the mixture. Some container plants don’t like too much water, and the potting mix that holds the moisture well reduces the chance of over watering the plant.
Fertilizer and Nutrients
Plants need nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and several other minerals to grow. For example, nitrogen helps plant for vigorous growth, phosphorus encourages root growth, and potassium improves the health of the plants.
A quality potting mix contains all these nutrients so you can grow a healthy and robust plant. Check the label if it includes any extra fertilizers and nutrients.
The fertilizers in the potting mix can be either slow-release or starter type. The potting soil marked with starter fertilizer indicates that it has mixed fertilizer that can provide nutrients for the first few times it’s watered. This is great for plants that are still small and growing, and you don’t need to over-fertilize it.
The slow-release fertilizer mix lasts longer and used on already grown plants. These fertilizers usually last a month. After that, you have to continue with your regular fertilization schedule, depending on the plants.
Improved air circulation in the potting mix helps plant roots to grow and prevents the generation of molds and rot. You can test if the potting mix is of high quality by checking if its lightweight and fluffy. If you press the potting mix bag, the soil should not compact easily.
A consistent mixed potting soil has a smooth and uniform texture. This makes the plant root to grow easily without any obstruction and get it acclaimed quickly.
Good potting soil should be lightweight and not compact easily. This, in turn, helps with the airflow and prevents retaining too much water. You should find the potting mix bag less heavy and fluffy.
A low-density potting mix is perfect for the new and established plant. Pick the potting mix bag and test how heavy it is. A sealed potting mix bag should not be exposed to moisture before in use and should feel lightweight.
A potting mix that contains too many fillers like sand or mulch absorbs and holds the moisture that makes it heavy.
Any good reputable brand will tell you all the ingredients used inside the potting soil. Some brand also markets organic potting mix soil.
Now, is the organic potting soil any better than the non-organic potting mix?
The answer is, it depends.
The main difference between the organic and non-organic potting mix is the pH level. Most non-organic soil has a neutral pH and is free from containment. These are usually cheaper and use recycled products like Styrofoam or peat moss.
Whereas the organic potting mix contains organic matters and has a different pH level. It contains more organic material than non-organic soil and has a natural mixture of compost.
You can choose the non-organic potting mix then further change the soil based on the growing plants. But if you already know the plants you want to grow, then choose the organic potting mix that’s suitable for that plant. It cut down the supplements you need to provide in the future.
How to Improve the Problem Soils
There are four types of soil that you may already have in your garden. The common types of soil are:
Sandy soil: Sandy soil have coarse grains and lack organic matter, which makes them drain free. They are easy to dig and can be cultivated all year. It warms up quickly in spring for early sowing. These are great for succulent soil mix.
Loam soil: The loam soils have a right balance of clay particles to retain moisture and nutrients, and sand grains to improve drainage. Loam soils usually have a healthy worm population. This helps with the plant to thrive with a little extra fertilization. The clay loam is also slower to warm up in spring than the sandy loam.
Clay soil: Clay soils are some of the most fertile lands. This is due to clay particles’ ability to hold on to nutrients. When these soils are well drained, they can be dug to break up solid areas.
Chalk soil: The chalk soil is usually pale and peppered with fragments of flint or limestone. These are difficult to dig and tend to be free-draining. These are low in organic matter or humus. The chalk soil warms up quickly in spring but can have a shallow overlying solid rock.
So how can you improve the problem soils?
To improve the texture and drainage of heavy clay soils, add in bulky organic matter such as compost. This chemically alters the clay and causes the fine particles to cluster, opening up draining channels.
You can further add gravels to improve the drainage and raise the soil level in your garden beds and around the border. You should avoid digging or walking on clay when it’s wet as it compacts the soil. You should also not dig it when it’s dry since both activities destroy the structure of the ground.
If you have sandy soil in the garden, then these soils have free draining. But it can also remove nutrients out of the upper layers and away from the roots of the plants. This leaves the ground impoverished, and the plant may not fully grow due to a lack of nutrients.
You can improve the sandy soil by adding well-rotten organic matter to hold nutrients and moisture in the ground. If you're planning to grow plants that like moisture, then you can mulch the soil.
You can choose the potting mix that further improves the soil structure and change it to make it suitable for growing your selected plants.
How to Make Potting Soil for Containers
The container gardening is excellent alternatives for growing plants anywhere you want. You're not limited to space, and you can plant both indoor and outdoor.
If you want to make own potting soil for the container, then getting started is easy. You have to pick ingredients depending on whether you want to make organic or non-organic mix.
You need to have a base dirt that should be free from any pests, molds, weeds, or fungus. Then mix peat moss, perlite, compost, and the soil together. For a 4 gallon of above ingredients, you should add one cup of dolomite limestone, soybean meal, kelp powder, phosphate, and green sand.
Be careful that none of these additive ingredients contain weeds or pests. Then use a filter to remove any large particles that you don’t want in your soil.
Use a shovel and mix it properly while adding little water to keep the mixture wet. You can dry the soil in the sunlight. If you're not going to use it right away, then store it in a sealed plastic bag.
Can You Mix Potting Soil with Garden Soil?
To answer this question, first, you need to determine the quality of your garden soil. If you have well-established garden soil that you have already used for growing plants and the ground is in good condition, then you can mix the potting soil with garden soil.
The garden soil is very different than the potting soil. While potting soils contains all the nutrients and minerals in the right proportion and don't contain any weeds or pests, the garden soil may lack nutrients or contain weed.
You may need first to improve the soil structure before you start mixing the potting soil with garden soil. Otherwise, you won’t get the most benefit from using the potting soils.
Difference between Top Soil and Potting Soil
The topsoil is the most commonly known as the garden soil that is 5 to 12 inches deep. These soils have various texture ranges and contain different nutrient levels. If your garden topsoil has clay, silt or sandy, then these are not very ideal for gardening purposes.
This is due to these soil types either retain ample moisture and decrease the airflow to the roots or cannot hold nutrients. The topsoil mixture that you find in the local garden store is typically a general-purpose soil mixture, and you have to add further organic matters and fertilizers for planting purposes.
The potting soils, have measured ingredients and are free from weeds and fungi that help improve the soil structure. You can also use the it for the container gardening that provides far better results than if you use regular topsoil.
What is the Difference between Potting Soil vs. Potting Mix?
For new gardeners, it often gets confusing when they read the label of potting soil vs. potting mix. It usually gets more complicated when they attempt to understand the product description.
The main difference comes from the base ingredient. The potting soil contains dirt as the primary growth media, whereas the mix doesn't contain any dirt but has a combination of peat moss, coir, pine bark or perlite.
The non-soil based potting mix is perfect for container gardening as it doesn’t compact too much but also won’t dry out too quickly. This helps the plant’s root to take up nutrients and water from the mix with better air circulation.
As a guideline, use it when you're planting in a container and use potting soil when filling up the outdoor soil or amending the soil.
Our Top Pick
Miracle-Gro Potting Soil is our top pick. It provides an excellent base for both indoor and outdoor plants and is ideal for container gardening.
It helps the plant grow twice as big and helps produce more blooming and bright color flowers. It has slow-release fertilizer added to it that lasts up to 6 months. It’s suitable potting soil for a novice to experienced gardeners.