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Best Potting Soil: Our Top 10 Picks and Overall Favorite

If you are going to garden, you might as well start out with the best nutrients that your plants will need in the form of the proper potting soil.  I'm going to go over what potting soil is, the different types of potting soil, advantages/reasons for buying, considerations and features of potting soil.  I'll also go over our top 10 pick of the best potting soil on the market. I hope that this guide to potting soil has you both motivated and ready to get planting.  

The Best Potting Soil on the Market Today

In the chart below, you will find our top 10 rated potting soil options.  For a more in-depth review of each model, please click on "Read Review."

Product Image

Product Name

Rating

Review

Miracle-Gro Expand 'N Gro Potting Soil

3.8 out of 5

Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix

4.2 out of 5

FoxFarm Ocean Forest Organic Potting Soil

4.4 out of 5

Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil

4.3 out of 5

Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food

4.6 out of 5

Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix

4.2 out of 5

Bonsai Tree Soil All Purpose Blend

4.3 out of 5

Big Rootz All Purpose Potting Soil pH Adjusted and Enriched

4.4 out of 5

FoxFarm Happy Frog Potting Soil

4.4 out of 5

Roots Organics ROD75 Potting Soil

4.1 out of 5

Top Ten Rated Potting Soil Choices of 2018

  1. Miracle-Gro Expand 'N Gro Potting Soil
  2. Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix
  3. FoxFarm Ocean Forest Organic Potting Soil
  4. Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil
  5. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food
  6. Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix
  7. Bonsai Tree Soil All Purpose Blend
  8. Big Rootz All Purpose Potting Soil pH Adjusted and Enriched
  9. FoxFarm Happy Frog Potting Soil
  10. Roots Organics ROD75 Potting Soil

What Is Potting Soil?

Potting soil, as known as potting mix or potting compost, is a soil is which you put in a flower pot or container.  Common ingredients include peat, composted bark, sand, perlite, and recycled mushroom compost.  What is in it could vary, as there are many soil brands to choose from. Some potting soils could contain ground limestone, fertilizer, and other slow-release nutrients.  Surprisingly to some, potting soil does not have any soil in it, and if it does it's a small amount. The reason why no soil is put into potting mix is because it can make the flower pots heavy to pick up.  Some brands will sterilize the potting mix to avoid plant-borne diseases and weeds spreading.  This is a good option if you want to ensure that your plants will be healthy and no weeds will strangle them.

Keep in mind that some plants may require potting soil that is similar to their environment.  For example, if you have an African violet, you will want to purchase potting soil that has extra peat moss in it.  A cactus will be quite different, as it needs plenty of drainage such as perlite or sand.  Before you purchase potting mix, you may want to look up where your plant came from, and what type of soil it thrives in.

Different Types

In the potting soil world, there are mainly two types.  These types are commercial potting soil and homemade potting soil.  Keep in mind that although there are two types, each brand may put different ingredients in the soil.  Even homemade potting soil can vary, as you can choose which ingredients you want and what your plant needs to thrive.  Now, with that being said, I'll go over these two different types, as well as a couple others and their pros and cons.

Commercial Potting Soil

Commercial potting soil includes any type of potting mix that you purchase at a store or online.  Commercial potting soil is very popular, since it is already made.  The potting mix will usually come in a bag, which can weigh from five pounds to fifty pounds.  You can purchase the potting mix online, or you can look at your local store for it.  Commercial potting soil is usually sterilized, so you won't have to worry about weeds overtaking your flowers.  Sterile potting soil also means that there will be no plant-borne diseases.  Keep in mind that commercial potting soil can become expensive, especially if you need a lot of it, or buy it annually.

Homemade Potting Soil

Homemade potting soil is the best potting soil for those on a low budget.  Because you are making it, you can also decide how much you want to make.  A nice feature about it is that you can make it become sterile potting soil yourself.  There are many different methods, including using steam, the microwave, or the oven.  Keep in mind that you will still need to buy the ingredients, but overall it should be cheaper than buying commercial potting soil.

Organic Potting Soil

Organic potting soil has many benefits.  First, it is very rich, and the richness of the soil provides a natural protection for the plants.  This means that organic farmers do not need to use pesticides.  Organic potting soil has higher levels of nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants.  Many organic potting soil reviews from customers state that it works very well, and even better than other types.  The best organic potting soil should contain some of these ingredients: compost, seaweed, manure compost, mushroom compost, bat guano, bone meal, soybean meal, soft rock phosphate, greensand, fish meal, blood meal, and/or worm castings.

Acidic Potting Soil

Acidic potting soil is made for acidic-loving plants.  These plants include azaleas, rhododendrons, blueberries, strawberries and heathers.  This means that they need soil that is pH about 5.5.  There are many different acidic potting soils to choose from, so make sure to get the right soil if you have an acidic-loving plant.

Advantages / Reasons for Buying

Great for Indoor Plants

If you have indoor potted plants, potting soil is a great option.  The best potting soil for indoor plants will have peat moss, vermiculite and perlite in it.

The Weight Is Not Heavy

Unlike regular soil, potting soil is very lightweight.  This makes moving pots around much easier.  If you are making homemade potting soil, make sure to add ingredients that are lightweight.

Has Good Nutrients

Potting soil, especially organic potting soil, contains many healthy nutrients.  When making your own soil, make sure to add plenty of these nutrients, which would be found in the ingredients for potting soil.

Moisture

Many commercial potting soils contain ingredients that maintain moisture.  This means that you won't have to water your plants as much.  The main ingredient that makes it keep its moisture is horticultural vermiculite.  If you are making homemade potting soil, make sure to add this ingredient in.

Considerations When Buying

What Is Your Budget?

The first thing to consider is your budget.  Potting mixes come in a variety of prices, so choose the one that will fit your budget.  If you are wanting a high quality potting soil, then you may have to pay a little more.  If you are on a low budget, then homemade potting soil may be what you want.  Before buying, simply think about what you are willing to spend, and what will fit your needs.

What Type of Soil Does Your Plant Need?

One of the most important thing to consider is what kind of soil your plant needs.  As I mentioned earlier, some types of plant may need a specific potting soil.  Without the soil that is made for your plant, your plant will not thrive, and it may eventually die.  To prevent this from happening, make sure to know your plant's needs before buying potting mix.  A good way to know what your plant needs is to look up on the internet that plant's history, its origin, and what type it is.  This will give you an idea of what it needs.

Which Brand Do You Want to Try?

One of the best potting soil brands in Miracle-Gro.  It is a very common and popular soil brand, and it is a top rated potting soil.  Keep in mind that there are many soil brands, so you may want to try a few out until you find a potting soil brand that works for you.

Are You Growing Vegetables?

The best potting soils for vegetables are the ones that well-drained, well-aerated and has a pH that is close to neutral.  If you will be growing vegetables, make sure to get a potting soil that has those features.


Pros

  • plus
    It helps plants to grow and thrive 
  • plus
    Not heavy
  • plus
    Sterilized so you won't get weeds

Cons

  • close
    It can be costly

Features

Lightweight

As I mentioned earlier, potting soil is lightweight.  It is light enough to move the pot around, but then not too light that the pot would blow away.  Potting soil is a good option for those who want a soil that is lightweight but not too lightweight.

Sterilized

Commercial potting soil is sterilized, which means you won't get plant-borne diseases nor weeds.

Organic

Some commercial potting soils are organic.  Organic potting soils have many benefits, as I stated earlier, including that it has lots more nutrients and does not need pesticides.

Our Top Pick

Our pick for the best potting soil is Miracle-Gro Expand 'N Gro Potting Soil.

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Recommended Best Sellers

SaleBestseller No. 1
Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix
  • Potting soil
  • For all indoor and outdoor containers
  • Enhanced with Myco-Tone water saving formula
SaleBestseller No. 2
FoxFarm FX14053 12-Quart Ocean Forest Organic...
  • Ocean forest organic potting soil posses everything in one...
  • Powerhouse blend of premium earthworm castings, bat guano...
  • Composted forest humus, sandy loam and sphagnum peat moss
Bestseller No. 3
Dr. Earth Pot of Gold All Purpose Potting Soil 8...
  • 8 Quart Bag
  • Ideal for herbs, vegetables, indoor gardens, container...
  • Use in any size container, both indoor and outdoor,...

Conclusion

I hope that this guide to potting soil helped you to understand the benefits of potting soil and to decide which one will fit your horticulture needs.  I've gone over the different types and advantages to each.  Potting soil will vary in price, so consider your budget and then get planting.