Best Garden Soils 2020: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

1. FoxFarm FX140532. Espoma AP83. Bonsai Tree Soil
FoxFarm FX14053 Best Garden SoilEspoma AP8Bonsai Tree Soil
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The growth and health of plants primarily depend on the soil used to grow it. This fact is one known by every gardener. The best garden soil is soft and capable of holding sufficient moisture needed by the plants over an extended period.

Garden soil provides a medium where you can grow your herbs, plants, and vegetables in a container or pot. This garden soil is ideal for both indoor and outdoor purposes, and provides the right environment the plants need for a fast and healthy growth.

The garden soil to buy is one that contains essential ingredients that can produce the perfect balance of air, nutrition, and moisture. This article does not only review the best garden soil to buy, but it will also show you the factors to always look out for when purchasing the right garden soil.

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Factors To Lookout For When Buying Best Garden Soil

When it comes to choosing the best garden soil to buy, certain factors often come to play. Since there are numerous brands, sizes, composition, and manufacturers of garden soil, choosing the right one can be a bit tricky and confusing.

However, with the proper knowledge of what to look out for when purchasing a garden soil, you can be guaranteed to make the right decision quickly. Here’s a guide on factors to look out for when on the lookout for when buying a garden soil.

1. Organic Vs. Non-Organic

Garden soils generally come in two primary forms, which are natural or organic forms and the non-organic form.

  • Organic

This type of soil is the most preferred option by a majority of buyers. It is preferred because it does not contain any form of chemical composition, hence providing plants the environment they need for healthy growth.

More so, organic soils have their nutrients kept intact, while the plants feed directly from the natural components of the ground. These organic soils come with several components, which include bone meal, soybean, mushroom compost fish meal, and compost, among others.

To get the best of organic soils, you will need to go for garden soil that has organic compositions.

  • Non-Organic

On the other hand, non-organic soil is the type that is not natural. This soil type contains chemical ingredients added to the regular mixes, all to improve plant growth.

Additionally, it is a product of the combination of several ingredients, which include perlite and vermiculite, bark, and peat moss, among others. The amount of minerals and nutrients vary according to various garden and potting soils. More so, to create additional space for air and water, styrofoam is usually blended and added to the non-organic soil.

Interestingly, the significant differences between organic and non-organic soil is in terms of cost. While the organic or natural soil type is reusable and expensive, the non-organic soil type is cheaper and made from industrial products.

2. Air Circulation

The importance of air circulation to plant growth cannot be overemphasized. Plants require an adequate amount of air circulation to enjoy significant and healthy plant growth. It is, therefore, necessary to choose a soil that offers such a characteristic.

Fluffy and lightweight soils are best at ensuring the adequate circulation of air. Besides, you must also make sure the garden soil does not get too dense when wet, as it will lead to restrictions in the growth of the plants.

3. Nutrients

One of the essential characteristics of good garden soil is its ability to retain moisture and essential nutrients. These two characteristics are vital in supporting the fast and healthy growth of plants.

This feature is one factor you must always consider when choosing either a non-organic or organic soil. In doing so, you need to first read through the items listed by the manufacturer on the cover of the garden soil. A great example is the presence of peat moss in the non-organic soil mix, which helps in moisture retention.

4. Density

Density is another vital factor that you have to consider when considering buying the best garden soil. You must keenly check to ensure that the thickness of the garden soil you are about to purchase, is appropriate enough to support the fast and healthy growth of your plants.

An easy way to test the soil’s density is by pushing your finger into it. The garden soil needs to be moderate in texture, as if it is too soft or too hard, it will impede the growth of the plant. More so, hard soils tend to suffocate the roots of the plants, making them lack enough area for growth.

Another way of determining the density of the garden soil is by lifting the garden soil. Hefty bags contain fillers, which make them not suitable for several plants.

5. Ingredients

The list of ingredients often attached to the soil’s packaging is not for fancy. It is vital to always read through all the elements listed before purchasing any potting soil.

Reading the list of ingredients will help you to ascertain that the garden soil contains all the components needed for the healthy growth of your plants. Even though the precise composition of constituents in a soil depends on the manufacturer, some essential elements you should look out for include:

  • Sphagnum Peat Moss

This constituent is one of the vital ingredients a good soil must contain. The sphagnum peat moss is light and absorbs a large quantity of water, thus helping to retain moistness for the plants.

Peat moss is helpful if you are too busy, or if you tend to forget to water the plant. Besides, a suitable substitute for the peat moss is coconut coir fiber.

  • Perlite

The perlite is yet another essential ingredient for improved plant growth. This element helps to boost water retention and aeration in the soil.
In terms of looks, this ingredient may look like styrofoam. However, it has several small pieces of natural volcanic minerals.

  • Vermiculite

The vermiculite is critical at keeping the soil always moist, hence ensuring that the plants don’t dry. It is one of the vital ingredients found in significant seed starter mixes. This element helps to remove the need for frequent watering of the plant conveniently.

  • Diatomaceous Earth

This component is a significant part of seed starting soils from a few manufacturers. The diatomaceous serves as a non-toxic and natural fertilizer that helps to kill all insects that can hamper the germination and growth of the seeds. This constituent contains materials like magnesium, calcium, sodium, silicon, and iron, which are all perfect seed germination.

6. Fertilizer Types: Starter Vs. Slow Release

One noticeable feature with different types of garden soils, is that you will observe that they make mention of them coming with either a starter charge or slow-release type.

  • Starter Charge

Garden soils that come with a starter charge fertilizer are those that contain sufficient fertilizer. The compost is adequate to meet plant needs through the first periods of watering.
Although you will need to add more fertilizer to the soil, however, it will only be after the early stages of your plant’s growth.

  • Slow Release

A garden soil that has the slow-release fertilizer is one that contains more fertilizer capable of lasting up to one month. Even though you still need to add more compost, at least this fertilizer type will last for several weeks.

Maintaining Garden Soil

Firstly, when it comes to gardening, we highly discourage the use of just any soil gotten from your yard or garden. The reason is because such soils may contain weed seeds, insects, or fungal diseases. It is safer always to purchase fresh garden soil that is ideal for potting, or containerized gardening.

In terms of watering the soil, the recommendation is that you water the garden soil at least once weekly, provided the weather is a bit mild during spring. During summer, however, due to the high rate of evaporation, you will need to water the soil more frequently.

You must ensure you thoroughly water the soil directly, and not just the leaves or flowers. Besides, by wetting the foliage, there is a high possibility that your plant might get infected with scorched leaf spots or fungal disease.

Additionally, plants grown in pots or containers require less fertilizer than those growing directly on the ground. Also, the more you water the soil, the faster it loses nutrients. As a result, to ensure your plants enjoy a healthy growth, you will need to fertilize your soil regularly in line with the manufacturer’s directions.

There is no doubt that there are several garden soil products available in the market. As a result, we have painstakingly reviewed the ten best garden soil to buy to aid you in making the right choice.

Top 10 Best Garden Soils 2020

1. FoxFarm FX14053

FoxFarm FX14053 Best Garden SoilThis FoxFarm FX14053 is one of the best garden soil available in the market. It is suitable for use on plants that are generally grown in a pot or container. Interestingly, several users say this product was exceptional in making their plants better and grow faster.

This garden soil contains an exceptional blend of crab meal, superior earthworm castings, Pacific Northwest sea-going fish, and bat guano. These blends are responsible for making this soil fertile and increasing plant growth. More so, it has sandy loam, sphagnum peat moss, and composted forest humus, which gives it an aerated and light texture.

The FX14053 is highly recommended for indoor gardening and comes in a firm pack that does not attract flies. Also, it gives sufficient moisture to the plant for seamless growth in a short time and does not give out a bad odor in the house.

Additionally, it comes in sufficient quantity ideal for average planters, and is capable of lasting over a month. As a result, even when the soil starts to break down, you will not need to add any form of additives to the garden soil.

This soil is an excellent option for beginners and those who don’t have enough time to garden. Another important point worth mentioning, is that this garden soil is capable of creating a pH level of between 6.3 to 6.8. You will, however, need to adjust the potting soil accordingly if the indoor plants require a more acidic or basic soil.

Pros

  • It is very fertile
  • Does not have a bad odor
  • It is very economical
  • Easy to use
  • It lasts long

Cons

  • For plant growth, it requires time
  • Demands consistent care
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2. Espoma AP8

Espoma AP8This product is the second product we will be reviewing on our list of the best garden soil. It is an organic garden soil that has a vibrant blend of some of the most beautiful natural materials and non-synthetic chemicals.

The Espoma AP8 is a superb garden soil that is suitable for use in containers, and both indoor and outdoor use. It offers several top-notch nutrients that facilitate the healthy growth of plants. Also, it is capable of fertilizing your plants for several months continuously.

Additionally, this soil comes with a patented myco-tone formula. This formula helps the plants to retain enough water, making them get adequate moisture needed for the best growth. Also, it makes use of 11 strains of mycorrhizae that help to reduce stress and improve root growth in the plants.

Furthermore, this formula increases moisture retention, hence keeping your plants from undergoing drought stress. Besides, it mainly comes handy when you want to transplant your plant to a pot or an outdoor environment.

This soil consists of earthworm castings, which ensures your plants stay naturally strong and healthy. More so, with this soil, your plants will get to enjoy up to 7% nitrogen, 2% phosphate, and 2% potash. It is also worthwhile knowing that unlike many other soils, this soil is safe to use around pets.

Pros

  • It contains organic ingredients
  • Ensures the plant’s remarkable growth
  • It has a myco-tone formula for better water retention
  • Superb fertilizer ratio
  • It does not attract bugs

Cons

  • It is expensive
  • Soil is loose
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3. Bonsai Tree Soil

Bonsai Tree SoilThe Tinyroots Bonsai all Purpose soil is mainly made as an all-purpose potting soil for nearly any Bonsai tree. It is a unique blend of Jades, Chinese Elms, Junipers, Ficus, and several other Bonsai species, specially blended by tiny roots.

This garden soil comes with up to 28 essential trace minerals and elements for the nourishing of the bonsai. It is a combination of double-sifted 100% organic compost mulch, Frit, vermiculite, and calcined clay. More so, it is ideal for filling big pots, all thanks to its 2.5-gallon capacity.

This Bonsai Soil has quality Turface calcined clay and Japanese Akadama that provides frit vitamins and improved moisture retention. Its professional formulation ensures the optimum growth of plants and provides the needed moisture, support, and drainage for the plants.

Since the garden soil used usually affects feeding, rooting, transpiration, and watering; choosing the right Bonsai soil is critical. As a result, this garden soil by Tinyroots is capable of delivering excellent results.

Pros

  • It is 100% organic
  • It has a professional formulation for optimum growth
  • Comes with up to 28 essential minerals and elements
  • Ideal for filling large containers

Cons

  • It tends to dry quickly
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4. Black Gold 1302040

Black Gold 1302040This potting soil is made in the USA and is one of the best garden soil for growing containerized herbs, flowers, and vegetables – both indoors and outdoors. It contains earthworm castings, organic fertilizer, perlite, and pumice. As a result, it ensures all your plants get all the nutrients they require for healthy growth.

The Black Gold 1302040 comes with ingredients that are Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) certified. Also, it is a loamy mix, which makes it suitable for usage for several types of garden applications, due to the presence of perlite in it.

Another essential feature of this soil is that the company produces a formula that varies depending on regions. Since each part has a different climate and soil composition, you can buy garden soil that is suitable and compatible with your area.

It is necessary also to note that this soil provides your plant with the right quantity of air circulation. More so, it has a pH level of at least 8.5, and you will need to add necessary nutrients if you are looking for a more acidic or basic soil.

Unlike other garden soils, this soil is available at a friendly price and with different sizes, depending on your preference. This all-purpose soil is well balanced and is usable in combination with other soil enhancers.

Pros

  • It is affordable
  • OMRI certified
  • Compatible for both indoor and outdoor use
  • Produced for use according to regions and climate

Cons

  • Difficulty with gnats
  • Soil grows spores at times when wet.
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5. Burpee Organic Premium

Burpee Organic PremiumThe Burpee organic potting mix is arguably one of the best garden soil we will be reviewing as it contains an exceptional ingredient, which is coconut coir. Coconut coir is a renewable resource, that helps to retain enough moisture in the soil without causing harm to the earth.

This garden soil is particularly useful for vegetables, herbs, and flowers. However, you might need to add other ingredients when dealing with other plants. Besides, it offers a pH level of 6.5 and is perfect for use in your garden, lawn, and patio.

Additionally, this potting mix contains an exceptional Burpee plant food that has phosphate, nitrogen, potassium, and other essential nutrients for plant growth. Also, you can conveniently use it for any type of container or pot – even if you want to use it for an overhead hanging pot. However, for use in an overhead hanging pot, you will need to have a proper drainage system in place first.

Thanks to its extended-release design, this potting soil is capable of lasting up to three months, after which you will need to replenish or replant your soil’s potting mix. Irrespective of where your plant is, whether a pot or container, this soil will live up to expectation.

Pros

  • Enhanced with Burpee plant food
  • It has excellent water retention capability
  • Capable of feeding up to three months
  • Suitable for both raised bed and container gardening
  • Keeps the soil wet between watering

Cons

  • Come in small quantity
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6. Espoma SS16

Espoma SS16The Espoma SS16 is an organic seed starter potting mix that originates from the United States. It is proper for root cuttings and starting seeds. Also, it comes in handy for indoor use, in both early spring and winter to start the seeds before transplanting them into the garden.

This premium potting mix helps to support root growth and improve the moisture retention capacity of your soil. It comes with a fantastic blend of about 80% peat most. The remaining composition is made up of perlite, lime, earthworm castings, and humus.

Additionally, this potting mix also contains mycotone. The mycotone is a blend of several different mycorrhizae, which are beneficial to the plant, since they ensure the plants get stronger roots. They help the plants to sufficiently retain water, hence making them get the amount of moisture they require.

This soil comes in a resealable 16-quart bag, which is usable in any planter or potted application.

Pros

  • Comes with improved mycotone formula
  • Supports strong roots
  • Suitable for both planter and potted application
  • Improved water retention capacity
  • Great for organic gardening

Cons

  • It is a bit expensive
  • This soil’s pH is not the best
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7. Hoffman 30103

Hoffman 30103This product is a seed starter soil from Hoffman. It is well-blended and has excellent consistency, which helps it to absorb moisture better compared to other soil mixes. Also, it is useful in supporting the fast and healthy growth of flowers and vegetables.

Like its name, this soil is highly useful when it comes to the plant’s germinating process. It contains a uniquely formulated combination of six blended loose, fertile, and lightweight materials that are in the right proportion. This formulation makes it a great option you can use, for both a potting mix and for growing new seeds.

The Hoffman 30103 sufficiently absorbs water and has a coarse texture. It helps to ensure the right air circulation as required by the plant for growth. More so, it offers a pH level of around 5.6 to 5.9, which is ideal for the growth of several plants.

Additionally, this soilless blend contains limestone, horticultural vermiculite, a wetting agent, and Canadian peat moss. It comes in a 10-quarts bag having a zip lock, that helps to protect it from contaminations and is helpful in root cuttings and transplanting.

Another crucial characteristic of this product is that it is suitable for use indoors and does not have a foul odor in the house. This feature is one of the best garden soil for those looking for a lightweight starter soil offering top characteristics.

Pros

  • It is excellent for indoor sprouting
  • Fast growth
  • It has a fine consistent texture for germination of small seeds
  • Light in weight
  • Cones in a zip-lock bag for protection against contaminations

Cons

  • It has slow sprout with some seeds
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8. Black Gold 1310102

Black Gold 1310102The Black Gold 1310102 Potting Soil is multipurpose soil that is rich in nutrients and perfect for many different kinds of plants. This potting soil comes in quite a small quantity, which makes it suitable for use in smaller containers and pots.

This top-quality mix contains an excellent blend of Canadian sphagnum peat moss, pumice, worm casting, and forest humus. These components come together to provide the soil the nutrients it needs to be fructifying and extremely fertile. Also, it comes in 4 packs of 16-quarts. Hence you are guaranteed to get remarkable performance.

Additionally, this garden soil has all the essential ingredients the plant needs for a fast and healthy growth at every stage of its growing process. Besides, it has multicote, which helps in effectively controlling the way the fertilizer gets released in the soil.

Another essential feature of this black gold all-purpose potting soil, is that it provides a slow release of the fertilizer to your plants. This slow-release helps to guarantee the growth and health of your plant, while also making the plant exceptionally strong.

This soil is perfect for hanging pots, small plants, indoor plants, patio containers, and house plants, since it comes in a small quantity.

Pros

  • Ideal for regular domestic usage
  • Perfect for diverse kinds of plants
  • Excellent for indoor use
  • It is a top-quality mix

Cons

  • It comes in only a small quantity
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9. FoxFarm Ocean Forest

FoxFarm Ocean ForestThe FoxFarm Ocean Forest is one of the best garden soil for gardeners who are just beginning. It is easy to use, provides well-rounded nutrition, and serves as an excellent base choice for many plants. This all-natural soil has an exceptional water retention capability and is excellent for container or pot gardening.

This organic soil comes with a unique blend of components you can not find in other potting and garden soils. The ingredients include earthworm castings, sphagnum peat moss, fish emulsion, Norwegian kelp meals, and bat guano and micronutrients, which aid the plants in having healthy roots.

Additionally, this soil comes ready to use from its packaging and is the perfect environment for nurturing young seedlings into becoming mature plants. More so, the lighter component of this soil allows for excellent drainage, hence preventing the plants from overwatering and rotting.

Other worthy features of this product also include the fact that it is well-aerated, which aids in growing cuttings and seedlings. Also, unlike different types of soils, this soil does not require the addition of fertilizer, and it offers a pH level of around 6.3 to 6.8.

It is particularly worth mentioning that this product comes with a protective glove from Pearson. Its fertilizer is also capable of lasting up to a month, even as the soil gets to breakdown. You won’t have to worry about getting additives. Besides, it is suitable for use with bedding plants, raised beds, house plants, not to mention both indoor and outdoor plants.

Pros

  • It comes ready to use directly from the bag
  • Capable of lasting long without the addition of extra fertilizer
  • Exceptional water retention capacity

Cons

  • Soil tends to heat up fast
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10. Fox Farm Happy Frog

Fox Farm Happy FrogThe last product we will be reviewing on our list of best garden soil is the FoxFarm Happy Frog Potting Mix. It is ideal for both outdoor and indoor gardening, provided they are containerized or potted plants.

This organic soil comes with a very light texture and is well-aerated; hence, you will not bother about having a tough potting soil. More so, you can use this garden soil by combining it with previous garden soils used.

The Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix comes in a large bad and contains a top blend of beneficial microbes and fungi. These ingredients help break down the soil’s organic matter, so that the plants get the nutrients they require.

The organic ingredients that make up this soil include bat guano, forest humus, and earthworm castings. Also, it contains mycorrhizae and humic acid, which help ensure the plants grow and feed more aggressively.

This soil comes ready to use from its bag and is highly recommended for plants in containers. It has a pH level that adjusts automatically to allow for the maximum ingestion of nutrients by the plants.

Some of the benefits gained from this soil include vigorous vegetative growth, better and improved production. Moreover, it does contain fillers, sludge, or topsoil and comes packed with a protective glove from Pearsons.

Pros

  • It is light in weight and well-aerated
  • Perfect for both indoor and outdoor containerized gardening
  • Contains mycorrhizae and humic acid for aggressive feed and growth of plants
  • It comes with a pair of gloves from Pearsons.

Cons

  • Only suitable for containerized or potted plants
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Best Garden Soils – What’s your pick?

In all, purchasing the best garden soil will provide a suitable environment for a fast and healthy growth of your plants. More so, this soil helps to protect your plants from insects and fungal diseases.

If you are searching for the best garden soil to buy, this article will provide you with a review of the best garden soil available in the market. Besides, you will also find a guide on the factors to consider, before purchasing a garden soil.

Irrespective of your preference and what you need the garden soil for, you will find a suitable choice from our list.