|1. Burpee||2. Black Gold 1302030||3. Black Gold 1310102|
Container gardening has become quite popular over the last couple of years. This has given birth to a high number of companies manufacturing all kinds of soil that can be used in the practice.
Container gardening is very different from gardening on the ground. It is, therefore, crucial to understand the special requirements for potting soil.
Furthermore, with the type of plants you wish to grow in mind, finding out the best potting mix for container gardening will ease your entire process. The development and the blossoming of your plants will solely be determined by the mix you utilize while planting it.
This mix should be inclusive of essential and beneficial contents that are helpful to the plant’s growth. The demand for these products has recently skyrocketed, leading to the emergence of many potting mixes, making it difficult for the consumer to choose one.
This post is directed to making the process of shopping for your next potting soil much simpler, with a comprehensive buyers’ guide and reviews of some of the best products in the market.
Potting Soil Vs Ground Soil
Growing healthy plants does not necessarily mean that you just place them on the ground or in a container and begin watering. This should not be the case for any serious farmers out there, as the type of soil being used should be on top of the priority list.
There has been constant debate whether potting soil is better than ground soil. The answer is the same, ‘it depends.’ If you are planning to plant an entire garden, then potting soil won’t be for you. Furthermore, gardening soil might have nutrients if there hasn’t been a lot of agricultural practice in that area before.
On the other hand, potting soil carries with it numerous benefits, only if you intend to plant decoration plants or the ones that are not planted in bulk. Just like gardening soil, potting soil must have three basic nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
However, since they are assembled and repackaged, these types of soils have more to offer. Take a look at some of the other factors that distinguish potting soil from gardening (ground) soil.
Factors That Distinguish Best Potting Mix For Container Gardening
1. The Nutrients
High-quality potting soil contains more nutrients than most garden soils, and they might sustain young seedlings without the need for extra fertilizer. Apart from the three basic nutrients, many of these mixes contain organic matter such as peat moss or barks. Others have inorganic materials such as perlite or vermiculite, which all work to aerate the soil.
Ground soil might have been altered in previous agricultural productions, and it might also be hard to determine the precise nutrients present, not unless samples are sent to the lab.
Commercial potting soil is readily available to be used, and all that you need to do is to open the bag, and you will have a mix that is suitable for your plants.
Different plants have unique nutrient requirements to thrive, and it will be much easier for you to get the soil that your plants really need without going through the guesswork seen in gardens.
A typical loam mix is quite heavy. This might not bring forth many issues as it is mainly used to plant on the ground. The narrative changes if you use the same loam soil with plants that you wish to pot. It will be strenuous for you moving it around, or even hanging it somewhere.
On the other hand, the best soil for container gardening contains materials such as peat moss, vermiculite, or perlite to help in reducing the weight of the soil. Mixing organic compost into the ground also creates air pockets that help in reducing the weight of the soil.
Unlike plants out in the garden, potted plants rely entirely on the farmer for water. When there is no water available, plants in gardens will extend their roots deep into the ground in search of moisture.
Potted plants do not have this ability and might, therefore, die in the absence of water. However, most high-end commercial potting mixtures have moisture control elements. Vermiculite, for example, is able to retain moisture for a long time, and even reduces the frequency at which you water the plants.
Factors To Consider When Buying Potting Mix For Container Gardening
There are many types of potting soils you can choose from, but as you would have guessed, they don’t all match up to provide your plants with the best conditions. Apart from being light, having an ability to retain water, having the necessary nutrients, and with the best aeration as mentioned above, here are the other things to look for when looking for the best potting mix for container gardening.
1. Components In The Mix
The most crucial thing to consider when choosing the best potting mix for container gardening is the components in the mix. To start with, every potting mix should be rich in a number of nutrients.
This is all apart from the three primary ingredients every soil should have, which include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. For the best soil for container gardening, here are other components you ought to look out for:
- Calcined clay that is referred to as Sphagnum moss which is used to suck up water present in the soil.
- Enriched organic products to provide the plant with beneficial nutrients.
- Vermiculite to help upgrade drainage.
Perlite holds less water than Vermiculite, and it is utilized in heavy and medium potting mixes. In some cases where sand is used as a component in the mix, it alters the soil’s drainage ability.
2. Organic Or Non-Organic
There are two types of products you can choose from, organic and non-organic. They are both paramount during the cultivation of plants. The main variance is that non-organic mixes utilize fertilizers to provide nutrients for one season.
While the organic mixes provide nutrients long-term all through the steps of decomposition, both products are convenient, only if you follow the rules correctly on how to use them.
They should also be from a certified and reputable company, especially for the non-organic types. If not, you may end up harming your plants.
3. Where To Plant
The spot you choose to plant will determine the mix you use for your plant. If you choose a spot where the plant will be exposed to direct sunlight, then it will lose water at a high rate. Therefore a mix with a higher water retention ability is advised.
4. Plant-Specific Choices
In order for them to survive, some plants require special plotting conditions. Plants such as orchids, roses, cacti, and other succulents are best used on specific potting soil. These mixes have nutrients that are specialized with particular density ratios that can help the plants to develop better.
The same case applies if you are looking to start the plants from seeds. Having a regular potting strategy might not be the best idea.
This is because lighter bags are more preferred as they would let in more light and warmth; hence improving the chances of survival for the seeds, through germination.
Having put into consideration all the factors mentioned above, here are the top 15 potting mixes for container gardening of 2020.
Top 15 Best Potting Mix For Container Gardening 2021
1. Burpee Natural
Burpee is an organic mix that provides plant nutrients essentials in vegetables, flowers, and herbs. It gives plants nutrients for three months, and it is utilized best in containers and raised gardening beds. This is a rather unique potting mix as it has a special ingredient – it is enriched with coconut coir.
It is an efficient and practical component, as it ensures that there is a balance of moisture in the middle of the duration taken to water the crucial herbs and vegetables. Because of its organic nature, the soil structure is perfect; therefore, improving its ability to hold nutrients.
Furthermore, this mix contains carbon, phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen. These ingredients help in ensuring that there is the availability of nutrients necessary for the nourishment of the plants.
- High water drainage capacity
- It provides essential nutrients to the plant long-term of up to 3 months.
- Reduces plant damage.
- Good moisture retention
- It fights off bugs.
- This might not be the best in terms of drainage
2. Black Gold 1302030
This potting soil from Black Gold is a mixture of Canadian sphagnum peat moss and coconut fibers (coir). These two are essential ingredients that help in improving the mixture’s water retention ability regardless of the plants’ exposure to high levels of sunlight or wind.
It contains earthworm pumice and castings that help in increasing the growth performance of the plant. The mixture, however, doesn’t have polyacrylamide (copolymer crystals) that is common in other mix products.
It is without doubt one of the best potting mix for container gardening as you can use it straight from the bag on hanging baskets and other containers.
- Has a good texture
- Full of essential nutrients that are beneficial for the plant.
- Made of organic materials
- It can be used on a raised plant bed
- It has a high water retention ability
- It is a volatile product – effective in any season
- It may at times be susceptible to bugs
3. Black Gold 1310102
This mix is implemented to help plants during their early stages to jumpstart their development. It is made using the Canadian sphagnum moss enriched with earthworm castings, pumice, and humus.
To add to its usefulness, the Black Gold 1310102 potting mix is effective in all types of plants, including those that are rooted in water. It is also mostly preferred because it keeps bugs away.
One of the greatest advantages of this product is that in case a consumer wants to cultivate spider plants, then other supplement nutrients such as perlite are not necessary because it already contains limestone crumbles.
The slow-release MultiCote maintained fertilizer ensures that the plant develops healthily while remaining extremely strong.
- It has a fine structure therefore suitable for young plants
- High-quality since it contains 100% natural components
- High water resistance ability
- Excellent air and water porosity
- Weed and bug-free.
- This mix PH is neutral
- It has wetting agents that make it easier when cultivating
- It is ready for use at any stage in the plant’s development process
- Comes in small quantities
- Quite expensive
4. FoxFarm Ocean Forest
This organic soil mix from FoxFarm is ideal for both indoor and outdoor purposes. One of the best things about it is that it can be used immediately you get it out of the packaging, without the need for other additives.
Due to its aeration properties, it allows nutrients to circulate properly through the plant, providing a conducive environment for young plants to flourish. It is an excellent choice of soil because it has balanced PH levels (of value between 6.3 to 6.8), that prevent the vegetation from suffering too much acidity and affecting its growth.
The soil contains sandy loam, peat moss, and forest humus. Natural fertilizers such as ocean fish, crab meal, bat guano, and worm castings are also available. The formulation in the fertilizer can last up to 30 days without the need for additives as soon as the soil begins to break down.
This feature makes this one of the best potting mix for container gardening, especially for beginners. Many users have reported this to be their best choice, although some of them have complained about how pricey the product is.
- It an inclusive soil as the consumer does not require to add any more nutrients
- It has a high water retention capacity
- Made with microbes that ensure good health for the plant
- Comprises different supplements to attain the plant’s fluctuating needs
- Weed and bug-free
- It can be used at any stage of the plant’s growth
- The soil gets hot at times
- It might not hold water effectively
5. rePotme African Violet Imperial
This African Violet Imperial Potting Mix from rePotme contains nutrients that are paramount to the growth of a plant. Its fine texture makes it ideal for young seedlings. It is infused with different ingredients that make it function so well, such as the vermiculite, pro-mix Hp, peat moss, sponge rock, and forest humus.
This mix is referred to as soil-less, making it ideal for the growth of African violets. This mix is made in a traditional way having no complex or secret components. It is packaged in an overstuffed size that is processed with 12 scoops of media.
It also has an acidity level of up to 6.2, making it ideal for plants such as the Camellia Sinensis. Purchasing this product provides you with value for your money, both you and your plants will get satisfied.
- They are available in various sizes fulfilling the requirements of all consumers
- Made out of natural components.
- Unique packaging as one can see whatever is in the bag
- High water porosity
- Versatile; can be used for both indoor and outdoor potting
- High water retention to reduce damage to plants
- Quite pricey
6. Fox Farm Happy Frog
This soil mix has a variety of nutrients that are essential for the plant. It is made using microbes that help the effectiveness of a plant’s roots. The potting mix also contains fungi that are beneficial in breaking down concentrated organic components.
It can be used on a variety of plants such as ficus, lemon tree, geranium, African violet, cabbage, broccoli, etc.
- Improves the nutrient’s uptake by the plants
- Comes with protective gloves
- Ready to use; there is no need for any extra elements
- It has an adjusted PH level that helps improve the plant’s nutrients uptake
- Increases the soil’s growth rate
- Excellent nutrient balance
- High water drainage capacity
- Helps in reducing disease rates for your vegetation
- Susceptible to bugs
7. Dr. Earth 749688008136
Dr.Earth agricultural products never cease to showcase quality and value for your every penny. The company manufactures some of the best soil for container gardening, and this is probably why it is OMRI listed and MycoApply certified.
This certification also indicates that the product is not toxic to both humans and animals.
This premium soil is packaged in an eight-quart bag, and as you could have guessed, it is quite environmentally-friendly. It is made from a collection of fine composted natural elements. These ingredients include Pumice, Aloe vera, Yucca Extract, Dolomite, and oyster shell.
It is designed for both outdoor and indoor purposes and is a perfect match for your herbs, vegetables, flowers, etc.
This potting mix from Dr. Earth has a lot that one can use it for. Some of the most popular uses
- Seed covering
- Garden production
- Compost use
- Soil boosts
- Application on clay soil
The soil is also enriched with beneficial components such as the Trubiotic soil microbes and ecto & endo mycorrhizae.
Apart from the plants mentioned above, you can also use this soil when planting trees, bare roots, and shrubs.
- Versatile as it can be applied to a wide range of agricultural activities
- High-quality product since it is made up of components such as alfalfa, sawdust, and bone meal
- It has a wetting-agent, ensuring the development of your plant.
- It is sterilized, making sure there are no bugs on your plant.
- It has an average PH level providing a crop-friendly environment for the plant to grow in.
- It is efficient. One bag can be applied to a 5-gallon container.
- The soil improves the soil’s biology together with the water holding capacity.
- Since it is organic, it comprises rough ingredients that might be difficult to work with.
8. Michigan Peat 1460
The Michigan Peat 1460 Baccto premium soil is packaged in a bag of 8 quartz. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor purposes. For them to come up with one of the best soils for container gardening, the company decided to make this product inclusive of both the slow-release and starter fertilizers.
It is used in starting seedlings as it makes the roots and the stems of the plant stronger, thus improving the absorption of water and nutrients.
The mix also helps the rooted cuttings, as it fastens the development rate of the plant. It is a lightweight mixture of already moistened sphagnum and other important materials.
Potted plants require such a mix as it maximizes the rate of nutrient intake. It is ready for use straight out of the packing bag. Moreover, this soil can also be used for repotting pelargoniums.
- Good quality since it contains a lot of organic components.
- Globally available.
- Has a good PH level suitable for vegetation or fruit
- Improves the growth of plants
- A high rate of water porosity
- Perfect water drainage ability
- It is susceptible to bugs
9. Gardener’s Supply Company
The Gardener’s Supply Container booster mix, a product made in Vermont, has shown all reasons for it to be on the list for the best soil for container gardening. This booster supplements the nutrients that the plant uses at an early age with other new nutrients. It is cost-effective since all that you need is in one bag.
This mix contains a variety of nutrients and a couple of components to maintain the proper-being of your crop. Some of the elements present include.
- Washed granite
- Chilean nitrate
- Black rock phosphate
- Manure compost
- Concentrated plants
Four to eight spoonfuls of this mix are enough to resuscitate a scoop of your soil. It can fulfill both indoor and outdoor requirements. The soil can be used on garlic, cabbage, shallots, and flowers.
- It is 100% natural containing organic compounds
- Re-usable, hence saving money
- Quite flexible since it can be used in a garden bed or a flower pot
- It improves the crop’s ability to take in nutrients.
- It has a perfect PH level, providing a suitable environment for the plant to flourish
- Easy to use and saves a lot of time
- This product is limited, since it is specific to certain crops.
10. Espoma AP2
The Espoma AP2 organic potting mix is the perfect product for both indoor and outdoor use. This 40-pound soil has been well-received by many farmers worldwide since it is filled with nutrients that assure you of a bountiful harvest and beautiful flowers.
Espoma, which is a top-rated company, has not failed the consumers of their products with this AP2 product. To begin with, it has been enhanced with a Myco-Tone formula that has been professionally made.
Such a formula is quite helpful to farmers, especially the beginners, by helping them to determine the amount of water required in the pots. This way, you don’t end up using too much or too little. Either way, the plants will be nourished at all times since the soil has high water retention capabilities.
According to the manufacturer, everything that makes up the product is organic, and there is a guarantee that your plants will get at least 7% nitrogen, 2% phosphate, and 2% potash.
- No bugs
- An impressive fertilizer ratio
- Made from organic materials
- It has a nice earthy smell
- This product might be too expensive for some users
- The soil is loose
11. Hoffman 10404
The Hoffman 10404 soil mix hardly ever misses out on any honest list that reviews the best potting mix for container gardening. As the name implies, this product is made explicitly for cacti plants and other succulents.
According to the manufacturer, the formula used in the soil is ideal for all succulent and cacti varieties, including both the desert and jungle types. Having received a lot of positive feedback from consumers, you can rest assured that the product lives up to its expectations, so your cacti will thrive regardless of their type.
The soil can be used immediately after it has been opened as the pH levels are well-balanced. It has also been made to provide enough drainage for the plants to develop better.
Peat moss, sand, sedge peat, and limestone are some of the key ingredients used in the making of this product, enhancing proper growth.
- One of the best potting mix for succulents and cacti
- Offers good drainage
- Entirely organic
- The soil does not absorb the moisture well
12. Sun Bulb 5002
It is no brainer that orchids are some very demanding flowers that need a lot of taking care of. On top of that, these plants have unique potting soil requirements. This is where Sun BUlbs 5002 Better-Gro special orchid mix comes in.
The mix is rich in hardwood charcoal, western fir bark, and sponge rock to ensure a good development for your flowers. All epiphytic orchids can benefit from this soil mix since it is multipurpose.
The orchids are provided with enough airflow, drainage, and root ventilation for them to flourish, just as they would in nature.
- Provides specialized care for all types of epiphytic orchids
- Superior drainage
- It can also be used for some succulents
- It is dark-colored hence might heat up quickly
- Quite expensive
- The large particles might not be suitable for smaller plants
13. Miracle-Gro Potting Mix with Fertilizer Polybagged
Many plants have been able to survive thanks to the gold standards in the field, brought about by product manufacturers such as Miracle-Gro. This potting mix with fertilizer is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, providing the same excellent results in both situations.
The Miracle-Gro potting mix with fertilizer makes use of perlite, peat moss, and a wetting agent to ensure that a suitable environment is created for the plants to grow. The specific ingredients may vary depending on where the bag was made. However, wherever you purchase this potting mix, you are guaranteed to get at least 21% nitrogen, 11% phosphate, and 16% potash.
- Easily available
- Easy to use
- Designed for the use with all types of potted plants
- A certified product from the Mulch and Soil Council
- The fertilizer might attract flies
- The mix might produce a strange odor not favorable to all
14. Miracle-Gro 16-Quart
With an ability to serve your plants for up to six months, this product from Miracle-Gro helps you to grow those plants twice as big from their usual size. It is made from organic materials that have high-quality nutrients for bountiful plants.
The mix is ideal for both indoor and outdoor usage. It is made to provide soil anchorage and support to the roots of the plant while promoting airflow, drainage, and supply of nutrients. The only downside you might get while using this product is that it tends to require much care, such as regular water supply and fertilizer feeding.
- Good drainage
- Healthy growth of plants
- Promotes rapid plant growth
- It does not have added fertilizers
15. Miracle-Gro 72776430
Unlike some of the other products from Miracle-Gro on this list, the 72776430 indoor potting mix has been designed to support a wide variety of plants. This potting mix also boasts of a new and improved formula made to be less prone to gnats.
The coconut coir, which is one of the primary ingredients used, helps in holding and releasing water while still being handy in making the soil to re-wet.
- Good drainage
- Designed for a wide variety of plants
- This soil is not fertilizer infused
It is now clear that not every type of soil is ideal for the potting of plants. Refer to our comprehensive guide and reviews to help you in picking out the best potting mix for container gardening.
FAQs on Potting Mix For Container Gardening
1. Can I Reuse Soil In Containers?
The nutrients in the pot will get depleted at some point. If you wish to continue using the same soil mix, all you have to do is to introduce nutrients and you are good to go.
2. Does Commercial Soil Expire?
If the bag had microbes in it and is stored in damp conditions, the soil tends to go sour, and you might not get any good results after potting them.
3. How Often Should Potting Soil Be Replaced?
Plants need repotting at least after a year or two. This is when you should consider changing the soil.