We are always on the lookout for the best for the ones we care about— and it makes perfect sense, too, because let’s face it, who would ever want to allow the possibility of causing any harm to someone they love?
I would be lying if I said that I have never been a little too particular about the care and nurture of my plants. I think that most of us will probably plead guilty to this charge, and that is completely natural!
Well I, for one, completely understand the anxieties that come along with the joys of tending to someone important to us. And for most plant parents out there, the autotrophic beings that adorn their living spaces are nothing short of family.
One of the primary issues we all face— especially newbie plant parents—is picking the perfect condition for houseplants to grow in. And by “conditions”, I mean everything, right from the environment down to the kind of soil the plant needs.
While humidity and temperature can not be manufactured and need to be controlled to suit the plant instead, the soil is one of the most essential factors that you actually can buy off of the market!
Plants often have very specific requirements for the soil that they are planted into, which more often than not, reflect their native environmental conditions.
Plants require a set of nutrients to be present in the soil they take root in, so preparing the perfect kind of potting mix at home can prove to be quite a task.
Luckily, though, potting mixes are fairly easy to find both online and offline, so the task of preparing the perfect soil type for your plant has become relatively easy now!
But hey, how would you know which potting mix would be ideal for your plant? Well, worry not, because that is exactly what I’m here to brief you about.
Follow this article to get all the know-how about the best soil options for your precious plants!
- 1 11 Best potting soil options available for your precious houseplants
- 2 Best overall : Miracle-Gro Premium Potting Mix
- 3 Best for indoor and outdoor plants: Michigan Peat 5720 Garden Magic Potting Soil
- 4 Best potting mix that retains moisture: Burpee Organic Premium Potting Mix
- 5 Best potting soil for plant roots: Big Rootz All Purpose Potting Soil
- 6 Best potting soil with deep-sea supplements: Foxfarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil
- 7 Best potting mix containing Myco-tone: Espoma AP4 Organic Potting Mix
- 8 Best Orchid potting mix: All Natural Orchid Potting Mix, by Perfect Plants
- 9 Best potting soil for succulents: Hoffman 1404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix
- 10 Best potting soil with pH regulating components: Fertilome Ultimate Potting Mix
- 11 Best potting soil that includes Coco coir: SpongEase – Coco Coir, the Perfect Potting Soil
- 12 Best potting soil with fertilizer: Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil
- 13 What to look for while choosing a potting soil: Pro tips to keep in mind
- 14 What is an ideal potting mix composed of?
- 15 What can you do to manage the easy dryness of the potting mixes available in the market?
- 16 What is the best thing about potting mixes?
- 17 What is the difference between potting soil and a potting mix?
- 18 Is it possible to revitalize and reuse a potting mix?
- 19 How often should a potting mix be replaced?
- 20 Conclusion
11 Best potting soil options available for your precious houseplants
Before we begin, I must mention that there are certain important nuances involved in the selection and purchase of the soil type that would be the perfect fit for your plants.
First of all, different plants have different prerequisites that one needs to keep in mind for tending to them— right from the acidity level of the soil, to the minerals it contains and the moisture it can hold owing to its texture.
Each factor must be analyzed to deem it fit for the growth of a particular plant. Naturally, soil types are never to be thought of as a one-size-fits-all kind of a condition.
Certain plants require certain things from their soil, so the list that is following is based on the best product you can avail based on the kind of plant you are looking after, and the requirements thereof.
Best overall : Miracle-Gro Premium Potting Mix
The Miracle-Gro Premium Potting Mix is a very viable option for those who would like to avoid the rather hectic duty of going to great lengths to feed your plant because this product itself comes with the choicest ingredients that can feed and fertilize your plant for up to six months.
Miracle-gro is, in fact, a very common name in plant enthusiast circles, simply because of how easily available this is, probably even in the nursery around the corner.
This product has also been certified by the Mulch and Soil Council.
You can use the Miracle-Gro Premium Potting Mix not just for potted houseplants, by the way. You can also use it for outdoor garden pots— in short, this potting mix works fine with all sorts of potted and container plants, both indoors and outdoors.
But the biggest reason that this is considered to be such a popular choice when it comes to potting soils is its affordability, so make sure that you don’t miss out on such a great option!
- Can be used for indoor and outdoor container plants
- Can feed and fertilize your plant for up to 6 months
- Most affordable premium potting soil
Best for indoor and outdoor plants: Michigan Peat 5720 Garden Magic Potting Soil
Composed of a dark and uniform mixture of reed sedge peat and other components, this product is trustworthy simply because its parent company, Michigan Peat, has been churning out reliable potting options for years now.
It is an organic potting mix, and it is also pre-blended, which means that it will be delivered to you as a ready-to-use potting mix that will require no extra work!
When it comes to water retention and adequate drainage, The Michigan Peat 5720 Garden Magic Potting Soil is a great choice!
The roots of your precious plant should be perfectly safe in the care of this potting mix. Apart from that, this product is not just perfect for your potted plants, but also raised plant beds and the like outdoors.
So, if you are a plant parent whose home garden spills out to their front yard or back yard, you are in luck!
Well, to be completely fair, the fact that 77% of its users gave it a five-star rating, and that this potting mix has a four-and-a-half-star rating overall, speaks volumes about the consistent reliability of Michigan Peat products!
- Consists of reed sedge peat and other materials
- Can be used for indoor and outdoor plants
- Retains adequate moisture to allow your plants to grow during dry periods
A staggering 70% of satisfied users of this product have awarded it a five-star rating, and thus, the Burpee Organic Premium Potting Mix has an overall rating of 4.6 for good reason, too!
This product is available in 8 quarts, 16 quarts, 24 quarts, 32 quarts, and 40 quarts packaging options, so take your pick from the varied quantity packs as per your requirement.
Enriched with Burpee plant food, the Burpee Organic Premium Potting Mix is pre-blended and is a ready-to-use potting mix.
You can trust this potting mix to stimulate the growth of brightly colored flowers in your pots around your balcony, or delicious vegetables in the patch in your front yard.
The point I am trying to make is that the Burpee organic Premium Potting Mix is fit for use in pots or garden bedding, both indoors and outdoors.
The ingrained plant food is actually enough to feed your plant for up to three months because the release rate is slow to make sure that the plant is not suddenly exposed to more absorb. This way, this potting mix will ensure that your plant receives the nutrition in quantities that it can handle.
The mix contains coconut coir, which is an eco-friendly ingredient that contributes towards the water-retentive property of this particular potting soil.
Specifically, between two consecutive watering sessions, this potting soil maintains just enough moisture to allow the plant to grow continuously and steadily without drying the roots out.
This automatically translates to you not having to worry constantly about the watering schedule, the top of the pack itself says “water less, often!” in big, bold letters!
- Contains coconut coir that is sustainable, renewable, and retains moisture
- Feeds for up to 3 months
- Is organic and enriched with Burpee plant food
Best potting soil for plant roots: Big Rootz All Purpose Potting Soil
I always stress the importance of the root development of plants, especially in their early days.
The thing is that a lot depends upon the sturdiness and firmness of the roots because, without it, the plant will simply fail to anchor itself, both literally and figuratively. This is why Big Rootz All Purpose Potting Soil is a special recommendation from my end.
If you want your plants’ roots to be solid and supportive, you should give this product a shot— of course, it doesn’t hurt that it categorically undergoes several quality checks, so my word is not the only thing you have to go by!
This potting mix emphasizes improving the absorption capacity of the roots of the plant, about the uptake of water and soluble nutrients from the soil.
Another factor that influences root health is the acidity or basicity level of the soil. The Big Rootz All Purpose Potting Soil ensures that the roots are evenly exposed to a pH level that is not only tolerable but also beneficial for the quality of the roots.
Overall, approximately 85% of those with legitimate experience of the product have given it a five-star rating, which is a statistical figure that I, personally, would be willing to trust!
- pH tested for best results
- Consists of a blend of peat, triple-washed coir, worm casting, and compost
- Enriched with mycorrhizae for maximum growth
Best potting soil with deep-sea supplements: Foxfarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil
From the name of the product itself, you can probably figure that this is a potting mix enriched with the goodness of the deep sea.
It comes in 38.6 quarts packs of pure natural goodness, accumulated from the contents of this potting soil which include earthworm castings, forest humus, moss, sea life meal, and the like.
One of the noteworthy features of the Foxfarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil is that it is proven to maintain a consistent pH balance for the benefit of your plant so that it is not exposed to acidity or basicity beyond its natural tolerance.
Its fertilizer absorption ability is also heightened, which means that your plant is going to flourish!
This potting mix will be the perfect choice for you if you are looking to give your plant a vast array of fertilizer options to feed off of in the soil.
Thanks to its varied ingredients, your plant will find everything that it can require in this potting mix!
The Foxfarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil is ready to use, and it will require no prior mixing.
As if that weren’t already enough, this product is also very versatile— which means that you could use it to stimulate sturdy root and shoot development in almost all plant pots and containers.
- Has a pH of 6.3 to 6.8.
- Available in packs of 38.6 quarts.
- No prior mixing is required—Ready to Use.
Best potting mix containing Myco-tone: Espoma AP4 Organic Potting Mix
If you have been looking for potting mixes online, then you are very well aware of how important reviews become when you are not completely acquainted with a product or its quality.
If the purchaser ratings are anything to go by (which they are) the Espoma AP4 Organic Potting Mix would probably qualify as an immediate first choice because it has a staggering 77% of five-star ratings!
The product comes in 4-quart packs, and is full to the brim with organic ingredients so that you don’t have to worry too much about any harmful artificial chemicals having access to your precious houseplants!
The Espoma AP 4 Organic Potting Mix always has the best interests of your plant at heart, because this product contains an extra special added ingredient— to ensure that your plant receives the nutrition it needs and deserves.
Enhanced with a unique Myco-tone water-saving formula, this potting mix will retain enough moisture for your plant while making sure that no excess water is being absorbed or wasted.
Besides, the Myco-tone component of this product simply makes it amazingly helpful for the growth and development of potted plants.
The Espoma AP 4 Organic Potting Mix manages drought stress to ensure that your plant has to deal with none of the harsh dryness— you really can leave your precious plants in its care!
One of the aspects of the plant’s development that this product focuses on is root growth, which is perfect since healthy roots are pretty much the deciding factor for the sturdiness and stability of the plant.
Finally, this potting mix is suitable for both indoor houseplants and outdoor bedding— quite convenient, right?
- Contains Myco-Tone water saving formula.
- Promotes the growth of new roots.
- Can be used without fertilizers for the initial 3 months.
Best Orchid potting mix: All Natural Orchid Potting Mix, by Perfect Plants
This product is primarily focused on plants that require the typical Orchid potting mix to thrive— which is, in general, a big chunk of all the most popular houseplants.
As I said, plants have unique requirements and the potting soil you use for them should cater to these unique requirements. The All-Natural Orchid Potting Mix is specially designed to look after the needs of these plants and is a result of extensive research in this direction.
The All-Natural orchid Potting Mix is curated to be able to withstand sufficient stretchability, so to speak, to allow the plants to creep and climb, which is often a characteristic of the plants that prefer orchid potting mixes to grow.
The aeration is efficient so that the delicate roots have enough space to breathe.
Water drainage allows no water to collect detrimentally around the roots, to rule out the possibility of the roots rotting. Finally, the packaging is durable and sturdy too, which is just an added benefit of this product!
- Made out of coconut chips, charcoal, pine bark, and sponge rock,
- Does not suffocate orchid roots
- Comes in a resealable bag
Best potting soil for succulents: Hoffman 1404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix
If you have been looking specifically for a kind of potting soil that will be perfect for your fancy cacti and succulents, I would highly suggest that you give the Hoffman 1404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix a shot.
This potting mix is the culmination of extensive research around the requirements of succulents; naturally, it has good aeration and water drainage, which are both characteristics of the habitat soils that such plants naturally occur in.
The Hoffman 1404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix is pre-blended and completely ready to use, and it comes equipped with the nutrient prerequisites that your precious cacti, aloe vera, snake plant et cetera might require to grow healthy and strong. It is perfect for both jungle cacti and desert cacti— quite the versatile option for succulents, I must say!
- It is a ready-to-use organic soil mix
- It is pH balanced
- Provides proper drainage for your succulent
- Can be used for desert as well as jungle cacti
Best potting soil with pH regulating components: Fertilome Ultimate Potting Mix
The Fertilome Ultimate Potting Mix includes a bunch of goodness-enhancing components that will give your plants exactly what they need.
This completely organic potting mix includes coarse perlite, and Canadian Sphagnum peat moss, among others— and these are ingredients that will guarantee that your plant receives the nutrition they need.
Besides, the reviews and product description suggest that a wetting agent is included in the package, which will effectively resolve any damaging dryness issues.
Also, the Fertilome Ultimate Potting Mix includes components like dolomitic limestone and calcitic limestone, both of which act as effective pH balancers, so the acidity level of the soil never exceeds the plant’s tolerance.
This product has all the attributes that can give your plant the absolute best of what it deserves!
- Is an all-purpose potting mix
- You need not mix it with any other soil mix, it has all you need and is ready to use
- Comes in a handy 8-quart bag
- Useful for germination and overall growth of the plant
Best potting soil that includes Coco coir: SpongEase – Coco Coir, the Perfect Potting Soil
You can always trust SpongEase to come up with amazingly innovative potting soil solutions— and this particular product is one of its finest.
First things first, I must mention that this potting soil mix is not only completely organic, it is also eco friendly and “renewable”, as is listed in the product description.
This pack includes Coco coir, and all you have to do is add the additives in with lukewarm water to expand it rapidly and turn it moist and fluffy to touch.
This adds a never-seen-before level of goodness to the soil!
Besides, SponEase also takes great care to ensure that the salt content of the soil is tolerable and that the pH level of the soil is such that the acidity of the medium is conducive for the sturdy growth and development of plants.
This product is very versatile because it is not just suitable for mature plants, but also for seedlings and fresh cuttings that are just beginning to propagate.
This plant potting soil combines multiple benefits, including organic ingredients which will ensure your peace of mind regarding the health of your dear plants, as well as the fact that you can reuse this potting soil for multiple plants.
That marks the soil as a very durable and economical option— especially when you consider the fact that it already acts as plant food and eliminates the need to separately invest in fertilizers.
I would highly suggest you grab this product and put in that slight effort behind mixing up the additives for the sake of your precious plants.
If this isn’t a win-win situation for you, I don’t know what is!
- It expands to 10 quarts of potting soil (use lukewarm or tepid water to expand)
- Organic and renewable, great for seed germination
- Neutral pH, low salt content, sufficient aeration
Best potting soil with fertilizer: Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil
This one is another very useful option when it comes to potting mixes, especially if you are looking for a loamy, rich texture for your outdoor, as well as indoor plants.
The Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil would be a very good choice for those who have a bit of a preoccupation with certification because this product was recognized by the Organic Materials Review Institute(OMRI).
This product boasts of loamy richness, which will automatically allow for efficient water retention for your plant.
You can be sure that this potting mix will allow the roots of your plants to be neither parched nor waterlogged!
The Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil is a potting mix on one hand and effective plant feed on the other because it includes some unique enriching properties like worm castings, perlite, and pumice, to name a few and all of them are essentially organic components!
Quite the perfect deal, right?
The Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil is extremely versatile and has a lot to offer.
It is suitable for all types of potted houseplants, hanging plants, herb bedding, patio containers and pots, et cetera.
So choosing potting mixes according to different plants-needs becomes a much easier task!
- All-purpose soil mix which is rich loamy that meets all your gardening needs
- With added Perlite and pumice for proper drainage and aeration
- Can be used anywhere—hanging baskets, patio containers, herb gardens, vegetable plantings et cetera.
What to look for while choosing a potting soil: Pro tips to keep in mind
Certain plants might need acidic or alkaline soil, and in that case, curating an acidity or basicity that will particularly cater to your plant’s needs is of utmost importance.
Again, some plants require certain nutrients in abundance. Minerals like Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus, or the holy NPK trinity of the care and nurture of plants, are indispensable.
But at the same time, other minerals like Magnesium, Sulphur, et cetera are also required by certain plants to fulfill certain needs.
Secondly, the other determinant of the kind of soil you should be choosing for a certain plant is based on the soil texture that the plant is used to dealing with in its natural environment.
Some plants need clayey soil that sits tight and firm around the roots, while some other plants do not quite do well in these conditions, and may need soils that are more airy and loose.
In that case, you would want to opt for the kind of soil that has a comparatively larger grain size and more interparticle space, allowing for quick drainage of collected water and abundant aeration.
Here are some of the most common confusions of plant parents in this regard, coupled with answers and some of my very personal pro tips on the matter!
What is an ideal potting mix composed of?
The ideal potting mix depends on your plant’s requirements. You have to identify the kind of soil that your plant needs exclusively, based on its nutrient and soil texture requirements. Only then can you proceed to arrange for a potting mix catering to those prerequisite conditions.
That being said, chlorophyllous plants require Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, almost without exception, so if the potting mix you are choosing is rich in these components— aside from whatever else it may need— all the better for your plant.
A good potting mix that you can buy will, however, probably not contain soil.
More often than not, these potting mixes contain substances like peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite, which are all substances that you can switch up with the ideal soil type for your plant.
This combination is ideal for absorbing moisture, and they mix fairly well, too!
However, potting mixes don’t generally contain the dissolved salts and nutrients that habitat soils will contain naturally, so you must pay enough attention to your plant’s fertilizer requirements and provide it with whatever it requires.
What can you do to manage the easy dryness of the potting mixes available in the market?
First things first, good job on noticing that potting mixes dry easily! The thing is that like I just mentioned, potting mixes are a combination of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.
These make the mix quite ideal for use when it comes to houseplants, because of how easily they blend.
But this additionally entails that potting mixes do not have the exact moisture-retaining properties that some soils have and some species of plants need to be able to thrive, especially when it’s an indoor environment.
Most soilless potting mixes not only tend to dry out fairly quickly, but they also are not stocked on the dissolved nutrients that soils naturally contain, and that is indispensable to the growth and development of the plants.
You can resolve the former issue by checking the first couple of layers of the soil with your fingers. If the topmost layers feel dry to touch.
It is a rule of thumb to moisten the soil or water the plant— unless you are dealing with cacti, succulents, and the like, of course, because they do not need to be watered that often.
As for the soluble minerals that your plant needs, you could always grab a bag of the best-suited fertilizer and feed your plant in required doses if it needs the extra nourishment!
What is the best thing about potting mixes?
I’ve previously said that most potting mixes are soilless and that they are composed of substances that closely resemble soil but are, in fact, better suited for indoor use and neat gardening.
Well, that’s just a way of putting it, because potting mixes do have an advantage that makes them a more preferable option to outdoor soil. The thing is, potting mixes reduce the chances of pest infestations and parasitic growth in the soil by a considerable degree.
Potting mixes are, in fact, “sterile”. This means that bugs and parasites growing in the soil will have no purpose in a potting mix, as these normally do not consist of the nutrients that these pests can feed on.
Going for a potting mix will help you a lot in the long run, because you will not have to worry constantly about any kind of serious insect infestation or parasitic growth.
If despite that, you are faced with a situation where some common bugs are plaguing your plant, a simple pesticide spray should be more than enough to deal with the problem.
What is the difference between potting soil and a potting mix?
This is a question that I get asked fairly often, and it amuses me every time. Potting soil and a potting mix are the same.
Commonly, even potting soils don’t contain soil— they too are specifically curated with materials like vermiculite, sphagnum peat moss, and perlite, a good combination of which will especially allow the soil to be light and to drain quickly while holding sufficient moisture around the roots of the plant.
Products that are marketed as potting mixes and potting soils are essentially the same, and they are both especially directed at facilitating the adequate rooting, growth, and development of a houseplant in the limited space that is available indoors, most often within a restrictive gardening pot or the like.
Next time you are faced with a dilemma between potting soil and a potting mix, don’t think too much about it! They will both essentially serve the same purpose so just pick a type that suits your plant.
Is it possible to revitalize and reuse a potting mix?
I would personally recommend that you DON’T throw away perfectly good (okay, maybe a little used and worn) potting mix at the end of every season— because used potting mixes can be refreshed and prepared for reuse, and well, that’s exactly what I’m here for.
I can help you to revitalize your pre-used potting mixes so hang on.
The fact remains that watering, rain, and the growth of plants wear out potting mixes, bleeding them out of their properties.
Plus, it can get too choked up with dry roots of the plant that has grown in it before. A whole bunch of things can happen, and the bottom line is that a potting mix is not eternal, if you hadn’t guessed already.
But to reuse your old potting soil, you first have to sterilize it— I would personally suggest solarising, which is just putting the mix in an airtight container and leaving it in the sun for a month or so— and removing whatever debris of the last plant that grew in it previously.
Next, you need to store this reusable potting mix in a large, dry, lidded container. Excessive dampness in the soil or the container can allow pests to grow in it, so you must take care of that.
This potting mix will now be more or less reusable, but make sure you clean the plastic or terracotta pot that you are using again, to remove all the residual salts from the pot that might have been left behind.
How often should a potting mix be replaced?
Like I just said, you can safely go ahead and reuse your potting mix, especially if it has been in use just for a season.
But of course, a potting mix will drain out its qualities with time, despite you doing your best to revitalize and rejuvenate the potting mix.
That is only normal, and when the plant that you have only recently planted into the reused potting mix looks rather worn out and fails to thrive, you know it is time to replace that mix with some fresh soil.
As a general rule, if you are planting annuals, especially flowering plants—to be on the safe side, I would suggest that you replace about a third, or half of the potting mix with some fresh soil mix every year.
Just in case you were wondering, the old mix can still be put into use in outdoor gardens or flowering beds— you get the drift. Of course, sterilizing and cleansing this old mix could be helpful, too!
I understand that every time you take a new plant under your wing, you probably feel as jittery and obsessive about its welfare as I do.
I have been dealing with houseplants for years now, and I still feel like an inexperienced, new parent, whenever I bring a new species home!
That is why I took the liberty to give you the answers that you were looking for, concerning the kind of soil your houseplant needs, and where you might be able to efficiently access them.
This should give you a fair idea about the most common houseplant requirements so that your plants have smooth sailing in your living space.
Researching the perfect soil criteria and preparing an appropriate potting mix can often become a hectic and confusing experience, especially if you are having to do it all without any help!
Plants require all sorts of things from the soil they grow on, and that vast range of requirements of different kinds of plants is part of what makes it so difficult to confidently zero in on the perfect potting soil for a certain plant.
This list was compiled with almost all the different types of plants I could think about in my mind, so I hope it was of some help to you!
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.