When it comes to potting soil, there’s certainly no shortage of options to choose from. While there’s no doubt that choice is a good thing, with so many different types, trying to determine which one to use can seem like a daunting task. There are different types of potting soil, and the kind you use largely depends on the specific species of plant you intend on growing, as well as where you will be placing your potted plant.
If you’re new to cultivating potted plants, in an effort to make the process of choosing the highest quality soil, we’ve taken the liberty of doing the research for you.
We’ve also included a handy buyer’s guide that highlights the factors that you should take into consideration when you’re selecting potting soil, and we wrap our guide up by answering some of the most frequently asked questions that gardeners have about potting soil.
With the information presented here, you should be able to choose the best potting soil for the specific needs of your plants. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and take a look at some of the highest quality potting soils on the market.
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 Potting Soil Reviews
- 3 Other Best Selling Options
- 4 Potting Soil Buyer’s Guide
- 5 Potting Soil FAQs
- 6 Conclusion
For gardeners who are in a rush and don’t have the time to read through lengthy reviews but still want to be sure that they find the highest quality potting soil for their plants, this section is for you.
- Best Pick: Burpee Premium Organic Potting Soil
Burpee is one of the most highly regarded names in gardening products, and their Premium Organic Potting Soil proves why. Enriched with Burpee’s high-grade plant food, this potting soil is specially formulated to feed all types of plants with the vital nutrients they need to thrive, producing extremely vibrant flowers, and tasty, healthful vegetables, and herbs.
- Premium Pick: Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix
If you’re on the market for a high-end potting soil, consider Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix; our top pick for the best premium potting soil. Amended with soil microbes that effectively enhance the efficiency of a potted plant’s root systems and promote nutrient uptake, this soil ensures that plants have the foundation they need to thrive.
- Budget Pick: Rio Hamza Trading House Plant and Tropical Plant Potting Soil
For gardeners who are on a budget and don’t want to spend a lot, yet still want to be sure that they are using a high-quality potting soil that they can rely on to provide their plants with a healthy foundation, Rio Hamza Trading’s House Plant and Tropical Plant Potting Soil is a great choice.
Potting Soil Reviews
Now that you’ve read through the brief reviews of our top picks for the best overall, best premium, and best budget potting soils, let’s take a more in-depth look. In this section of our guide, you’ll find more detailed reviews of our picks for the best potting soil in the aforementioned categories, as well as several other high-quality, reliable options.
Burpee Premium Organic Potting Mix
Since 1881, Burpee has been providing gardeners with premium-quality gardening products, including seeds, flowers, vegetables, fruits, and more. They also offer an extensive list of gardening supplies, such as potting soil. Their Premium Organic Potting Mix is one of the best potting soils on the market.
Made for both container and raised gardens, this enriched soil can be used as a foundation for various types of plants. The primary benefit of this potting soil is that it features coconut coir, an organic and sustainable resource that offers outstanding water retention qualities, which makes it an outstanding addition to potting soil. Coconut coir has the ability to absorb up to 10 times its weight in water, which means that your plants will have easy access to a constant supply of water and that their roots will remain hydrated.
As such, you’ll be able to water your potted and raised bed plants less often than you would have to with other types of potting soils. In addition to excellent hydration, Burpee’s Premium Organic Potting Soil will also provide your plants with the vital vitamins and minerals they need, as it’s enriched with Burpee’s plant food, which is specially formulated to produce vibrant flowers, robust greenery, and delicious and nutritious vegetables and herbs.
This growing mix immediately feed s your plants and then delivers slow-release food for up to three months. Furthermore, this potting soil is OMRI listed, which means that it’s 100 percent organic. Additionally, with many organic potting soils, pests aren’t uncommon; however, with Burpee’s Premium Organic Potting Soil, you won’t have to worry about pesky bugs taking over your potted or raised bed plants. Sold in a 9 quart bag, this premium-quality potting soil is affordably priced.
- Contains coconut coir, an organic, sustainable, and highly absorbent resource that will ensure your plants maintain proper moisture levels between waterings, and also means less watering for you
- Enriched with highly nutritious, all-natural Burpee plant food
- Instantly releases essential nutrients and continues to slowly release food to provide a constant stream of plant food that will keep your plants well-nourished for up to 3 months
- OMRI listed; 100% organic
- Suitable for potted plants and raised flower beds
- Bug-free, so no need to worry about pests
- Sold in a 9 quart bag
- Affordably priced
Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix
If you’re looking for an all-natural, top-of-the-line potting soil, Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil is an excellent choice. Since potted plants are unable to obtain the nutrition they need from the ground, as a gardener, they rely on you to bring the nutrition to them.
That’s why Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix is amended with soil microbes that are intended to improve the efficiency or roots and promote the uptake of nutrients. All of the components of this soil are completely natural to ensure that your plants receive the best of care. It’s also pH adjusted, allowing for maximum nutrient uptake, so you can start using it right out of the bag because there’s no need to worry about making any adjustments yourself.
All of these characteristics combine to create an all-natural, premium-quality potting soil that serves as a healthy foundation for your plants and will ensure vigorous vegetative growth, as well as enhanced flower and fruit production. Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix is sold in a 2 cubic-foot bag, can be used with all varieties of indoor and outdoor potted plants – from geraniums on your patio to African violets in your window sill.
As an added bonus, it also comes complete with high-quality Pearson’s gardening gloves that will keep your hands neat, clean, and protected.
- Amended with soil microbes that improve root efficiency and promote proper nutrient uptake
- Specially formulated for indoor and outdoor container plants
- Nutrient-dense and pH-adjusted to ensure maximum nutrient uptake
- Ready to use right out of the bag
- Promotes strong plant structures, hearty vegetative growth, and enhances flower and fruit production
- Comes with Pearson’s protective gardening gloves
Rio Hamza Trading House Plant and Tropical Plant Potting Soil
If you’re looking for a high-quality potting soil that will feed your plants with the vital nutrition they need to thrive yet won’t cost you an arm and a leg, consider our pick for the best budget potting soil: Rio Hamza Trading House Plant and Tropical Plant Potting Soil.
It’s an all-natural, hand-blended potting soil that can be used with both newly potted and re-potted plants. Since it’s all natural, no chemical or artificial fertilizers are used; instead, chemical-free, 100 percent natural worm castings are used as the source of plant food nourishment, as these castings provide the essential vitamins and minerals that plants need to thrive.
Other ingredients include perlite, peat, and lime, which encourage nutrient uptake, ensure root systems remain hydrated, and provide a solid foundation for all types of container plants. It comes in a 2 quart bag, which is the ideal amount for potting or re-potting medium-sized plants or a collection of smaller plants.
The bag is re-sealable, too, so you can easily and neatly store away any soil that you don’t use right away for later.
- 100 percent natural; completely free of artificial fertilizers and pesticides
- Comprised of all-natural, chemical, and pesticide-free worm castings, peat, perlite, and lime
- Delivers the vital nutrients that all varieties of house plants and tropical plants need to survive and thrive
- Encourages nutrient and moisture uptake and provides a solid foundation for root systems to promote robust plants and encourage hearty vegetation and vibrant flowers
- Can be used with all types of house plants and tropical plants
- Comes in a 2 quart, re-sealable bag
- Very affordably priced
Wonder Soil Premium Organic Potting Soil Mix
Another top-quality, reliable soil for potted plants and container gardens is this option from Wonder Soil. Their Premium Organic Potting Soil Mix is the only dry compressed coco coir mix that’s blended with additional amendments of worm castings, mycorrhizae, kelp, perlite, and water-saving polymers.
It’s peat-free, completely natural, and is totally friendly for people and animals. Thanks to the natural components that this soil is comprised of, it promotes fast germination, encourages hydration, and promotes nutrient uptake. Pre-mixed and ready to use, this potting soil can be used right out of the bag for both indoor and outdoor potted and raised bed plants.
Coco coir, a completely natural and sustainable resource, has outstanding moisture retention properties and provides reliable drainage and aeration for the roots of your plants, which means you can go longer periods of time between waterings and your plants will still remain properly hydrated. The special and advanced formulation of Wonder Soil Premium Organic Potting Soil Mix means that you can use up to 50 percent less water, seeds, and fertilizer.
Not only is the soil itself premium-quality, but the bag is, too! It’s heavy-duty and re-sealable, which means you don’t have to worry about it breaking apart while you’re transporting it and you can keep whatever you don’t use dry, neat, and secure until the next time you need it.
This feature will come in really handy, given the fact that this compressed indoor potting and garden soil expands to four times its original size when mixed with water, a little goes a long way and you won’t have to use as much. It’s also completely organic, so if you’re planting fruits or veggies, you can have confidence knowing that you’ll be eating healthy.
- The only dry compressed coco coir mix with added amendments of worm castings, mycorrhizae, kelp, perlite, and water-saving polymers
- The ingredients used in this potting soil promote stronger roots and encourage faster plant growth
- Completely peat-free and, all-natural, and safe for people and animals
- Coco coir is an all-natural, sustainable resource that has outstanding water retention qualities, which means you can water less and your plants will remain properly hydrated
- Delivers all of the essential vitamins and minerals that plants need to thrive
- Encourages faster germination, moisture and nutrient intake, strong roots, robust vegetation, and vibrant flowers and fruit
- Pre-mixed and ready to use; no need to worry about adjusting the pH levels
- Expands up to four times the original size when mixed with water, so a little goes a long way
- Packaged in a highly durable, re-sealable bag
Organic Succulents and Cactus Soil Mix
Succulents and cacti require special soil, so if you’re planning on potting or repotting these kinds of plants, Organic Succulents and Cactus Soil Mix is an outstanding choice. It’s completely organic, so you don’t have to worry about your plants being exposed to harsh additives that could potentially endanger your plants.
The soil is a carefully screened blonde sphagnum peat with low levels of organic fertilizers. It’s lightweight and fast-draining, which is exactly what succulents and cacti need in order to thrive, otherwise their roots can become waterlogged and perish, but with this soil, that’s something you won’t have to worry about, as it can effectively help you avoid overwatering, yet also helps the roots absorb the proper amount of air moisture. The soil is pre-mixed for use, which definitely helps to simplify gardening and makes the process a lot more enjoyable.
All you need to do is fill your container with the necessary amount of soil, place your plant in it, make sure the roots are covered, and water on an as-needed basis (when the soil is completely dry). This pre-mixed potting soil can be used both indoors and outdoors and is suitable for all types of succulents and cacti; however, it can also be used with house plants, flowers, veggies, and herbs.
No matter what you plan on planting, when you use Organic Succulents and Cactus Soil Mix, you can have confidence knowing that your plants will develop strong roots and that they’ll receive the moisture and nutrition that they need to thrive. The soil is packed in a durable, zip-lock re-sealable bag, so you can easily store any soil you aren’t using and it will stay dry and neat.
- Contains screened blonde sphagnum peat with low levels of organic fertilizer
- Lightweight and fast-draining, making it ideal for succulents and cacti, as it ensures proper drainage and prevents overwatering
- Can be used with various types of plants beyond succulents and cacti, including veggies, flowers, herbs, and more
- Provides plants with the essential vitamins and nutrients they need to thrive and promotes nutrient and moisture uptake
- Pre-mixed soil so you and makes gardening a simpler and more enjoyable process
- Packed in a durable, re-sealable bag that allows for easy storage
- Very affordably priced
Other Best Selling Options
- Grows Plants Twice as Big!* *vs. unfed plants
- Feeds up to 6 months
- More blooms for more color* *vs. unfed plants
- For indoor and outdoor container plants
- For use in containers
- Blended for a wide variety of container plants
- Feeds up to 6 months
- Designed to be less prone to gnats (Contains no compost or bark, which are known to shelter fungus gnats)
- Contains coconut coir, which holds and releases water and helps soil easily re wet
- For use in containers
- Ultimate potting soil that has everything your plants need in one bag
- Ocean Forest is pH adjusted at 6.3 to 6.8 to allow for optimum fertilizer uptake
- Ocean Forest has a light, aerated texture that's perfect for indoor and outdoor plants
- Product may arrive in a WHITE bag that was added as an extra layer of protection for shipping
Potting Soil Buyer’s Guide
Growing plants requires effort and dedication, the degree of which depends on the specific species and where they are being grown. Planting and caring for potted plants is a bit different than planting and caring for flora in the ground, and there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to potted plants; specifically the environment the vegetation is grown in.
Of course, water and light are two of the most important components of cultivating a healthy plant; however, there’s another component that’s just as important, yet often overlooked among novice gardeners: the soil. Not only does soil provide a plant with the foothold it needs for its root system, but it also holds the vital minerals and nutrients they need to thrive.
Furthermore, soil aids in moisture absorption, thus ensuring that a plant remains properly hydrated, filters out pollutants, and maintains adequate aeration and respiration, ensuring a plant receives the oxygen it needs for cellular respiration, which plays a critical role in vital plant processes, such as photosynthesis. In other words, soil has a direct impact on a plant’s overall health and well-being. Therefore, if you’re planning on cultivating a plant in a pot, the soil you use requires careful consideration, as a potted plant relies solely on you to ensure that it can receive all of the essential benefits that soil provides.
After reading through our list of the best quality potting soils, you’re probably wondering which option to choose. How do you do that? – By taking some key factors into consideration.
In this section of our guide, we share some of the most important factors that you should take into consideration when you’re shopping for potting soil that will help you decide which option will best suit the needs of your plants and that will help to make gardening an enjoyable process.
The Type of Plants
First things first: you’re going to want to consider the type of plants that you’ll be potting. Different plants have different nutritional, oxygenation, and hydration requirements, and they get all of these things from the soil they’re grown in.
For example, succulents need lightweight, well-draining soil; it the soil is too heavy and retains too much water, the root system can become water-logged and ultimately, your plants could perish.
Therefore, it’s essential that you consider the specific types of plants you’re going to be cultivating. If you’re planning on planting a variety of plants, there are multi-purpose potting soils that are specially formulated to meet the nutritional, hydration, and oxygenation needs of various species of plants.
Organic vs Non-Organic
You should also consider whether you want to use organic or non-organic potting soil for your plants. The key differences between these two types of potting soils include:
Organic potting soil is the preferred choice among the majority of gardeners. That’s because it’s free of chemicals that could potentially harm your plants. Additionally, with organic mixes, the nutrients are in-tact, meaning that they aren’t broken down or mixed with anything else, so your plants will be able to receive the vital nutrition that they need to thrive from all-natural ingredients. Examples of the ingredients that are commonly used in organic potting soil mixes include:
- Worm castings
- Natural compost
- Mushroom compost
- Fish meal
- Bone meal
Potting soils that aren’t organic are comprised of a variety of a blend of ingredients; some of which are natural, but some that aren’t. The components usually used in non-organic potting soils usually include:
Additionally, some varieties of non-organic potting soils feature small bits of Styrofoam, which is blended in to create additional space for water and air. While Styrofoam may be effective at doing just that, it does contain chemicals that can be harmful to plants, as can the other non-natural ingredients that the soil is comprised of.
While organic potting soil is clearly better for your plants, there is one drawback: it does come at a price, as it tends to be markedly more expensive than non-organic soils. While non-organic soils are less expensive, do keep in mind that the ingredients they are comprised of can contain chemicals, which could be harmful to the health and well-being of vegetation.
Additionally, though organic potting soil may be more expensive initially, it can be reused, so it may actually end up costing you less in the long run.
You’ll also want to take air circulation into consideration when you’re trying to decide which potting soil you should use. Just like all living things, a plant’s root system needs a sufficient amount of air circulation in order to ensure that they receive the oxygen they need to thrive.
The soil your potted plants are housed will have a direct impact on the level of circulation and oxygenation that they receive. To ensure that your potted plants receive maximum air circulation, look for a blend that is lightweight and has a fluffy-like consistency. If the soil is too dense, it will be difficult for oxygen to flow through to the roots, which can ultimately damage the health of your plants, or potentially kill them.
In addition to air circulation, you also need to consider the drainage of the soil you use for your potted plants. As mentioned above, some varieties of plants need fast-draining soil, such as succulents and cacti, while others need soil that retains moisture and remains damp.
Lastly, you’ll want to consider the nutritional content of the soil. Make sure that the soil you use offers the key nutrients that plants need to thrive; at minimum, it should have nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, but other important nutrients include calcium and magnesium.
Potting Soil FAQs
Why should I use potting soil?
While you could fill your pots with substrate from your yard, if you want to ensure that your plants are as strong and healthy as possible, you should definitely use potting soil. That’s because potting soil is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of plants that are housed in containers.
What type of soil should I use?
It depends on the specific type of plants you’ll be potting, as well as whether they will be kept indoors or outdoors. Consider the above-mentioned factors to determine which soil will best suit the needs of your plants, or ask an associate at your local gardening center.
In order to ensure the overall health of your potted plants, they need to be planted in a soil that will meet its nutritional, hydration, and oxygenation needs, and that will support strong root growth. With the information presented in this guide, you should be able to choose the best potting soil to meet the specific needs of your plants.