Best Potting Soil for Healthy Plants

Growing plants takes work, dedication, effort, and the best potting soil available. No matter if you have indoor or outdoor plants, the best potting soil for your plant type can help give them the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. There are dozens of different types available from reputable companies that it’s challenging to narrow down one or two to use on your plants. I understand this, and I know how important your plants are to you. This is why I researched and pulled 10 of the best potting soil mixes available. 

You can compare each review side by side to see which one or two will meet your needs the best. If you’re not sure what to look for when you start shopping, take a peek at the buyer’s guide at the end of the post. This will give you a good idea on what sets the best potting soil apart from the competition. 

Soil 1 Start
The best potting soil is a mix of lightweight and airy ingredients that help retain moisture and nutrients without suffocating the plant. There are many different varieties available, and it’s important that you match your soil to your plants for the best results. 

1. Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix

First up on the list of the best potting soil is by well-known brand Miracle Grow. This is a premium indoor potting mix that comes with a blend that suits a broad range of containers. If you’re growing Mediterranian herbs inside, this potting soil mix would suit it well to encourage rapid and healthy growth. A single application of this potting soil will feed your plants for up to six months, and this reduces the general amount of work you have to put into your plants making sure they have the correct balance of nutrients. You can mix this potting soil in when you repot your plants or refresh them throughout the year. 

There is no bark or compost in this best potting soil mix, and this can help make it less prone to attracting fungi or gnats inside your home. It comes with a healthy mix of coconut coir included in the blend that helps your plant retain moisture and keep the soil relatively wet between watering sessions. You can order a single six-quart pack, a pack of two, or an entire plant care bundle all at one time. 

Benefits:

  • Works well on a broad range of indoor plants
  • Coconut coir retains moisture 
  • One feeding can last up to six months

Drawbacks:

  • May hold too much moisture for some plants 
  • Don’t get a lot in every order 
  • Packaging is slightly more flimsy 

2. Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food

You can choose from an Outdoor and Indoor formula or a Flower and Vegetable formula when you pick this best potting soil. It also comes in 1, 2, 4.5, and 8-pound bags that allows you to customize your order to suit your needs. There are 11 essential nutrients packed into this formula that help support healthy growth and make your plants less resistant to bug or fungi infestations. Once you apply this plant soil, it has enough nutrients to feed your plants for up to six months. When the six months are up, you will want to mix more of this soil into your containers or flower beds to keep feeding them. 

As long as you use this best potting soil as specified on the package, it comes with a no-burn pledge. If you accidentally get it on your plant’s leaves or stems, it won’t damage or burn them before you remove it. This is great when it comes time to add more to your containers. All you have to do is add one scoop of the product to each container, mix it into one or three inches of soil, water it, and let it work on your plants. 

Benefits:

  • Easy to apply and reapply 
  • Comes in two formulas and several sizes 
  • Won’t burn your plant leaves or stems

Drawbacks:

  • May take a while to see results 
  • Too strong for sensitive plants 
  • Can wash away in areas with heavy rains

3. Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix

You’ll have to repot your cacti or succulents eventually, and this is the perfect time to add this best potting soil to their containers to encourage healthy growth. This is a professionally formulated potting soil mix that comes straight from Denmark, and it’s specially formulated to provide optimal growing conditions for both cacti and succulents. It’s a very lightweight mix that drains relatively quickly, and it has a pH ranging around 5.5 to help provide the drainage and support these finicky plants need to survive all year round. This is a 100% organic mix that is free of any chemicals. 

If you accidentally overwater your plants, this best potting soil will quickly drain the excess water away to help prevent root rot or mold from taking over. The neutral pH of this potting mix is what these types of plants prefer, and it comes in three sizes. It has a low fertilizer content with 75% substrate and 25% perlite. You get excellent air capacity with this potting soil that helps keep your plants healthy. 

Benefits:

  • Imported from Denmark
  • Very lightweight any airy mix
  • Allows for excellent drainage

Drawbacks:

  • Can have a very strong smell
  • Get very little for what you pay for it
  • Compacts in the pot

4. Espoma Organic Potting Mix

Espoma’s best potting soil comes in a single pack, or you can get a 2, 3, 4, or 5 pack. There is also a Delux option or an eight-quart size. This potting soil mix is suitable for both outdoors and indoors applications, and this means that you can use it on a broad range of plants, flowers, and vegetables without worrying about it damaging them. The unique Myco-Tone Water Saving Formula found in this potting mix allows your plants to get enough moisture when you water them without having to water as much. It’ll retain a little moisture without overwhelming your plants.

There are earthworm castings mixed into this best potting soil to add nutrients that encourage big plant growth. It is slightly more dense, but it’s not compact enough to trap a lot of moisture close to your plant’s roots. You do want to periodically refresh their potting soil throughout the year to add more nutrients, but this mix should last for at least six months. It’s very easy to apply, and you can fold the bag over to reseal it between uses. 

Benefits:

  • Works outdoors and indoors 
  • Has the Myco-Tone Water Saving Formula included
  • Slightly dense formula

Drawbacks:

  • Not as strong as some on the list
  • May attract bees to your containers 
  • Have to wear gloves when you use it

5. FoxFarm Happy Frog Potting Soil

Anyone who wants to try their hand at creating a container garden should try this best potting soil. This is a nutrient-rich option that comes highly recommended for plants in containers because they can benefit from more concentrated amounts. The pH comes adjusted out of the bag so it’s ready to use and it gives your plants the maximum nutrient intake possible, and it comes packed with mycorrhizal fungi and soil microbes to feed your plants for months at a time without having to add more soil to their containers. These beneficial nutrients encourage healthy growth, large leaves, and make your plants resistant to disease. 

You’ll get enhanced flower and fruit production with this best potting soil, and it comes in several pounds when you buy it so you have enough for several plants and flowers. The lightweight soil compacts slightly when you add moisture to help your containers retain it, but it allows a lot of the water to drain through it to prevent root rot or water damage to the stems, leaves, and roots. 

Benefits:

  • Excellent for container planting 
  • Fully pH adjusted
  • Beneficial nutrients encourage strong growth

Drawbacks:

  • Better for seedlings 
  • Can retain too much moisture 
  • May have to add perlite 

6. Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix by Perfect Plants

This is another best potting soil for succulents or cacti, and it comes in four or eight-quart sizes. Your plants will enjoy an excellent balance of moisture and air, and the soil retains a host of beneficial nutrients for your plants to feed on. This soil is professionally mixed from staff at Perfect Plants Nursery to ensure each bag has a high-quality product in it that supports plant growth for months at a time. They formulated this to make the perfect environment for succulents and cacti to grow and thrive. It’s light enough that it’ll drain quickly and easily without holding onto too much moisture. 

This best potting soil mix contains sand, perlite, composted pine bark, and garden coir that allows you to use it with any succulent. As a bonus, the bag is easy to seal once you open it to keep the mix fresh until you’re ready to use it. You can fill an entire container with it or use it as the top few inches of soil around your cacti or succulents. It also mixes well with other compost or potting soil. 

Benefits:

  • Light and airy mix 
  • Mixed by professional gardeners 
  • High quality control standards 

Drawbacks:

  • Not good for sensitive succulents 
  • Minor issues with drainage 
  • Bag is difficult to reseal 

7. Mother Earth Coco Plus Perlite Mix

If you’re looking for a quality alternative to the best potting soil mix for your fruit trees, try this option from Mother Earth Products. This particular mix allows you to aggressively feed your fruit trees without worrying about overwatering them or having the soil retain enough moisture that your plants will succumb to root rot. You can use this mix both indoors and outdoors without a problem, and it has enough perlite in it to encourage healthy drainage and growth from the roots up. It has 30% perlite and 70% coconut coir in the mix, and it allows you to mix it into the soil directly around your trees. 

The rich reddish hue on this best potting soil mix creates an eye-catching area around your garden or in your containers. You get 27 pounds per order, and this is more than enough to spread around multiple areas on your property without running out. This product stimulates natural plant growth by using high-quality ingredients, and it has a low salt content with a high drainage ability. 

Benefits:

  • Has a slightly reddish hue
  • Encourages natural plant growth 
  • Low moisture retention 

Drawbacks:

  • Contains a lot of peat
  • Slightly larger medium 
  • May have to rinse it before you use it

8. Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil

Do you have outdoor gardening going and you want to give your plants a decent start? If so, this best potting soil is a great choice if you need a medium-weight mix. This product comes with excellent drainage and air porosity capabilities to help you achieve the optimal growing conditions for your plants. If you put it around your flower beds, it can help stimulate quick growth with lush leaves and vibrantly-colored flowers. It works well in pots, baskets, containers, and garden beds, and one application of this premium-quality mix will feed your plants for a full six months straight. 

When you purchase this best potting oil, you’ll get a 1.5 cubic foot bag. It’s a unique blend of 50% to 60% Canadian sphagnum peat moss, perlite, processed softwood bark, a wetting agent, controlled release fertilizer, and dolomite lime. Each bag comes professional mixed and ready to spread on all of your flowers, vegetables, and outdoor shrubs. There are both large and small pieces in this mix, and it’s easy to apply every six months to your beds. 

Benefits:

  • Available in single and multi-packs
  • Promotes vibrant colors and growth 
  • Excellent air porosity

Drawbacks:

  • Could attract moths
  • Can’t reseal the bag
  • Pay a lot for a little amount

9. Black Gold All Purpose Potting Soil

One fun idea for your patio is to create an oasis where you can relax by getting a mix of plants and using the best potting soil to make them thrive and cover the area. This all-purpose potting soil works wonderfully in patio containers, hanging baskets, flower beds, and herb gardens. This nutrient-rich mix will feed any plant you put it on for months at a time without failing or washing out, and it uses a MultiCote controlled release fertilizer. This fertilizer isn’t strong enough to do damage to your plants, and it will work to give your plants the boost they need to take off after you plant them. 

This best potting soil uses a mix of pumice, forest humus worm castings, and Canadian sphagnum peat moss to create an airy medium that allows for excellent drainage and airflow without sacrificing the nutrients. As this product comes from a facility in the United States using trusted ingredients, you can rest assured that you’re getting a high-quality product. It’s cost-effective, and it comes from a reputable company. 

Benefits: 

  • Contains a complete slow-release fertilizer 
  • Works well for all plant types 
  • Can use both indoors and outdoors 

Drawbacks:

  • Can take a few days to see results 
  • Contains larger tree parts 
  • Can attract gnats 

10. Michigan Peat Premium Potting Soil

The final entry on the best potting soil list comes from Michigan Peat. You can use this mix on outdoor and indoor potted plants, rooted cuttings, starting seeds, and bulbs without an issue. It comes ready to use straight out of the package, and you’ll get a fertilizer package included in each order that you can add to the mix before you apply it to your plants. This is a very lightweight blend that contains sphagnum peat that comes pre moistened with a list of other high-quality ingredients. The starter will ensure that your younger plants grow strong and resistant to bugs or rot. 

The slow-release fertilizer in this best potting soil will feed your plants for months after the initial application. You can buy a larger 40-quart bag so you have enough to cover several plants around and outside your house or garden. It’s very easy to handle and apply once you get it, and it won’t burn your plant’s leaves. 

Benefits:

  • Works on cuttings and seedlings 
  • Has slow-release fertilizer 
  • For use indoors and outdoors

Drawbacks:

  • Can have a slight smell 
  • Bag is very flimsy 
  • Customer support is difficult to contact 

Best Potting Soil – Buyer’s Guide

Generally speaking, the best potting soil serves the same purpose of any soil because it works to support your plants and deliver both nutrients and water to the roots. The best potting soils will mimic the plant’s native soil to give it the best growing environment possible. This means that you have to tailor your soil to your plants. For example, you’d use a different soil for desert landscaping than you would for a tropical garden. 

Soil 2 Desert
Desert landscaping is much different than growing plants in a cooler environment, and you’ll need more nutrients and moisture retention to offset the harsh conditions and lack of water.

A lot of the commercial potting soil mixes you’ll find on the current market come packed with fertilizer. This can be a quick or slow-release variety. It’s beneficial for the potting soil to contain this as it can encourage your plants to grow. However, it’s very difficult to tell exactly how much fertilizer you’re giving your plant when you add it. If you’re someone who has more sensitive plants and you’d like to have exact measurements, opt for the best potting soil mix without fertilizer. This way, you can manually measure and add the fertilizer separately. If you don’t want to use a chemical fertilizer, you can make your own plant food with things you have around the house. 

How well the potting soil works for your plants is entirely up to you. It’s essential that you make sure your plants have enough water. If you live in an area that gets a lot of drought and hot conditions, your plants are going to push their root systems downward and outward to try and find water. Your potting mix should have something in it that helps retain water like perlite, moss, or horticultural vermiculite. 

Buying Considerations 

What do you look for when you start searching for your best potting soil? They’re not all equal, and some work far differently than others. This is why you have to have at least an idea of what you want when you start shopping. If not, it’s easy to get the wrong kind. 

Soil 3 Guide
Both organic and non-organic potting soil can work well for your plants, but it’s important that you pay attention to the nutrients in the mix to ensure your plant has enough to support healthy growth. 

Type

The first thing you should decide is the type of potting soil you want. You can break the best potting soil down into two broad categories. The first category is the organic potting soil. These are usually much more expensive and heavier than non-organic options. They use organic matter only in their makeup, and this can drive the price up. The second category is the non-organic potting soils. They contain man-made ingredients, but they can lose their nutrient value over time. 

You have to understand what sets these two categories apart. Once you do, you can use the following list to narrow down your choices and compare various versions of the best potting soil until you find the best one to help your plants, trees, vegetables, or shrubs grow. 

Circulation 

First up is the air circulation. Your plants will need a good level of circulation to stay healthy, and any potting mix you look at should be able to guarantee this. Light and fluffy potting soils are one option to seriously consider because they allow for maximum airflow. You also don’t want an extremely dense potting soil mix when it gets wet because this can smother your plant and encourage mold growth. 

Soil 4 Circulation
Many people forget how important air circulation is to your plants, but it’s essential if you want to stave off root rot or suffocate the roots. An airy soil won’t compress much when you get it wet, and it’ll allow most of the moisture to flow through. 

Nutrient and Moisture Retention 

It’s essential that the best potting soil can retain both essential nutrients and moisture because they’re vital to your plant’s continued health. Before you pick out an organic or non-organic mix, check and see if it guarantees that it’ll retain both of these items. You can find this out by reading the ingredient list on the package. In a non-organic mix, you’ll want to see peat moss listed. The more peat moss in the formula, the better it’ll be at retaining nutrients and moisture. 

Variety of Nutrients 

As a rule of thumb, you want to make a habit of never purchasing a potting soil mix until you’ve taken a few minutes to read the ingredient list. The best potting soil should have much more than a single nutrient in it because your plants need more than one type to survive. The more nutrients it lists, the better your plants are. It’s common to see 6 to 12 nutrients advertised on the bag. 

Density 

How dense the best potting soil mix is is very important. If you can, test the density before you buy it. You can do this by poking the soil with your fingers. If it gives slightly, it should be acceptable for your plants. If not, find something else. When you add water, your potting soil shouldn’t get hard. If it does, your plants will shove their roots up through the soil. Another way to check the density is to lift up the bag. If it’s surprisingly heavy, you’re most likely getting a lot of fillers like mulch or sand. This isn’t good for healthy plant growth. 

Soil 5 Density
It’s worth it to tailor the best potting soil to the type of plants, location, and environmental conditions you have because this can encourage your plants to grow strong while resisting infestations. 

Bottom Line

Picking out the best potting soil takes time and a little research. If you get it right, your plants have a much better chance of growing lush and strong all season. You have a buyer’s guide and 10 high-quality options to compare in this article, and you should see a difference in your plants when you use them. 

Best Potting Soil for Healthy Plants Cover