As an all-time favorite pass time for thousands of people worldwide, gardening has more in common with art than most hobbies; it is easy to learn the basics yet exceptionally hard to master.
Like with most things, in order to master something, it’s paramount to go back to the basics. There are a handful of factors to consider when growing big and healthy flowers and/or plants. These include sun light, water, nutrients and oxygen.
However, out of these factors few of us realise the influence soil has. The advantage of soil is that it influences water, nutrients and oxygen levels. It is an important compound for quality growth and maintaining plant health. It can be seen as a storage unit of these elements ready for plants to absorb as and when they need, provided of course, sufficient quantities are present in the soil.
Our recommended Indoor potting mix soils
- Best Overall: Miracle-Gro Potting Mix
- Best For Flowers: Espoma AP4 Organic Mix
- Best For Vegetables: Miracle-Gro Vegetables & Herbs Food
- Best For Indoor: Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix
- Best For Succulents: Kenzoplants Gritty Mix Rocks
Not only that, plants also use soil to bind their roots into, giving them the much needed stability for survival.
- Best Soil for Growing Plants
- The Three Types of Soil
- The Perfect Soil Combination – Loam
- ❶ BEST OVERALL – Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix
- ❷ BEST FOR FLOWERS – Espoma AP4
- ❸ BEST FOR VEGETABLES – Miracle-Gro Water Soluble
- ❹ BEST FOR INDOOR PLANTS – Miracle-Gro Potting Mix
- What to Look for When Buying the Best Soil for Growing Plants
Best Soil for Growing Plants
So how exactly do you know what kind of soil to use, and does it depend on the type of flowers and plants your are trying to grow?
The Three Types of Soil
We have already mentioned the importance of water, nutrients and oxygen and the part they play for healthy plant growth. So we will now discuss the three soil types and how they differ in characteristics and texture.
The different soil characteristics handle the three growing factors differently and the species of your plant will depend on the ratio of water, nutrients and oxygen it requires for healthy growth. In short, there are different soils for different plant types!
If you’ve ever been to the beach you will know that wet sand doesn’t bind together very well, it has a tendency to break apart easily. This is because the sand grains are irregular in shape and relatively large. This combinations means there is relatively large spaces between the grains.
As a result, what ever water or nutrients the sandy soil acquires, it tends to flow right through without being retained. Hence why plants that survive in sandy soil tend to be ones that do not require much water (think cactus).
Clay is very much the opposite of sandy soil. It is sticky and very dense due to the particles being very small and therefore compact together very tightly. As a result it retains water very well and therefore becomes surprisingly dense. Too much moisture is not suited for many plants and its dense properties makes it hard for roots to push through and take hold.
As you’ve guessed, silt soil has granular material that is somewhere between sand and clay. It is mostly made of broken grains of quartz which makes it high in nutrients and very fertile. It also retains water well.
Unfortunately, it does not do a good job with the flow of oxygen, and that’s why many plants struggle to grow in it.
The Perfect Soil Combination – Loam
If the three natural soil types don’t always cut it as being desirable soils for your garden plants, then what soil is? The answer is a blend or combination of them.
By mixing silt, sand and clay, you get what’s called Loam soil, and the ratios will vary depending on what type of plant you want to grow.
For example, flower bulbs love sandy loam, as drainage is good which prevents bulb rot and allows for easing rooting. A variety of mixtures can be made to promote other types of plants such as vegetables, indoor flowers or outdoor.
Related: Fast-growing indoor plants
❶ BEST OVERALL – Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix
As the corporate “jewel of Marysville,” Miracle-Gro traces its origin back to 1868 when O.M. Scott, the company’s founder, began selling lawn seeds.
Ever since the company began its business, it has strived to provide consistent quality and affordable products to make gardening an enjoyable and straightforward endeavor suitable for the broader masses and professionals in an equal manner.
This potting mix is more than suitable for indoor plants that usually grow within areas with highly differentiated soil ph values.
- Designed to be less prone to gnats
- Contains coconut coir which retains moisture and slowly releases water
- Compost and bark-free
- Best for potted plants
- The premixed blend’s alkaline nature buffers soil acidity
- Lasts up to 6 months
What plants is it suitable for?
A soil’s ability to grow healthy plants is directly proportionate to its capability of replicating the plant’s native soil qualities or coming partially close to it- and these potting soils can suit most plants with ease.
Think of the many plants that require proper drainage, such as the Persian shield, Coleus, and Angelonia plants. This potting can suit even Sweet potato vine plants, as well as many other indoor plant species!
Potentially demanding and problematic plants will immensely benefit from this soil choice, which holds essential nutrients and is suitable for allowing the plant roots to spread efficiently and naturally.
It is also worth taking into account the experiences of previous users, which number over 20,000 reviews and a great rating that speaks for itself louder than any other medium.
Amazon’s Choice marked products exude a quality that hints at an above-market offering of value, which Miracle Gro’s reputation exceeds in both national and international market standards.
Miracle Gro’s potting mix includes the use of ingredients such as sphagnum moss peat and coconut coir fiber- all of which are essential to produce a potting mix of exceptional quality.
And, what’s best of all, you can reap the tremendous benefits of using this potting soil right off the bat; it is easy to use even for a complete beginner and can tolerate putting a little extra potting soil than necessary!
However, buyers should be wary of potential mold that can grow while using this product. It does contain non-organic materials, which can be detrimental to some plant types.
Another potential hazard lies in overwatering plants, as it can take some time for them to dry out. You also have the option to add peat moss to increase water retention to support healthy growth.
The Canadian sphagnum peat moss sports immense cell structures, which means that its water-absorption qualities are akin to that of a sponge, yet going over its limit could still be potentially hazardous for your plants.
What we like
- Great for beginners
- Suits the soil type of most plants
- Last up to 6 months per package
- Market-proven all-around choice
What we don’t like
- Easy to overwater and unforgiving in case of underwatering
- Somewhat pricey
❷ BEST FOR FLOWERS – Espoma AP4
Companies that have a long history that stretches successful decades back are among the most critically acclaimed and sought after, and Espoma’s company history is almost a century-long!
With humble beginnings in 1929 as a manufacturer of organic fertilizers, the company’s product line has expanded to include liquid plant food, control products, and top-of-the-line potting soil mixes!
Filled with organic materials and a soft soil texture, with adequate use, stunted growth will be universally impossible, while healthy plants become a guarantee with this potting mix.
- Full of organic materials
- Designed to provide adequate drainage
- Promotes the growth of plant roots
- Usable with all container plants
- Suits airtight container plants
- Special water-retention formula
What plants is it suitable for?
Think of plants such as the Diamond Frost Euphorbia and Geranium that thrive outside in organic matter-based soils. Think of the diversity of indoor container-based plants and the issues related to soil.
All of these difficulties are a thing of the past with this past Espoma’s premium potting mix products that practically guarantee the effects of native soil on a diverse variety of plants.
In a nutshell- this is a fully organic option for growing plants that require loamy soil or a potting mix that requires adding organic matter in additional quantities, making it great for different types of flowers and household plants, helping you build a container garden inside your home!
If you have been a previous customer of Espoma, you might have heard the word “myco-tone” used to describe a variety of their products, especially those geared towards high-quality garden soil and root growth.
Myco-tone is a blend of both ecto and endo mycorrhizae with special ingredients added to increase the soil’s ability to retain moisture and further modify its structure, ensuring healthy root growth.
The added rich blend of humus, perlite, and peat moss allows for optimum growth and gives a rich potting soil that will go far above the standards of most other potting soils.
It also suits many different soil heats, which might characterize your plant’s environment, being quite similar to high-grade chalky soil in quality
The product also encompasses carefully selected earthworm castings. These end-products of worm digestion contain components that enhance seed germination, plant growth, and fruit production!
Thanks to the research conducted by Cornell University that yielded positive results in regards to stimulated nutrient cycles from soil to plants and natural degradation of the protective covering of a select number of pests, this ingredient became a mainstay in gardening in many high-end potting mixes!
It comes with alfalfa, kelp, and feather meals as further soil amendments aimed at striking the perfect soil ph levels and allow for adequate draining while maintaining the ideal balance of moisture.
Many gardeners who wish to test themselves growing indoor houseplants know that frequent replanting is often a must! With this potting mix, you can be sure you are getting high nutrient quality with every use!
This potting mix embodies the very best ingredients common in some of the best silty soil environments, growing healthy indoor plants with soil that holds nutrients in almost any kind of environment.
What we like
- All-natural and nutritious ingredients
- Fits the soil requirements of most indoor and outdoor plants
- It can also be used as outside soil
- Offers terrific results for both indoor and outdoor plants
- Suits a large pallet of different plants with its high-grade peaty soil
What we don’t like
❸ BEST FOR VEGETABLES – Miracle-Gro Water Soluble
Looking for a jack of all trades of the fertilizer world that offers fantastic results?
Looking for a fertilizer that is both affordable and can help your plants prosper in both outdoor and indoor environments without any issues?
Looking for a tried and tested product that makes big promises and gives positive results in abundance well beyond its guarantees regardless of soil type?
You came to the right place! What you have before you is a highly sought-after and economical fertilizer that truly makes plant growth a miracle come true! It even excels as food for fruit trees and berry crops!
As one of Miracle Gro’s best-known plant food products, this container-sized marvel of gardening ingenuity allows anyone to enjoy a bountiful harvest of your very own vegetable garden!
- Made with specially selected ingredients
- Used in conjunction with water
- Includes a specially designed formula for optimal harvests
- Suits almost all vegetable and herb plants
- Includes instructions in order to avoid burns
What plants is it best for?
Most gardens, from dedicated farms to hydroponic apartment productions, include various plants that include a wide array of vegetable crops and herbs that range from tomatoes to sweet corn.
Even less-intuitive but not any less essential herbs such as parsley, sage, and thyme can be accommodated with this formula which extends its array of usefulness way beyond that of ordinary plant foods.
The wide range of possibilities also goes along with similarly fantastic results; your salad crops are likely to proliferate into harvest-ready plants, as are the more exotic specimens in your garden.
Vegetable crops and herbs can bring fantastic results without hindrance to their growth with feedings within every 7-14 days. Even particular plants that might be demanding will
Growing healthy and juicy vegetable crops might sound like a piece of cake, yet it only becomes easy when you have the proper necessities to make the job hassle-free, especially for small-home gardens.
When you get your hands on a genuinely good fertilizer such as this, you cut back on a lot of potential future expenses and can reduce the likelihood of your crops failing. For this reason, a water-soluble and rich plant food product will pay off its initial investment quadruple in value.
Anyone can use this product and achieve gardening success with flying colors! It is rich in organic material and exceptional results, which chalk up the reputation of Miracle-Gro as a world-class producer of gardening equipment and materials.
The unique formula is easy and quick for plants to absorb, making issues such as fewer nutrients absorbed a thing of the past!
With an approximate feed range of 800 square feet of the desired garden area, this product is fantastic for covering most gardens that are within the scope of mid to large in size
Fertilizer burns are a mainstay problem in both indoor plants and outdoor variants. The company, having decades of experience and expertise behind its back, resolved this issue entirely!
Suiting the needs of many popular indoor and outdoor growing options. This instant feed plant food is a universal choice that quickly became a permanent segment of every modern gardener’s kit!
What we like
- Easy to use and forgiving for novice gardeners
- Great for pretty much any veggie or herb, even weed seeds
- Offer fast results
- Works with most soils, including clay soils and sandy soils
- Fantastic for your root crops
What we don’t like
- Can burn crops if instructions and recommended dosages are not followed
❹ BEST FOR INDOOR PLANTS – Miracle-Gro Potting Mix
Miracle-Gro is a mainstay in the world of gardening that needs no further introduction; it has been a market favorite across the globe as a whole, and it has something for every gardener’s needs.
Getting garden soil for indoor plants can be a hassle, and the plethora of differentiated choices on the market make room for inter-market competition for the best deals that can be offered to the customer- this is one of the best you can find.
With fantastic pricing and consistent quality, getting this indoor gardening mix as your garden soil is a great long-term and sustainable soil mix that can replicate the effects of the native soil of your plants.
- Fungus gnats-proof
- Water retention and soil-rehydration formula
- Non-organic soil matter
- Allows for adequate drainage
- Designed for potted plants
What plants is it best for?
Be it plants that require sandy soil, clay soil, or a general potting mix, your indoor plants will be grateful for giving them one of the best soil that can fit different plant criteria.
From low-maintenance tropical plants such as the bird of paradise to the luxurious chrysanthemum, your home can become a haven for numerous plants species using this fantastic gardening mix formula.
Following the same principles of quality and design as the singular package of Miracle Gro’s indoor potting mix, the dealbreaker is backed up by Amazon’s Choice guarantee.
Fungus gnats and adverse effects on your garden soil potentially caused by compost or bark are nullified by the unique blend this soil mix sports, being applicable both as outdoor soil as well as indoor.
It comprises a unique blend of coconut coir and innovative watering formula that enhances and simplifies the indoor gardening experience to just a few easy-to-follow steps.
The deal offers long-lasting packs individually, which can last you up to a year with only a modest investment in some of the best soil mix products on the international market.
Growing indoor plants has never been easier, with this particular product outclassing most soil mix competitors after the first couple of uses.
What we like
- Amazon’s Choice quality
- Possesses the qualities of many different types of soil
What we don’t like
- Lacks organic matter components
What to Look for When Buying the Best Soil for Growing Plants
There are different types of soil mixes on the market, but when picking an ideal one, take note of their characteristics and the needs of your plant.
When picking a universal potting mix, ensure that it fulfills the characteristics akin to loam; they allow for sufficient air circulation, nutrient absorption, a slightly acidic to neutral pH value.
Look for ingredients such as peat, bark, compost, perlite, coir, sand, and the periodic addition of fertilizers. A good container mix for indoor gardens also allows for occasional replanting.
When looking for good plant food for vegetables, nitrogen-based fertilizers are ideal for leafy vegetables. In contrast, fruit-oriented plant food tends to be phosphorous based.
In general, components such as zinc, iron, phosphorous, sulfur, and potassium are all recommended components of high-quality plant food, alongside a plethora of organic matter.
A good idea is to have on hand a couple of sandy soils and/or clay soil additions that can supplement your soils soil.
Veteran gardeners sometimes even add peat moss and make their custom blends, making their own different soils soil.
What is the best soil for growing most plants?
When talking about soil, there are three basic types to choose from:
– Silty soil
– Clay soil
– Sand soil
As sand clay and silt are the basic materials of every potting medium, they are often combined but rarely used in their pure form. Each one of them possesses its own share of pros and cons.
The ideal blend of soils, however, is called loamy soil. It is the favored companion of many gardeners and is widespread in almost every garden.
However, keep in mind that every plant has different soil needs, and sometimes other soils might triumph loam in specific categories, but, as a universal choice, it’s the jack of all trades of gardening.
Why is loam the best soil for growing plants?
It is the best because loam combines the best of all three particles and has the best qualities of clay soils and silty soil.
It is composed of roughly 40% silt and 20% clay. It is perfect because it takes the best of all three (water retention, nutrient holding, and air circulation) and combines them into one winning combination!
Loam takes the crown of the best soil because it has excellent drainage, holds nutrients as much as possible, and lets air circulate freely.
It also can be additionally customized by adding additional ingredients to your soil, possibly making your soil into sandy loam, peaty soil, and even a variation of loam similar to clay soil.
The variations you can make with loam are immense, and its elemental composition makes it one of the best choices for plant growth.
What is the best soil for potted plants?
Getting yourself a good potting mix (also known as a lightweight soilless planting medium) can be quite a chore, especially if you don’t precisely know the types of soil that your plants can prosper in.
However, there are certain qualities that distinguish a quality product from the rest, and that includes air space, moisture retention, and is less prone to issues such as gnats.
Micro-Gro is, for this very reason, one of the best options on the market- it is very affordable, long-lasting, and possesses the qualities most indoor garden plants need to prosper.