What is the Difference Between Potting Soil and Potting Mix?

What is the Difference Between Potting Soil and Potting Mix?

A lot of people interchangeably use potting mix and potting soil. If you go to a local nursery to buy potting soil, there is a high chance that you might get potting mix by mistake.

Technically, potting soil is nothing but dirt that no longer has the adequate elements necessary to support the growth of potted plants or indoor plants. Potting mix, however, doesn’t have any soil but it is a blend of perlite, peat moss, vermiculite, fine barks, and more.


Why should you use a potting mix?

A decent potting mix will be a combination of elements that are larger than soil particles. This is essential especially in a container as it pretends the mix from compacting. It will also allow the water to drain properly and for the air to get enough a passage to easily move through. These are some of the factors that are essential for plants to have a healthy root system.

Is potting soil harmful for potted plants?

The same type of plant will require the same amount of nutrients irrespective of its growing media. However, when you take into consideration the restricted area in a container or a pot, healthy garden soil might not be the ideal choice for growing plants. In simple words, you cannot simply take soil from your garden and turn it into potting soil and expect solid growth.

In potted plants and indoor plants, if there is an artificial growing environment, the pots or containers won’t have enough room for the plants to spread its roots. Regular watering the ordinary potting soil can cause it to compact. The water can easily accumulate at the bottom of the pot even after the presence of drainage holes causing the plant to drown. Potting soil is also limited when it comes to providing the essential nutrients needed by plants.

How can you purchase the right potting mix?

If the ingredients are present, always read them and if the product has soil, it is not intended to be used for containers but only for raising beds or filling in the low spots in your lawn. There are some products under ‘potting soil’ that do contain vermiculite or perlite or sphagnum moss but if they contain soil too, then they might not be the ideal choice. Always look for the product that is a sterile mix and contains no soil at all.

If there are no listed ingredients, look at the bag’s weight. A heavy bag will more than likely indicate that the soil is the main ingredient of the product. Try to look for the light-weight bags. 


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