Choosing potting soil is one of the most crucial steps you take when starting your container garden. The right mix will ensure your vegetables, herbs, or flowers grow well. The trouble is, there are so many options available at the garden center, and selecting a potting mix can feel overwhelming. Do you choose one with fertilizer already in it? Should your mix be organic, or does it not matter?
We’re glad you’re asking these questions because it means you’re one step closer to being an expert container gardener. Here’s everything you need to consider when choosing potting soil for your planters.
The Properties of the Potting Mix
First, evaluate the properties of the specific potting soil you’re considering. Will it support the needs of your plants? Some plants require super moist soil, while others need dry. The right potting mix will have ingredients such as perlite or expanded shale to create air pockets that allow for better drainage, which is perfect for plants that need more dry soil.
When plants need extra nutrients, potting mixes with worm castings, rice hulls, or composted additives are ideal. Be sure to pay attention to the soil mix’s acidity. A pH-balanced soil is good for plants that need an acidic environment to thrive, and neutral options are great for others that require more alkaline conditions.
Now, study the ingredients listed on the bag of garden soil. If the ingredients aren’t listed, or the soil’s price seems too good to be true, steer clear! These mixes could contain fungus gnats, other critters, and unhealthy chemicals.
The best potting soils for your container garden will have one or more of these ingredients:
- Peat Moss: This ingredient will absorb water into the soil, making it nice and moist. It also adds some acidity, which can be beneficial for acid-loving plants.
- Composted Organic Ingredients: These organic materials will provide the necessary nutrients.
- Perlite or Vermiculite: These ingredients aid in water drainage. Vermiculite retains more water than perlite, therefore, it gets used in heavier potting mixes.
- Sand: While this ingredient is poor at holding nutrients, it does add weight to the soil, which can be good for holding large plants in place when the wind picks up. Sand also adds to the mixture’s porosity, which improves drainage and airflow.
The Plant’s Needs
If your plant has specific needs, you may consider choosing a potting mix made with that plant’s growth requirements in mind. Plant-specific soil mixes are ideal for succulents, orchids, roses, African violets, and others. When you use these types of soil mixes, you ensure the best conditions are created for your plants to thrive.
The Plant’s Location
While it’s vital to consider the plant’s needs in terms of nutrients when choosing a potting mix, you must also account for where your container garden will be situated. If your garden will be in the shade most of the time, a lighter potting mix is ideal. This is because plants in the shade have greater water retention and don’t need soil that holds onto the water for extended periods. However, potted plants in direct sunlight should get planted with medium-weight soil to ensure they remain well-watered.
Choose a Planter to Hold Your Potting Soil & Support Your Plant’s Needs
While it can be challenging to choose the right potting mix for your container garden at first, once you know what factors to look for, everything else is a breeze! Fall in love with container gardening today by shopping for garden planters for sale at Garden Fountains and Outdoor Decor. We have everything from terra cotta planters to steel pots to help you create the aesthetics you desire and support the needs of your specific plant.
In addition to planters, we also have a wide selection of decor items, including wall-mounted fountains and benches, and tables. You will be sure to find everything you need to create the outdoor space of your dreams. Start shopping online today!