In general, the best potting soil has the same function as any other soil in that it serves to support your plants and provide nutrients and water to the roots. The best potting soils mimic the plant’s native soil to create the best possible growing environment. This means that you will need to match your soil to your plants. For example, you will use a different soil for a desert landscape than for a tropical garden.
Many commercial potting soil mixes you find on the market today contain fertilizer. It can be a fast or slow release variety. It is beneficial if the potting soil contains it, as it can help your plants grow. However, it is very difficult to know exactly how much fertilizer you are giving your plant when you add it. If you’re someone who has more sensitive plants and wants accurate measurements, opt for the best potting soil mix without fertilizer. That way you can measure the fertilizer manually and add it separately. If you don’t want to use chemical fertilizer, you can make your own plant food with things you have around the house.
The effectiveness of the potting soil for your plants is entirely up to you. It is important that you make sure your plants have enough water. If you live in an area where there is a lot of drought and heat, your plants will push their root systems down and out to find water. Your potting soil should contain something that helps retain water, such as perlite, moss, or vermiculite.
What do you look for when searching for the best soil? Not all potting soils are the same, and some work quite differently than others. That’s why you need to have at least some idea of what you want when you go shopping. Otherwise, it’s easy to get confused.
The first thing you need to decide is the type of potting soil you want. You can divide the best potting soil into two broad categories. The first category is organic potting soils. They tend to be much more expensive and heavier than non-organic options. They use only organic materials in their composition, which can drive up the price. The second category is non-organic potting soils. They contain man-made ingredients but can lose their nutritional value over time.
You need to understand the difference between these two categories. Once you do, you can use the following list to narrow down your choices and compare different versions of the best potting soil until you find the best one to help your plants, trees, vegetables or shrubs thrive.
First and foremost, air circulation. Your plants need a good amount of air circulation to stay healthy, and any potting soil you look at should be able to guarantee this. Light, fluffy potting soils are an option you should seriously consider, as they allow for maximum air circulation. You also don’t want extremely dense potting soil if it’s wet, as this can smother your plant and promote mold growth.
Nutrient and Moisture Retention
It’s important that the best potting soil can retain both essential nutrients and moisture, as they are vital to your plant’s health. Before choosing an organic or non-organic mix, check to see if it is guaranteed to retain both of these elements. You can tell by reading the ingredient list on the package. In a non-organic mix, you should find peat moss. The more peat moss in the mix, the better it will retain nutrients and moisture.
Variety of Nutrients
In general, you should make it a habit to never buy a potting soil mix until you have taken a few minutes to read the list of ingredients. The best potting soil should contain more than one nutrient, because your plants need many different types of nutrients to survive. The longer the list of nutrients, the better your plants will thrive. It is common to see 6 to 12 nutrients listed on the bag.
The density of the best potting soil mix is very important. If you can, test the density before you buy it. To do this, prick the soil with your fingers. If it yields easily, it should be acceptable for your plants. If not, look for something else. When you add water, your soil should not become hard. If it does, your plants will push their roots through the soil. Another way to check density is to lift the bag. If it’s surprisingly heavy, it probably has a lot of filler, such as mulch or sand. This is not good for plant growth.
Choosing the best potting soil takes time and a little research. If you make the right choice, your plants are much more likely to grow lush and strong all season long. You have a buying guide, and you should see a difference in your plants when you use it.