When it comes to indoor gardening and no matter the types of plants, your houseplants require light, air, moisture and a good potting mix for healthy growth. Whether you're seed-starting or growing mature plants like African violets, snake plants or tropical monstera, they require a proper potting mix that has nutrients, drains properly and allows for soil aeration for healthy plant roots.
Fortunately, you have various choices for potting mixes suitable for container plants grown indoors. Those choices include everything from organic potting mixes with added organic fertilizers and all-purpose potting mixes, to specialty mixes blended for particular plants like orchid potting mixes and succulent mixes, to those with added moisture retention qualities.
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We cover some points you should consider when purchasing the best soil mix for your indoor plants. After all, you want to use a soil mix meeting your plant's requirements for healthy growth. We've also noted some of the best choices in potting mixes that will keep your houseplants thriving for years to come.
What to Consider When Purchasing the Best Potting Mix for Indoor Plants
Your Plant's Needs: When selecting the proper potting soil mix for your plants, it's important to know your particular plant's needs. Some plants like succulents and cacti require well-draining soil that quickly drains excess moisture to prevent problems like root rot due to overly wet conditions. When it comes to succulents or cacti, it's best to use a succulent or cactus mix with proper drainage. Other plants can prefer a soil mix that retains some moisture, so a mixture with moisture retention qualities comes in handy and alleviates the need for constant watering. You can also find other specialty soil mixes for specific plants like orchid potting mixes, African violet potting mixes, as well as those for citrus and tropical plants, and those formulated for seed-starting.
Potting Mix vs. Potting Soil: When it comes to container plants, whether for your houseplants or outdoor plants, it's always best to go with a potting medium that has good drainage. Potting mixes aren't as heavy as potting soils, which can lead to soil compaction and the soil retaining too much water leading to root rot problems. Most potting soils don't drain as well as potting mixes making them unsuitable for use inside containers. Heavy soils rob the plant roots of much-needed oxygen, which leads to problems with disease and can eventually lead to the plant's death.
Organic Material: Unless you are starting seeds, make sure to use an organic potting mix that contains organic soil amendments that will assist your plant's needs in gaining nutrients. Some potting mixes contain an organic fertilizer like earthworm castings, meaning the soil mix will continue feeding your plants for around three months. They eliminate the need to regularly feed your plants with supplemental fertilizer to promote healthy growth.
1. Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix, 16 Quarts
This potting mix from Miracle-Gro is designed specifically for container plants grown indoors. The mix continues to feed all your plants for up to six months and is formulated for a wealth of different types of houseplants. You won't have to worry about fungus gnats invading your indoor plants and home as the mix doesn't contain any compost or bark which are known products that give shelter to the pesky gnats. The soil mix contains coconut coir which assists in retaining and releasing water and helps the soil mix rewet with ease.
2. Espoma Organic Potting Mix, 8 Quarts
This organic soil mix from Espoma is suitable for use for outdoor plants and indoor plants grown in containers. The mix is 100 percent organic and includes a blend of sphagnum peat moss, perlite and humus and is also enriched with worm castings, feather meal, kelp meal and alfalfa meal. It also includes a special mix of MYCO-TONE, a blend of ecto and endo mycorrhizae, leading to bigger blooms, stronger plant roots, less watering and overall better growth. This soil mix is a good choice for organic gardeners as the mix doesn't contain any synthetic chemicals or synthetic plant foods.
3. Harris Succulent and Cactus Potting Soil Mix, 4 Quarts
Whether grown indoors or outside, potted succulents and cacti require a fast-draining soil mix that won't remain soggy and this mix from Harris meets those needs. The soil mix is a blend of peat moss, forest humus, pumice, compost, perlite, limestone and fish bone meal. This fast-draining formal won't lead to root compaction, which can lead to root rot. It keeps your cacti and succulents performing healthily. The mix has a balanced pH level, is ready to use straight out of the bag and has the included nutrients your plants require for flourishing growth.
Orchids are epiphytes, meaning they don't grow in soil but rather hang from tree bark so they require a special potting mix design specifically for their growth. Whether you're growing cattleyas, dendrobiums, phalaenopsis or oncidiums, this potting mix from Soil Sunrise is designed to give your orchids what they require for healthy growth. The soilless blend is made up of horticultural charcoal, fir bark, perlite and long fiber sphagnum dried moss. It gives your potted orchids the needed drainage and aeration of their roots they need to thrive. The blend is 100% natural and doesn't contain any synthetic fertilizers or chemicals, which is perfect for organic gardeners. It's a good mix for orchid houseplants and when potting or repotting them.
5. Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix, 1 Cubic Foot
This moisture control potting mix from Miracle-Gro is specially formulated to protect your potted houseplants from underwatering and overwatering, which can lead to health problems. You'll be watering less because this soil mix absorbs 33% more water than your basic potting soils that don't contain a wetting agent, coconut coir and sphagnum peat moss, meaning your indoor plants remain hydrated longer. This potting mix also feeds your container plants for up to six months, which leads to bigger plants and blooms than plants that are unfed or grown in soil without organic soil amendments. It takes the guesswork out of watering and with its continuous feeding, you won't have to worry about fertilizing for a few months meaning less work on your part to keep your houseplants green and happy.
6. Fox Farms Happy Frog Organic Potting Mix, 2-Pack 12 Quarts
Packed with organic soil amendments, Fox Farm's Happy Frog organic potting mix will have all your indoor plants producing green healthy growth. The soil's nutrient-rich ingredients include sphagnum peat moss, composted forest humus, humic acid, perlite, dolomitic lime to adjust the pH, and bat guano and worm castings. The lightweight mix also contains mycorrhizae fungi which enhances the development of your plant's roots. Your plants will be healthy and produce robust growth with this well-draining mix packed with beneficial organic nutrients. The company even throws in a pair of gardening gloves with your purchase.
7. Soil Sunrise African Violet Potting Soil Mix, 4 Quarts
Anyone who has ever tried growing African violets knows they can be very picky about their soil, especially if it remains too wet. However, you won't have that problem with this hand-blended soil mix for African violets from Soil Sunrise. The soil's mixture is a blend of peat moss, which helps the soil retain nutrients and moisture, perlite, which adds to the soil's aeration and drainage and earthworm castings that feed your plants' essential nutrients. Lime is also added to balance the levels of pH. For the best growth, African violets prefer a well-draining soil that is porous and loose, and this potting mix is just what they like. It also comes in 2-quart and 8-quart bags.
8. Coast of Maine Seed-Starter Mix, 16 Quarts
Getting your seeds and cuttings off to their best start assists in them developing into thriving, healthy plants. Coast of Maine's seed-starter mix is blended with the perfect ingredients for proper seed germination and rooting cuttings. This ready-to-use rich mixture includes sphagnum peat moss, well-aged compost, earthworm castings, kelp meal, perlite and mycorrhizae. The starter mix has the ideal balance of aeration and moisture retention and is OMRI Listed as 100% organic. It's the perfect organic soil mix to use in cell packs, seed-starting trays, peat pots or flats.