Best Soil For Outdoor Potted Plants of 2021: Top 5 Picks

Last update: 2021-07-28

In tight spaces like pots and containers, your plants require lightweight soil that can retain moisture, provide enough air around the root, and drain water well. Luckily, you can find the best soil for outdoor potted plants in the list of this post.

Here are the best soils for outdoor potted plants you can buy in 2021:

  • Best For Root Growth: Miracle-Gro Potting Mix
  • Best For Succulents: Kenzoplants Organic Succulents & Cactus Soil Mix
  • Lightweight &Amp; Well-Aerated: FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix
  • Best For Vibrant Flowers: Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil
  • Best For Moisture Retention: Espoma Organic Potting Mix
5 Best Soils For Outdoor Potted Plants
Best For Root Growth
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix
    Best For Succulents
    Kenzoplants Organic Succulents & Cactus Soil Mix
      Lightweight &Amp; Well-Aerated
      FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix
        Best For Vibrant Flowers
        Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil
          Best For Moisture Retention
          Espoma Organic Potting Mix

            Best For Root Growth: Miracle-Gro Potting Mix

            Miracle-Gro Potting Mix
            Miracle-Gro Potting Mix
            9.8Outstanding
            Pros
            • Retain moisture
            • Without being compacted
            Cons
            • Chemical smell

            The root grows best in well-drained and loose soil because it can easily look for water and nutrients compared to clay and heavy soil.

            Miracle-Gro Potting Mix contains ingredients that are good for drainage and root growth.

            Sphagnum peat moss is known as a soil amendment that is used to help sandy soil hold more moisture, loosen up and drain better.

            Aged bark fines are another soil amendment. They are softwood mulch, screened from aged bark, so they contain a high level of organic matter content. This mulch has the ability to retain moisture and prevent the growth of weed that will complete nutrients with your plant root.

            Perlite can both absorb water and strengthen drainage, so it can keep the soil at a suitable level of moisture.

            Miracle-Gro Potting Mix Specifications

            Container Size

            1 cu ft.

            Primary Ingredient(s)

            Sphagnum peat moss, Aged bark fines, and Perlite

            Highlight Features

            Feed your plant up to 6 months

            Indoor and outdoor uses

            Verdict

            Miracle-Gro Potting Mix creates an ideal and perfect growing environment for the growth of roots.

            Best For Succulents: Kenzoplants Organic Succulents & Cactus Soil Mix

            Kenzoplants Organic Succulents & Cactus Soil Mix
            Kenzoplants Organic Succulents & Cactus Soil Mix
            9.6Outstanding
            Pros
            • Good to drain
            • Easy to use
            • Fresh and clean soil
            Cons
            • Not good smell
            • A bit pricey

            This soil mix is made from 75% of the substrate and 25% of perlite, so it works best for succulents and cactus, which don’t love moisture but require a certain amount of water.

            Why?

            As mentioned, perlite can drain quickly to keep your succulents and cactus from moisture. At the same time, it can also hold a certain amount of water to release slowly when you forget to water your plants.

            Kenzoplants Organic Succulents & Cactus Soil Mix Specifications

            Container Size

            2 quarts

            Primary Ingredient(s)

            75% of the substrate and 25% of perlite

            Highlight Features

            Fast to drain and great to hold moisture

            Pre-mixed Cactus Soil

            Verdict

            As the name suggests, Kenzoplants Organic Succulents & Cactus Soil Mix is formulated for succulents and cactus.

            Lightweight &Amp; Well-Aerated: FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix

            FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix
            FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix
            9.4Outstanding
            Pros
            • Easy to use and grow
            • Good price for the amount
            • Easy to follow instructions
            Cons
            • Using the recommended dosage can burn your plants. You just should apply ⅓ recommended dose

            If you plan to start growing succulents and cactus seedlings, you should use this lightweight and well-aerated soil because it provides your weak and young plant roots and cuttings with more room inside the soil to move and absorb water and nutrients.

            FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix Specifications

            Container Size

            38.5 Quart

            Primary Ingredient(s)

            earthworm castings and bat guano

            Highlight Features

            Lightweight and well-aerated

            Optimum fertilizer uptake

            Indoor and outdoor uses

            Verdict

            FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix suits to grow weak and young plants and cuttings without roots.

            Best For Vibrant Flowers: Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil

            Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil
            Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil
            9.2Outstanding
            Pros
            • Fine and fluffy
            • Hold much water
            • Drain well
            • Lightweight
            Cons
            • A little expensive

            The majority of flowering plants grow best in loose and well-drained soil with many organic materials.

            Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil is formulated from 50-60% Canadian sphagnum peat moss. This organic soil conditioner can regulate moisture and air around the roots ideally.

            While the flower requires more water, this ingredient can retain moisture up to 20 times its weight. Moreover, its spongy fibrous structure can aerate heavy soil.

            Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil Specifications

            Container Size

            1.5 cu. ft.

            Primary Ingredient(s)

            50-60% Canadian sphagnum peat Moss, processed softwood bark, perlite, dolomite lime, a controlled-release fertilizer, and a wetting agent.

            Highlight Features

            Good air porosity and drainage

            Outdoor use

            Verdict

            Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil provides a lot of water and nutrients for the healthy growth of flowering plants.

            Best For Moisture Retention: Espoma Organic Potting Mix

            Espoma Organic Potting Mix
            Espoma Organic Potting Mix
            9.2Outstanding
            Pros
            • Moist
            • Soft
            • Lightweight
            Cons
            • Earthy smell

            Espoma Organic Potting Mix features the myco-tone water saving formula which is a proprietary combination between endo and ecto mycorrhizae. It can maximize the water uptake and minimize drought stress and environmental stress.

            This is a wonderful solution for people who usually forget to water their plants. Even when you have a specific schedule for watering, it can be influenced by the weather elements. So, this is really a saver in your life.

            Espoma Organic Potting Mix Specifications

            Container Size

            8 quarts

            Primary Ingredient(s)

            Earthworm castings and myco-tone

            Highlight Features

            Outdoor and indoor uses

            myco-tone water saving formula

            Verdict

            Espoma Organic Potting Mix can hold 30% more water than normal potting soils, so you don’t have to water your plants regularly.

            How To Choose The Best Soil For Outdoor Potted Plants?

            Is The Weight A Problem?

            If you grow potted plants on the ground, you don’t have to care about the weight problem. However, once you grow strawberries and tomatoes on hanging baskets, you should choose the soilless potting mix that is made from peat moss and coco coir ingredients without compost and sand.

            How Much Potting Soil Do You Need?

            This depends on how many plants you want to grow and what their sizes are. The information on the label can tell you how many bags you need for your specific needs.

            Which Essential Ingredients Should The Best Soil For Outdoor Potted Plants Have?

            Growing your potted plants outside means they will expose environmental elements uncontrollably, such as hot sunlight, wind, and rains. So, make sure that you buy soil that has great absorbency and aeration. The following ingredients can meet these requirements:

            Peat moss can retain good moisture and offer great airflow for healthy growing roots.

            Pine bark retains moisture, fertilizer and provides airflow.

            Perlite and vermiculite promote drainage, create air space for root growth, make the soil lightweight without being too dense and heavy, and they can hold moisture and fertilizer for a long time.

            Fertilizers are a primary source of nutrients: synthetic blends or nutrient-dense organic amendments, such as kelp meal, bone meal, and alfalfa meal. Don’t choose potting mixes with chemical fertilizers.

            Some additives can balance pH levels and provide beneficial microbes and wetting agents to retain moisture. However, you just should believe in brands with their own patented additions. Don’t purchase cheap products that contain fillers, such as topsoil and garden soil because they will affect texture and quality.

            What Are The Types Of Potting Mixes?

            All-purpose potting mixes are formulated for both indoor and outdoor uses, so you can use them to grow edibles, herbs, ornamentals, and houseplants. In general, it’s okay to use this type of potting mix for a pot on the ground, hanging baskets in the air, and window boxes inside your house. But, never think that this is a perfect product because the all-purpose potting mix can dry quicker outdoors and retain much water for some specific houseplants.

            Indoor potting mixes suit houseplants because they don’t contain compost and bark which shelter fungus gnats - a common pest indoors. Meanwhile, compost and bark are useful ingredients for outdoor use. If you are reading this post, you shouldn’t choose indoor potting mixes.

            Compared to indoor mixes, outdoor potting mixes are heavier and coarser to anchor your plants when facing strong winds. Of course, they can help your plants to retain moisture on hot days because the long fibers and large particle size can resist compaction. Their open soil structure allows the water to move through the soil pores easily. When it’s hotter, the chunky soil particles will release the moisture gradually to keep your plants watered.

            Raised bed potting mixes are rich in nutrients to grow vegetables and other heavy feeders.

            Garden soil contains both organic and inorganic enhancements and fertilizer, suiting both raised beds and in-ground garden beds.

            Seed starting mixes are lightweight and quick to drain for healthy root growth. The fine texture of soil can contact seeds better for higher germination. Finally, the sterilized medium prevents many common diseases, fitting weak plants in the germination process.

            Other Plant-Specific Mixes

            Cactus and succulents love lean soil because it dries quicker. The cactus and succulent mix come with a high ratio of perlite, sand, and other inorganic materials for optimal drainage and airflow for root growth.

            African violets love living in a humid environment that likes their native jungle habitat. The African violet mix is formulated to improve drainage, add aeration, and retain moisture. This type of potting mix is useful for other houseplants as well.

            Orchid naturally grows on tree bark, so it requires a soilless potting mix that mainly contains bark chips. Extra charcoal and perlite can improve drainage, suiting bromeliads and other epiphytes.

            Which Brands Make The Best Soil For Outdoor Potted Plants?

            FoxFarm

            FoxFarm is famous for high-quality micro-brewed liquid plant foods, fertilizers, and soil mixes. They have started supplying products at consistency since 1984.

            FAQs

            Can I use garden soil for outdoor potted plants?

            Garden soil can function as a great base of the homemade potting mix, but it’s not ideal to use straight for an outdoor potted plant. This type of soil tends to get compacted, so it doesn’t drain well. Your plant’s roots can’t absorb necessary nutrients easily for healthy growth.

            What's the difference between potting soil and topsoil?

            Potting soil is soilless, so it isn’t dirty, while topsoil is dirt.

            Topsoil suits for planting in the ground, but potting soil is designed for growing in containers and pots.

            Topsoil is the combination of sand, clay, and organic materials like compost, while potting soil contains peat moss and other organic materials like composted sawdust.

            Topsoil is heavy, so it can hold much water and keep moisture longer. Meanwhile, potting soil is lightweight, helping the water drain easily, the soil dries quickly.

            Can topsoil be used as potting soil?

            Mixing topsoil with other ingredients can create great potting soil.

            Should I mix compost with soil for outdoor potted plants?

            Yes, you should because it provides many nutrients.

            How do you naturally fertilize the soil for outdoor potted plants?

            If you own an organic lawn, you can take advantage of an inch of grass clippings to use as a good weed-blocking mulch. It is also high in nitrogen that is a necessary nutrient for any plant growth.

            Some types of weeds are rich in nitrogen that is a great fertilizer. Don’t put the pulled weeds back in your garden because seeds will sprout and grow new weeds. Instead, you should make weed tea by mixing water and weeds together and soak this solution for one to two weeks. Just use it when the water turns into a tea color (nice and brown).

            The compost of kitchen scraps and garden waste functions as a natural fertilizer for outdoor potted plants. It releases nutrients slowly within one to two years, so you don’t have to provide your plants with fertilizer for a long time. Plus, this compost can retain moisture for your vegetable garden during summer.

            Manure of cows, bats, chickens, and horses are rich in nitrogen and other nutrients, but they require you to use them as carefully as possible. Raw manure has a high level of acidic, especially it might provide more nutrients than what your plants really need. In this case, you yourself can burn your plants. Thus, you should use composted manure that contains fewer nutrients and is low in acidic. With this choice, you can apply more to retain more moisture without harming your plants.

            Do you worry about the smell?

            The uncomfortable odor will go away quickly after getting applied to the soil.

            Tree leaves are high in trace minerals, attracting earthworms that can retain moisture. They can also make the soil more lightweight. There are 2 ways to use: tilling them into the soil or (mixing crushed leaves into potting soil). You can also let them work as mulch to fertilize your plants and prevent weeds.

            Coffee grounds can acidify your soil, so it works best for plants, which thrive best in acidic soil. You can pour “coffee” liquid or sprinkle your used coffee grounds over the soil surface.

            Eggshells can lower the acidity of the soil. This is useful for plants, which don’t love a high level of acid. Instead, eggshells provide your plants with much calcium - a necessary nutrient.

            Banana peels offer potassium, which is a favorite nutrient of roses. You just need to bury banana peels in a hole alongside the rose bush to naturally compost.

            Conclusion

            The best soil for outdoor potted plants should be lightweight and drainable enough for the healthy growth of plants. Make sure that the soil offers air around the roots as well.

            Harry Ramos
            Harry Ramos

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