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The 5 Best Potting Soils (2022 Review)

Finding the right potting soil is essential to ensuring that your plants are getting the nutrients they need to survive and thrive. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best potting soils on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various home and garden stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

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Potting soil is made up of various nutrients that keep plants healthy and help them grow. Depending on what plants you have and what environment they’re growing in, more or less of certain nutrients are better at helping them thrive. To help you sort through the different options, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best potting soils on Amazon. Here are our top five recommendations.

Top 5 Potting Soils

Best For Indoor Plants: Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix

Meant for indoor plants, this soil works well in herb gardens and other windowsill pots. Because it doesn’t contain compost or bark, it’s less likely to bring gnats into your home. Plus, it comes with other plant care supplies, including plant food and leaf shine.

Key Features

  • Six-quart bag of soil
  • Eight-ounce bottle of plant food
  • Eight-ounce bottle of leaf shine
  • Meant for indoor plants
  • Up to six months of feedings

What Customers Are Saying

Those who left positive reviews for this mix said that it was easy to spread, worked on a variety of plants, and maintained a good level of moisture. However, some customers claimed that it arrived with gnat eggs. Other reviewers refuted this claim, stating that they were prills of nutrients.

Best For Succulents: Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm, and Citrus Potting Mix

This potting soil has a fast-draining formula to keep cactus, palm, and citrus plants dry the way they like. It’s enriched with sand and perlite to help with soil compaction and drainage. With mixed-in Miracle-Gro plant food, your succulents have the best possible chance of thriving.

Key Features

  • Eight-quart bag of soil
  • 20-pound bag of plant food
  • Meant for succulent plants
  • Enriched with Miracle-Gro plant food
  • Up to six weeks of feedings

What Customers Are Saying

Happy customers liked that this mix was good for cacti, came in a large bag, and drained quickly. However, some unhappy reviewers said that the bag came with flies or spiders, while others said that the formula contained too much peat moss.

Best For Orchids: PERFECT PLANTS Orchid Potting Mix

This potting soil is hand-mixed in small batches with charcoal, sponge rock, pine bark, coconut chips, and other natural ingredients. Striking the right balance between too much and too little moisture, it encourages both water drainage and retention to help the roots of your orchids grow.

Key Features

  • Four-quart bag of soil
  • Meant for orchid plants
  • Organic formula

What Customers Are Saying

Customers liked that this mix was made from quality ingredients, saying that it arrived fresh and moist. However, the customers who left negative reviews claimed that it arrived with bugs and was ineffective at holding water.

Best Starting Mix: Miracle-Gro Seed-Starting Potting Mix

Formulated for quick root development, this potting soil mix is an ideal choice for just-planted seeds and leaf, root, or stem cuttings. It’s enriched with plant food, so it’s useful for beginner gardeners who don’t already have food around.

Key Features

  • Two eight-quart bags of soil
  • Meant for seeds and cuttings
  • Enriched with Miracle-Gro plant food

What Customers Are Saying

Positive reviews said that this soil came in a lightweight bag and had a soft, gentle texture. However, some customers who left negative reviews didn’t like that it contained twigs, sticks, or other large items.

Most Versatile: Burpee Organic Potting Mix

This soil is formulated with a mixture of plant food and coconut coir to control moisture and promote growth. Ideal for those who often forget to feed their plants, it slowly releases nutrients for up to three months.

Key Features

  • Nine-quart bag of soil
  • Meant for indoor or outdoor plants
  • Organic formula
  • Up to three months of feedings

What Customers Are Saying

Satisfied customers said that this soil was absorbent, effective with outdoor plants, and kept squirrels away. However, those who weren’t satisfied said that it had an unpleasant odor from all of the natural ingredients.

Buyer’s Guide

From ingredients to amount, there are several elements that separate different varieties of potting soil from each other. Before you choose a mix for your plants, consider the following factors.


Some soils work for a wide range of plants, but many are formulated for specific plants, such as succulents, orchids, houseplants, and vegetables. While using an all-purpose mix may be sufficient if you have a lot of plants around your home, finding a dedicated mix gives your plants the best chance to grow healthy.


In addition to the species of plant, many potting soil mixes are designed for either indoor or outdoor use. Outdoor soil is heavier and coarser than indoor soil, so it can retain more moisture in the sun and resist harsh weather conditions.


Most potting soil mixes contain peat moss, perlite, or both. Peat moss is absorbent and resistant to decay, while perlite has an open structure that allows water and air to circulate freely for drainage.

Beyond peat moss and perlite, make note of the other ingredients to see if they’re right for your specific plant. For example, if you’re planting seeds, don’t use a mix with large rocks or twigs that could limit growth.

Moisture Control

The ingredients used to make soil determine how well it retains moisture. For example, peat moss absorbs around 30 times its weight in water, while coconut coir absorbs around nine times its weight. Carefully read a soil’s description to see how well it retains moisture as well as how it eliminates excess moisture.


To avoid buying too much or too little soil, calculate how much you need for all of the plants in your garden. You can measure the square footage of outdoor areas or count the number of indoor or outdoor pots. Purchase one or more bags to properly fill these spaces.

The Best Plants For Amateur Gardeners

Some plants are trickier to take care of than others. While even beginner gardeners know that food, soil, sunlight, and water are needed to help keep plants alive, some require additional maintenance and care. If you’re new to gardening and unsure what plants are best to help you initially explore your green thumb, choose from our list below.

  • Golden pothos vine
  • Spider plant
  • Snake plant
  • Moon orchid
  • Silver torch cactus
  • Peace lily
  • Guzmania bromeliad
  • Lucky bamboo
  • ZZ plant
  • Money plant
  • Prayer plant
  • Aloe vera
  • Monstera
  • Corn plant
  • Peperomia
  • Cast iron plant
  • Fiddle leaf fig
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Boston fern
  • Hedgehog cactus
  • Norfolk pine
  • Madagascar dragon
  • Basil

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a difference between potting soil and potting mix?

No. Potting soil and potting mix are simply two different names for the same product.

What is potting soil made out of?

Potting soil can be made from a variety of items that provide nutrients to plants. Some common potting soil ingredients include peat moss, pine bark, perlite, vermiculite, sand, grit, and compost.

How do you store potting soil?

The bag that contains your potting soil should be kept sealed in a cool, dry place to last the longest. You can tell when your soil has gone bad if it has a rotting smell, mold, or gnats.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

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