Potting Mix Vs Potting Soil: What's The Difference?

1 min read

jamesakersdesigns Difference Between Amend And Emend

Potting Mix vs Potting Soil: What’s the Difference?


When it comes to gardening, choosing the right growing medium is essential for the success of your plants. Two common options for potted plants are potting mix and potting soil. While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two that every gardener should know.

What is Potting Mix?

Potting mix, also known as potting media or potting substrate, is a soilless blend specifically designed for container gardening. It is usually made up of a combination of organic materials such as peat moss, coconut coir, compost, and perlite or vermiculite for added aeration and drainage.

What is Potting Soil?

Potting soil, on the other hand, is a mixture of soil and other organic matter. It is similar to the soil found in your garden but with added nutrients and amendments to improve its structure and drainage. Potting soil may contain sand, compost, peat moss, and other organic materials.

Differences between Potting Mix and Potting Soil

1. Composition

The main difference between potting mix and potting soil lies in their composition. Potting mix is soilless and primarily made up of organic materials, while potting soil contains a mixture of soil and organic matter.

2. Drainage and Aeration

Due to its soilless nature, potting mix offers excellent drainage and aeration properties. It prevents water from becoming stagnant and allows air to reach the roots more easily. Potting soil, although it may contain amendments for improved drainage, tends to retain more water.

READ ALSO  Add Nitrogen To Soil: A Complete Guide For 2023

3. Nutrient Content

Both potting mix and potting soil can contain added nutrients to support plant growth. However, potting soil may have a higher nutrient content due to the inclusion of garden soil. Potting mix often requires the addition of fertilizers to provide plants with adequate nutrients.

4. Weight

As potting mix is lighter in weight compared to potting soil, it is easier to handle and move around. This makes it a preferred choice for larger containers or hanging baskets where weight can be a concern.

Which One Should You Choose?

The choice between potting mix and potting soil depends on your specific gardening needs. If you are growing plants in containers, especially those that require excellent drainage, such as succulents or cacti, potting mix is the better option. On the other hand, if you are transplanting plants from your garden or prefer a more nutrient-rich medium, potting soil may be a suitable choice.


Understanding the difference between potting mix and potting soil can help you make an informed decision when it comes to selecting the right growing medium for your potted plants. Whether you choose potting mix or potting soil, providing your plants with the right environment will contribute to their overall health and successful growth.