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


Shopping for a growing medium to use for potted plants can be a confusing experience because the terms “potting soil” and “potting mix” are often used interchangeably. They are indeed two different things and depending on what you need them for—potting or repotting container-grown plants, starting seeds, or adding soil to a garden bed, you need to make sure you get the right product for your purpose.

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Here are the differences between potting soil and potting mix as well as other useful tips about various potting mixes formulated for specific plants.

What Are the Ingredients in Potting Soil and Potting Mix?

Potting soil and potting mix (which is soilless, and is often referred to as soilless potting mix) have some key differences. When shopping for soil, read the label to know what you are buying. When the ingredients are not listed, the weight of the bag is usually a good indicator because the soil contained in potting soil makes it much heavier than potting mix. Don’t be tempted by the colorful design on the bag. If the bag doesn’t list ingredients, don’t buy it.

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