The Ins and Outs of Potting Soil and Potting Mix

The Ins and Outs of Potting Soil and Potting Mix

So the other day I was wondering: what really is the difference between potting soil and potting mix.

potting soil

It turns out there is a large difference between them!  And you should know the differences too.

Whenever you’ll sort out your garden to suite your home and for that ideal serene and natural background, there is without a doubt that you will use soil in properly spreading out your area for that clean and green environment. You won’t only need gardening soil for your lawn, bushes, or even trees to grow from, but also for certain blooms you could be fond of that will give your home that very natural and admirably lively color. In the world of gardening, there are two types of gardening soil that will satisfy your needs: potting soil and potting mix. There is a substantial difference between potting soil and potting mix. You will need to know when to use either, where to use them, and how to overall use potting soil and potting mix gardening soil.

potting mix
The first term that was coined was potting soil in 1861 by American Agriculturists. Technically, potting mix is a medium that falls under potting soil which is a broader medium. Both types of compost are used in growing plants, herbs and vegetables in a plot or a given area. The terms are at times interchangeable in general, but the main difference is how you would use them.
The most common ingredients for potting soil are peak, composted bark, garden soil itself, peat moss, vermiculite, and whiting. It can also come with manure as well as other products depending in where you purchased them. Potting soil on the other hand can be a little more complicated. It will also come with vermiculite, but also has sphagnum moss, and perlite.
Once again, potting mix would fall under as a category for potting soil, but the main difference between them is that potting soil will always come with soil, while potting mix will at times have soil in its mix, and it won’t. It will all depend on the recipe and what you are planting.
There are four main functions potting soil and potting mix needs:

  • Drainage – Both of the gardening soil terms indicate plants growing in containers, thus it is imperative to keep your soils well-drained. You can’t have them get water-logged like your normal land since potting soil and potting mix would usually contain perlite – white, light particles from volcanic rock.
  • A good mixture – Compared to potting soil, potting mix requires a much more delicate focus on its mixture. Potting soil’s main concern is very nutritious organic matter, while potting mix tends to specific needs of container plants. Potting mix’s most used and important ingredient would be peat moss – which is usually harvested from bogs and has very good water retention and sterile making it much more capable of warding of diseases.
  • Longevity – potting soil will deliver the needed nutrients over time with much consistency compared to potting mix due to the presence of natural soil in its mix. Potting soil will have larger clump found in its composted material that may be too rough for small seedlings with delicate root systems, mainly container plants. Potting mix on the other hand, due to its more complicated use of ingredients will improve the fertility of the plant with the use of composted bark and vermiculite.
  • Fertility – both potting soil and potting mix are designed for growing vegetables for either raised beds or container gardens guaranteeing improved fertility all throughout. You can try using ingredients like rice-hulls or leaf molds for increased fertility all year round. Just plan accordingly depending on the garden you own.

In the end, both are beneficial for your garden. But always take into account that potting soil is best to fill raised beds or for bald spots in your yard that needs refilling. Potting mix is designed for planting seeds and indoor plants that need much more attention. They are also engineered for plants that need root cuttings. Aside from choosing which gardening soil to use for our yard, you always need to be practical in deciding what recipes to go for in making your mix. Your mix will decide whether your garden will be a happy and content land for your home and family.

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