6 Best Soil Mixes for Herbs – Create Your Indoor Herb Garden!

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Last updatedLast updated: February 28, 2021
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What makes the best soil for herbs? Is it the use of all-natural organic ingredients? Is it the structure of the soil? This question is asked by many home garden lovers. The answer is not so straightforward. There are many different factors you must consider when choosing the type of soil that would be right for herbs. Not all top-rated soil mixes are as good as they are described on different marketplaces, and assumptions are never quite as accurate as one might hope.

In our review, we have made sure we are as objective and unbiased as possible with those products and facts. We will look at things, such as the soil’s content, to check whether all-natural and organic ingredients are being used or if there are chemicals, the pack size of the soil, its value for money, and the soil structure to find out whether the soil is lightweight and porous.

Top 6 Soil Mixes for Herbs Review 2021


FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting SoilEditor's Choice

  • Content: blend of aged forest products, sphagnum peat moss, earthworm castings, bat guano, fish emulsion, and crab meal
  • Pack size: 38.5-quart (1.5 cu. ft.)
  • 6.3 to 6.8 pH level
  • All-natural mix

More features: lightweight and well-aerated, ideal for containerized plantings, comes with a pair of gloves

The FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil is the best soil for herbs on the market for an instantaneous growth of your plant. If you are serious about growing good quality plants, then this is the product you need. It has everything that your plant requires in one bag.

This is the best potting soil for herbs as it combines the finest fertilizers found on land with those from the sea. The result of this mixture is an extremely light, ready-to-use potting soil with an aerated texture. Moreover, the FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil can be used straight out of the bag. It encourages strong branching and strong and healthy plant growth. Fox Farm’s worm castings encourage healthy root growth, disease resistance, and leafy foliage. Its pH is between 6.3 and 6.8 to allow for greater fertilizer intake and provide an ideal environment for seedlings to grow into strong plants. The only negative would be that this is available in one size.

What we liked:

  • Lightweight
  • Well-aerated
  • Perfect pH level
  • Great for indoor and outdoor plants
  • Contains many micronutrients

What could be better:

  • Only available in one size

Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting MixBest for Moisture Retention

  • Content: all-natural potting mix with earthworm castings & Myco-tone
  • Pack size: 8-quart
  • Water-saving formula
  • Supports plants with no additional material

More features: for all indoor and outdoor containers, improved moisture retention and reduced drought stress

The Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix is an all-natural blend with earthworm casting and Myco-tone. With this product, you can grow big, strong, and beautiful plants. This option is one of the best potting soil blends for herbs on the market right now.

The formula used to create this soil helps save water as it does not need as much water as other regular types of soil do. The Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix does this by having improved moisture retention. Therefore, the formula helps to reduce the stress caused by a water drought.  You also do not need anything else to support the growth of your plants, as this soil is good enough on its own. This soil is good for all indoor and outdoor containers. Although this amazing soil is available in many different packages and sizes, including 4-quart, 8-quart, 14-quart sizes, many people admit that it is slightly expensive.

What we liked:

  • Water-saving formula
  • All-natural components
  • Many different sizes available
  • Supports plants with no additional material

What could be better:

  • Expensive

Black Gold 8-Quart All Organic Potting SoilBest Organic Product

  • Content: Canadian sphagnum peat moss, composted or aged bark, compost, earthworm castings, resilience, horticultural grade perlite, pumice, or cinders, organic grade fertilizer (0.05-0.0-0.0)
  • Pack size: 8-quart
  • Versatile product
  • Rich, loamy mix

More features: premium quality, listed by the organic materials review institute for the production of organic food and fiber

This is one of the best all-purpose organic potting soil mixes for herbs on the market today. The soil in this bag is enough to satisfy all your potting needs. Also, it provides convenience, quality-tested organic ingredients, and a proven track record to show amazing results.

Next, it offers great value for money as you get premium quality soil at an outstanding price. This rich and loamy mix is one of the best for all types of gardening applications. Perlite and pumice are added to the formula to make sure there are optimum pore structure and air spaces for healthy growth. You can use The Black Gold 8-Quart All Organic Potting Soil in hanging baskets, patio containers, herb gardens, vegetable plantings, and many other different places. This is also a regionally formulated soil and listed by the Organic Materials Institute. Unfortunately, on very few occasions, there may be a chance that bugs appear in the soil.

What we liked:

  • Great value for money
  • All-purpose soil
  • Convenient package
  • Rich, loamy mix

What could be better:

  • Chance of bugs in the soil
  • Content: compressed coir and fertilizer
  • Pack size: 0.33 cu. ft.
  • Feeds plants up to 6 months
  • Holds up to 50% more water than basic potting soil

More features: more air space than in native soil, 3x expansion, works for a wide variety of plants

The Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix is a brilliant substitute for garden soil or potting mix. This soil for herbs is best for both in-ground and container plants.

The mix contains compressed coir and fertilizer. This is a super-powered soil as it grows plants up to 3 times bigger than normal soil. Additionally, it feeds plants for up to 6 months without any problems!

The Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix is also amazing at retaining moisture as it holds up to 50 percent more water than basic potting soil. It expands up to 3 times when water is added and creates more air space for the plants. Next, the package is shipped right to your doorstep and is very lightweight, and therefore, you won’t have to carry a lot with you every time you need it. This mix comes in two different sizes: 0.33 cu. ft. and 0.67 cu. ft. All in all, this is a great substitute for garden soil or potting mixes that you can use for a wide variety of plants. A negative to this mix is that it is not exactly natural.

What we liked:

  • Ensures 3x bigger plants
  • Feeds plants for 6 months
  • Stores 50% more water
  • Light packaging

What could be better:

  • Not all-natural components
  • Content: 50-60% Canadian sphagnum peat moss, processed softwood bark, perlite, dolomite lime, a controlled-release fertilizer, and a wetting agent
  • Pack size: 42.5 L (1.5 cu. ft.)
  • Medium-weight mix with excellent air porosity and drainage
  • Feeds plants up to 6 months

More features: easy and ready to use from the bag, converts into approximately 11 gallons of soil

The Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil is a great choice for herbs. It is a medium-weight mix with excellent air porosity and drainage. Furthermore, the Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil can feed plants for up to 6 months! The soil is easy to use and ready to be used right out of the bag. The contents of the bag convert into approximately 11 gallons of soil.

This soil is great for use in all types of baskets, pots, containers, and garden beds. It is specially formulated to produce vibrant flowers and help grow strong herbs. Next, this fantastic mix from Proven Winners comes in a 1.5 cu. ft. bag. You can use this soil for all your outdoor gardening needs. This is one of the best soil mixes for herbs that can be used outdoors. However, this soil might attract whiteflies.

What we liked:

  • Excellent air porosity
  • Great drainage
  • Feed plants for 6 months
  • Grows strong plants

What could be better:

  • May attract whiteflies
  • Content: peat moss, wood shavings, composted green waste and perlite
  • Pack size: 4-quart
  • Lightweight and porous
  • Perfect for vegetables, herbs and flowers

More features: all-natural and organic ingredients, does not contain animal waste, facilitates excellent root penetration, air circulation and water drainage

The Organic Harvest Potting Mix Soil for Vegetables, Herbs and Flowers contains peat moss, wood shavings, composted green waste, and perlite. This is one of the best soil mixes for herbs and vegetables on the market. On top of that, this soil is made from all-natural, organic ingredients. It does not contain any human or animal waste. The formula of the soil is meant to facilitate excellent root penetration for plants, as well as provide better air circulation and water drainage.

The Organic Harvest Potting Mix Soil for Vegetables, Herbs and Flowers is also lightweight and porous. All these qualities make it perfect for the growth of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Also, this soil comes in one pack size, which is 4-quart. This soil is best for all container plants. It helps the plants grow vigorously and gives them greener foliage. Before planting, soak the plant’s root ball and also make the soil wet to prevent fast drying. As a drawback, the price is quite high for this package.

What we liked:

  • No human or animal waste
  • All-natural components
  • Ensures excellent root penetration
  • Offers better air circulation and water drainage

What could be better:

  • Price seems to be a bit high

Things to Consider

Buying the best soil for herbs and vegetables is essential in order to make your plants grow healthy. This is a very basic thing to get, but making sure you get the right type of soil is necessary to avoid any potential disasters. The great thing about being able to get the best soil for herbs is that it has ingredients that are very helpful in growing what and how you need compared to regular soil.

Reasons to use special soil for herbs

6 Best Soil Mixes for Herbs – Create Your Indoor Herb Garden!

It is important to use the best potting soil for herbs, instead of just using any regular soil, to ensure strong and healthy herbs. Growing herbs in open pots or containers is not the same as growing them in a garden. Therefore, they need specific nutrients that only these special soil mixes can provide for them.

Using special soil helps grow the herbs in optimal conditions. You can rest easy knowing that your plants are getting the type of soil they need to have strong roots to get enough water and adequate drainage. This is the main reason to use special soil rather than any normal soil. To grow herbs in pots or containers, you must use potting soil, not garden soil. There are a few differences between the two, but the main difference is in how they absorb water. Most potting soil mixes, like the Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix, are designed to retain just the right amount of water and let the excess water dry or drain out.

Garden soils that contain clay can be a lot harder, basically turning the mix into concrete, which is bad for your herbs.

How to pick the best soil for herbs?

Types of soil vary from area to area, but there are some specific things that all herbs need. Next, the sign of quality soil is that it drains well, yet retains moisture and nutrients. Essentially, the soil should be composed of loam, perlite, compost, and peat moss. You must ensure the potting soil has these ingredients as they are good at retaining moisture and allowing air to pass through, which helps your herbs become stronger.

Mix content

For newbies with their indoor gardens and less attentive plant growers, it’s high time to note that growing plants in pots full of soil mixes is much easier and less troublesome than in a garden. The components that you need for the perfect mix are:

Peat moss – never becomes compact enough to block root growth and holds moisture;

Coir – also holds moisture and nutrients and stays loose like peat;

Vermiculite – retains moisture and nutrients as well as holds open air pockets in the mix;

Perlite – absorbs moisture, is sterile and pH neutral. With this component, moisture evaporates even slower than vermiculite;

Composted bark – helps maintain air spaces in soil mix and provide nutrients;

Worm castings – provides a small dose of nutrients in soil mix as well as is rich in nitrogen, an essential nutrient.

The Black Gold 8-Quart All Organic Potting Soil is ideal as it contains most of these ingredients.

Pack size

It is important to get the best value for money as well. Here, you must see how much soil you are getting for the price that you are paying. 1.5 cu. ft. is a good size for a soil pack. This equates to roughly 42.5 L. You should get a pack that’s big enough or enough packs that are sufficient for the number of pots that you are planning on filling, or the number of plants that you are planning on growing. However, you would also want to make sure you are getting good value for money and enough soil for all your plants and pots, such as with the Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix.

You would want nothing but the best quality soil for your plants, and the size of the pack is obviously less important than that. It is better to pay more, but get good quality, rather than paying less and getting poor quality soil.

How lightweight should the soil be?

6 Best Soil Mixes for Herbs – Create Your Indoor Herb Garden!

This factor will influence how well the plants will grow. The best potting soil for herbs should be so light that it retains needed moisture while allowing fragile root systems to develop without any troubles.

A lightweight soil, such as the FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil, provides the perfect conditions for the herbs and plants to grow faster than normal. On the other hand, garden soil tends to be quite heavy and does not provide proper aeration, amount of water, or minerals to the roots. To ensure maximum growth and water retention, you should go for a lightweight potting mix. Not only does it replace soil completely, but it also facilitates long-term growth, especially for indoor plants. You can also add some components to the abovementioned products to create your lightweight potting mix even better. The ideal mix should include one part compost, one part vermiculite, two parts loam, three parts coarse perlite, and three parts filler (decayed bark, shredded coconut fiber, peat moss or any combination). Loam can also be replaced by topsoil.

The more lightweight the soil is, the looser it will be so that the roots can move freely, and water can reach them. This results in healthier and stronger plants.

Moisture retention

One of the most important aspects when it comes to choosing the best soil for herbs is how much moisture it can retain. Everyone knows plants need water to survive and grow. Instead of having to water them all the time, a better solution is to buy soil that retains moisture and slowly lets go of it to reach the roots when the plant needs it, such as seen with the Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix. Watering plants indoors isn’t exactly something you want to do on a daily basis, and you won’t have to do so. Soil that retains moisture will see to it that the plants get their water from time to time, thus keeping them hydrated and facilitating their growth. Being able to retain moisture is also good because the soil only releases the moisture when the roots really need it, instead of it going to waste. This quality makes the soil very efficient.


The space between particles is called pore space. Pore space tells how much water can be retained by a particular volume of soil. Porosity refers to how many pores, or holes, a soil has. The porosity of soil is shown as a percentage of the total volume of the soil material. In good quality soil, such as the Organic Harvest Potting Mix Soil for Vegetables, Herbs and Flowers, these pores are large and plentiful enough to retain water and allow it to reach the roots easily. Oxygen is another thing that the roots need to survive, and they can get it easily when the soil is porous enough. The plant will also receive the nutrients that it needs to live and grow through their roots if the soil porosity is good enough, such as seen with the Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix. The pores also allow for the roots to move freely and spread how they need to rather than getting stuck.


Most herbs don’t need deep soil to be productive. They can even grow well in containers on balconies, patios, and sunny kitchen window sills. Depending on their type, herbs that grow well in shallow soil and need no more than 3 to 12 inches of it for rooting. Here are some of the most common herbs and how much depth they need to grow properly:

Chives – 3 inches

Oregano – 6 inches

Tarragon – 6 inches

Thyme – 6 inches

Basil – 8 inches

Parsley – 8 inches

Cilantro – 8 inches

Rosemary – 12 inches

Mint – 12 inches

Dill – 12 inches

Coriander – 18 inches

Sage – 24 inches

When planning to pot herbs or plants, you need to make sure you buy the right pot. If you are only planning to grow one or two herbs, then you can use a smaller one but make sure that it is deep enough. Another option is to get a large pot and plant a few herbs together. Make sure the container you use has adequate drainage, as herbs do not like overly wet soil. Choosing the right material is important too. Choose something that’s durable enough to be kept outdoors, but light enough to be brought in if the weather gets bad. Terracotta is a great choice because it is relatively cheap and lightweight.

Sometimes it is better to plant a few herbs together to save space and make it easier to care for them. To do this successfully, you have to make sure that you group them together properly. Putting Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, and marjoram in the same pot is a good idea, as they all come from the same region and have similar growing requirements. There are other herbs that require more moisture, like basil, cilantro, tarragon, and parsley. You can try grouping these together to avoid overwatering. Planting different species of the same herb together is also a good idea.

To maintain your herbs, make sure to remove any seedlings that don’t seem to be thriving. This gives the thriving plants more room and access to nutrients because they don’t have to share them with other plants. Keep containers where they get at least 6 hours of sunlight but move them inside if there is a chance of frost. Don’t overwater them. Stick your finger about 1 to 2 inches into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water your herbs. If you still feel some moisture, leave it be and check again later. Prune any wilting or broken leaves periodically so the healthier ones can thrive.

Our Verdict

In our opinion, the best soil on the market is easily the FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil. It has everything you need to grow the best possible plants and herbs as it is light and has an aerated texture, which encourages the healthy growth of plants. Moreover, it has all the ingredients your herbs might require.

Next, we have the Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix because of its excellent moisture retention properties. It works well for both indoor and outdoor containers and reduces drought stress of your plants.

Lastly, the Black Gold 8-Quart All Organic Potting Soil is another candidate here as it contains organic components and boasts a rich and loamy mix. On top of that, the product is quite versatile.

Now that you have all this information, you are ready to go out and buy the best soil for herbs you wish to plant. Happy growing!

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