Potting Soil vs Garden Soil: Choose Wisely!

Nora Held
Nora Held
Research Writer
Apart from being our main writer, Nora also works for a number of gardening-related sites and magazines, sharing her experience as an owner of a small farm in North Carolina read more
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Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams
Expert Consultant
Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of read more
Last updated: August 10, 2023
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Soils used for plant growth are often differentiated into two types. You might have heard some garden experts talk about  potting soil Trusted Source Best Potting Soil for Indoor Plants 2021 | The Strategist Plus what you can add to it to help your plant thrive. nymag.com  and garden soil. Perhaps you think they are both the same because they all help achieve the same goal you want – plant growth!

Nonetheless, they are quite different, ranging in terms of their compositions and functions. Perhaps you are in a state of dilemma about which one to choose. This potting soil vs garden soil article will shed some light on how to choose the best one for yourself.

What is potting soil?

Potting Soil vs Garden Soil: Choose Wisely!

If you are quite familiar with a culture medium, you would believe that potting soil is a kind of medium. However, it can only be used for a particular plant type mostly because its nutrients are quite specific for its growth. This makes tomatoes easily grown using potting soil mix. You can find some of the best soil mixes for tomatoes here.

Moreover, this assertiveness has been supported by lots of reviews from users about the use of such potting soils for the cultivation of such plants.

Also, for durability and environmental conditions, these soils are best placed in containers and kept indoors. No wonder they are often used for indoor plants as home decor to improve their state of health.


  • Nutrients

Potting soil is quite beneficial due to the presence of useful ingredients that supply the necessary nutrients for the plants. These ingredients are specifically used to improve the plants’ moisture content, aeration, and growth.

  • Usability

In terms of usability, potting soils are quite easy to use. This is because all you ever wanted has been provided for you already. The only thing you’re doing is to plant and watch your plants germinate.

  • Easy to prepare

Another advantage that potting soil has is that it is straightforward to prepare. You can prepare your mix by yourself at home. This will save you stress and money. You might have the option of making up your ingredients using organic materials.

  • It is specialized

Potting soils are specialized types of soils. Each plant has its specific nutrient needed for growth, and hence specialized potting soils are needed. They can also be used in different scenarios; they can be used in events like weddings and home decoration.

This is why most gardeners prefer to use some of the best-known potting mixes to cultivate herbs that can be used for beautification purposes.


  • Expensive

Potting soils are high maintenance types of soils. This is because you might need to replenish the nutrients, which might be quite expensive.

  • Not suitable for outdoor plants

Furthermore, potting soil is not generally suitable for the growth outdoor since they require organic nutrients for growth.

Reviews have applauded the Compressed Organic Potting-Soil as one of the best potting soil that can support the growth of outdoor plants.

What is garden soil?

In the case of garden soil, this soil is quite a versatile type of soil. It is soil that is added to the free soil around you. This is just to improve the fertility of the soil you need to grow different plants. Their ability to improve the fertility of the natural soil is because of the presence of organic ingredients.

If you have poor soil, soils that seem too clayey or too sandy, garden soil is all you need to improve such soil. Depending on the plant, this might not work quite perfectly for your needs as some plants are quite difficult to cultivate.

Potting Soil vs Garden Soil: Choose Wisely!


  • Suitable for most plant types

Garden soil is generally suitable for most plant types. This is because they contain the necessary ingredients needed for the optimum growth of a plant.

Thanks to the presence of organic matters, it easily decomposes soil microorganisms to release the useful nutrients needed by plants.

  • Renewable nature

Research has shown that garden soils are very renewable, especially when it comes to replenishing the ingredients. Ordinary animal manure can be all you need to replenish the ingredients as they become depleted with time.

  • It is firm

Another importance of using garden soil is because of the firmness they give plant’s root. This advantage makes it suitable for plants to be grown outdoors. These in-ground plants would need good drainage and aeration for their optimum growth. Succulent plants need good drainage and aeration, and that is why they are preferably grown outdoors.

Due to the usefulness of succulent’s plant at home and in gardens, there are lots of reviews that have popularized and ranked some of the best soils for succulents.


It requires annual repair. This form of repair help prevents the soil from getting compacted, and it also replaces the lost nutrients in the soil.

What to choose?

Choosing the right soil depends on your goals and preferences. If your goals are to grow indoor plants, then potting soil is your best option. You simply have to know the right amount of ingredients that will allow the plant to grow well.

Likewise, if you want a more natural approach to growing your plants, garden soil is best suited for that. Plants like succulents that would prefer to stay outdoors would want good garden soil.

Most people have recommended the Expand n Grow Planting Mix as an excellent alternative to potting and garden soil. It offers you a more flexible approach and more options for your potted and in-ground plant.

Final thoughts

We would implore you to choose the right soil suitable for your plant needs in our final thoughts. Remember that potting soil would go best for the container-grown plant, while garden soil is needed for most outdoor plants. Also, you need to pay attention to the cons of each soil as they can have a great effect on your work.

As we approach the end of our potting soil vs garden soil comparison, we hope you’ve been armed with enough information on which to choose.


Best Potting Soil for Indoor Plants 2021 | The Strategist
Plus what you can add to it to help your plant thrive.
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