Plants in pot using soil

Can You Use Garden Soil for Potted Plants?

There’s a reason that you don’t see people loading dirt from their lawn into the nearest potted plant. However, some of that may just come from most piles of dirt not being nutritious for plants.

Assuming that you have good garden earth, can you use garden soil for potted plants?  

No. Garden earth has the potential to compact with greater ease, suffocating the roots inside of your potted plant. Instead, use potting soil that is specifically created for this use.

In the rest of this article, we will delve into some tips to keep in mind when adding suitable soil to your containers.

By the end of this article, you will be able to have a healthy potted garden.

What You Need to Know When Filling Containers

Whether you are pulling leftover dirt from your vegetable garden or using a non-standard type of product, the differences between garden soil and potting soil need to be noted. 

Here are the most common differences between the earth for potting and from your garden:

  • The ground is either too wet or too dry and compact. 
  • The earth is too heavy, so that it will crush your root system.
  • The earth is very dense and won’t allow any oxygen through it.
  • Dirt from the garden contains weed seeds, which will suck the nutrients and moisture from your plant.

If you have raised beds in your garden, expect the same result. 

What are Good Soil Mixes for My Pots?

Thankfully, manufacturers try and make things easy by providing a specific potting mix for your needs. But don’t stop there.

You also have a few extra steps you need to fill in to make sure your potted plants can thrive:

Here’s a list of other compounds you should mix into your potted garden:

Good Potting Mix

The first step in your potted garden is to find a good potting mix. One such example is the Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix.

It feeds up to six months and has a system that protects against over and underwatering.

A considerable risk with some potting mixes is the ability of retaining enough moisture to let your plants thrive. Make sure your potting mix is absorbent. 

Peat Moss

If your potting mix isn’t extra absorbent, peat moss will fulfill those requirements. Peat moss in a soil mixture is known to increase the potting mix’s ability to absorb both water and nutrients. 

If you need help finding peat moss, consider Hoffman’s Canadian Sphagnum. This peat moss is also known to be suitable for carnivorous plants. 


Vermiculite is a light material that is good at absorbing a nutrient/water combination. The lightness of vermiculite is excellent for developing root systems.


Both perlite or vermiculite serve similar purposes. However, perlite is better for aeration, meaning it will provide an ample amount of oxygen to your roots

How to Provide the Best Opportunity for your Potted Garden to Grow

diffent kinds of potted plants

Using a potting mix made of materials listed above, you will have a great combination that will work to absorb nutrients. But what about the actual food that your plants need.

Here are some extra tips for that purpose:

Provide your Plants with Organic Materials

Growing plants is no easy feat without organic material. Ensure that you get some form of organic fertilizer to provide the nutrients your plants need. 

Provide your Plants with Good Drainage

The minerals we have listed above are lightweight and have good aeration potential. This focus ensures that your plants have the space to grow. 

To avoid overwatering, make sure you purchase a pot with a hole in the bottom. This pot ensures an ample amount of drainage.

For extra drainage, consider additional lightweight materials like sand. 

Check with your Local Garden Center

For extra tips on planting works in your location, take a look at your local garden center. They typically have natural setups for the plants they use.

You may be able to get some tricks and tips if the plants look healthy enough. 

Final Thoughts

Garden beds, raised beds, and potted plants all have vastly different requirements.

When it comes to potted gardens, proper drainage, lightweight minerals, and organic matter usage all provide excellent potential for your garden to grow. 

If you bring these pots inside, you won’t have to worry about a good growing season. Just make sure your plant gets enough sun to thrive. 

For extra tips to improve your garden, consider this list of fast-growing shrubs for zone seven. Thanks for reading!

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