Which Soil is Best for Plant Growth?


When it comes to gardening, soil is key. But which soil is right for your
project: potting soil, garden soil or topsoil? Here’s an overview that will help.

Plant Growth Soil; Potting Soil

Potting soil 

Potting soil is for use in containers only. Interestingly, the blend doesn’t contain soil. Instead, it’s often a mixture of peat moss and other organic materials like composted sawdust. For potted plans, the mixture itself is more important than the fertility offered by traditional soil. 

Potting soil is usually lightweight as organic matter is less dense than soil minerals. It should have high water-holding capacity but drain excess water rapidly. Potted plants must be fertilized regularly. Any nutrients from the decaying organic matter is quickly depleted.

Garden soil
Garden soil is usually a blend of topsoil and other materials and nutrients
like compost and fertilizer designed specifically for garden beds. Garden
soil comes in different mixtures, designed for specific types of plants.
Organic garden soil tends to be more expensive than topsoil.

Found naturally, topsoil is the most valuable layer of soil as it is filled with
organic matter (living, dead and decaying organisms). Store-bought topsoil
is usually a blend of mineral mixture that’s been collected (usually from
somewhere like a construction site) and compost. 

If you buy organic topsoil, it should contain matter such as shredded wood, moss and peat. In general, use garden soil in garden beds for planting in flower or vegetable beds. Use topsoil for larger projects or if your lawn or garden is in need of greater soil volume.

Living Earth® carries a variety of specially blended soils that are designed for specific needs such as our high quality Potting Soil (TX), Mixed Soil with Compost (Houston) and Texas Black Screened Topsoil (DFW).

Before ordering, use our coverage calculator to determine your soil coverage needs. Contact us to learn more about our soils and which one is best for your home gardening project.

Would you like to learn more about soil? Visit the USDA website for an easy-to-follow primer on the components of soil.