10 Different Types Of Potting Soil (Ingredients, Properties)


Wondering which types of potting soil are suitable for your plants?

Potting soil is a mix of various ingredients that help support plant growth. And it can come in different types to suit various plant requirements, like indoor potting soil.

Naturally, knowing when to use each soil type can mean the difference between fighting for your plants’ survival and helping them thrive.

To help you out, we’ll explore ten different types of potting soil and answer three FAQs about their use.

  Further reading

  • Want to grow a healthy pothos plant? Try this fertile Pothos Soil and see why it's the best mix for your indoor plant.
  • Find the Best Money Tree Soil as well as essential care tips to help your houseplant thrive.

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Let’s begin.

10 Different Types of Potting Soil

Potting soil is a special blend of ingredients that support the growth of a potted plant. 

It typically includes ingredients like:

    • Peat moss: Aids moisture retention.
    • Pine bark: Improves soil air space.
    • Perlite: Decreases soil density and improves water drainage.
    • Biochar: Enhances water and nutrient retention.
    • Vermiculite: Decreases density but also improves nutrient and moisture retention.
    • Coco coir (coconut husks): Improves water retention and soil structure.
    • Compost: Adds organic matter and optimizes drainage.
    • Limestone: Neutralizes soil acidity and regulates soil pH.
    • Sandy soil: Improves soil drainage.

Note: Most traditional potting soils contain sphagnum moss (peat moss), perlite, vermiculite, and coco coir — which aren’t good for the environment. Fortunately, there are eco-friendly and peat free blends you can use instead.

As these ingredients suit different types of plant requirements, there are various types of potting soil, such as:

1. Indoor Potting Soil

An indoor potting soil is specifically formulated for a houseplant, like a peace lily, philodendron, or snake plant.

It contains drainage and nutrient retention ingredients, like biochar and sandy soil. It’s also usually free from bark, which can house common plant pests like fungus gnats.

But which indoor potting soil should you go for? 
Meet Rosy.

The Best Soil for Houseplants: Rosy's Indoor Potting Mix

Rosy’s Indoor Potting Mix is a peat free, synthetic fertilizer free, natural soil mix crafted to meet the unique needs of indoor plants.

It contains sustainable ingredients, like biochar, vegan compost, and endomycorrhizal fungi, which offer optimal drainage and moisture retention balance for any potted plant. 

The soil mix also promotes beneficial soil microbes and contributes to a greener environmentSo, it’s the best potting soil to create an eco-friendly indoor garden!

All you need to do is add the soil mix to the pot and watch your indoor plant flourish.

2. Outdoor Potting Soil

Outdoor potting soil is meant for an outdoor container plant, like a hydrangea or marigold.

It usually contains organic material, fertilizer, and moisture-retaining ingredients, like topsoil, peat moss, compost, and worm castings. Moreover, this potting soil is heavier than indoor soil because it needs to resist environmental factors, like wind and rain.

3. All Purpose Potting Soil

This potting soil is suitable for any indoor and outdoor container plant, especially when repotting growing plants or setting up new ones.

It contains a general mix of compost, pine bark, perlite, and fertilizer that facilitate good drainage, aeration, and water retention. These ingredients make the soil slightly heavier than indoor soil but still more fluffy than outdoor soil.

4. Seed Starting Potting Soil

A seed starting mix is an ideal medium for growing seeds.

It’s mostly a soilless potting mix with low nutrient levels. This encourages plant roots to branch out for nutrients, helping them develop quickly. 

Usually, a seed starting mix will have amendments for soil drainage and aeration, like perlite or coco coir.

5. Moisture Holding Potting Soil

This potting soil is meant for growing plants that require a lot of water, like daylily and Japanese iris.

It has high water retention due to ingredients like sphagnum peat moss, yucca extract (wetting agent), and biochar. These additives prevent the soil from drying out and keep water available for plant use.

For instance, thanks to biochar, Rosy's Indoor Potting Mix maintains sufficient moisture levels for your plants without causing water logging or root suffocation. 

6. Raised Beds Potting Soil

Raised bed soil is suitable for growing vegetables and edibles in an outdoor garden bed.

The soil has slow release fertilizers and nutrient-rich ingredients, like compost and worm castings. It also has a larger particle size than typical potting soils for better drainage and aeration.

7. Garden Potting Soil

This soil type is less of a growing medium and more of a soil conditioner. You can use it to enrich your garden or fill in lawns.

It usually includes native soil, coarse sand, perlite, and clay soil, which improve soil structure and organic material levels. However, it’s heavier than raised bed soil and has lower drainage potential.

Note: Garden soil with topsoil or native soil may contain weed seeds or harmful pathogens. So, remember to sterilize the soil before use.

8. Orchid Potting Soil

Orchids have sensitive aerial roots that require good air circulation and water drainage. 

That’s why orchid potting soils contain soil amendments, like coconut coir, fir bark, and charcoal. These ingredients help growing plants access sufficient moisture without letting the plant roots stay wet.

Moreover, orchid mixes are more porous than most other container gardening media to promote salt absorption and prevent root burn. 

9. Cacti and Succulent Potting Soil

Succulents, cacti, and citrus plants need soil with enhanced drainage.

So, a cactus or succulent mix often contains ingredients like coarse sand, perlite, pumice, and vermiculite to ensure the media dries out quickly. Some mixes may also have added fertilizer, like bone meal, which provides nutrients for plant growth.

On that note, if you’re looking for succulent potting soil, you could go for Rosy’s Indoor Potting Mix. It has the perfect water drainage capabilities to support cacti and other succulent plants. 

10. African Violet Potting Soil

An African violet potting mix is a slightly acidic soil with good moisture retention, aeration, and water drainage.

This soil mix may have ingredients like peat moss, perlite, and limestone for an acidic soil pH. It also has better drainage than a conventional all-purpose or indoor soil mix.

3 FAQs on Potting Soil

Here are three common queries on potting soil:

1. How Do You Store Potting Soil?

You should store opened bags of potting soil in sealable containers after taping them shut. 

On the other hand, you can keep unopened bags in cool and dry places. 

Usually, conventional potting soil can last for about six months before losing its benefits as a growing medium. But if stored in moist conditions, ingredients like sphagnum moss break down faster and lose their structural value. 

Read this article to know why and how potting soil goes bad.

2. Can You Reuse Old or Used Potting Soil?

Yes, you can reuse old or used potting soil.

Although potting soil quality decreases with time, you don’t need to throw it away. These soils can be rejuvenated, depending on their condition. 

For example:

  • Potting soils that have mold can be dried out in the sun.
  • Old and spent potting soil can be mixed with fresh potting soil.

However, you should never reuse potting soil from a diseased plant.

Explore what more you could do with old potting soil in our detailed guide.

3. Can You Mix Different Types of Potting Soil?

Yes, you can mix different types of potting soil, especially if you need to adjust the soil’s properties based on your plant’s requirements. 

For example, you could mix succulent soil with indoor soil to enhance the drainage of your indoor mix. 

You can also mix soils to build up the volume when running low on a particular bag. 

But ensure you use soils with ingredients that are suitable for your plants. For example, manure-containing soils aren’t beneficial for succulents.

Wrapping Up

Knowing the different soil types will help you decide the best potting soil for your indoor or outdoor plants. 

Go through the various types of potting soil we covered here to understand what your plants need.    

If you’re looking for indoor potting soil, you could go for Rosy’s Indoor Potting Mix. It provides optimal water drainage and enhanced nutrient availability to give your plants the TLC they deserve.