The Best Soil for Container Gardening: Everything Needs a Solid Foundation

Best Soil for container gardening header

A lot of plants live in soil or on the ground–some grow in water while others on air. But the easiest way to grow them is via soil. Related to that, the most practical way to grow plants now is through containers.

What then is the best soil for container gardening? Let’s find out.


The Role of Soil


If you are the plant, then the house is your soil. But a house is not necessarily a home. 

Let me elaborate

A house is just a structure. It can shelter people. 

However, if there is no harmony among the dwellers and there is no love, it’s not considered a home.

That’s why

People often say that the home is where the heart is. 

It doesn’t matter where it is, as long as the people are at home with each other. 

How does that relate to the soil?

Obviously, for the most part, soil is where the plants live.

I say for the most part because a lot of plants live in water while there are also air plants that don’t need soil or water. 

In essence

The soil is the plant’s “house” because it is where they are rooted and where they will grow. 

However, the soil is not enough to grow a plant and ensure that it will be healthy and that it will flourish, just as the house is not enough to ensure that a person is of good physical, mental and emotional needs. 

What do plants need?

Aside from the soil, plants need the proper nutrients to be healthy. It also needs water and sunlight in order to survive. 

Just like any baby, a plant has to be nurtured and should be well taken care of.

Enough about the human comparison

You will grow better plants if you understand soil as well.

Hands holding soil

There are different kinds of soil: 

  • Chalk
  • Clay
  • Loam
  • Peat
  • Sandy
  • Silt

Each soil type has different characteristics. Some are not ideal for plants while others are very good for growing plants. 

In the same manner

Plants also have different characteristics. Some plants are ideal for a certain type of soil. 

This means

If you really want to do it right, you should know the characteristics of your plants. This way, you will know what type of soil you need. 

Of course, that would also mean that you should know the characteristics of the soil. 

Finally

The soil is the foundation of your garden–whether you do it through a container or through the ground. 

Speaking of container gardening…


What You Should Know About Container Gardening


Properties are getting expensive, right?

In most cases, people have to contend with homes that don’t have a large yard. 

Hence

They can’t really have a garden. 

Also, there are people who live in condominiums and apartments that don’t have yards at all. 

You should know

This doesn’t stop people from having a garden. 

There are pots, barrels and tubs that can easily create a garden for you. 

There is such a thing as container gardening, which is appropriate for families living in medium to high rises, or those that barely have a yard to utilize as a garden. 

Look:

One of the advantages of container gardening is that you can have a variety of plants in your own garden, which could be on a porch or terrace. Take a look at the Garden Tower 2 – where you can grow a multitude of plants quickly and easily.

It can really make your place more vibrant. 

On the other hand

You have to be more meticulous with your potted plants because of the constricting nature of the container. 

Pot plant in front of window

What do I mean?

If you have large containers, like a barrel, then great. It could really allow the roots to grow without limitations. 

With more soil, there is more nutrients to be had by the plants. 

Further

When the heat becomes too hot, the soil can balance it through the moisture it will retain. 

It is also the soil that will help in withstanding or even preventing pests and diseases. 

Related to that

Container gardening can prevent pest infestation because you can easily control it. 

It will also lower the risk of diseases. 

When it’s winter

You can easily move the plants in an area where it’s not too cold. 

On the other hand, when it’s too hot, you can move it under a shade. 

As earlier mentioned

You have to be meticulous when growing plants via containers. 

Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that you have to tend to it every hour of the day. It just means that you need the right elements in order to have a successful container garden. 

Here’s an important reminder:

Whilst there are some fantastic containers for container gardening, the main thing is the right type of soil is needed for it to be effective.


The Best Soil for Container Gardening


First, let us discuss the different types of soil that are usually found in the garden.

1. Sandy

This is a soil that is easy to dig. That’s because as the name implies, it’s kind of like sand, it’s very easy to go through. 

However, this type of soil doesn’t really hold moisture or nutrients. 

In effect

It will not be able to give the plants what they need. 

However, there is a way to improve sandy soil to make it good for your plants. You can add fertilizer in the soil and mix it properly. 

2. Heavy clay

It’s in the name. This type of soil is heavy. 

It’s the clay that tends to bind the soil, making it sticky. 

What happens to the plants?

It’s not going to grow well because the consistency will bar the entry of air and sunlight to the roots. 

There is also a tendency that water will not be truly absorbed thereby rotting the roots. 

Worse

The nutrients will not be properly distributed to the plants. 

But just like the sandy soil, there is a way to improve clay soil to make it appropriate for plants. You just add organic matter in it. 

Pot and plant next to each other

3. Loam

This is a type of soil comprising 40% sand, 40% silt and 20% clay. 

Also known as loamy, this has a perfect balance of moist and crumbly soil. 

Smell it!

This is exactly the scent of what you call an earthy smell. 

This soil is ideal for growing plants. It can hold the moisture unlike the sandy soil, but it can also drain to give way to the air to also reach the roots. 

Loamy is a good soil for your garden bed. But is this the best for container gardening? 

Not really

Potting mix

Let’s explain first why the best soil for container gardening is bought in the store. 

I want to clarify, though, that you have to buy at a reliable store. You need to be sure that you have good quality soil with you. 

Let me explain

Remember when I mentioned that you have to be meticulous with container gardening?

That’s mainly because the soil can’t regenerate, which it usually does when in the garden bed. It will not be able to get extra nutrients because it is contained. 

Don’t be cheap

You will see a return of investment once the plant keeps growing. 

However

There are so many different kinds of potting mix, how are you supposed to choose the best one?

Your best option is to be informed. 

Look at it this way:

Some mixtures would be great for flowering plants, while some are good for ornamental ones. There is also a better type of soil for vegetables and fruits. 

Plus, a lot of the potting mix sold in the market is sterilized. 

Yes! 

The main reason garden soil is not good for container gardening is because it may have diseases, weeds and critters and other organisms. 

You may also sterilize your own soil, by the way. But this topic is more on the mixture that is available when we go to specialized gardening stores or the gardening aisle of the grocery store. 

Person potting soil

What’s in the potting soil?

Here are some of the ingredients commonly found in potting soil:

  • Peat
  • Sand
  • Perlite
  • Grit
  • Vermiculite
  • Compost
  • Leaf mold
  • Bark compost

Did you notice something?

The potting mix doesn’t actually have soil in it but it has everything you need to ensure that your plants will grow well and healthy. 


Summary


Properties are really getting expensive, so most people would have to make do with apartments in medium- to high-rise buildings that don’t leave a lot of space for gardening. This is why container gardening became a thing. It allows plant enthusiasts to still grow their own garden without needing a large area. 

But what is the best soil for container gardening? You’d be surprised to know that it’s not really a soil. It’s called a potting mix, which you can buy in stores. The thing is, even if the loamy soil is great for your garden bed, it’s not really that good for container gardening. 

Here’s the thing: When it comes to container gardening, the environment is more contained. If you use regular soil, it will not be getting nutrients from the rest of the garden bed. The potting mix, on the other hand, has all the characteristics that plants need to grow healthy.

Want to find out a bit more? Check out our guide to container gardening and our list of the best plants for container gardening.

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