The best potting mix for vegetable container gardening can be tricky to find.
Think of soil you use for your plants is the investment you make up front to get high quality harvests later on in the season. If you skimp on your potting mix, your plants won’t thrive or produce as much throughout the season.
A high quality potting mix for vegetable container gardening is an essential consideration when creating a garden either indoors or on a balcony. Keep reading to learn more about what your best options are for potting mixes, and what you should consider when selecting the best potting mix for you.
Depending on which vegetable specifically you’re looking at planting, you can tailor your selection even more. For example, if you’re planting container garden tomatoes, you’ll want to specifically look at pH of the soil.
These recommendations are meant to be a general guideline for your container garden. They’ll generally work with most vegetables and are full of rich nutrients that will help your garden thrive.
Best Potting Mix for Vegetable Container Gardening
Best Overall: Happy Frog Potting Mix
Happy Frog Potting mix from Fox Farm is our top pick for balancing high quality nutrients for your plants with a cost effective price.
This potting mix is specifically designed and mixed with potted plants in mind. The soil is nutrient rich, and full of soil microbes that can “help improve root efficiency and encourage nutrient uptake”. This mix is also organic.
This is not the cheapest option for soil out there, but at under $50 for a 51 quart bag its a competitive price for a high quality soil mix. It also has over 1800 reviews and an average 4.7 star rating.
Best Premium Option: Mother Earth Coco Plus Perlite Mix
If you’re trying to find the best of the best, Mother Earth’s Coco Plus Perlite mix is one of the most premium soil mixes out there for container gardening. Its full of ingredients like coco coir, which is a great ingredient for potted plants. Aeration is key when container gardening or planting in indoor pots. Ingredients like coco coir and perlite help provide both aeration for your soil and drainage, which will help prevent against root rot.
Mother Earth is a brand known for their high quality soil mixes, and this one is the perfect one when container gardening. It’s very highly reviewed too, with over 2500 reviews and a 4.7 star rating out of 5 on Amazon.
Best Budget Option: Miracle Gro Indoor Potting Mix
If you want a more budget friendly option, Miracle Gro has a potting mix that gives the premium options a run for its money.
Miracle Grow is a brand that is well known in the gardening industry for providing solid products at an affordable price. This mix in particular boasts a fertilizer mix specific for the needs of potted plants, either indoor or outdoor.
If you’re looking for a general use potting mix at a good price, Miracle Gro is one of the best options.
Affordable Organic Mix: Espoma Potting Mix
If you’re specifically looking for an organic mix at a relatively affordable price, Espoma potting mix is a good option.
Many brands are sneaky when it comes to organic potting mix. They’ll often put verbiage on the label that would lead you to believe that your mix is organic, but in reality it only contains a few organic components. Espoma is a fully organic potting mix with a lot of high quality ingredients to help your plants thrive.
Considerations for Soil Used in Container Gardening
Should say “Potting Mix”
The differences between garden soil and potting soil can be confusing. Often, when new gardeners see the price difference between the two they’ll opt for garden soil to save some money.
However, this is the last thing you want to do in container gardening. Garden soil is intended for in ground gardening, and will not have the same balance of nutrients and materials for aeration that potting mixes will have.
Potting mixes are developed specifically for container gardening and potted plants. Potting mixes are full of ingredients and nutrients that are easily absorbable for your potted plants, helping them thrive in containers.
Not all potting mixes are created equal. When considering different mixes, you’ll want to look for a mix with high quality ingredients. Coco coir, peat moss, perlite, and more are all good ingredients to provide aeration and drainage. Both aeration and drainage are especially important in container gardening because potted plants can often get cramped in their pot, and will suffer from root rot as a result.
Fertilizer is your friend
When creating an in ground garden, whatever you plant will extend its roots and take in nutrients from the soil.
In container gardening, your plants don’t have this same option. Whatever soil you plant it in will be the only source of nutrients that the plant will get. This means that first, you’ll want a high quality soil with lots of good nutrients and materials mixed in.
Second, you’ll also want to consider adding fertilizer either upfront or a few months into planting. This will help supplement the plant’s growth. Think of it as giving your plant a vitamin, a lot of the nutrients will come from their soil diet, but you want to supplement to make sure that they’re getting absolutely all the nutrients they need.