Last Updated on August 18, 2021
The soil of a garden is arguably the most important part of the whole setup.
Soil acts as a home for your plants whether they’re indoors or out, provides them with nutrients and food, and supports them through various growth cycles and in all kinds of weather.
If you’re able to get the best garden soil mix in your garden, you’ll find the gardening process a whole lot easier, but it’s usually not that simple.
All plants have different needs and where you do your gardening will have some impact as well, so finding good garden soil can be a challenge.
What are the best types of garden soil?
To determine the best soil mix for your plants, you’ll have to study the type of plants you’re growing, as even native plants and a vegetable garden can vary quite dramatically in what they need. You’ll want a garden or soil mix that has the nutrients and conditions that best suit your garden, so it pays to have an idea of what you’re growing first.
A healthy plant can only thrive with the right soil, so if you’ve been searching for the best garden soil to begin the process, you’re in luck.
We’ve reviewed some of the top-rated soils available to suit all kinds of plants and setups, so all you need to do is pick the perfect match for your garden.
Table of Contents
- Our Expert Picks For The Best Garden Soil To Buy
- Best Overall: Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil
- Runner Up: Fox Farm Happy Frog Potting Soil
- Alternative: Espoma Organic African Violet Potting Mix
- Alternative: Better Gro Phalaenopsis Orchid Potting Mix
- Alternative: Baccto Lite Premium Potting Soil
- The FAQs of Garden Soil
- Give Your Plants a Happy Home
Our Expert Picks For The Best Garden Soil To Buy
Garden soil comes in all varieties to suit the ever-growing needs of gardeners and their plants. To narrow down your options, we’ve reviewed a handful of gardener’s favorite soils and a little more about what they offer, so you can see if it’s the nourishing support system that your plants need.
Best Overall: Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil
- Sizes: 38.6 quarts
- Type: Potting Soil
- Indoor/Outdoor: Both
When you want a good allrounder that can do it all, Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil is our go-to. This 38.6-quart bag of soil features a blend of natural ingredients like crab meal, bat guano, fish, and earthworm castings, giving your garden a ton of nutrients.
The pH levels have been adjusted between 6.3 to 6.8 so it’s a good neutral soil that suits more types of plants.
- Ocean Forest Potting Soil is especially good for containerized plantings, and this includes both indoor and outdoor varieties.
- If you’ve struggled with getting your potted plants to thrive, the countless happy reviews claim that is the ultimate choice in potting mix.
- The pH level is considered neutral so you’ll be able to use it for a wider range of plant species and your chosen fertilizer will work brilliantly.
- Unlike alkaline or acidic soils that support certain types of plants, Ocean Forest is a good choice if you have a big garden to deal with or are unsure about what’s best.
- The included nutrients like crab meal and saltwater fish give your plants a huge boost and customers noticed an almost immediate growth spurt when they were housed in this supportive soil.
- Ocean Forest by Fox Farm is an expensive option for soil, even if it does deliver good results.
- This type of soil should be used on the plants you truly care about and want to see thrive, as scattering it through the whole garden will be costly.
The texture of the soil is quite fine, so keep this in mind if you want a coarser type of soil for your plants.
- You’ll need to be careful during potting and repotting because of this as it has a tendency to fall through the holes.
If you want the best garden soil for raised beds, containers, and pots, it has to be Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil.
This multipurpose and nutrient-packed soil costs roughly $30 for a 38.6-quart bag when you shop on Amazon and it comes shipped for free to your door.
There are options to buy in bulk but there are not many savings, so only buy it if you need it. Fox Farm has also created their 2020 version of the soil which costs around $50 for the same size, with customers finding better results for this but at a higher price.
If you truly care about your plants and want the best
Runner Up: Fox Farm Happy Frog Potting Soil
- Sizes: 51.4 quart
- Type: Potting soil
- Indoor/Outdoor: Both
When you’re the proud owner of potted plants, you need to provide them with all of the goodness they normally get from the earth.
Happy Frog Potting Soil from Fox Farm does just that and includes nutrients like forest humus, bat guano, microbes, and fungi, that give your plants of living right in the forest.
This 51.4-quart bag is light and aerated and has a mid-range pH level that suits many species, specifically made for the needs of potted plants.
- This is a good draining soil so if you have plants that require adequate drainage, it’s a great place to start.
- The feel of the soil is light and airy and it allows water to pass through without building up and leading to root rot.
- There are loads of nutrients already packed into this potting soil which means less time spent on fertilizer. According to customers, there was no need to add anything to it and it was good straight from the bag. If you’re a low-maintenance gardener, this will suit you well.
- You’ll find no filler contents in this soil, including no top soil, no sludge, and nothing cheap.
- The entire bag is made up of nutrient-rich goodness that your potted plants will love, enabling them to thrive even in a container.
- The bag that Happy Frog is packaged needs to be tougher, as too many people found theirs arrived with holes in.
- Having a more durable bag makes it easier to transport as well, and there’s less chance of pests making their way inside.
- Happy Frog is an expensive option for potting soil and is known as a premium product. Unless you require something like this or would rather avoid fertilizing, you might be more inclined to choose a basic and simple potting mix that doesn’t have so many nutrients.
To equip your potted plants with the best soil money can buy, seek out the Happy Frog Potting Soil on Amazon. For the two cubic feet bag, you’ll pay around $35, but this includes free shipping to your door so you save some of the hassle and means you don’t have to make your way to the gardening center just to get new soil.
It would have been good to see some other options for purchasing including larger sizes and bulk buying to bring the price down, but unfortunately, this is it.
However, there’s no better soil for potted plants than this one, and if you want to skip the fertilizers in the future, Fox Farm Happy Frog Potting Soil is a top contender.
Alternative: Espoma Organic African Violet Potting Mix
- Sizes: 4-quart
- Type: Potting soil
- Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor
For the best organic garden soil to suit your indoor flowers, our favorite pick is the Espoma Organic African Violet Potting Mix. This mixture was made specifically for African violets but works for other potted plants kept indoors and it contains a blend of only natural and organic ingredients.
The potting soil comes in a four-quart bag and is a cheaper alternative than most and promises healthier roots and better aeration.
- This soil was formulated for African Violets and similar houseplants, so you’ll get amazing results if this is what you’re using it for. Rather than a general soil that does it all, this has a specific blend of what these plants need, meaning healthier, thriving flowers.
- The cost of this potting soil makes it one of the more affordable options while still being jam-packed full of goodness.
- If you want one of the best organic garden soil options for your indoor flowers, you won’t find a better deal, especially considering it has no fillers or synthetic additives within.
- Customers noted much healthier roots from their African Violets and other houseplants when they used this mix from Espoma. If you’ve had issues with weak or spindly roots in your plants, a simple change to this type of potting mix could fix it.
- Unlike a multi-purpose soil that suits all potted plants or outdoor garden beds, Espoma Organic African Violet Potting Mix is pretty limited in what it can do.
- You’ll get great results from indoor flowers, but others won’t be as thrilled with their new soil.
- This potting soil holds a lot of moisture so you have to be careful about over-watering when using it.
- As it’s designed for indoor plants that need moisture retention, it should only be used for that specific purpose.
Espoma is a trusted name that gardeners love and they’ve been around for almost 100 years, so you can rely on them to deliver.
If you have African Violets or other similar houseplants that need new soil, the Espoma Organic African Violet Potting Mix is our favorite choice.
This is exceptionally priced at around $11 for a 4-quart bag, but you won’t be able to benefit from Amazon’s free shipping unless you buy three bags at once.
For this price though, it’s a worthy investment, and will give you more than enough soil to treat all of the houseplants in your home.
Alternative: Better Gro Phalaenopsis Orchid Potting Mix
- Sizes: 8 quart
- Type: Potting mix
- Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor
Orchids are one of nature’s finest flower specimens and if you grow the Phalaenopsis, you know how hard it can be to get it right. This eight-quart bag of potting mix is made by Better Gro and specifically formulated for this flower, designed to give fertilization, moisturization, ventilation, and drainage.
The mixture contains Canadian chuck peat, charcoal, perlite, western fir bark, and more, giving your orchids everything, they need to thrive.
- For such a specialized potting mix, the price of this soil is unbelievable. You’ll easily have enough to do all of your orchids, and then some, and it lasts up to 18 months before it needs repotting so you don’t have to buy in bulk.
- If you’ve had trouble growing orchids in the past you’ll love how this is specially formulated to help them thrive.
- It gives the right amount of draining, ventilation for the roots, and airflow that these types of plants require.
- There are loads of good ingredients in this bag, even for something so cheap.
- Customers loved to read that it included things like charcoal, perlite, Canadian chunk peat, and more, which was all thoroughly appreciated by the phalaenopsis orchids they were tending.
- As a potting mix made specifically for phalaenopsis, you might not find as good of a result as other plants.
- This isn’t the best garden soil for vegetables or even common houseplants, so don’t try to cheap out buying it.
- You may be able to use it for other orchids but it still won’t be as effective, so make sure you do your research before committing.
- Check the bag when it arrives to make sure there’s no mold or bugs present, as there have been a few complaints of this in the past.
- This is the risk you take with any packaged potting mix, but apparently, it’s been noted by people using the Better Gro Phalaenopsis Orchid Potting Mix in recent months
This is an affordable way to give your orchids everything they need and exceptionally priced at around $16 for an eight-quart bag. Amazon has a lot of other buying options as well, including the eight-quart improved and new soil that costs around $25 or a previous version in an eight-quart bag for around $12.
Provided you get a quality bag, this soil will make your orchids happy, and when you spend over $25 on Amazon, you’ll be happy with their free shipping as well.
This is packed full of nutrients and the right blend of everything that orchids need, so consider switching over to this soil if you want to see an instant improvement.
Alternative: Baccto Lite Premium Potting Soil
- Sizes: 8 quarts
- Type: Potting soil
- Indoor/Outdoor: Both
Baccto has created a great multipurpose potting soil with their Lite Premium product. This is an eight-quart bag of potting soil that includes a blend of pre-moistened sphagnum, fertilizer, and other natural ingredients.
Designed for use with both indoor and outdoor plants, it’s also versatile enough to use at all life stages, including rooted cuttings, starting seedlings, and bulbs, as well as fully grown potted plants.
With a lightweight feel, it’s great for plants that require aeration and is easy to use no matter your gardening skill level.
- The Baccto Lite Premium Potting Soil comes with a fertilizer package that’s already mixed through it.
- This saves you from fertilizing in the future as it should be enough to last, and as a slow-release fertilizer, it will be around 12 to 18 months before you have to repot your plants.
- There’s no need to add anything or do anything with this potting soil and it’s ready to go straight out of the bag.
- This is a good choice for beginner gardeners or people who want a fuss-free gardening experience, especially if you’re doing an annual repot of your houseplants.
- You can use the Baccto Lite Premium Potting Soil for indoor and outdoor plants but people have found better results with their houseplants.
- The sphagnum peat is especially helpful at keeping moisture in so that your favorite plants don’t dry out indoors.
- The feel of this soil is light, and some customers noted that you have to use a lot more of it to fill your pots than you would with other potting mixes.
- Depending on how much aeration your plants need, there might be smarter options out there that don’t require such a heavy fill, so think about what you’re using it on first.
- If you have plants that require good drainage, this won’t be the best fit. However, the best way to amend garden soil like this is to add some perlite or something coarse and take the drainage into your own hands.
- Still, when purchasing potting soil already made, you shouldn’t have to make adjustments to it just to start using it.
Baccto Lite Premium Potting Soil is the simple and affordable answer to healthy soil, providing your plants are the type that needs aerating.
An eight-quart bag can be purchased on Amazon for around $13, and you’ll qualify for free shipping when you purchase two of them, so it’s worth the extra money.
If you’ve been wanting a basic but comprehensive potting soil that works for all of your potted plants, Baccto Lite is a good option.
This is a lightweight and pre-fertilized home for your plants that will help them thrive, and a great choice for those who are new to gardening and want a simple solution.
The FAQs of Garden Soil
For a beginner gardener, there’s no less more important than learning about soil and the role it plays in helping your garden grow.
If you’re still unsure about how to choose a soil or why it’s so essential in the process, read on to find out the answers to some commonly asked questions.
What Soil Is Best For A Garden?
For most gardens and plants, a soil that has a mixture of clay, silt, and sand, as well as some organic matter will be ideal, as this gives your plants everything they need for optimum growth.
What Is A Garden Soil?
The ingredients could include bark, composted manure from animals, and even fungal content, with all of them blended to create a garden soil mix.
What Is The Difference Between Topsoil And Garden Soil?
Garden soil can be made by mixing top soil with other ingredients like composted manure and bark so that the organic materials give it the nutrients it needs to make plants thrive.
How Do I Make Garden Soil?
These additions could be fresh compost from a garden, composted manure from livestock, soil from deep-rooted plants, or other organic matter that you can find around the garden.
Give Your Plants a Happy Home
Soil is the ultimate support system for plants, and no matter the type or where you grow them, they won’t get very far without healthy soil.
With that in mind, it’s important to choose good soil as the foundation for your garden, but there’s a lot to learn about what each plant needs.
With our help and recommendations, you’ll be able to select a soil that best suits your gardening goals, with thousands of happy customers who can vouch for its greatness.
A plant that has healthy soil will be able to thrive, and it’ll make your role as the gardener a whole lot easier, too, so it’s worth investing in the right product for your garden.