Is there a difference between Potting Soil and Potting Mix? If so, what is that difference, and what is the best to use?
Potting Soil: Contains Soil (Dirt). Potting Soil will often not give optimal results because its thickness does not allow adequate water and airflow in containers.
Best Uses: Raised beds or to fill low or bald spots in your yard
Potting Mix: Contains No Soil (Dirt), sterile mix which may contain a combination of sphagnum moss, perlite and vermiculite. Potting Mix has particles larger than soil to allow the flow of water and air in the container. Potting Mixes drain well while still retaining sufficient water for plants.
Best Uses: Container Plants. Can also be used to start seeds and for root cuttings.
To add to the confusion some Potting Soils do have sphagnum moss, perlite and vermiculite added in. These potting soils may be okay for containers, but I still believe that you will see better results with a Potting Mix. I have used both Potting Soil and Potting Mix in my container garden and I have been more impressed with the results of the health and growth of my plants in Potting Mix. My plants seem to thrive not just survive in this medium. When you are in the garden center and a sales associate claims that it is the same thing remember to look a little deeper. If it contains soil you may be compromising the performance of your containers. Look for a good quality Potting Mix and you will be on your way to healthy, thriving plants.
Not all potting mixes are the same. There are different types for specific applications. An explanation of the differing contents can be found at the following website: