8 Best Potting Soils for Indoor Plants in 2023: Reviews & Top Picks
Fertile soil is obviously important for gardening, but it’s even more essential for container and indoor planting. Your plants won’t be able to draw extra nutrients through the ground, so it’s crucial that you choose a blend that gives your plants everything they need. You can amend with fertilizer and other products later, but today we’ve reviewed all the best potting soils for indoor plants. Let’s check out what makes them so great and what to look for in potting soils.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil||
|Best Value||Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix||
|Premium Choice||Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix||
|Burpee Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix||
|Fertilome Ultimate Potting Mix||
The 8 Best Potting Soils for Indoor Plants
1. Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil – Best Overall
|Product Size:||80 lbs.|
Fox Farm’s Ocean Forest Potting Soil tops our list as the best overall soil for indoor plants, with an impressive blend of 100% organic, sustainable ingredients. Some of those include sphagnum peat moss, aged forest products, fish emulsion, bat guano, crab meal, and perlite. These ingredients give the soil everything a plant needs: water retention, drainage, nutrients, antifungal protection, and airiness.
Finally, the soil contains earthworm castings which encourage beneficial organisms to proliferate in the soil. This soil is especially great for starting seeds, but you can use it for any plants. For plants with higher potassium and phosphorus needs, supplement with compost.
- Large bag size
- 100% organic ingredients
- High-quality ingredients
- Doesn’t require additional perlite
- Encourages beneficial organisms to proliferate
- May require supplements for potassium and phosphorus
- More expensive than other soils
2. Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix – Best Value
|Product Size:||80 lbs.|
Miracle-Gro is a household name because they provide high-quality potting mixes at an affordable price, and this one is the best bang for your buck. The potting mix has an NPK ratio of 3-1-2, which is balanced enough for nearly any houseplant. Veggies might need more specialized soil, but this will suffice for most indoor plants.
The mix also contains coco coir to feed the soil and provide water retention, so you don’t have to water the plant as often. The pH is a tad acidic, so you may wish to amend with lime if it’s too low for your plant’s liking. Lastly, the mix is sterilized and contains nothing that can be called soil—it works, though!
- Provides all essential nutrients
- Consistent quality control
- High nitrogen content
- Sterilized ingredients mean no beneficial microbes or soil-dwelling organisms
- May require significant amendment
3. Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix – Premium Choice
|Product Size:||2 ft3|
Another fancy organic blend from Espoma, this potting soil contains sphagnum peat moss, alfalfa meal for nitrogen, perlite for drainage, plus earthworm castings and humus to attract beneficial soil-dwelling organisms. Strikingly, the soil also contains mycorrhizae fungi, which drastically improves water retention.
The bag advertises that the soil requires 30% less water than other soils, but we’d have to test it to be sure. The ingredients feed the soil and improve its structure as they decompose, feeding plants for up to 6 months before you need fertilizer or more soil. The only real downsides to this product are the price and that a few reviewers said their bags arrived infested with gnats.
- Mycorrhizae fungi improve water retention
- Humus and earthworm castings attract beneficial soil-dwellers and microbes
- Sphagnum peat moss enhances water retention
- Perlite for airy soil with good drainage
- Some reports of packages contaminated by bugs
4. Burpee Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix
|Product Size:||9 qt.|
This premium organic soil contains coco coir for water retention and a balanced NPK ratio for nourishing any type of indoor houseplant. In addition, there’s plant food in the soil that feeds plants in both the short term and long-term.
The bag advertises that you won’t have to feed your plants for 3 months, so that’s a lot of nutrition! Burpee’s soil isn’t particularly great for any one type of plant, but it’s more of a jack of all trades-type soil. For veggies, you’d have to amend with fertilizer or compost. The slightly acidic pH level may require amendment with lime, too, if you’re growing alkaline-loving plants.
- Sustainable coco coir for retaining water
- Short-release and slow-release plant food included
- Great balance of nutrients
- Requires amending
5. Fertilome Ultimate Potting Mix
|Product Size:||8 qt.|
Another budget-friendly potting mix, this mix contains sphagnum peat moss for water retention and coarse perlite for drainage and to make the mix light and airy. You’ll notice we say “mix” because this potting mix is a sterilized potting mix with ingredients not from the soil. They’re very similar and plants can’t seem to tell the difference, and this potting mix works with most indoor houseplants.
We would recommend amending with coco coir for water retention because the mix is made with tropical plants in mind. Other plants may dry up too quickly.
- Balanced NPK ratio
- Neutral pH
- Peat moss and perlite for water regulation
- Sterilized ingredients limits biodiversity
- May need amendment with coco coir for water retention
6. Noot’s “The Mix” Indoor Plant Soilless Potting Mix
|Product Size:||1 gallon|
We know what you’re thinking: soilless soil? That’s right! Soilless potting mixes have exploded in popularity as more and more people are taking up indoor gardening. This mix from Noot contains coco coir, coconut husk, coarse perlite, beneficial microbes, and friendly strains of fungi that protect roots from common soil-dwelling pests. Plants will form stronger root systems with the symbiotic fungi in the soil, which helps longevity and overall health.
- Wide array of organic amendments
- Beneficial fungi and microbes
- Helps repel common pests
- Limited supply
7. Perfect Plants All Natural Orchid Potting Mix
|Product Size:||4 qt.|
For orchids and other showy plants that need lots of nutrients, look no further. This mix from Perfect Plants is loaded with all the essential nutrients, plus it has coco coir for water retention. That’s not all, though! Pine chips are included for drainage and to prevent compacted soil, and coconut chips help to feed the plants for months.
You might want to amend with compost or fertilizer because the pine chips will leech nitrogen as they decompose. Overall, though, this is the perfect potting mix for fussy orchids or other show plants.
- Pine chips for drainage
- Coconut chips feed the soil as they decompose
- Might require amendments
8. Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix
|Product Size:||8 qt.|
Caring for houseplants can be hard, but this potting mix from Miracle-Gro contains both sphagnum peat moss and coco coir to retain as much moisture as possible. The included plant food feeds your plants for up to 6 months, but you may wish to amend it with other products for drainage or nutrition as you desire.
This is a Miracle-Gro product, too, so you can expect the price to be reasonable. This potting mix isn’t the best of the best, but it’s great for keeping plants watered longer.
- Feeds plants for up to 6 months
- Peat moss and coco coir for water retention
- May require amendment for nutrients or drainage
- No high-quality organic ingredients
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Potting Soils for Indoor Plants
Choosing the right potting soil for your indoor houseplants can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be a huge hassle. There are several key variables you need to factor into your buying decision, and each has profound implications for how well your plants grow.
Those variables are location, plant type, and ingredients. Let’s check those out in more detail below.
Indoor potting mix or soil is typically finer and less coarse than outdoor mix, which is designed to retain more moisture in the face of the blazing sunlight. Some mixes don’t specify and can be used in either situation, or you can always amend them to achieve your desired conditions.
Some plants have unique needs, like orchids requiring tons of nutrients. Most houseplants are fairly undemanding, but you’ll want to read up on if your plants have any special needs. For instance, you can make thick soil airier and improve the texture by adding perlite. You can amend like this in various ways, depending on your plants.
This is the good stuff that your plants crave. Sphagnum peat moss and coco coir are common amendments used to improve water retention, so you don’t have to water your plants as often.
Perlite helps to make soil airier and gives it a more pleasing, soil-like consistency, but it’s not mandatory. You can add it to premade mixes to improve the texture yourself.
Other popular ingredients include bark chips, which improve drainage while sapping nitrogen, coconut chips, which feed the soil, and various beneficial fungi or microbes. Symbiotic fungi can form a beneficial relationship with your plant’s roots and give them protection against diseases or pests, too!
Nourishing your houseplants can seem easy and impossibly difficult at the same time, but the reality is that you have to start with the soil. Well, some of them don’t even have soil these days, but they all do the same thing and help plants thrive. We’d suggest Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil if you want the top of the line, but Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix is a solid choice if you want to pinch a few pennies.
Featured Image Credit: Cem Selvi, Shutterstock
- 1 A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2023
- 2 The 8 Best Potting Soils for Indoor Plants
- 2.1 1. Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil – Best Overall
- 2.2 2. Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix – Best Value
- 2.3 3. Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix – Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. Burpee Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix
- 2.5 5. Fertilome Ultimate Potting Mix
- 2.6 6. Noot’s “The Mix” Indoor Plant Soilless Potting Mix
- 2.7 7. Perfect Plants All Natural Orchid Potting Mix
- 2.8 8. Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix
- 3 Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Potting Soils for Indoor Plants
- 4 Conclusion