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Best Soil For Indoor Plants

When growing indoors, nothing is more crucial for plant success than having optimal indoor potting soil. After all, plants growing in containers and pots are limited to what the soil in the pot provides them. Roots of plants cannot plunge deeper or spread out into the soil to seek out nutrition to make up for poor soil.

Remember, the soil is a life-support system for plants no matter where they are planted. It provides everything that a plant needs to grow, so it is vital to ensure that you plant with the best soil for indoor plants that are bound to containers.

Grape hyacinth plant removed from flowerpot

Different Types of Indoor Plant Soils

Soil needs can be diverse for different types of plants depending on a plant’s natural habitat. The best indoor potting soil should mimic the plant’s native soil from its original growing environment. Many potting mixes are specifically formulated to provide the ideal growing setting for different plant types.

Some examples of varying soil types include:

  • Sandy soil – great for succulents and cacti
  • Loamy soil – ideal soil type for the majority of plants needing nutrient-rich, well-draining soil.
  • Light and Fluffy Soil – fantastic for orchids
  • Fast-draining soil – formulated explicitly for palm and citrus plants and other tropical plants
Gardener's Workspace: a Centrally Placed Table Surrounded with Plants and Gardening Tools

Common Characteristics for the Best Soil for Indoor Plants

There are common elements that all houseplants must have in order to thrive.  As gardeners growing plants in pots and containers, we are solely responsible for providing everything that an indoor plant needs to grow. All plants might have varied requirements for these characteristics, but all are necessary for successful plant growth.

  • Moisture control – The best soil for indoor plants must retain adequate moisture to nourish indoor plants in between watering sessions.
  • Airflow – Root systems for plants require sufficient airflow to absorb oxygen effectively. For this to occur, the soil needs to have space between particles for air to exist within the soil structure.
  • Nutrient Content – The plant must be able to extract enough nutrition from the soil to live and grow.
  • Soil Structure– The best soil for indoor plants has a healthy soil structure that has particles assembled in such a way as to hold the root system in place and has adequate air pockets so that moisture, nutrients, and oxygen can reach plant roots.
  • pH – Plants thrive in soils that have varying pH levels. Soil should be tested and amended to attain the ideal pH level for individual plants.
A young growing snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata, Mother-in-Law's Tongue) sits in a small white pot

How to Ensure Your Indoor Potting Soil is Optimal

There are many ways to ensure that the soil that your plants are growing in is the best soil for indoor plants. This includes starting with the right soil for your particular plants and improving the soil that you already have.

  • Give your indoor plants the best start by planting them in a premium potting mix specifically formulated for your plant type. They contain top-notch water-retaining ingredients like peat moss and coconut coir, which reduces your watering needs.
  • Repot your plants once per year. Use an indoor potting mix specifically formulated for the type of plant that you are growing.
  • Over time, products that compose potting mixes can break down and compact the soil, causing drainage problems for indoor plants. Repotting in fresh soil can help with this problem.  You can also add organic soil amendments to help improve the soil structure and create the best soil for indoor plants.
  • Replenish nutrients into your soil via soil amendments and fertilizer.
  • Implement shower watering once a month for indoor plants to rinse soil of impurities and salt deposits built up from fertilizer applications and tap water.
  • Another way to ensure the best soil for indoor plants is to make your own potting mix. You can create your own balanced mix of soil specific to your plant’s needs by incorporating soil amendments from composted forest materials, coconut coir, peat moss, pumice, perlite, vermiculite, worm castings, and more.

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