The Q&A Archives: Garden Soil Used In Pots

Question: I purchased a bag of Garden Soil and did not notice that it was not to be used in pots until I had planted 2 window boxes and 10 pots. What will this soil do to plants in a pot. Will it kill my plants? Should I toss out the soil and repot my plants? Please help fast.


Answer: The advantages of potting soil over garden soil as a growing medium in containers is that potting soil is lighter and looser, for easy root penetration; potting soil drains quickly and yet holds just the right amount of moisture for healthy root growth, and potting soil is much lighter in weight than garden soil when completly saturated. In light of the above considerations, garden soil in containers is acceptable, but not the preferred growing medium for containerized plants. I wouldn't unpot and repot at this point, but when the time comes to repot (when your plants outgrow their pots), use potting soil exclusively in your containers, or mix commercial potting soil in with the garden soil to help lighten the mix and facilitate drainage. In the meantime, pay close attention to the watering needs of your plants. If garden soil is allowed to dry out completely, it will be difficult to rewet.

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