The Q&A Archives: Planting Mix versus Potting Soil

Question: Should I use PLANTING MIX or POTTING SOIL for CITRUS TREES to be planted in containers (large pots, say 24 to 27 inches) on our patio? Same question for HIBISCUS and other similar plants.

Answer: Potting soil is a mixture of bark, peat moss, vermiculite and compost; planting mix is a combination of garden loam and peat or bark. Either will work for containers and for citrus and hibiscus. Potting soil is light, even when wet, and will drain quickly (and dry out faster). Planting mix is heavier, and while it drains well, will hold moisture for a longer period of time. If it completely dries out, it will be hard to re-wet. Because it contains garden soil, it will help keep top-heavy plants from blowing over in the wind. Which you use is a matter of personal preference. I'd use the least expensive, knowing containerized plants will need to be repotted in fresh soil every 2-3 years.

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