What brand of potting soil do you prefer?

eleanor_rigby(z5 OH)February 11, 2006

I used to exclusively use Metro Mix by Scott's for starting seedlings. The garden center where I used to buy it no longer sells it. I have tried Fafard's 4M Professional Mix. It is ok. What brands are your favorites?


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Agway or Pro-Mix

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 8:22AM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

I use Jiffy-Mix. I order it in a 3-cu. ft bag from Stokes Seeds. It runs about $32 including shipping.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 11:02AM
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I use Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix and when I transplant the seedlings I use Miracle-Grow Potting Mix. You can find it at any Lowe's garden center.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 2:25PM
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DanaNY(z6 Astoria, NY)

Pro-Mix is the best IMO, wouldn't use anything else.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 1:19PM
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Pro-Mix all the way

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 2:04PM
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Actually you don't want potting soil for seed starting. A lite seed starting mix will save you from lost seedlings. I start mine with the least expensive seed starter which is usually at Lowes or a garden shop I visit in down state MI. When they are growing well, the seedlings get transplanted to a mix of potting soil and seed starter, and then just to potting mix. I have never lost a plant to damping off.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 4:30PM
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gardenjen_ca(CA Zone 9)

I like to use Miracle Gro potting soil. I just pluck out the wood chips and any large pieces. I've tried the seed starting mixes and find that they dry out so fast and when I water or mist the top of the soil, it doesn't penetrate down. My seedlings seem to be happiest with the Miracle Gro. Whatever you do, don't use Hyponex - it's like concrete and definitely doesn't penetrate!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 10:11AM
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I also start seeds in Miracle Gro potting soil and haven't had a problem yet.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 9:26PM
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Has anyone here used a mix of jiffy seed starter and miracle grow? Those seem to be the best and I am a seed starting newbie. I have one of those soil cubers I bought online and I don't know if they will work with just seed starter or is you have to mix in some soil too.

have another question: when using a capillary mat for wick method do you place the soil blocks directly on it? dumb question I know but I am a newbie at this.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 11:01PM
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I just used those jiffy pellets that expand when you add water, they worked just fine i already have pansy seedlings after just 7 days!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 12:03PM
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tastefullyjulie(Lewiston, NY 6)

Has anyone used Expert Gardener or something like that which they sell at Walmart? I went there to get Miracle Gro but it was all wet (fungus gnats yuck) so I got this stuff instead. I was hesitant but it is made by schultz. Seems a little sticky though. Hyponex is bizarre, what's in that stuff?!?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 9:40AM
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leaz7b(z7b TX)

I bought the Expert Gardener this year, too, for the same reasons you described. I have always used MG before, but this year, it was really worse, as far as the amt of chunks of bark and just full of gnats here. I am wondering if anyone else has used the Expert, too.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 11:29AM
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I am using a new mix this year called Fafard. It is expensive , but well worth it. It wets down easily and doesnt float on top of the water .

I make my mix up by putting the seed starting soil in a milk jug from which has been cut off. I then water it down and stir the mix and water with a tablespoon. My wife loves the fact there is no mess.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 1:20PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

Basically, I look for a finely milled mix that is dry and kept inside without holes in the bag. I figure I have a better chance of no pests that way and the finely milled mix has better contact with the tiny seedlings. I've tried Pro Mix, Hoffman, Schultz, others - they are all the same to me. I don't prefer Miracle Gro Potting soil because the particles are too big, but I've used it too with success.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 5:46PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I have had good results with the huge bags of Miracle Gro and sifting it to collect a fine seed starting soil. I did this when my geographical location prohibited much shopping around. I was satisfied with the results.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 2:24PM
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roxy77(Houston Z9)

I like the Miracle Grow that is designed to control moisture. The rest of them get way too dry IMO.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 2:26PM
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neil_allen(z5/6 Chi IL)

Early last year I noticed that a local garden center/nursery was using Sunshine Mix #1 to start a lot of their things, and asked if I could buy a compressed bale from them. I have to remove a few short twigs from the mix, but otherwise I like it. It wets easily and is fairly finely textured. The compressed bale does weigh a lot, though.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 2:34PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

Hot water will wet the dryest of them. Once I get it wet the first time, I find I don't have trouble after that. I water with warm water from the bottom until the seedlings are bigger.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 6:34PM
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A light, fine,sterile soil-less mix is best. Save the expensive MG or others for when you transplant. There is no need for a mix with fertilizer or moisture retentive additives. As a matter of fact, I'd never use a moisure holding mix for seed starting. That's an invitation to disaster. You need the soil to dry out somwhat before watering to allow air exchange. Fertilizer is unnecessary to start seeds as the seeds have everything they need within themselves. To much fertilizer will only help produce green alge and cause weak growth. Use the fancy stuff once the seedlings are ready for transplant.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 12:58AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

I use compressed bales of Premier Pro Mix BX and I usually add some extra Horticultural Perlite.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 2:10AM
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My eighth grader did a science fair project on what commercially available potting soil/mix produced the best results when growing wave petunias. We bought all of the available brands at Lowe's. Once we got the seedlings started we transplanted and let them grow for 12 weeks. the Miracle grow blew everything else away. The growth of the Miracle grow petunias was three times that of anything else.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 3:37PM
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ProMix BX because the results speak for themselves.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 11:34PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I have tried to find Pro Mix in my area with no luck at all. Can anyone tell me who carries this product?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 11:42AM
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I usually use Pro Mix. It's readily available, consistently good and comes in big sizes. I've mixed my own at times too, which worked out well enough. Sometimes, if I'm starting really easy stuff like tomatoes, I'll mix in some regular potting soil. I avoid anything with "moisture control."

As an aside, I was called to do a consumer focus study thing a couple months ago in which they asked me my opinions on potting soils. One of the bags they showed me included composted lobster, and the brand may have been "Maine" something and came in a purplish bag. I actually really liked the looks of the stuff. And I'm sure it's not sold in the Midwest. Anyone familiar with it?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 1:20PM
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I usually make my own. I'l buy bags of compost, humus, peat, vermiculite, even the cheap sandy stuff that is mainly chicken poo. my maters love that stuff. Saves me a ton of money.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 1:39PM
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For starting seeds I use Pro-mix or MG seed starting mix. For container plants I only use Fafard 3B. I think it's by far the best potting soil for container plants.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 2:03PM
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I always start seeds in the soiless pro mix, as I've been told it is the best way to avoid fungus/dampening off/whatever other evil stuff lurks in "dirt/soil"!!!!! Since I buy it in those big 3 ft square bales (cheapest way if you are doing a lot of seeds)I have always used it to pot up the seedlings as well, cause I have a lot of it around. But after reading about that science fair experiment above ( I love plump flowering pertunias!), I am rethinking this. I'll think about only starting the seeds in the promix and then using miracle for the potting up and growing on!!!!!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 11:59PM
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mary_pnw_7b(Oly WA z7b)

I use Miracle Grow with a bit of seed starting mix on top. My theory is that the germination will be faster with the seed starting mix, but I will not have to water as much or fertilize after they are up. It seems to work for me.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 7:49PM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

Compressed bales of Sunshine Mix #4.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 9:06PM
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i start my seeds with miracle grow pottin mix and have no problems whatsoever. and when i transplant the seedlings i use the same. outdoors is miracle gro also..thats just my 2c worth.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 1:09AM
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OK, after reading all this i really want to find out.where is this promix sold,i cant find it anywhere.i live in new mexico

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 1:08AM
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I make my own seed starting mix simply by mixing perlite and peat moss.

When I lived in California my favorite potting soil was Super Soil. Never had any problems with it. Now that I'm in Oklahoma I can't find Super Soil anymore. All I can Find is Miracle Grow Potting Mix. So that's what I use now.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 2:26PM
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neil_allen(z5/6 Chi IL)

novicegardener 2007 -- If the link below doesn't locate a source, try local garden centers and greenhouses that raise their own plants and sell to the public. Even if they don't have ProMix in their retail area, they may use it and be willing to sell you a bale or large bag.

Here is a link that might be useful: ProMix Retaler Locator

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 3:18PM
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This year I'm using PlantSmart Premium Potting Mix (that's just what is here). Last year I purchased a bag of Miracle Grow potting soil and it was full of bugs. As soon as I had opened the bag swarms of bugs everywhere. I threw the bag outside and never used it and because of that experience I will never buy another bag of MG again.
I usually use whatever seems to be at a reasonable cost.
I have a balcony garden so all my plants are grown in containers.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 10:38AM
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Cityboygonecountry - I'm an Okie (by the luck of the draw, if you want to call it that). You won't find the Super Mix here, but Pro-Mix is carried by Home Depot.

However, I did not like Pro-Mix at all. I bought a huge bag (it is packed a lot like the sphagnum peat moss bales) and was expecting this wonderful, marvelous soil. It is nothing but peat, with a teaspoon of perlite. Plus, it took literally forever to moisten it. If it dries out, you're out of luck, it is hard to get it wet again. Never again. I talked to several other people who had the same problem. I know there are those of you who love it, but I ended up having to mix it with other ingredients like tons more perlite, vermiculite, chicken manure, and commercial compost.

It was a mess to get it wet despite adding all those things to it. I was up to my elbows in peat mix in my wheelbarrow.

Schultz has good potting soil, as well as Scott's. I like both brands of these. For my seeds that I sow for summer (annuals), I use potting soil. Heck, I use potting soil all the time now because I winter sow, too. I also direct sow. So, I use several methods and don't find myself having any more problems than I did when I used "seed starting" mix.

If you can find Scott's where you're located (looks like you're down in southern Oklahoma in zone 7b), I'd try that. I like it better than Miracle Gro and the plants don't get dependent on MG fertilizer. They sell Scott's at Home Depost also, but I don't think they sell it at Lowe's.

Just my 2 cents.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 8:05PM
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I just grabbed whatever good draining soil and compost is around my yard and sift out the big pieces and bake the rest for an hour or so.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 2:23PM
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Boy, looks like they're ain't many organic growers in this bunch. And nobody even answered crazy garden girl's question. (too busy buying synthentic potting soils)
You'll just have to try it and see if you like it. Read up on which mix to buy at my site. And, you place blocks right on top of the capillary mat. Use a sharp knife if the roots grow into them. OH, and what's my favorite potting soil, you'all ask? The kind I make myself! "Recipes" included at my site. And, Now I sell it for soil block makers under the OLD FARM BOY brand. Beats Pro Mix by far! Hey, you get what you pay for!

Here is a link that might be useful: The world's resource for soil block gardening.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 6:56PM
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caroline_2008(Z 6)

I use MG potting soil and havent had any problem
with any of it, all my starts have started ;-))

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 12:38PM
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debbysunshine(san diego)

Nobody here yet has used Supersoil which I think has the least amount of fertilizer to kill the new sapplings. I use the full line and have tried everything else but my tries die reall fast and back I go for Supersoil. The cactus mix is very fast draining so I mix it with potting soil with a bit of charcoal on the bottom and have done very well. Without the mix the pot stays too wet and the cuttings die but I'm going to put seeds in this too which I've never tried before..

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 3:34PM
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Jeez Miracle Gro / Scotts is a chemical fertilizer. Organic anything is 100x better

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 8:06PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Jeez Miracle Gro / Scotts is a chemical fertilizer. Organic anything is 100x better.

Miracle Grow potting mix is all organic ingredients except for the small amount of synthetic fertilizer added to it. Peat, pine bark fines, perlite, lime - all organic materials.

Not to mention that yours is just a personal opinion but you dug up a 6 year old thread to post it?


This post was edited by digdirt on Fri, Mar 21, 14 at 21:25

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 9:15PM
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