What potting mix is best?

thahalibut(Z-9 CA, SSZ-9)February 16, 2011

I was planning on buying Miricle grow moisture control potting mix. Any other suggestions?


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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

I've used it and it does OK for me.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 11:14PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

I read a survey somewhere recently, which placed Miracle Gro Moisture Control at the top of the list.

Supersoil, which once was highly rated, has dropped way down, and DESERVEDLY SO!

DH bought three bags of Supersoil last week, and I thought we'd never get the stench out of the car. It was reminiscent of stale sweat, on a massive scale. TERRIBLE.
We won't be buying any more of it!


    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 11:19PM
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One more vote for Miracle Gro Moisture Control. Had been using EB Stone. . . . not bad, but Miracle Gro is better.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 12:39AM
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dimitrig(SoCal z10a/21)

I haven't done any scientific study, but I recently purchased many, many bags of potting soil for my roses at different locations out of convenience. I have previous experience with Supersoil, but I did not purchase that this time. It's not my favorite. It tends to be damp and smell like sewage.

I purchased LGM, Danish Potting Soil, Edna's Best (EB Stone), and Kellogg's Patio Plus. Of all of these, my favorite in terms of texture is LGM and it is the only one I bought more of. EB Stone seems okay, too, but a bit less loamy. Patio Plus was damp and had too much bark/compost in it for me. The Danish Potting Soil is basically just peat and I mixed it in with the others after I realized that. I don't have any experience with Miracle Gro soils so I cannot compare, but I tend to avoid Miracle Gro anything if I can avoid it because I don't trust Scotts for anything other than lawn chemicals.

I mixed my own polymers into the soil ("Soil Moist") for the first time ever this season, but I have no prior experience. I am just hoping it helps keep the roses from drying out so quickly in their pots. In the six weeks I have been watering so far the soil does seem to stay much more moist, but I am not sure that's a good thing yet. I am forcing myself to water less often than I am used to based on how moist the soil feels to the touch. It's winter, so it's not a good test of how things will be when it hits 100 for a week straight, but we have had temps in the high 70's for almost that entire period, but it takes a long while for the soil to dry out.

Once upon a time I bothered to create my own blend using 50% perlite as suggested by Bob Martin (http://scvrs.homestead.com/BarerootContainers.html) but I just use the potting soil these days. Bob also recommended LGM soil in his article. What's nice about LGM is that is just looks, smells, and feels like good potting soil should. Not damp, not dry, and very loamy. We'll see what my roses think of it, but they did well with it in the past.
I used LGM the very first time I potted them up in 2002. I repotted a few years back, but I don't remember what soil I used then.

However, comparing all of these soils side-by-side (and keeping in mind that I am not a rose) I liked the LGM best.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 3:58AM
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brhgm(z8b LA)

I make my own from sand, gravel, peat, top soil, humus and decomposed manure and mulch my plants. Here in Louisiana it is very dry in October and June, so watering daily is necessary. Most of the Summer and Winter are fairly wet and humid.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 10:49AM
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Alas, Supersoil used to be the gold standard, but not so much anymore. Since being bought out by Scott's several years ago, the quality has become very erratic. Around the time of the buy-out, I got a bag that actually killed plants planted in it. These days, you come upon lots that are still great (maybe even better than the original) and others so bad looking -- and smelling, as Jeri notes -- that one would hesitate to use it for any plant, let alone precious roses. Currently, I have been stocking up when I find a good batch and looking for alternatives.

I had a bad experience last year with Edna's Best in side-by-side comparison with Supersoil using tomato seedlings. The Edna's almost immediately created what looked like a severe nitrogen deficiency. I ended up having to rescue the seedlings in Edna's Best by repotting them in Supersoil, where they recovered.

Unfortunately, LGM does not seem to be available in northern California? I have shied away from Miracle-Gro potting soil, due to bad experiences in the distant past. But that was literally decades ago, so it's probably time to try it again, given the recs here.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 12:54PM
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I've been using the organic Pro-Mix. I'm not sure if it's available out there. I should say that I haven't used it for roses, mostly for annuals and some of my houseplants.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 1:55PM
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Has anyone else tried the Gardener and Bloom Planting Mix? I used about 20 bags of it last season when digging up roses, daylilies, etc. to save them from the marauding gophers. It had a very satisfactory feel and smell to it, and everything I put into it seemed to thrive.

I don't keep things in pots for long term (never more than a year), so I can't speak to that situation, but for nurturing plants between or before their forays into the ground, I thought it was very good.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 2:15PM
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organicgardendreams(z 10)

Since I went completely organic three years ago, I am also using organic potting soil. The one that I buy is

E.B Stone organics
Edna's Best
Potting soil

simply because it is available at my favorite nursery. My roses in containers grow well with it, even though in comparison I would say that Supersoil (the potting soil that I bought before I switched to organic potting soil) was a better quality.

Here is a link that might be useful: Organic Garden Dreams

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 2:21PM
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hup2345(z6 NY)

I use it for all of my potted flowers. It's better than the other commercial mixes I've tried.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 10:16PM
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Maryl zone 7a

Just a caveat on buying any Timed Release fertilizer enhanced and/or moisture control bagged product (regardless of brand), the bags are not air tight (for obvious reasons) so if you buy those which have been exposed to the elements the chances are good that moisture has gotten into the bags and already activated the fertilizer pellets or other moisture control crystals. Personally I try and buy only the bags stored inside the store, but even that is not fool proof. The best method to assure fertilizer/moisture control is to buy a non additive bag of fertilizer and add your own Osmocote/water crystals. Since I always add more perlite to my potting mix anyway, it's just as simple to add the other ingredients too.....Maryl

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 4:00PM
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