Can You Use Garden Soil In Pots : 3 Important Facts

Can you use Garden Soil in pots? this is a very common question that gets asked. The garden soil for containers or pots is popular because of its ready availability and budget-friendliness. Garden soil can be used in pots with the right potting mix only if there is no potting soil. Using garden soil can be a substitute but not the best choice for potting soil because of various reasons.

In this article, you will learn about the difference between the garden and potting soil with many other answers to the question, can you use Garden Soil in pots, also we have here a homemade potting soil recipe.

What Is Garden Soil? 

Before knowing the answer to whether can you use Garden Soil in pots, let us know what is Garden Soil. Garden soil is soil that is used in the garden and filled with nutrients and organic matter. Garden soil has a heavy texture and holds a lot of water which is great for many plants and vegetables. Garden soil is a mix of topsoil which can change from sand, silt, clay, or loamy soil plus organic matters such as compost, manure, peat, and other living organisms. 

Garden soil is Topsoil plus organic matter and the topsoil is the topmost layer of soil which can be of any type of soil.  Whereas, garden soil is made of air, water, minerals, living organisms, and organic matter. Being filled with living organisms they make the soil more cultivable and healthy for crops. The Healthy pH level for garden soil is 6.0 and garden soil is best used in making flower beds.

What Is Potting Soil? 

What is Potting Soil?

Potting soil is soil used for potted plants or plants in containers. Potting soil is light and fluffy soil that holds enough water for plants to grow and aeration of roots. The best use of potting soil is for seeding. Potting soil is potting mix plus soil

Potting soil comprises little or no soil, peat moss, manure, compost, perlite, barks, vermiculite, coir, pumice and minerals, and organic matter. Organic potting mix is made of soil and plants, animal waste. The best potting soil mix contains organic nutrients, Natural fertilizers, and Loamy sand soil. The best pH for potting soil is 5.8. Potting soil is used for many other purposes like composting and making new garden beds topsoil.

Can you use Garden Soil in Pots?

Using garden soil in pots is generally not recommended. As there are three main problems with using garden soil in pots. 

  • The first one is the texture of the soil. The garden soil has a heavy texture which makes it hard for water drainage problems in potted plants. The change in texture is the first no to garden soil in a pot.
  • The second problem is the bacteria and fungus. Garden soil filled with living organisms gives a big no to pot soil as they are used indoors too. No one will say okay to creepy crawler fungus and pests in their home.
  • The third and final problem is the change of nutrients and soil PH. Though there is not much variation in the pH level, the nutrients and the contents in it are suitable for large and aerated areas rather than in a compacted pot or container.

Do Plants Grow in Pots with Garden Soil?

Yes, plants can grow in garden soil not at least well but as a substitute. If you are out of potting soil you should keep a check on the below-mentioned things before adding your potting mix to garden soil. Below said are the quality right for the potting soil,

  • Proper nutrients

Having the right amount of NPK ratio matters in soil. My recommended ratio is vermiculite, perlite, compost, worm casting, and 3-part peat moss.

  • Aeration in soil

With the check on soil texture, aeration can be found and can be used in a pot.

  • Drainage check

Checking of the soil with drainage is done along with moisture level to see if the soil fits for potting.

What is the Difference Between Garden Soil and Potting Soil?

What is the difference between garden soil and potting soil?

  • Garden soil has soil whereas potting soil has no soil or little.
  • Garden soil is filled with living organisms along with minerals and nutrients, potting soil has no living organisms but all decayed minerals and nutrients.
  • Garden soil can be fine but potting soil is not too fine as garden soil.
  • Garden soil has a light to dark color but potting soil is dark in color.
  • The garden soil is purely topsoil but potting soil is a mix of nutrients. 
  • Garden soil is mostly natural but potting soil is mostly commercially made.
  • Potting soil can be sterile and clean but garden soil is not.

Homemade Potting Soil Recipe 

Home-made potting soil recipe

Homemade potting soil is way better than a cringy commercial mix. The homemade mix is free from regular checking and chemicals. Plants like various natural fertilizers to be on their diet. Here is my failproof potting mix and Potting soil from my grandfather. 

Potting Mix 

  • 1 part peat moss
  • 1 part vermiculite
  • ½ part limestone
  • 50 grams of phosphate fertilizer
  • NPK  ratio of 1:2:1

Mix all and keep it for use.

Potting soil

  • One part of the garden soil 
  • One part each of compost, perlite, peat moss 
  • ¼ part of the limestone 
  • Fertilizer

In this Potting soil mix, you find garden soil. So, a garden can be used in potting soil but with the right mix as mentioned above.

How To Turn Garden soil into potting soil?


The best way to turn garden soil into soil for pots is to break the garden soil with the right potting mix. Let me show you the changes to do the garden soil into potting soil.

  • Aeration- The best solution to improve the aeration problem in the soil is perlite. Perlite is naturally formed from volcanoes giving the natural solution.
  • Moisture retention-Some of the best moisture retention items are peat moss, vermiculite, coconut coir, compost, and worm casting. Finding the best for your soil matter in this case.
  • Fertilizer and nutrients- The blood and bone meal make the best fertilizer for the potting soil. You can also use fertilizers from the commercial store.

Wrapping up the biggest confusion by stating that garden soil or any other soil by itself in a pot will make your plant suffocate and die. But if necessary, using it with a potting mix is acceptable. With the right mix of garden soil and potting mix, you can have your homemade potting soil where your plants thrive.


Can you use garden soil for indoor plants?

No, Indoor plants will be in pots and containers which should be free from diseases. It is better to avoid garden soil for mainly indoor plants.

Can you mix garden soil with the potting mix?

Yes, you can if you are out of potting soil between your gardening work.