Potting Soil Versus Topsoil: What’s the Difference?

why use potting soilFirst, let’s talk about why we use potting soil or topsoil to begin with. Using these popular garden soils will help your plants grow and thrive. In fact, soil stores about 0.01% of the Earth’s total water supply within its pores. However, there are some important distinctions to make when it comes to various types of garden soil. Potting soil and topsoil are actually very different, mixing them up is a great way to harm your plants before they even have a chance to bloom. To better understand the uses of potting soil and topsoil, here’s a brief breakdown of these two different types of soil.

Topsoil does not usually contain soil products. Environmental engineer Cornwell notes that the materials found in topsoil usually include fine, tiny pieces of bark left over from mulch production, lime, or wood ash to increase pH levels, and sometimes fertilizers. Potting soils, on the other hand, contain fine barks to adjust pH and fertilizers, but they also include a wide variety of other soil ingredients like peat moss, perlite, sand, clay, and compost.

Why Use Potting Soil or Topsoil?
The biggest difference between topsoil and potting soil is where and how you use them. Topsoil is typically used for spreading over a large outdoor area, while potting soil is used in pots or other indoor and outdoor containers. While topsoils meld with the existing soil as it is poured over the ground, potting soil must provide a complete growing environment for the plant that it growing in it. Topsoils typically do not drain well enough and aren’t sufficiently aerated to be used in a container. On the same note, don’t try putting potting soil in your regular garden beds because it will likely dry out too quickly.

In short, topsoil is much more “natural” in that it is not typically premixed, while potting soil is precisely mixed with strict formulas and recipes. Topsoil is used to spread on the ground, while potting soil is used in containers. So, why use potting soil? Plants breathe better through their roots, so they’ll thrive in potting soil as long as they are properly watered.

Some potting soils even have moisture crystals and bits of polymer that help keep the plants from drying out too quickly.

Looking for quality potting soil in Tampa? For all of your garden soil needs, whether it’s topsoil or potting soil, give us a call today. We will be able to answer all your questions and help you make the right choice.