Potting Soil Mix for Herbs – How to Prepare

Introduction: Hi pot gardeners today we have very good information of potting soil mix for herbs and ingredients of potting soil mix plus how to prepare it.  The potting soil in which a plant grows must be of good quality. It must be porous for root aeration and drainage but also capable of water and nutrient retention. Most commercially prepared potting mixes are termed artificial which means they contain no soil. High-quality artificial mixes normally contain slow-release fertilizers that take care of a plant’s nutritional requirements for several months.

A step by step guide to preparing potting soil mix for herbs

A good potting mix is fluffy, holds moisture, and gives plant roots the perfect balance of air, moisture, nutrition, and anchorage. If the potting mix is too dense or too wet, plant roots can become stunted or even die. However, most herbs like rosemary, bay leaves, and lavender need really dry soil to thrive. So like the mix for cacti and succulents, the potting mix for herbs is mostly light-weight.

It is advisable to use one of the potting mixes or soilless media in herb container gardening as they are light, disease-free, weed seed-free, and have good drainage. Some potting mixes have pre-mixed plant nutrients but it is important to read the information on the label about how long the pre-mixed nutrients will support plant growth before you start applying fertilizers.

Potting mixes are filled with organic matter that are peat moss, compost and bark chips to provide nutrients and a good pH balance for your plants. Look for mixes with vermiculite or perlite, which can help aerate the soil and retain moisture.

By growing herbs in pots, you can grow tender perennials, such as rosemary and flowering sages year-round. Just bring them indoors in the fall. In addition, container gardening is a good choice for gardeners who have limited space or soil that doesn’t drain well. It is very important to use the best potting soil for herbs in containers to make sure your herbs get exactly what they need to grow healthy and strong.

When you use the best soil for herbs in pots, you can be sure that plants are getting the kind of soil they need for strong roots, sufficient water, and adequate drainage. These are the important characteristics of potting soil.

Make your own potting soil for herbs

Potting soil mix is designed to retain just the right amount of water for the pot while letting the excess drain. On the other hand, garden soil is supposed to be spread out over a large surface area; it retains too much water for a container. That’s not all; garden soils that contain clay can even harder and pull away from the sides of the pot, basically turning into concrete which is obviously not good for your herbs.

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A Guide to Potting Soil Mix Preparation.
A Guide to Potting Soil Mix Preparation.

Standard potting soils is that they don’t contain a lot of organic ingredients. So, it is very important to choose a blend that has a nice mix of organic ingredients to make sure that your herbs are getting everything they need.

Mixing your own potting soil blend is easy, and it means you have complete control of one of the most critical steps in the growing procedure. For herb container gardeners, high-quality potting soil is a must. Making your own potting soil allows you to better cater to the needs of plants. The results are more stable and consistent, you save a ton of money.

Start with good-quality potting soil for herbs, which ensure good drainage. Do not use ordinary garden soil, which does not drain well when used in a pot. As with other plants in containers, herbs need regular watering and fertilization throughout the growing season. Mediterranean natives, for example, rosemary, can tolerate fairly dry soil between watering. Other herbs with broader leaves require more attention to watering.

A good potting mix recipe contains sterile garden soil and compost, peat moss or coconut coir and other additives as required. That is;

  • 1 part coconut coir or peat moss
  • 1 part compost
  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part topsoil

How to choose the best potting soil mix for herbs

The kind of plant you have will help find out the best potting soil for you to get. While there are already a lot of ready to use potting mixes that you can get, the ingredients used in the mixes are crucial to ensure that plants will grow healthy.

When choosing the right potting mix or potting soil that will suit your plants need, the things that you should consider are;

The drainage of potting soil

It is important that the soil mix you use will allow easy drainage as excessive water can drown your plants, and this could easily happen since the plant is only in a container.

Don’t just use any old potting soil

One of the mistakes that you can make when growing herbs in pots are using ordinary garden soil. Garden soil, even if it’s rich with nutrients, is just too heavy for potted herbs. Use two parts of good, sterile potting soil, one part perlite to make the soil “lighter,” and another part compost to provide herbs the nutrient boost they need to grow. Perlite and compost are good potting soil amendments, as they help to retain water and make the soil less compact, allowing air to pass through.

The contents of potting soil mix for herbs

Some plants prefer moist soil such as Ostrich Ferns and Bee Balms. There are plants that can only thrive on dry soil like oregano, thyme, and agave.

You need to verify the ingredients in potting soil for you to know if it has components that could aerate the mix or let it hold more water, depending on what your plant really needs.

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Light exposure

This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re growing herb plants indoors with the use of grow lights. If you don’t have to grow lights and are completely dependent on the sun, then you need to get light-weight mixes. This means that your soil won’t simply run out of water because of less light exposure. However, for herb plants that will mostly stay under lights or heat, then you’ll need a potting mix that can hold water for a long time.

Light Requirements for Growing Herbs.
Light Requirements for Growing Herbs.

Potting mix ingredients

Peat Moss – Peat moss can help hold water in the potting mix as its consistency is thick. It is also a good source of organic matter. You see peat moss in big bags at garden centers and also in home stores. It’s the dry, fibrous material that effects when mosses slowly decompose in bogs. Peat stays loose in the soil mix, thus it never becomes compacted enough to block root growth, and it holds several times its weight in moisture, which it releases to plants’ roots as needed.

Coir – Coir made from the fibrous husks of coconut shells, coir is used to make doormats and hanging basket liners. For use in the potting soil mix, the fibers are washed and heat-treated, then compressed into blocks or bricks that are soaked to break them up. Coir is naturally organic and sterile, and some studies have found that it essentially suppresses the fungi that cause root rot. Like peat, coir holds moisture and nutrients, it stays loose. Its pH level is on the slightly acidic side (about 5.8 to 6.8), but less so than peat (which is about 3.8 to 4.8). Coir is normally more expensive than peat.

Pine bark – The purpose it has is to allow air circulation in your potting soil mix.

Vermiculite – It’s spongey in texture, and so it helps aerate the potting mix. Vermiculite can be found in potting soil or purchased by itself in four different sizes for vegetable gardening with vermiculite. Germinate plant seeds using the smallest size of vermiculite as a growing medium and the largest size for improved soil aeration.

Manure – There are two types of manure that can be included in a potting mix. The first is animal manure and the other is a compost.

Sand – It helps the potting soil mix to retain unneeded water to avoid damaging your plant’s roots.

Perlite – Perlite is a mined and volcanic rock. When it’s heated, it expands, making perlite particles look small, white balls of Styrofoam. Perlite is a lightweight, sterile addition to bag and homemade potting soil mixes. It holds 3 to 4 times its weight in water, increases pore space, and improves drainage. With a neutral pH, perlite is simple to find at nurseries and garden centers. One popular brand of perlite is Espoma perlite.

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Composted bark – Homemade compost can be a valuable component of soil mix, however, it can contain weed seeds or, even worse, unwelcome fungi that could harm your crops. Composted bark, on the other hand, contains one ingredient decomposed outer layer of pine or other trees. When broken up into minute pieces, it helps keep air spaces in your soil mix and provides nutrients as it continues to decompose.

Worm castings – If you buy a bag of indoor garden soil mix, you can see that it contains blue or green beads or pellets. They are synthetic fertilizers that have not been formulated for indoor crops and they are potentially damaging to plants and the environment. A better choice if you want a small dose of nutrients in your soil mix is worm castings, the polite term for the soil-dwellers’ excrement. It is rich in nitrogen, a necessary nutrient, which is released slowly as plants need it.

Best potting soil mix for herbs

Although all potting soil products will help your herbs grow strong, the best potting soil is Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil. It’s ready to use right out of the bag and the pH level is already adjusted for proper fertilizer uptake.

Because it contains a mix of earthworm casting, bat guano, and crab and fish meal, it contains necessary micronutrients your herbs require to thrive.

Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil

Fox farm’s soil made for containers that contain forest humus, sandy loam, peat moss, and natural fertilizers including bat guano, worm castings, ocean fish, and crab meat. The product has a pH level of 6.3-6.8 to allow the fertilizer to work as efficiently as possible.

The fertilizers in this bag are meant to last over a month, so even as the soil breaks down, no additives are required. This makes this soil an excellent choice for beginners or someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to garden. Another main reason it’s perfect for potted herbs is the texture. It’s a blend of forest humus, sandy loam, and sphagnum peat moss which keeps it light and airy to let the excess water drain through and create a solid root system. 

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Fox Farm FX14053 Ocean Forest Organic Potting Soil

This potting soil form Fox Farm is another great option that’s loaded with the organic ingredients that plain potting soil mix is missing. It mainly includes earthworm castings that remove toxins from the soil and peat moss to help deliver nutrients and minerals.

A blend of sandy loam, sphagnum peat moss, and composted forest humus keep it light and airy so that excess water can simply drain through, and roots can grow strong to provide better support. Since this soil is ready to go right out of the bag, you don’t have to worry about adding any nitrogen fertilizers at first. The pH level is optimal for fertilizer absorption and really helps your plants grow and thrive.

Miracle-Gro Potting Soil Mix for herbs

This gold standard in the potting world is so popular that its affordable price and a great choice for growing plants big and beautiful. This type of potting soil is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. This product uses peat moss, perlite, fertilizer, and a wetting agent to make a suitable potting soil for plants. The specific ingredients can vary depending on where the bag was made. This potting soil is guaranteed to contain at least .21% nitrogen, .11% phosphate, and .16% potash for fertilizing needs.

Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Soil

This organic potting soil uses worm castings, perlite, pumice, and organic fertilizers to care for your herb plants. All ingredients are certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute or OMRI. The soil has a pH level that is right down the middle around 8.5. Additional products can be added to customize the pH level as needed.

Black Gold soil mix is an all-purpose, organic potting soil that’s perfect for potted herbs. It features a rich, loamy mix that includes perlite and pumice to make a light, airy texture that creates pores and airspace for proper root growth and water drainage.

As for ingredients, the soil mix varies regionally but contains a blend of about 50% Canadian Sphagnum peat moss, perlite, worm castings, and different composted materials like peanut hulls, rice hulls, pumice, cinders, or forest products.

Espoma Organic Potting Soil 

This potting soil mix is a blend of peat moss, peat humus, Espoma’s Myco-tone, worm castings, and perlite. This organic potting soil mix from Espoma is great for indoor or outdoor potted herb gardens. It features a rich blend of sphagnum peat moss, humus, perlite, and Myco-Tone to help maintain good water retention.

It’s fortified with plenty of organic ingredients that help give your herbs everything they need to thrive including earthworm castings, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, and shrimp meal.

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