Potting Soil Vs Seed Starting Mix: Which Works Better For Starting Seeds?

When gardening indoors, you need to make sure you have the right seeds. Plants that need specific environments to grow or take a while to mature are great examples of seeds that should be started indoors. After choosing the right seeds, an essential part of the process is giving them the best environment possible. You need to have the right space, lighting, and climate conditions. In addition to the external environment, you need to create the right environment inside their containers by making sure they have adequate water, fertilizer, and soil.

Soil mixes are the key to having healthy roots for an indoor plant. They determine how well they start and how well they grow, from germination to flowering. While potting soil and seed starting mix are often used interchangeably, they actually have different purposes and work together to grow the plant. Here are the differences between the two, which works better for starting seeds, and how to use them.

Differences between the two

Potting soil and seed starting mix are necessary for different stages of the planting process. A good starting mix contains ingredients that retain moisture, help with drainage, and act as fillers. Common materials you can find in seed starting mix are perlite, vermiculite, and sphagnum peat moss, which are great to start seeds off with. Starting mix is the best choice for starting seeds because it is usually soilless and fine so that the seeds can grow out properly.

However, seeds will need different food as they grow, which is where potting soil comes in. Potting soil is a blend of soil or dirt, manure, fertilizer, and other materials. While outdoor plants need a combination of garden soil and native soil to thrive, potting soil is designed to be everything that indoor plants need. It is intended to grow seeds after they germinate, which is why it is denser and packed with a lot more nutrients than seed starting mix.

How to use both

With the seed starting mix and potting soil, make sure to go for high-quality products or use the right ingredients if you're creating your own mixes. To start your seeds, you will need some small containers, seed starting mix, and a small watering can. Get the starting mix damp and fill the container, pressing down gently as you go. Then, sow the seeds and water them lightly. Make sure you label them if you're using multiple containers.

After the seeds germinate, put them in a well-lit spot and move them into larger containers when they grow their first leaves. This is when you can use potting soil because the seedlings need those additional nutrients when they are in bigger pots with more room to grow. To do this, put the potting soil in the pot, dampen it, and create a hole in the middle for the seedling.