It’s never a bad option to have your favorite herbs on your balcony. You don’t know when you need them. And fresh, vibrant herbs are always preferred.
Since I saw in Masterchef Australia how the competitors picked herbs from the garden, I was hooked. But to achieve that in your home, you need the best potting soil for herbs — not just any soil from the yard. We’ll discuss why that is in the buying guide section. Stick around!
So, what do you do about that potting soil? You can make them yourself or buy a readymade option available online. For beginners, the latter is a better and friendlier option.
In this article, our focus will be on the packaged soil and the options you have. I’ve selected the top 6 products in this category.
What Kind Of Soil Herbs Love?
If you’re planning to grow herbs in containers or pots, you should know that it’s necessary to use potting soil instead of garden soil. And why is that so?
Potting soil is formulated especially for growing plants in pots. That’s why potting soil is different from garden soil.
Herb plants love soil that has a great water absorption ability, can provide them with sufficient nutrition and hydration, maintain pH level adequately, and contain organic ingredients.
And thankfully, it’s possible to get all these things in one potting soil that ensures your herbs get everything that they need.
On the other hand, garden soils contain clay and don’t absorb water effectively like potting soil. That way, your plants will not be able to spread their roots properly because of the mud, or the roots will rot due to excess water.
That’s why you should use potting mix for your herb plants, not garden soil.
6 Best Potting Soil For Herbs
Here are the reviews for the selected 6 potting soil for your container herbs. These are pretty similar with a few differences. Make sure to note them.
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants
The first one on this list is the people’s favorite Miracle-Gro. It has become a go-to option for both amateur and professional gardeners, thanks to the excellent soil composition. If you want to have worry-free gardening, this no-compost potting soil is something to consider.
Talking about the soil, it has a nice composition for good water drainage and holds enough moisture for the roots. You can’t have soil that’s either too dry or too wet. Especially for herbs, you need the soil to be light and fluffy.
To achieve such soil, they used coconut coir. It’s what you get when the coconut’s husk is finely shredded. You can guess from the structure of the husk that it’s quite fluffy. And this helps to make the soil lighter while giving it a good structure. It also helps to drain the excess water and deliver water when the soil is dry.
The soil doesn’t contain any compost or tree bark. As these components are known to welcome gnats and fungus, you should be safe from those.
As a bonus, the soil also contains plant food. You can take this to be a pro if you don’t want to spend time behind feeding the plants for the first few months. But if you don’t like added plant food, this could throw you off.
Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix
Next in line is the Famous Espoma organic potting mix for all kinds of plants including flowers and herbs. If you look at its soil composition, you won’t hesitate to call it the best organic potting soil for herbs. This soil focuses on water retention to keep the plants always hydrated.
Contrary to succulent vegetable plants where you need the soil to be well-drained, here, for herbs, you need soil that doesn’t dry up at all. It can even kill the plant if the soil becomes dry for even a day. Of course, you can’t have the soil to hold too much water.
And this soil balances between the two perfectly. The myco-tone water retention formula of Espoma saves 30% water compared to other soil compositions. You won’t understand how it helps until you use it. And you don’t have to water your herbs as the soil keeps the soil inside and the roots hydrated.
The soil composition will also allow you to use it in both indoor and outdoor conditions. So keeping the herb pots in the balcony for sunlight is now an option for you.
It has earthworm castings as an added fertilizer. These castings are basically earthworm waste in dried form. You might be worried about gnats due to fertilizer, but as of now, it hasn’t been a concern for customers.
For those who don’t like added plant food, this doesn’t have any!
Foxfarm FX14053 Ocean Forest Plant Garden PH Adjusted 12 Quarts Potting Soil
Another great option you can consider is the Ocean Forest Plant Garden package from FoxFarm. The brand doesn’t need any introduction for those who know. It’s a veteran that has kept its place among the newcomers in this sector. For worry-free gardening, this can be regarded as the best organic potting soil for herbs as well.
This is a complete mix compared to the previous options. The soil composition in this pack has a blend of earthworm castings and bat guano. Both of these work as fertilizer as well as enhancers for soil texture and drainage.
If you fear gnats and fungus producing from the fertilizers, the bat guano will take care of that thanks to its natural fungicide properties.
Then you have forest humus and moss to keep the soil light and fluffy. These are well known for their water retention properties. You won’t have to worry about your plants becoming dehydrated.
Add to that the crab and fish meal. Crab meal has chitin and enhances the effect of soil microbes and production. And the fish meal contains both nitrogen and phosphorus essential for plant growth. It will give an early season boost for your plants.
An imbalance in pH level can damage the plant. The good news is that this soil has an adjusted pH level of 6.3-6.8. This is ideal for nutrition intake.
FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix Indoor Outdoor For Garden And Plants
FoxFarm has so many options you can choose from. Here’s another packaged potting mix for your precious herbs. This is more of a starting seed mix rather than an all-purpose potting soil. And it comes with a few free things like Pearson’s protective gloves.
Like all packaged soil, this comes ready to use right from the bag. Use this on your container seedbed and let them thrive in there.
The soil structure is well-aerated and the complete opposite of dense. It’s not soil in its true terms, as the idea was to provide the seedlings a soft soil to grow their roots. And that’s why it won’t be good to use for already grown-up plants.
Apart from being well-drained, it also holds moisture well enough to keep the plant hydrated.
The soil contains many micronutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Calcium in optimum amounts. Add to that a good amount of crustacean meal which promotes soil microbe activity. It keeps the soil alive.
Furthermore, with an adjusted pH level of 6.3-6.8, the nutrient intake will be smooth. As a result, the risk of acidic soil burning up the plant is non-existent.
All in all, it’s a best soil mix to use for Fiddle Leaf Fig tree, indoor and outdoor plants. You can use it on raised beds other than containers.
Black Gold 1302040 8-Quart All Organic Potting Soil
The 5th one on this list is the Black Gold all organic potting soil. With a proven track record and a huge customer base, this brand is as trustworthy as they come. It’s regarded by a large number of people as the best potting mix for herbs and all other plants.
Let’s talk about the soil itself. This soil has a composition that’s suitable for herbs and flower plants and other houseplants. With a rich and loamy texture, it promotes root development and strength.
The soil texture is achieved through using Perlite and Pumice rocks. These rocks ensure that the soil is porous enough for water drainage and root growth.
This is especially good for herbs as these plants can spread their soft roots around the rocks. In this way, plants can absorb nutrients stored in the little cells on the rock surface.
It has an OMRI certification for being an all-organic solution.
What are the organic components? It contains a mix of sphagnum peat moss, composted tree bark, and earthworm waste. All of these combined achieve a well-aerated and well-drained soil.
The bottom line is that it’s a premium product, and it has a premium price. If you have the budget, this is a no-brainer.
Seed Starting Potting Mix, 8-Quart by Miracle-Gro
The last one for our list is the Seed starting potting mix by Miracle-Gro. This is the second product from the company, but it’s different. Potting soil for the beginning stage is important. You can give your seeds a good germinated environment with it.
In terms of soil texture, this one is extremely lightweight and loamy. For seed germination, you need moisture in the soil. It’s a critical factor, but too much moisture can rot the seeds. The good news is that this soil maintains perfect water retention.
As a seed starting mix, it’s made of Peat moss to make the soil light and fluffy. It will help the roots to grow and spread all over. Then you have little perlite mineral rocks as a way to increase aeration in the soil. These volcanic rocks have an airy structure that helps a lot.
Another good thing about perlite rocks is their ability to hold on to nutrients in the little cells on the surface. Your little her roots can feed on them.
Then, they used a wetting agent to keep the soil moisturized.
As a plant food, this soil has nutrients from the Micromax package. It includes the NPK trio along with Boron, Sulfur, Copper, Iron, and Manganese with other elements. You don’t have to feed your plants for the first few months, thanks to this.
Burpee 99939 Organic Premium Potting Mix
When it comes to organic potting soil, this one definitely stands out. Burpee Organic Premium Potting Mix is an excellent option if you want natural ingredients and good growth boosts in your plants – an OMRI-listed mix, after all.
It’s made of all-natural elements that are great for your plant’s health. That includes gravel, coconut coir, vermiculite, and perlite, among other things. There’re no pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides in the mix to be concerned about.
The other great thing about it’s that it retains moisture well. This means your plants will get the nutrients they need and won’t suffer from dry roots.
Plus, you don’t have to water frequently since there’s enough moisture in the soil mix. And the cherry on the top is it’ll keep feeding your plants for more than 3 months.
However, all that being said, this soil does come with some downsides.
First of all, it can be a bit challenging to mix. You’ll need to use a fork or your hands to work the soil into a fine texture. And it takes time for the plants to get used to it – they may not grow as fast as usual at first.
But overall, if you want an organic potting soil that’ll give your plants massive growth, Burpee Organic Premium Potting Mix is definitely worth considering.
What to Consider When Choosing best Potting Soil for herbs
If you have bought potting soil before then, you know how different it is compared to any garden soil. A potting mix basically has no soil in it apart from the sand.
But it’s even more different when it comes to buying potting soil for herbs especially. Herbs need a more moisturized soil with medium aeration whereas fruit and vegetable plants need more aeration.
You’ve seen the top products for herb soil. But how did we select them? There are few things that we’ll cover in this section. Let’s dive into it.
Organic vs non-organic
Whether you want organic soil or non-organic soil, it should be your personal choice.
Organic potting soil only includes natural and nutrition-based ingredients such as worm castings, bone meal, feature meal, etc. It doesn’t contain any fertilizer or chemicals and is pricier than non-organic potting soil.
On the other hand, non-organic plentiful, and affordable choice for you. This type of potting soil mostly includes neutral pH and fewer microorganisms. Now you need to decide which will be more beneficial for you.
To grow herbs successfully, drainage is an essential factor to consider. A good drainage system lets the soil absorb water and airflow adequately so that oxygen and water can reach roots efficiently.
But note that too much drainage will drain the water quickly, and this way, herbs won’t get enough hydration. Again, too little drainage can result in holding the water in the soil for too long, which can rot the plant’s roots, and your herbs will eventually die.
Just like the drainage system, moisture in the soil needs to stay at a good level. Overwatering will make your herbs’ roots soggy, which may end up rotting the roots.
Again if you don’t water your herbs as required, it’ll make the potting soil dry, and as a result, roots won’t grow properly; therefore, your herbs won’t grow healthy. That’s why you should know how often you need to water your herbs.
Nutrients & Moisture Retentions
Potting soils are either come with all organic ingredients or non-organic ingredients. If your concern is mostly about plant food, you should consider choosing organic potting soil. Make sure you buy organic potting soil with the seal of OMRI listed.
And as for moisture retentions, you should choose a potting soil that includes coco coir, peat moss, and compost. These ingredients are best for absorbing water and slowly releasing moisture when needed.
Check the ingredient list in the package to ensure if these ingredients are available in the potting soil you have selected.
Some herbs prefer to grow best in slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH level of 6.0 and 7.0. While some certain herbs only love to grow best in acidic soil. For example, rosemary grows best in soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.0.
That’s why you should research a little about the herb you want to plant in containers to choose the right pH level.
This factor is another important thing to consider while buying potting soil for herbs. Soil ingredients determine how your herbs will grow in the soil. Some must-have ingredients are peat moss, perlite, compost, worm casting, marine meals, microorganisms, etc.
Let’s talk brands. We know that trusting brand value has its demerits, but you can’t forgo their importance. Brand value is determined by customer satisfaction. A brand can’t survive if it’s dishonest in its marketing and products. And there are quite affordable brands out there that don’t ask for a premium price.
A few brands, for example, are Black Gold, FoxFarm, Miracle-Gro, etc. These have held the top spot for the last decade and will do so for some time in the future
Choose the Right Herbal Pot
Continuation of the previous discussion, it’s also important to get the perfect pot size for your herbs. You can’t grow rosemary on a pot that’s good for chives and vice versa. It will hinder plant growth. Even the best potting soil for herbs won’t help you.
There are lots of different options out there on the market. Check the reviews!
Soil Depth Requirements for Herbs
First, what is soil depth? The soil depth is the distance between the top layer of the soil and the tough layer that the roots can’t penetrate. It’s important to determine your plant’s soil depth.
Although for container plants, it’s not as important as growing in the garden, it’s good to know because it helps to determine how much soil you need to buy.
There are different types of herbs in terms of root development. For example, Chives have a shallow root development and need more watering than deeply rooted herbs.
Chive roots are the shortest at 3 inches, whereas Rosemary roots can go up to 12 inches in length. Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, and Summer Savory plants make do with 8 inches roots.
So you can see it’s going to be a lot different depending on your selection of herb plants.
As a general rule, keep the list below in mind for a 1.5 Cubic Foot (40 quarts) bag,
- Depth: 2 inches, one bag will cover 12 sqft
- Depth: 3 inches, one bag will cover 8 sqft
- Depth: 4 inches, one bag will cover 6 sqft
- Depth: 5 inches, one bag will cover 4.8 sqft
Along with soil depth, the area of soil is also important. It’s always a good idea to give wide spacing. But in commercial housing, spaces are limited. Use the spaces wisely by using a grid square. Choosing a good pot can also improve your options.
For example, you can grow lots of herbs in balcony spaces as many herbs don’t only grow well in shallow soil depth but thrive in small spaces. One such example was Pim of Chez Pim website.
She didn’t know how to start gardening on her small balcony. Then she got notice of a tall pot made to grow strawberries. Turns out, herbs thrive in such tall pots.
What Are The Soil Requirements For Herbs?
If you’re looking for soil to plant herbs, you just can’t pick up any potting mix and fill your pot with it. The soil you choose should meet the requirements of herbs soil.
Here’re some key requirements that your selected soil should have for growing healthy herbs:
- Check the pH level. Most herbs prefer soil with pH levels around 6.5 and 7.0 to grow best.
- Don’t choose soil that includes fertilizer. It’s because fertilizer helps the plant’s roots to become more available to absorb nutrients and hydration. So if the soil already includes fertilizer, the herbs will grow faster; as a consequence, it may reduce the flavor of herbs.
- Before choosing soil, know which herb plant you’re going to grow into the soil and how much hydration it requires. Then select soil that meets the requirement of water that your herbs need.
- If your herbs are indoor, then you should go for potting soil that is suitable for indoor plants. The same goes for outdoor plants. Check the behind of the soil package; it should be written whether the soil is good for outdoor plants or indoor plants.
How to Use Potting Soil in Herbs
Before we proceed further, learning how to use potting soil in herbs can save you from a pack of hassles, making everything easy for the rest of the work.
- To use potting soil in your herbs, first, make sure you have the right ingredients. You’ll need a good-quality organic potting mix and some water to moisten it before adding your herbs.
- Once you’ve assembled everything, add the desired amount of herb to the small pot or container you’ve prepared and top off with more soil until it’s level with the top of the herb. Make sure all sides are covered so that there’s no air space.
- Then, fill a water bottle or container half full with fresh potting soil and place it on top of the herb pot. Gently pour enough water into the bottle to come halfway up the sides of the herb pot and let it soak in for at least 12 hours before you plant your herbs in it.
Now that you know how to use potting soil in herbs, you should remember a few things.
- First and foremost, always make sure your ingredients are of high quality.
- Secondly, be mindful of the amount of water you allow the soil to absorb before planting your herb. Too much water can drown your plants, while too little water can cause them to rot.
- And finally, never transplant an herb plant into new potting soil without first re-potting it into a larger container. Doing so can cause the plant to lose moisture and damage its roots.
How To Plant And Grow Herbs In Pots Successfully?
Practically you can grow herbs in a pot as long as you’ve good-quality potting soil and the right container. But you need to take proper care of them to ensure they grow healthy.
Here’s a guide to follow to plant and grow potted herbs successfully:
- Select your herb. Not all herbs are suitable for growing in pots. So you need to choose your herbs carefully if you want to plant them in a pot. For example, basil, thyme, parsley, rosemary, Greek oregano, chives, lemongrass, lemon verbena, etc., are ideal for planting in pots.
- Choose the right container or pot. You should look for a container with proper drainage for planting your herbs. Now, what size pot you need depends on how many herbs you want to plant. Small pots are ideal for planting individual herb plants; on the contrary, larger pots are ideal for instant herbs gardens.
- Next, you need a good-quality potting mix that is blended with natural ingredients to provide your herbs with enough moisture and nutrition. Make sure your potting soil also has ingredients to regulate aeration and drainage systems.
- To successfully grow herbs, you have to ensure that your potted herbs are getting enough light. Place your pot somewhere under the sunlight and leave it there for at least 7 or 8 hours every day.
- You should harvest the container soil frequently with herb snips or pruners. It’ll motivate the fresh growth of your herbs that’ll help you to grow herbs successfully.
- If you want your herbs to grow healthy, you need to maintain a watering routine besides the above steps. Note it down. Some herbs prefer well-drained soil like oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc. While certain herbs such as lemon balm, mint, coriander, etc., love more hydration in soil. So make sure you don’t only rely on the manufacturer’s instructions for watering herbs.
- To encourage healthy growth, you need to feed your herbs a suitable fertilizer besides the nutrition that comes with potting soil. Use a liquid organic fertilizer once every 3-4 weeks for a better outcome.
How To Maintain A Herb Garden?
Maintaining your herb garden is easy. But most of the people don’t know what they should do to maintain their garden. Here’s what you need to remember to maintain your herb garden:
- You should trim your herb plants once a week to promote healthy growth and reduce the chances of growing leggy herbs.
- To accelerate the drainage system, you can add gravel to the soil.
- Water the soil whenever your soil needs moisture.
- Clean the soil top by removing dry leaves and dust.
- Maintain a routine to feed your herb’s edibles fertilizer because too much fertilizer can kill your plants.
- If you’re planting in winter, build a thick layer of coarse mulch over herbs to keep them alive.
Potting Soil for Herbs Q&A
What is the best potting soil for herbs?
The answer to this will depend on what you need for your herbs. In overall terms, the best for herbs is the Espoma organic potting mix. The black Gold all organic potting soil falls in second place due to price.
Can I use potting soil in the herb garden?
You can use any potting soil in your herb garden, but it’s not a good choice. It will lose its specialty, and you won’t see any noticeable improvement over normal garden soil.
When to plant herbs?
Depending on the specific herb, it can either be any time of the year or spring season. Plants like basil, Cilantro, Fennel, and dill grow throughout the year,
On the other hand, plants like Lavender, Sage, Rosemary, Mints, Thyme, Oregano, and Chives are perfect for spring.
Which herbs to plant together?
Pairing different herb plants together is a great idea to conserve space. Depending on the amount of sunlight, shade as well as moisture for a plant, there are two sections.
Cilantro, Basil, Tarragon are plants that love sunlight and no shade. And these also need higher moisture content in the soil. Growing them together will be a breeze as you can water them at the same rate.
On the other hand, you have herbs like sage, thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Marjoram, and Lavender that need drier and sandier soil. So a more well-aerated soil is a must.
Which herbs like acidic soil?
Some herbs, like horehound, garlic chives, marjoram, lemongrass, thyme, oregano, and rosemary, prefer acidic soil with a low pH level of 5.0 and 6.0.
Which herbs like dry soil?
Which herbs like wet soil?
When you plant mint, sweet joe pye, comfrey, bee balm, meadowsweet, etc., herb plants, you should go for damp potting soil since they grow healthy in such soil
Now, that’s all you need to grow a beautiful container herb garden in your home. It can’t be emphasized more than the best potting soil for herbs depends on the specific plants you have chosen to grow.
As you saw, for different plants, you need to provide different soil environments. Don’t forget to choose the right sized pot for your herbs.
You have our recommendations, and those are customer favorites. Take the Black Gold all organic potting soil if you’re torn between options. It’s rarely a bad idea to trust brand value.