Can I Use Miracle-Gro Garden Soil In Pots?

Can I Use Miracle-Gro Garden Soil In Pots?

For setting up a container garden, lots of people want to know, “Can I use Miracle-Gro garden soil in pots?” Miracle-Gro is a popular brand, but they have lots of different soil products. So, which one should you use in pots & containers?

Miracle-Gro’s range of garden soil is solely for in-ground use, as specified on the packaging. The product page explicitly states that it should NOT be used in containers. When used in containers, it will easily become compacted and waterlogged, limiting air space for the roots.

While it may not be a good idea to start a container garden with Miracle Gro’s garden soil, the same company offers an extensive line of products specialized for container-use.

Read on, and you’ll learn all about starting a thriving container garden with Miracle-Gro.

Can I Use Miracle-Gro Garden Soil In Pots?

Can I Use Miracle-Gro Garden Soil In Pots?

When starting a garden, selecting the right products can be quite a complicated task.

With so many different kinds of soils available in stores, it’s easy to get confused.

Different soil varieties are formulated differently depending on how they’re intended to be used.

Garden soil contains minerals and organic matter and is intended for use in the ground.

It’s NOT recommended to use Miracle Gro’s garden soil or any other garden soil in pots.

Garden soil is heavier than typical potting soil and can quickly become compacted and saturated with water, resulting in poor or stunted growth of container plants

Since container plants grow in limited space, they need air space around the roots for healthy development.

Unlike garden soils, potting soil is specifically designed for growing potted plants.

Potting Mix

Besides garden soils, Miracle-Gro also offers a line of potting soils for filling pots and planters.

You can either go for their all-purpose potting mix or choose one of the specialized potting mixes for growing specific container plants, like cactus or succulents.

Miracle Gro’s all-purpose potting mix is specifically designed for use in containers for both outdoor and indoor plants.

Can I Use Miracle Gro Garden Soil In Containers?

Can I Use Miracle Grow Garden Soil In Containers?

It’s normal to be confused as to what kind of soil will work best for your container plants.

What your container garden needs is something that’s lightweight and allows water to drain easily but retains enough moisture for the roots to absorb it.

At the same time, ample air supply must also be available to container plants; otherwise, they won’t survive.

Ideally speaking, no, you should NOT use Miracle-Gro garden soil in containers.

Alternatively, Miracle-Gro’s potting soil is a much better choice for containers since it’s specially designed for ensuring just the right supply of nutrients, water, and air for your container plants. 

According to the Miracle-Gro website, this potting mix is formulated with sphagnum peat, aged bark fines, perlite, coconut coir, and slow-release plant food to keep your plants nourished for around 6 months after planting the seeds.

Miracle Gro's Potting Soil

The ingredients are intended to improve water drainage and aeration for the plants’ roots.

With all the right ingredients, Miracle Gro’s potting soil boosts growth and blooming of container plants by more than double as you would expect with regular soil. 

Since Miracle-Gro’s garden soil isn’t formulated for the same purpose, its composition is different from that of potting mixes.

The density of garden soil is much higher than that of potting soil and will not allow water, air, and nutrient movement around the roots

For this reason, Miracle-Gro’s garden soil isn’t a good choice for growing container plants.

If you’re growing tomatoes, you’ll want to check out our complete article to see what type of soil is best for tomatoes.

Using Miracle Gro Garden Soil In Containers

Using Miracle Grow Garden Soil In Containers

While Miracle Gro’s website clearly mentions that their garden soil is not for use in containers, you might still want to use it if there isn’t another choice.

Many times, you purchase a bag of garden soil and only end up using part of it.

Instead of wasting the leftover, isn’t it possible to grow some beautiful container plants out of it?

Since garden soil is too heavy for ideal drainage and aeration for container plants, you will need to make careful amendments with components that are light and will improve drainage.

Preparation

Prepare a ½ and ½ mix of garden soil and soilless amendments to lighten the soil and make it suitable for filling in pots.

For the half portion that will contain soilless ingredients, perlite, peat, bark fines, and compost are good options.

You can use any combination of these soilless additions, depending on what’s available and what’s cheap.

You can also use equal volumes of Miracle Gro’s garden soil, sphagnum peat moss, and perlite to create your own potting mix.

No matter what combination you pick, add all the ingredients into Miracle Gro’s garden soil and use a trowel to mix it well.

Additionally, add a 2 to 3 inches layer of rocks at the bottom of each pot for drainage before filling it with your customized soil mix.

Now, your container is ready to plant seeds or seedlings.

Read the instructions for the specific plant variety, including plant spacing, seed depth etc, before planting it.

Water deeply right after planting and place the pot at a suitable location depending on the amount of lighting the variety prefers.

Can I Use Miracle-Gro Garden Soil For Indoor Plants?

Can I Use Miracle-Gro Garden Soil For Indoor Plants?

Indoor and outdoor container plants have more or less the same requirements when it comes to soil.

Whether it’s from Miracle-Gro or from another company, the composition of garden soil does not match the requirements for container plants.

Since indoor plants grow in containers, garden soil isn’t a suitable option for these.

Instead, the best soil for your indoor plants is Miracle-Gro Houseplant Potting Mix.

With all the right ingredients for your indoor plants, the potting mix has the capacity to feed your houseplants for up to 6 months.

It’s less prone to pests and works ideally for a wide variety of houseplants, including Spider Plant, Pothos, Monstera Plant, and more.

However, if you don’t want to purchase Miracle Gro’s Houseplant Potting Mix, you may amend their garden soil to serve the purpose, although the company itself advises against it.

Similar to your outdoor container plants, mix together equal parts of garden soil, sphagnum peat moss, and perlite to create your homemade potting mix for indoor plants.

If perlite isn’t available, you can also use vermiculite or coarse sand to serve the same purpose: improving aeration and drainage.  

If you need to lower the pH of your soil, check out our full guide to lowering soil pH.

Miracle-Gro Garden Soil Ingredients

Miracle-Gro Garden Soil Ingredients

Before using Miracle Gro’s garden soil for your in-ground or container gardens, it’s worth knowing what it’s made of.

Learning about the composition of the garden soil will help you decide if it’s good for the specific plants you plan on growing and the kind of fertilization it will require through the growing season.

There are different varieties of garden soils available on the product page.

Depending on which type of garden soil you choose, what you’ll get is a well-balanced mix of coir, sphagnum peat moss, fertilizer, wetting agent, and one or more from the following components: peat, compost, processed forest products.

The mix works well for an extensive range of annuals and perennials you plan on growing and includes slow-release plant food to keep your plants nourished for at least 3 months.

Besides the all-purpose garden soil, you’ll also find specialized garden soil mixes for flowers, trees & shrubs, roses, and vegetables and herbs.

The composition of the soil will vary slightly depending on the requirements of the plants it’s meant for growing.

When using it for your in-ground plantations, you’ll mix in equal quantities of garden soil and your native garden soil before filling the mixture in the planting hole.

Does Miracle-Gro Garden Soil Expire?

Does Miracle-Gro Garden Soil Expire?

If you’re not using the entire bag right away, store Miracle-Gro garden soil in a cool, dry location, well protected from rain and other sources of water.

When exposed to moisture, Miracle-Gro can, in fact, go bad.

Using garden soil that has gone bad or crossed its expiration date may harm your plants.

Miracle-Gro garden soil has a shelf-life beyond which it is not viable for using for your plants.

The shelf-life is typically 3 to 5 years from its manufacturing date.

However, it may become unusable before this time if not stored properly.

Once the garden soil has been used, lock the bag to make it airtight, so the contents are not exposed to air or moisture.

Also, if you’re curious whether plants can grow WITHOUT soil (yes, they can), see our full article on whether plants grow better in water or soil.

Conclusion

Can I Use Miracle-Gro Garden Soil In Pots?

While Miracle-Gro’s garden soil is not recommended for use in pots by the company website and experts, it’s still possible to create homemade potting mix using this garden soil.

All you need to aim for is the right ingredients that will improve the aeration and drainage of the heavy garden soil and make it suitable for growing container plants.

Once you have the right mix, you can use it for your indoor and outdoor container plants and enjoy a flourishing garden.

About the author

Greg Volente

Greg Volente holds a Naturalist Certificate from the Morton Arboretum, worked for The Nature Conservancy leading environmental education programs and doing natural areas restoration, and worked in the soil science research & testing lab at Michigan State University. Besides gardening, he's an avid wildflower enthusiast, and loves botanizing, hiking, and backpacking.

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