Can You Use Potting Soil to Start Seeds? + [What You Can Use Instead]
Naturally, a seed can grow anywhere it falls, provided the environment is suitable. Once it touches the ground, it effortlessly produces sprouts. However, if they fall on a medium that is not fertile or conducive, they might not germinate.
There are different growing mediums you can start your seeds on, but can you use potting soil to start seeds?
Yes, you can use potting soil to start seeds. However, this medium is not your best option because it does not provide an optimal environment to help your seeds germinate and survive. Potting soil is too coarse and heavy for germinating seeds.
So, if potting soil is not the best option to start seeds, what is the best alternative to potting soil?
The best medium you can use to start seeds is a seed starter mix.
Read on as we discuss the difference between seed starter mix and potting soil as well as the best seed starter mixes on the market.
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- Best Soilless Growing Medium
Seed Starter Mix vs. Potting Soil – What is the Difference?
Seed starting mix is finer and lighter, while potting soil is coarser and heavier.
The finer texture of starter seed mix creates a soft environment for the plants to grow, especially the roots, unlike potting soil, which has a coarse texture.
It is made not to weigh down your seedlings as they thrive.
Potting soil is heavier because it consists of more materials, including fertilizers and maybe some sand (not always). Soilless potting soil is also called potting mix.
(You may also want to read this article to learn the difference between garden soil and potting soil)
Seeding starter mix does not contain added nutrients, so it cannot sustain the seedlings beyond a certain stage. Potting soil on the other hand contains added nutrients.
The texture of potting soil, coupled with the added nutrients makes potting soil the best choice for growing potted plants as well as plants that have been transplanted and grown into containers.
Seed starters on the other hand are specifically made for seed germination into seedlings, which doesn’t require large amounts of nutrients.
Is Seed Starter Mix Necessary?
A seed starter mix may not be a must, but it is necessary because it creates an excellent environment for your seeds to start well at the sensitive stage and germinate successfully.
The main benefit of seed starters comes during cold climates because that’s when your seeds are at the risk of damping, which is disastrous and can ruin your gardening season.
Therefore, even though a seed starter mix is not a must, you should consider it because it provides the right environment for your seeds to germinate and thrive.
The Best Seed Starter Mixes
Now that seed starting mix is essential, let’s take a look at some of the best seed starting mixes you can choose from.
#1. Espoma Seed Starter Potting Mix
Espoma is one of the best seed starters because it is natural and rich in organic matter. Its components create an ideal environment for your seeds to germinate.
The mix enhances root growth and is formulated for both seedlings and cutting development.
Some of the components include perlite, peat humus, peat moss, and an enhancement of Myco-tone, which plays a significant role in aiding with root growth and the seedling’s ability to absorb water and nutrients.
Espoma SS16 16-Quart Organic Seed Starter Premium Potting Mix
#2. Sun Gro Seedling Mix
The Sun Grow is a starter mix made to take care of your seeds during their most sensitive stage. Sun Gro is well refined and has organic matter, which creates a perfect condition for root growth.
Also, this mix is fine and has low salt content, and therefore it won’t burn your seedlings.
Sun Gro enhances air and water flow and contains components of silicone, which makes the stems strong.
#3. Hoffman 30118 Seed Starter Soil
Hoffman should be on your list if you want a seed starter that you can rely on.
This mix has six components that are blended in equal measures. It is lightweight, fertile, and loose to help the roots penetrate with ease.
You can also use this mix for root cuttings or transplanting, and it’s easy to use.
Hoffman 30118 Seed Starter Soil, 18 Quarts
#4. GrowLED Compatible Seed Starter Pods
The GroLED is a ready-to-use seed starter pod with nutrients that will last for two or three months. It is manufactured with safe ingredients and won’t harm your plants.
Additionally, this medium is porous and allows air to flow well, thus the thriving of your seedling is guaranteed.
GrowLED is easy to use and remains stable, and you won’t experience the plugs falling off. This seed starter also has a stable PH level, making it ideal for propagation.
It also holds moisture for a long time and has everything that your seeds need to germinate well.
GrowLED Compatible Seed Starter Pods (10 Pack)
Can I Use Potting Soil to Start Seeds? Conclusion
Even though seed starter mix is not a must, using it increases the chances of your seeds germination and surviving. We have also recommended some brands if you choose to purchase the seed starter mix. The seed starters recommended here are the best on the market as they contain the right nutrients for the initial germination stage and are well aerated for easy absorption of water and nutrients.