QUESTION: Can I use garden soil for indoor plants? They have a bunch of bags of it on sale at my local Home Depot, so I could buy a lot of it for cheap and get all my plants repotted. – Willa N
ANSWER: No, it definitely not recommended to use garden soil for indoor plants. The reason being is when you grow plants indoors, they’ll be container grown.
This changes things considerably. When growing in a container, you have more control over the growing environment, but your plants also have less to work with.
They receive less soil and less space. Therefore, what they do have to grow in needs to be of the best quality to ensure their success.
When growing plants indoors, it’s best to go with nutrient-dense soil that’s aerated and drains well. This type of soil retains water better but allows excess moisture to drain away quickly.
This may not sound very important, but if you have soil that stays waterlogged, your plants will die. If you have soil that dries too quickly, you’ll either water constantly or your plants will suffer from lack of moisture.
You may also consider planting in a potting mix instead of a soil as this is a soilless concoction. It supplies the plants with necessary nutrients and a well-draining growing medium without the danger of soil-borne disease.
If you prefer to grow in a potting soil, some people like to use compost to amend it. Compost is rich in nutrients and helps soil retain moisture as well.
Another option is making your own potting soil. Most recipes involve compost, peat moss, sand, perlite, or vermiculite. There are many recipes available around the web. Practice making your own soil until you find one you like.
Perhaps the biggest reason you shouldn’t use garden soil for indoor plants is how heavy the soil is in comparison to the options referenced above.
Heavy soils become compacted easily. This makes it hard for the plants to develop strong roots and many times the plants will die because they get smothered by the compacted soil.
In summary, you shouldn’t grow indoor plants in garden soil. This type of soil is heavy, won’t drain as efficiently, and may not be as nutrient-dense as your indoor plants need.
These factors could severely impact the overall health of your indoor plants. Instead, select a soil variety that’s aerated and has plenty of nutrients that will retain necessary moisture but is still well-draining.
These characteristics should help keep your potted plants happy and thriving.