Finding the best potting soil for herbs starts with getting to know your plants and their physical properties. Most everyone knows that a plant needs sufficient water and sunlight, but do you know the soil preferences of your herbs and which brand of the best potting soil for herbs meets those predilections? The goal of this guide is to teach you everything you need to know about the uses of soil with herbs and which ones make the top pick.
A personal favorite for planting herbs is the Burpee Natural & Organic Premium Potting Mix, which has coconut coir to help maintain moisture and help reduce the overall plant maintenance.
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What Kind of Soil Herbs Love?
Herbs in containers grow the best-quality harvests. Their roots do not need much room and can be as short as 3 inches. Compared to the 12 inches and deeper roots of other plants, this makes for more room in your planter; but you will still need the best potting soil for herbs to get the best results.
You will find that most herbs grow best with a potting mix. A potting mix is similar to potting soil for gardening, but there is a small difference in its physical properties. Typically, potting mixes have no dirt mixed in with the other ingredients; potting soils are the complete opposite. When we refer to the best potting soil for herbs, this will include mixes and soils. To learn how to adjust your soil pH click here.
Most herbs will need a soil pH of around 6.5, but that level can change with the type of plant.
Cilantro is a good representation of how most herbs prefer their soil. Cilantro needs well-drained soil with its seeds planted 1 to 2 inches apart (with 12 inches in-between rows) and a soil pH between 6.5 and 7.5.
Larger, leafier herbs (like basil) need more water and warmth. You can also expect the pH for these to be on the lower end, at around 5.5 to 6.5. That would make the best soil for basil the Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix, which is the best for most herbs.
11 Best Potting Soil for Herbs
1. Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix is for indoor plant growth. This soil mix for herbs contains coconut coir to help the plant retain water, which means less effort on your part. Something it does not contain is compost and bark so that your herbs do not attract gnats. On the contrary, compost for herbs can help them grow; but gnats and other small bugs are the last thing you want for the plants. This product is the best potting soil for herbs.
This potting soil mix for herbs comes highly recommended by reviewers. The soil keeps away gnats, just like the packaging claims, and it is excellent for re-potting.
2. Miracle-Gro Potting Mix
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix is another viable option for the best potting soil for herbs from Miracle-Gro. Both the 8-quart and 16-quart bags are affordable, so you can use a single bag to start multiple plants. This potting mix works with indoor and outdoor pots and will feed the plants for up to 6 months at a time. It is good soil for herbs because of the uses of soil inside and outside the house – most herbs cannot withstand all seasons of the year and will need to move indoors at some point.
The intended use of Miracle-Gro is to repot indoor plants annually. Many gardeners say that it attracts bugs, so it may be most ideal to use this soil with outdoor herbs in pots or a greenhouse.
3. Espoma Organic Potting Mix
Espoma Organic Potting Mixcomes in one, 4-quart size, but you can purchase a pack of 1, 2, or 3. Only use this mix in potted plants, whether it is indoors or outdoors. The Myco-Tone water saving formula, helps the soil structure retain water longer, which means that you should avoid drowning your plants.
Espoma grows herbs fast because of the organic ingredients. This soil may not be the best option for starting herbs from seeds, but you can buy herb starter plants that have already sprouted and planted them.
4. Burpee Natural & Organic Premium Potting Mix
This Burpee Natural & Organic Premium Potting Mix will feed your herb plants for up to 3 months and maintain a good level of moisture. Plant herbs in containers or a raised garden bed with this soil. In the case of planting in raised beds, you will need two or three bags since each has just 8 quarts of potting soil mix for herbs. Plant with herbs and vegetables.
This soil for gardening is perfect for keeping the soil aerated and preventing bugs. You can successfully grow seedlings or herb starters with satisfying results. There are very few complaints about this soil.
5. Sungro Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil
Sungro Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil is one of the more affordable options for an 8-quart bag of potting soil. Sungro makes this organic potting mix in the United States, which means it is more accommodating for the plants of the region if you live in the US. You can use this mix in hanging baskets, outdoor containers, or indoor planters. It is a rich and loamy soil mix, which is the best soil for rosemary or parsley. Transfer to this soil after seedlings sprout.
Mold and bugs are a problem, but if you think about it, that can be a problem with almost any brand if you do not take care of your plant. To prevent mold from growing, allow the soil to nearly dry in-between watering, or find a way to aerate the soil better.
6. FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix
This light FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil is a seedling formula. You can also use it with cuttings or starter plants. Water the soil normally since it does not have any special components for prolonged moisture. You can buy a sizeable 38.5-quart bag of FoxFarm and use it in raised gardens or for herbs in pots. The bag has more than enough soil for a full herb garden, just make sure to use it in containers. Gloves come with it also, so that is one less purchase to make before getting started.
Some critical reviews say that FoxFarm Ocean Forest is not good for cloned plants. Most people use it for successfully growing cannabis plants, but it is worthwhile to use this soil for planting herbs.
7. Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix
Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix expands up to 3 times when you add water. This expansion is what aerates the soil right before planting by literally changing the soil structure. This bag has 0.33 cubic feet of planting mix, which is around 9 ½ quarts. You should need only one bag to start herbs and have a little leftover. This soil should also last longer than other brands since it expands and holds 50% more water. Use in a raised bed, the ground, or a pot.
Occasional mold problems are likely. It does grow strong, healthy plants, including herb plants, but if you are not extra careful about the water, mold is going to happen. Pay attention to the expansion of the soil to help determine how much water the herb plant needs and test the soil humidity.
8. Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix
Before you think about moving plants outside, start the seedlings in small containers indoors with Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix. The light mix of nutrients helps with root development and getting your plants to sprout sooner rather than later. It comes in an 8-quart bag of potting mix, which is more than enough for starting herbs in small plant containers.
There are mixed reviews on this potting mix, but the biggest complaint is that the soil is not the best potting soil for herbs because it is low-quality. Some Miracle-Gro products are better than others, and every gardener has their methods for planting, so the mixed reviews may not apply to the way it works for your herb garden plants.
9. Miracle-Gro Raised Bed Soil
Miracle-Gro Raised Bed Soil is 100% organic, which means none of those nasty chemical fertilizers. It comes as a 1.5-pound, which will cover 1.5 cubic feet. Use this best potting soil for herbs, flowers, and fruits. You can fill the raised garden bed with this soil and plant more than one type of plant all at once. This could be the best soil for basil and other raised bed herbs like rosemary, parsley, chives, and tarragon, but maybe not for mint.
Even for a 2-foot by 2-foot raised bed, it takes 2-3 bags, at least, which are each pretty expensive. However, the soil does grow nice and healthy plants, so the soil has some value. Complaints of gnat infestations are common upon opening the bag – so check it before dumping out the whole thing and get a refund if there is an infestation.
10. FoxFarm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix
FoxFarm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix comes in a large, 51.4-quart bag, which is equivalent to 2 cubic feet. It comes with one pair of gardening gloves that you can use while spreading the soil. Use this soil mix indoors or outdoors. The soil should help with root efficiency and nutrient absorption, but it should only go in containers and not the ground.
This soil mix has great reviews with very few minor complaints regarding shipping and handling.
11. Organic Harvest Potting Mix Soil
You can buy this Organic Harvest Potting Mix Soil as one bag or two. It saves money to buy the 2-bag bundle, and it makes the most sense to buy that many because each bag has 4 quarts. The soil has all-natural and organic ingredients and works great for vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
The biggest complaint about this soil is a problem with mushrooms growing shortly after planting. It also has lots of sticks and twigs in it, which can be an issue considering that it is not the most ideal for small herb plants. This is not the best soil for herbs.
Potting Herbs in Soil Q&A
Which herbs like acidic soil?
Any potting mix with a soil pH below 7 is going to be considered acidic. Most herb soils are already at 6.5, but some herbs, like garlic, chives, lemongrass, and oregano, enjoy something even more acidic. Typically, the soil pH for herbs should be higher than at least 5.
What herbs like alkaline soil?
The soil pH for herbs depends on the plant. Alkaline soil has a pH higher than 7. Herbs that like this type of soil thrive with less water compared to other herbs. Some herb plants that prefer alkaline soil are lavender, anise, sage, thyme, and horehound.
Which herbs like dry soil?
Even though most herbs produce the best harvest when planted in moist soil, some varieties are drought-tolerant and love dry, virtually moisture-free soil around their roots. Drought-tolerant herbs include silver mound artemisia, bay laurel, Baptista, cat thyme, fennel, and more.
Which herbs like wet soil?
For mint, bee balm herb, marshmallow plant, and meadowsweet, they grow best in wet soil. You should never overwater plants, but with these herbs, some extra moisture is beneficial. It may be a good idea to purchase a soil humidity sensor.
Which Potting Soil for Herbs to Choose
All of these potting soils are fantastic. However, which one is best can greatly depend on how you intend to use it. For example, if you plan to start some seedlings for an herb plant, you may want to use FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix, which is the best potting soil for herbs in their beginning stages of life. You can also continue to use the soil as the herbs continue to grow.
On the other hand, for a set of indoor herb plants that are in containers, use the Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix; it is specifically formulated to keep the soil moist so that the plants can go several days without water. It is the perfect soil for people who are not home often but would still like the pleasure of growing an herb garden.
Every garden is different, and all gardeners have their opinions on what soil is the best soil for herbs and how to treat those plants. One gardener may stick to creating compost for herbs, while another person trusts in special potting mix ingredients. These soils are all wonderful candidates, just make sure to pay attention to specifications – for example, the best soil for rosemary is loamy soil. The overall best potting soil for herbs is, without a doubt, the Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix.