When it's time to plant, soil may not be the first thing on your mind. But once you dig a little deeper, it's easy to see why it's the key to having strong, thriving plants, and why simply planting in whatever soil you happen to have in the backyard isn't necessarily the best idea.
Good soil, whether you're talking about potting mix (used in containers) or garden soil (used in planting beds), is crucial for strong roots. Just like a plant's leaves need the right growing conditions, roots also need certain things in order to thrive. In an ideal rooting environment, your growing medium needs a good balance of three ingredients:
water + nutrients (plant food) + air
= rich growing environment
This combination allows roots to grow and become strongly anchored between soil particles to support the above-ground parts of the plant. If any of these three ingredients becomes imbalanced, then your plants may face some growing challenges.
Let’s talk about soil texture. The consistency of your soil is a crucial part of gardening success. If it’s compacted, then it’s hard for water and air to reach the roots. If it’s too loose (think sandy soil), then it won’t hold water and your plants could dry out. Miracle-Gro® soils and potting mixes are created with premium ingredients like coir, sphagnum peat moss, and aged compost to ensure your plants have the ideal soil consistency to grow big and beautiful.
Good soil is rich with nutrients so plants have an abundant food supply to support healthy development. Unfortunately, many native soils often lack essential minerals like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which means plants have trouble reaching their full potential. That’s why Miracle-Gro® soils are enriched with continuous release plant food—so your flowers, vegetables, and herbs have the nutrition they need to thrive.
If garden soil is soggy, hard, rocky, or lacking in nutrients, roots won't be happy and plants won't thrive. But it's important to know that poor soil can be changed. By adding the right materials, soil texture and composition can shift from soggy to well-drained, from hard to light and fluffy, from nutrient-free to nutrient-rich.
To improve the soil in garden beds, blend 3 inches of Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil All Purpose into the top 6 inches of existing soil. This all-purpose planting mix improves soil structure, so plants can develop strong, healthy roots. Plus, it’s specially formulated for outdoor, in-ground annuals, flowering perennials, and garden vegetables – including in-ground herbs. Enriched with Miracle-Gro® Plant food, it feeds up to 3 months.
Prefer to grow in containers? You can – with Miracle-Gro® Moisture Control® Potting Mix. This potting mix absorbs 33% more water* and holds onto it, releasing it slowly and steadily only when roots need it. Plus, it contains Miracle-Gro® Plant Food to feed for up to 6 months. In general, also called “potting mix” or “potting soil,” is lighter and fluffier than garden soil, which is just the kind of rooting environment potted plants need. Potting mixes don’t actually contain soil at all; instead, they contain ingredients like sphagnum peat moss, processed forest products, nutrients, and more to help plants flourish.
If your existing soil is too hard or rocky to dig, but you need more room than containers can provide, use raised beds to create an easy-growing garden space. Fill them with Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Garden Soil.
Of course, in addition to planting in good soil, you'll want to start with strong, vigorous young plants. Also, be sure to feed your plants regularly to ensure they get all the nutrition they need. Begin using Miracle-Gro® Shake 'N Feed® All Purpose Plant Food after planting, following the directions on the label. It will feed your plants continuously for up to up to 3 months when mixed in with the soil.
Soil might not look like anything special, but it's the foundation for your garden's success. Take good care of it and your plants will certainly reward you!