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Potting Soil Put to the Test

Our expert trials five brands to determine which medium is best for your plant

Fine Gardening - Issue 157

In their natural environment, plants get everything they need to stay healthy from the soil: water, nutrients, and air. Most well-established plants living in soil rarely need more than an occasional watering, even if there hasn’t been any rain. Fertilizer, likewise, usually isn’t required more than once a year—at most.

Plants growing in containers are different. Their roots can’t grow outward toward water or nutrients. They are, instead, limited to the area within the container, so the medium that the container is filled with had better be capable of holding plenty of water—and nutrients—while still letting air in. But knowing how important potting media is doesn’t make choosing it any easier.

I decided to put some different potting soils to the test to see if some might be better than others. I went to a local garden center and purchased five types of…

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