Can You Use Potting Soil In The Ground? [Essential Pros & Cons]

can yo use potting soil in the ground

Soil is just soil, right?


Well, there isn’t a massive difference between all the soil options you have, but there is some difference. Today though, we’re focusing on potting soil.

Let’s answer the question, can you use potting soil in the ground? Yes, you can use potting soil in the ground. However, due to how much you’d need, it’s a very expensive way to get soil in your garden.

We’ll go through reasons you should, or shouldn’t use potting soil in the ground and answer some of the more popular questions around the subject.

Potting Soil: The Basics

Potting soil is great, it’s a mixture of soil, compost, rotted wood, peat moss, sand in some cases and either vermiculite or perlite, a nice group of organic materials that allow your plants to grow as healthily as possible.

Being all organic materials, they’re perfectly acceptable to use in your garden, and in the ground.

The soil and peat moss are the base, they hold moisture. The compost, rotted wood, fertilized and sand are there to pack the potting soil full of lovely nutrients. The vermiculite or perlite are essential for both drainage and loosening up the structure of the soil.

Should You Use Potting Soil In The Ground?

Now, should you be using potting soil in the ground? Not really.

Potting soil is far too good quality of a soil to be using in the ground.

If you’ve got some small areas to fill, and the budget to go along with it, then by all means feel free to pack the ground full of potting soil, it’ll do a great job.

However, any sizeable area you shouldn’t be using it. You’ll be surprised just how much potting soul you’d need to fill up a garden bed, so I’d always advise you to use potting soil for small plant pots, smaller containers and smaller raised beds.

Potting Mix vs Garden Soil: What’s The Difference?

I know, potting soil (mix) sounds like a great option, but what’s the difference between that and regular garden soil?

Garden soil is a basic, cheaper soil, very similar to topsoil. It’s a lower quality soil that can lack in the number of nutrients potting soil has.

Garden soil is a notch above topsoil, the main difference between the two being that garden soil has more unwanted debris removed from it, topsoil is literally soil taken from the top of a surface, usually from building sites, as you can imagine, it isn’t the best soil you can get your hands on, hence the price.

What Soil Should You Use In The Ground

When it comes to which soil you should be using in the ground, that’ll be regular old garden soil, or topsoil if you’re looking to keep costs at a minimum.

If you’re going to use topsoil, make sure you allow for some additional time to remove debris and other unwanted materials from the dirt, depending on the size of the job, be prepared for a lot of raking or a lot of soil sieving.

Our recommendation: Garden soil, with added fertilizer or compost.

For larger areas, garden soil is the way to go, and we’d either recommend purchasing garden soil with fertilizer and nutrients included, or you can always get your hands on some cheap fertilizer and mix that with the garden soil, creating an acceptable level of soil quality for your yard.

What Should You Do With Old Potting Soil?

By now, you should have a great understanding of the difference between soils.

Once potting soil has served its purpose, what do you do with it? Now you can use that potting soil in the ground!

As we explained earlier, it’s packed full of good things for our garden, feel free to rake it into the first couple of inches of your soil, or top dress your garden beds, raised or in the ground, with the old potting soil.

Even though it’s old potting soil, it’ll still be better, or at worst equal to garden/topsoil – so don’t let it go to waste, make use of it somehow, it’s difficult to go wrong.

DON’T MISS: Does potting soil go bad!? Find out here.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can potting mix be used as topsoil?

Yes, potting mix can be used as a topsoil. However, that would make for an expensive topsoil and we wouldn’t recommend it, there are much cheaper options.

Do you need to add fertilizer to potting soil?

You do not need to add fertilizer to potting soil. One of the important benefits of potting soil is the fact it comes with fertilizer and other nutrients ready mixed inside. After a few months, we’d recommend topping up with fertilizer, once the initial support for plant growth has worn off.

Can you use potting soil for grass?

Yes, you can use potting soil for grass, we wouldn’t recommend it though. Either garden soil or topsoil would be better for grass, just be sure to add fertilizer to give your grass the nutrients it needs to grow a strong root system.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the in’s and out’s of potting soil.

Using potting soil in the ground is perfectly acceptable, however it would be wise not to use it in the ground, it’s not a great use of your gardening budget.

Garden soil or topsoil with additional fertilizer is the recommended option for soil in the ground.

If you’re set on use potting soil in the ground due to the quality of soil, you can use cheaper soil at the bottom of whatever you’re filling with soil, and then add potting soil to the top, creating a hybrid soil mixture full of nutrients.

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