Best Potting Soil For Herbs Indoors or Outdoors

Whether you cook with them, use them as ornamental decorations in your yard, to keep insects away, or for a plethora of other things, growing herbs is relatively easy and immensely rewarding. Herbs can be grown inside or outside in containers or plant beds. No matter how you do it, one thing is certain: growing herbs adds a little “spice” to life. Before you start, there are several important things to consider, including using the best potting soil for herbs, what kind you will grow, and the amount of sunlight and nutrients they will need.

best potting soil for herbs
best potting soil for herbs

Herbs 101

Herbs are plants that can be grown year-round, regardless of where you live. They can be grown indoors or outdoors, so while climate may factor into how you grow them, it definitely shouldn’t stop you from doing so.

Always read the back of the seed packet to determine how much light different type of herbs will need, how to plant them, and what type of soil is the best choice so they can grow bountiful for a long time.

Best Herbs For Herb Harden

There are so many types of herbs; your biggest challenge may be deciding which to grow. However, the best herbs to grow will be the ones that do well with the space, sunlight, and soil you have to work with.

Many herbs can easily be grow from seed, others will require a far longer growing season. In areas with short growing seasons, you may wish to purchase plants that have already been “started.” These can be purchased at nurseries or lawn and garden centers. Alternatively, you can start herbs indoors from seeds when it is still cold out, then transplant them outside once it warms up. Of course, you may choose to keep them indoors year-round.

Where To Plant Herbs

Pots, planters, and other containers work well for planting herbs in small spaces, particularly if you’re going to keep them indoors. They can be outside in the summer, then brought indoors in the fall.

Outdoors, herbs can be used as border plants, interspersed throughout your garden, or used as ornamental decorations for your landscaping.

Sunlight For Growing Herbs

Most herbs need a minimum of 6 hours of sun per day, but there are varieties, such as mint, chives, parsley, cilantro, and tarragon, that don’t require as much.

Herb Water And Fertilizer

Herbs must be watered and fertilized throughout their growth cycle. Some need more water than others, so be sure to study up the particular plants you’re growing for the best results. You want to provide your herbs with just enough water. Too much water can over saturate your soil. Adding excess water while growing herbs can lead to poor herb growth or even your herb plants can die.

Soil Basics

Typical garden soil will likely work fine for outside herbs, but it will help to amend it with compost, perlite, or a variety of other additives. Woody herbs such as lavender and rosemary are Mediterranean plants and will do better in gritty, well-drained soil.

Growing herbs in pots or other containers require a slightly different approach. A good quality potting mix for herbs is necessary to allow for good drainage. Ordinary garden soil will not work in containers because it doesn’t drain as well. Herbs that do well in pots include mint, cilantro, sage, basil, rosemary, thyme, chives, parsley, dill, lemon balm, oregano, and sorrel.

Regardless of which route you take, make sure to keep the soil damp for most herbs.

Soil For Herbs

The best soil mix for herbs is going to depend on several factors, including whether you’re planting in pots or planters or outside in garden beds. Factors will include drainage, how well it retains moisture, and nutrient values. Herbs are great for windowsills and small spaces. This is an easy way to get going with your herb-growing endeavors so we’ll start with talking about potting soil mixes.

Best Soil For Growing Herbs

Potting Soil

The best soil for growing herbs depends on a few different factors, including how you’ll use it and what herbs you’ll produce. First, we’ll start with a reminder that a good potting mix doesn’t actually contain any real soil. They come in bags and contain various organic ingredients or ingredients for drainage, water retention, and fertilization.

A glance at the ingredients will help you determine their best uses. For example, peat moss retains moisture well and adds nutrients to non-organic soil. Other ingredients you may find in a good potting soil mix include:

  • Perlite
  • Compost
  • Composted Bark
  • Earthworm Castings
  • Pumice
  • Cinders
  • Sandy Loam
  • Forest Humus
  • Crab Meal
  • Bat Guano
  • Coconut Coir
  • Lime
  • Fertilizer

Purchase organic or non-organic potting mix at nurseries, lawn and garden centers, home improvement stores, and big-box stores. The organic does not contain chemicals or pesticides.

There are many high-quality potting mixes on the market. Below are some of the best potting soil for herbs, depending on your needs.

Best Soil For Herb Garden

This one is a tie. There are a few really good all-around organic potting mixes out there, so I’m going to give you two that consistently get good reviews.

Black Gold-Purpose Natural and Organic Potting Soil Fertilizer Mix gets high marks as an all-around potting mix for indoors and outdoors.

This multi-purpose organic mix can be used in pots, planters, and other containers for herbs, house plants, perennials, and annuals. It is also certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute, making it an excellent option for growing organic plants.

It contains several natural ingredients, including peat moss, compost, earthworm castings, perlite, pumice, cinder, and fertilizer. The peat moss, perlite, and pumice are for drainage and airflow, while the earthworm castings and organic fertilizer provide nutrients.

It comes in various bag sizes so you can get only the amount you need. Some reviews say it can develop spores when wet, but this mix’s overall quality and purpose seem to override that minor negative.

Best Organic Potting Soil For Herbs

Another soil that makes our list of the best organic potting soil for herbs is Espoma AP2 Organic Potting Mix. This organic mixture contains no synthetic chemicals or plant foods and is great for indoor plants or outdoor plants.

Peat moss and perlite make for good drainage and aeration, limestone helps with acidity, and it contains a proprietary fungi formula that helps herbs increase their nutrient uptake. It also includes a yucca extract that helps facilitate water movement through the moist soil to the plant roots.

Best Soil For Indoor Herbs

Dirtco. Indoor Herb Soil wins in this department. It is 100% natural, organic, and is specially formulated for growing herbs indoors in small pots and containers. The 4-quart bag size is enough for filling several small pots, herb containers for container gardening, indoor growing kits, and indoor growing towers.

The peat and perlite are great for drainage through the drainage holes, the lime helps raise the pH, and worm castings add nutrients. This combination encourages strong root development.

Best Soil For Herbs Outdoors

Miracle-Gro Garden Soil All Purpose is an excellent option for mixing into your garden soil. The ingredients include peat moss, processed forest products (such as bark and other wood), coir, and fertilizer. The wood products help with drainage but also add some bulk. While this isn’t as good for putting in pots, it’s a great additive to in-ground soil.

It is an all-around formula, so it not only works well for herbs but other annuals and perennials as well. It is formulated with fertilizer to aid in strong roots and strong plant growth.

Additionally, it comes in bags large enough to cover 1 or 2 cubic feet (45 and 90 pounds, respectively). The best part about ordering this from Amazon is there is free delivery, so you don’t have to schlep those large bags around the store, then unload them at home. However, your delivery driver may not be happy with you!

Another great soil by Miracle-Gro is their Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix.

Best Fiber Soil

This option is slightly different than the rest of the discussed options but is definitely worth noting.

Window Garden Expanding Organic Fiber Soil comes in dry disk pods made of coconut fibers. The kit also includes a hydrating bag. This compact design is excellent for storage in small places, allowing you to avoid storing bulky, dirty, leftover bags of soil.

It’s easy for new gardeners to use. You put the disk in the bag, water it, and it expands into a fluffy growth medium for planting your herbs.

The fibers allow for plenty of space in the “soil,” resulting in better oxygenation that helps prevent root rot from overwatering.

It’s far less messy than traditional mixes and takes a lot of the guesswork out of planting herbs. You hydrate the disk and transfer the moistened fibers to a pot or grow herbs right in the bag. One pod equals 2 quarts of soil.

It’s mess-free, follows a simple process, and roots don’t end up growing in a spiral at the bottom of a pot. It does dry out easier, so you have to be more diligent in keeping it moist.

Garden Soil

Now we’ll get into garden soil. If you are going to plant outside in-ground, there are several things to consider when looking for best potting soil for herbs.

Soil pH Levels

Pay attention to pH levels. While many herbs do just fine in slightly acid soil, neutral to alkaline is better (6.0-7.5). Add lime to raise the pH and elemental sulfur to lower it. The wrong pH level can yellow leaves, stunt growth, or kill your plant. Testing your soil to determine its pH is a relatively simple process. You can buy test kits at your nearest home improvement store or online. The Sonkir Soil pH Meter receives top ratings among Soil pH Meters.

If you are going to amend your outdoor garden soil, you can add compost, peat moss, or aged animal manure to the soil to aid in drainage and provide nutrients for your custom blend of the best potting soil for herbs.

Mix perlite and vermiculite with garden soil to make it lighter and fluffier. This homemade mixture may even be enough for use in pots to promote drainage and airflow, but make sure you get the mixture right, or your soil may still end up too compacted. Peat moss, coco peat, and coarse sand are suitable for creating drier, well-drained soils.

Compost For Herbs

You’ll use compost for herbs when you mix it with garden soil. Compost is a great way to create a healthier ecosystem in your soil. Millions of tiny microbes work to break down organic material. When added to soil, these good microbes increase the soil diversity. This creates a healthier balance and keeping harmful microbes in check.

Compost and Humus One Of The Best Fertilizer For Herbs

Compost breaks down into humus. Humus is dark and nutrient-rich and is found in fertile soils. As one of the best fertilizer for herbs, it has a high amount of nitrogen and phosphorus, which plants love and need to thrive.

Compost and humus help soil hold water. It is often added to sandy soils to aid in water retention and added to clay soil to increase breathability. You can add varying amounts to your current garden soil, depending on your needs. Compost can be made at home or buy it from lawn and garden stores or nurseries.

Final Thoughts – Best Herbs Potting Soil

As you can see, growing herbs is quite simple once you understand a few of the basics. Using fresh herbs for cooking is a way to take your culinary experience to a whole new level. Adding herbs to your garden or landscaping creates a beautiful visual experience, and some even serve as natural insect repellents. No matter your reason for planting them, they can be grown using various methods.

The best potting soil for herbs depends on if you plan to grow them indoors or outdoors. Also, will you be growing herbs in pots or the ground. Remember, different ingredients are included in soil mixtures for various purposes. Armed with that information, you can check the ingredients list on the bag. Ensuring the soil will be sure to suit your needs.

Additionally, whether planting indoors or outdoors, make sure your herbs get enough sun each day. Also, ensure they have plenty of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The best organic potting soils listed in this article are formulated with additional fertilizer. It doesn’t hurt to research adding fertilizer after a few months for best results.

There is something so satisfying about watching and waiting diligently for the seeds to sprout, then monitoring your container herbs daily to see all the new growth. Finally, when you get to use the first herbs in a freshly prepared meal, all the work will be worth it.

Now that you’ve got the best information for growing herbs, there is no reason you can’t have them fresh, year-round, and in any climate!