Picking a Perfect Potting Soil

It can be overwhelming with all the different potting soil options available on the market:

Want moisture control? Well then you HAVE to buy this one. Starting seeds? Well you can ONLY use this kind. Growing vegetables? Then you NEED this recipe.

If you take a more holistic approach and break it down, then it's simple to make an informed decision. Ultimately there are three major factors to consider: chemical, physical and biological.



One way to evaluate a potting soil is based on if the manufacturer recommends applying fertilizer once a month? Be leery of soil mixes that require the ongoing addition of man-made fertilizers. This suggests that the soil itself does not contain the nutrients your plants need to grow, leaving you and your plants depends on man-made inputs. 

Take a look at the ingredients list: if the main ingredient is peat, that product contributed towards the destruction of sensitive peat bog ecosystems. Coconut coir is considered a good substitute for peat however keep in mind it will have traveled a long way from tropical countries to arrive in Canada. Compost is your best bet as a main ingredient - ideally compost sourced locally.

Two women and a man sit on a bench holding bags of potting soil with a poodle next to them.


Potting soil should be light and fluffy, with good porosity for adequate air flow and the ability to hold moisture. This is important because in planters soil can easily become compacted, which will stunt root growth if there isn’t sufficient air flow. Potted planters also lose moisture more quickly than in ground gardens, therefore ensuring you have a potting soil that can hold a lot of moisture is important.

Potting soil being scooped from a bag into a pot with a flower next to a pair of gardening gloves.


Both chemical and physical components are beneficially influenced by the presence of healthy soil biology. Many potting soils on the market use keywords like organic but forgo any mention of active microbes. This is because most potting soils are sterilized to kill any weeds seeds but in doing so kills all microbes, helpful or harmful.  Plants require a natural relationship between soil microbes to ensure that they receive the nutrients that they need. With potting soil you want to replicate Mother Nature’s natural ecosystem, so look for a potting soil that contains living biology ingredients such as Worm Manure, cricket frass, or bat guano. 

Together these three steps will ensure that you find the right potting soil for your needs. Or save yourself the time and hassle by choosing Jocelyn’s Soil Booster Raw & Regenerative Potting Soil.