Hosta Plant

best soil for potting and outdoor planting

Anonymous added on August 27, 2015 | Answered

Seems when I pot my plants and flowers the soil gets so hard. What is the best product to use? Also, when we moved here, we had beautiful hostas. Some were in shade most of the time and others got more sun, but they were beautiful and had the flower in late summer. Almost all of them are gone now. What could of happened and what can I do to prevent this from happening again if I replant?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on August 29, 2015

Many people try to use topsoil for potted plants but this isn't a good idea. Topsoil is just regular soil - which depending on your area or its health, may be good or bad. True topsoil is rich with organic matter but is meant to be used as a soil conditioner in the garden, mixed with other soil amendments like compost or manure. Potting soil is basically peat moss mixed with perlite or vermiculite. It holds more moisture because of the peat, but is light so that the roots of potted plants can easily move through it.

Potting soils are preferable for use in container planting and hanging baskets. Topsoil can be used for other garden or landscape plantings, but may need to be augmented with fertilizers. A general potting soil would be best for potting your plants, as potting soil is designed not to compact over time and holds water well, which is important for container plants. Do not use topsoil or garden soil, as these will eventually compact in containers, restricting root growth and water intake.

As for the garden soil where your hostas were growing, I would recommend having the soil tested so you can find out what, if anything, needs to be adjusted to enhance the soil's overall health. Once the soil is optimal for planting, you can add some more hostas. Here is more info:

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