Does Potting Soil Go Bad?- Every Gardener Needs To Know

Do you have a garden at home? Do you use potting soils instead of normal soil? Are you thinking about “does potting soil go bad”? Worry not because I’ll be giving you some tips regarding your problems.

Instead of physically preparing your garden soil, potting soils are good substitutes for garden soil. Thus, plants can grow almost everywhere as long as there is water, sunlight and using pots would be wise in planting.

However, choosing the best kind of potting soil is needed to ensure higher chances of success. Potting soils that are available on the market differ in quality, price, and shelf life. Thus, potting soil can go bad, but with the right method and care, you can avoid getting bad potting soil.

With following summary table about best potting soils, you can easily choose the most suitable product for your plants:



Further information

Miracle-Gro Potting Mix

- Brand: Miracle-Gro
- Item Dimensions LxWxH: 25 x 17 x 3.5 inches
- Item Weight: 13.52 pounds
- Grows Plants Twice as Big (vs. unfed plants)
- Feeds up to 6 months
- More blooms for more color (vs. unfed plants)
- For indoor and outdoor container plants
- For use in containers

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Burpee Premium Organic Potting Mix

- Brand: Burpee
- Item Dimensions LxWxH: 4 x 16 x 12.6 inches
- Item Weight: 5.2 pounds
- Perfect for container and raised bed gardening
- Provides a slow release plant food that feeds for up to 3 months
- Formulated with coconut coir, an organic and sustainable resource
- OMRI listed for organic use

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MOTHER EARTH Coco Plus Perlite Mix

- Brand: Sunlight Supply Inc.
- Package Dimensions: 16.85 x 8.5 x 8.5 inches
- Item Weight: 27 pounds
- For indoor and outdoor container gardens
- Provides strong aeration & drainage
- Incorporates 70% of the finest coconut coir and 30% perlite

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FoxFarm Ocean Forest FX14000

- Brand: Fox Farm
- Item Weight: 39.4 pounds
- 38.6 quarts of FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil for your hungry plants
- Blend of earthworm castings, bat guano, sea-going fish & crab meal, forest humus, moss & more
- Ocean Forest is pH adjusted at 6.3 to 6.8 to allow for optimum fertilizer uptake

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What is potting soil?

Potting soil is a mixture that is created specifically as a substitute for the usual soil that is found in your backyard. The difference between regular soil and potting soil is the ingredients that are found inside its mixture. 

The mixture is mostly composed of organic materials that are light and absorbent. However, these potting soil mixtures differ depending on the kinds of plants. There are different varieties of these potting soil mixtures in order to ensure the successful growth of your plants.

One of the main components of every mixture is peat. Peat is a natural organic material that is mainly made up of plant remains that act as an absorbent component and moisture storage for the roots.

Thus, the potting soil mixture allows the plant to create a healthy root system easily. This also allows the roots of the plant to grow faster and stronger without having so much maintenance.

The potting soil is a popular replacement for soil despite the question “does potting soil go bad”? This is because people are more focused on the good effects of using potting soil than the risks.

There are components like fertilizers, organic or animal-based materials, as well as other additives that both act as soil and nutrient storage. Thus, more people are using these potting soil mixtures for their potted plants. This is great for busy owners like you and me.

Can potting soil go bad?

Are you still wondering “does potting soil go bad even if it acts as a soil replacement for plants”? The quality of the potting soil relies on the nutrients stored in every element in the potting soil mixture.

The lowered quality because of specific reasons is the effect that answers the question. There are multiple situations of potting soil going bad, and here are the main causes.

Expired Soil

The first reason is the mixture already passed its expiration date, and the soil loses the texture and nutrients it has. This is a natural cause for potting soil mixtures that have more plant-based materials mixed in them.

When splashed by water

The second is when the potting soil is splashed by water or any kind of liquid that causes the mixtures to activate the nutrients that it stores. Furthermore, this would also cause the potting soil to lose its quality.

Insect infestation

The third is when the potting soil is opened without being used for a long time and exposed to burrowing insects. An insect could burrow under the soil and make it dense, thus losing its nutritional value for the plant.

Unsealed potting soil

Finally, if you’re still wondering “does potting soil go bad” and “how can potting soil go bad”? The answer is leaving the soil open and unused. Despite not having insects or weather affecting it, opening it without using can still make it lose its quality.

Symptoms to know potting soil go bad

As gardeners, you and I need to know three main symptoms to confirm that the potting soil we use has gone bad. The symptoms will enable us to prevent using a mixture that could cause harm to our plants.

Buildup of mold

This is due to the possible dampness of the storage, or water touching the unused mixture. Furthermore, it would cause a denser consistency that affects the roots, as well as eliminate the nutrients in the mixture.


The second is the presence of insects that eat the plant or animal-based materials in the mixture. This would cause the mixture to be powdery which would prevent proper growth of the roots.

Foul smell

If the mixture already has a foul smell different from the original smell, you don’t have to ask yourself “do potting go bad”? The cause of this smell would be the mixture that is decaying and losing quality.

Therefore, if any of these symptoms are present, the potting soil must not be used. However, there are potting soils sold that can be reused when given the proper rejuvenating techniques.

What are the best potting soils to use?

Soil’s role is to provide your plant roots the necessary air, moisture, and nutrition balance.

In this modern-day, you can order your potting soil in the Amazon. You can check the reviews and ratings in order for you to purchase the best quality potting soil.

I will be giving you the list of the best potting soil that I searched on Amazon. The sellers can assure you of the best quality with obvious results.

1. The Miracle-Gro Potting soil Mixtures

This is one of the bestselling potting soil that I searched on Amazon because of its affordability and it has an excellent quality. 

For those who own indoor gardens or small gardens, this potting mixture is a better option for you than just using regular soil.

It also has all the needed organic materials that can be easily absorbed by the roots of the plants in order for it to get the nutrients that it needed. Furthermore, it has fertilizers that will give your plants additional nutrients.

For indoor plant growers that use containers or pots, one of the most difficult parts is making sure that it stays alive. However, with this potting mixture, plants can easily double their sizes even without having any hassle to the grower.

This mixture is great for potted plants that are having different types of varieties. That’s not all; it is also good for growing vegetables such as bell peppers and tomatoes.

Because of the absorbency of the mixture, it’s a great option for plants that require regular moisture but having a less maintenance.

Thus, unlike other potting mixtures, this product could reach a maximum of six months in terms of shelf life if it’s stored and used properly.

There are potting soils that are sold that are not having a good quality mixture and their life span only lasts a couple of months. This is why you need to properly check the quality of your online purchase because you’ll be wasting money if you take it for granted.

The Miracle-gro potting mix 1 cu. ft. is ideal for you if you have lots of plants.

Its instructions are easily understandable.
It quickly increases the growth of the plants.
It is easy to maintain and replace if needed.
Lastly, it up to six months of shelf life.
You need to make sure that you don’t use the Miracle-gro potting mix after six months because you might put your plants in to an awful situation.

2. The 9 quarts Burpee Premium Organic Potting Mixture

The Burpee Premium Organic Potting Mix is also one of the best mixtures that are sold on Amazon. This potting mixture is specifically made for flowers, vegetables as well as ferns.

This is a great choice for those who are just starting their indoor garden especially for those who are living at the center of a very busy city. Plants such as flowers and vegetables are also a good choice of plants for those beginners.

This mixture has a high chance of ensuring the health and vibrant factor of plants.

It’s difficult to use regular soil when you are planting on containers and pots. In order for the plant to be healthy and vibrant, you need to transfer it to an open garden.

Thus, doing this transfer helps the plant to absorb all the necessary nutrients that it needed in order to grow healthier and thicker.

However, the premium potting soil or organic mix that Burpee offers is enriched with Burpee plant food for the vibrance quality of the flowers and vegetables in your backyard.

Unlike other gardeners or farmers that use food coloring or other toxic chemicals for their plants’ vibrant colors, Burpee goes all-natural. The mix provides a slow release of plant food that could last up to three months.

Fertilizers and other organic components ensure that the plant will grow with a high chance of doubling in size and having a vibrant color. It is also OMRI listed for organic use, unlike other mixtures.

The mixture itself is formulated with coconut coir, which is known as an organic and sustainable resource. This provides stable assistance in maintaining the moisture of your flowers, vegetables, and herbs while they’re growing.

The mixture is not as hard as regular soil; this is why your containers won’t be difficult to move. The mixture is also easy to use. Moreover, the roots will easily grow that will your plant a longer lifespan.

Therefore, the potting soil mix is the best for those who are both experienced and even those who are having less plating experiences. By following the proper instructions on how you’re going to use the potting soil mix, you are ensured that you’ll be getting its maximum efficiency.

Its instructions are user friendly.
It increases the vibrancy of the plant’s color whether it’s flower, fruit, or vegetable.
It is easy to maintain and has a long shelf life.
The product is a bit expensive and easily goes out of stock, so it’s not easy to get at any given time. Furthermore, it has a shorter shelf life than the Miracle-gro potting soil mixture.

3. The MOTHER EARTH with the Coco Plus Perlite Mixture

Mother Earth with the Coco + Perlite is a great alternative for those who are beginners in gardening. Beginners normally overwater the plants because they want their plants to grow immediately.

This potting mixture has enough absorbency which enables you to feed your plants and not to worry about over-watering as well as preparing the mixture. You can even directly plant on it, unlike other mixtures.

Furthermore, there is no need to worry about the soil getting bad this is because this mixture is easy to use. It also has a long shelf life that enables you to use it frequently.

In addition to this, the product Mother Earth with the Coco + Perlite is excellent not only in indoor plants but also in outdoor container gardens. The potting soil is not the same as other mixtures that go bad when planted on certain containers.

Therefore, it is great for those who have zero experience with gardening and even lower knowledge about plants. It is user-friendly that could give you great results in your gardening.

Using this mixture, you can also achieve better drainage for your plants. This is because it incorporates 70% of the best coconut coir for the plant and it includes 30% of perlite inside. Unlike others that mainly use regular animal or plant-based materials.

Therefore, the coconut coir used in this mix can resist compaction and last longer in a container compared to the traditional growing media. The traditional media would require constant maintenance.

Furthermore, it would require constant replacement if the soil is no longer healthy inside the artificial container. This is because the regular soil is too dense and would not last long in containers.

Mother Earth with the Coco + Perlite is the better choice because of the low maintenance as well as it is fairly priced. This is a great mixture that prevents bad potting soil for beginners and professional gardeners alike.

It is easy to use especially for beginners. 
It also provides extra nutrients and absorption for the plants.
It increases the size of the plant whether its flower, fruit, or vegetable
When you are using containers and other pots, there is a need for more complex drainage. This is because of the absorption of the potting soil, if you’re not too careful, the water will overflow.

4. The FX14000 FoxFarm Ocean Forest

The FoxFarm Ocean Forest with the Potting Soil is a mixture sold on Amazon with different sizes, and the most sought after is the 38.6 quarts Potting Soil. This is a mixture that allows your plants to be fed with the needed nutrients.

This mixture is not like those other potting soil mixtures that require multiple fertilizers and additional chemicals to provide nutrients for the plants. The FoxFarm Ocean Forest with the Potting Soil is a mixture that has it all.

The components that make up this soil are a blend of earthworm castings, forest humus, moss & others. Thus, it is both organic and you can easily avoid bad potting soil in the future.

In addition to this, the bag of FoxFarm Ocean Forest with the Potting Soil is not limited to small potted plants. This is a mixture that can be used in general and is especially good for plants inside containers.

The containers that you might be using would affect regular soil, but this mixture is created specifically for every kind of container. This includes all kinds of fruits, veggies, and flowers.

Furthermore, if you don’t know about the plant’s needs like the PH level, then the FoxFarm Ocean Forest is the best type of potting mix for you. This is because it has a mixture that its pH is adjusted with 6.3 up to 6.8 which is just enough.

In addition to that, the potting soil mixture also encourages strong branching for your plants. This includes a sturdy, healthy growth habit for your plants. This is an ideal treat for plants in small containers.

This product is affordable and specifically created to ensure good quality potted plants that grow.

It is affordable and can be easily bought online.
All natural and provides specific nutrients needed for the plants.
Perfect for plants in pots and other containers
There is a need for you to follow the instructions carefully which means making sure that you don’t make a mistake when using it to get the desired result.

How do we use potting soil?

Potting soil has now become one of the easiest ways of growing flowers, vegetables, and other plants that don’t require too much effort and attention from its gardeners. If you are living in the middle of the city, this is the best option for you.

However, for busy owners like us that use potting soil have questions like, “does potting soil go bad”? or “can soil go bad?” This is common for us who have little time for gardening.

There are different kinds of methods when using the potting mixture. This is because there are different types of plants. Moreover, you need to be very careful or else you’ll be wasting your money and your plants will die.

For example, succulents require a mixture of water that allows water absorption in a quick manner, although it cannot hold too much water. This also means that you need a mixture that has a porous and not absorbent substance.

Moreover, there is no need for you to constantly pour water on your potting soil for your succulents. Unlike the general mixture that requires constant watering for absorption and storage.

Furthermore, there are also orchid mixes that are specifically for aerial plants that hang on wood like orchids. These plants are high in maintenance; this is due to the plant’s position. But, it acts the same as a substitute for the bark with additional qualities for better growth.

Regardless of the type of plants, potting soil mixes have a singular purpose and that is to keep your plants alive while it grows stronger.

Advantages and Disadvantages of potting soil

A product has its advantages and disadvantages, and you need to consider it carefully before purchasing. A potting soil’s advantages rely mainly on the mixture that it has for the specific plant you use it for.


  • Fertilizer Infused

There are potting soils that already contain fertilizers as well as compost that give the nutrients that your plant needs. Unlike regular soil, this enhances the size and vibrancy of the plant during its growth.

  • Breathable

The mixture of the potting soil also enables the plants to breathe more freely that allows them to get the needed oxygen for good health. Furthermore, the mixture is light that it allows the roots to freely grow and spread faster.

  • Roots Can Grow Faster

In addition to that, the roots can grow faster than those plants that are planted via regular soils. This would allow the roots to strengthen more and give the plant a longer life span.

  • It Retains Moisture For A Longer Time Period

This is because it also contains decomposing materials like peat moss. Peat moss helps stores moisture that is easily lost over time especially if the soil is sandy. Moreover, it softens the composition of the soil as well as it creates better drainage for those soils that are mostly clay and heavy soils.


  • Some Materials Doesn’t Decompose

Potting soils are different from simple potting mixtures that contain materials that are not decomposing. Thus, if you are asking yourself “does potting mix go bad”? The answer is an unexpected yes.

This is because despite having materials that do not decompose easily. There are still materials used that decompose, thus, causing the potting mix to go bad the same way as potting soil.

If you are also wondering “can soil go bad?” and “can potting soil go bad?” Then the answer is both a yes, because it is mainly a mixture of decomposing materials.

  • Replacement Of Potting Soil Is Needed

There is a need for potting soil to be replaced when there are no longer nutrients that are found in the soil. This would result to add more artificial fertilizers to replenish the lost soil nutrients.

Conclusion – Does potting soil go bad?

There are lots of techniques as well as the materials that can be used when planting your indoor and even outdoor plants. From the use of normal soil, adding fertilizers that sometimes ruin the quality of your soil up to the usage of potting soil.

Having different kinds of information helps you from choosing the more efficient ways on your desired garden.

Whether you choose ordinary soil or the potting soil, it all depends on your availability as well as your budget and your preferred location. And if ever you need more information as well as the guidelines, then you are free to reach us on our website.

You can also check the reviews for each of the recommended potting soil products that are widely available on Amazon in order for you to make it sure that you’re purchasing the right potting soil as well as not spending unnecessary expenses.

You won’t have to keep asking “does potting mix go bad”, because these potting soils have all the instructions and information you need.

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