How To Choose the Best Soil for All Your Different Plants

Photo: Stocksy/Malquerida Studio
Dirt isn't just dirt. And you can't put all your houseplants in the same type of soil. Many plants do just fine in standard potting soil, but there are certain types that need a little extra help to grow big and strong. A little research goes a long way.

Cacti need soil that dries super quickly, orchids need something that allows their roots to expand, and even monsteras and snake plants greatly benefit from using a soil formulated to deter pests. Here's what to know about the best soil for plants before you buy another bag.

The best soil for different plants

1. Cacti: Sun Gro Horticulture Black Gold Cactus Mix, $15

best soil for plants

Planting your cactus in regular soil can be a mistake. Because they're desert plants, they do best in soil that dries quickly, provides aeration, and allows them to drain properly in order to prevent root rot. That's typically a soil that contains some sort of gritty material, and this one has exactly that with a mixture of volcanic pumice, perlite, sand, and forest humus.

Shop now: Sun Gro Horticulture Black Gold Cactus Mix, $15

2. For succulents: Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil, $14

Like cacti, succulents also need a soil that's fast-draining in order to prevent root rot and overwatering. This mix—which contains bonsai block, monto clay, and pine coir—keeps them healthy and allows them to properly dry out between waterings. The soil is also pH balanced and is great for acid-loving succulents, like echeveria, crassula, lithops, jade, aloe, haworthia, crassula, and more.

Shop now: Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil, $14

3. For orchids: Perfect Plants All Natural Orchid Potting Mix, $15

best soil for plants

Orchids aren't easy plants to take care of, but using the right soil can help. This one is filled with nutrients, which allows its roots to climb and expand—just like they like to. It also provides proper aeration and drainage with a mix of pine bark, charcoal, coconut chips, and sponge rock.

Shop now: Perfect Plants All Natural Orchid Potting Mix, $15

4. For the garden: Wonder Soil Premium Organic Potting Soil Mix, $30

best soil for plants

This soil is a great pick for an outdoor garden or indoor herb garden. To keep your plants healthy and help them grow strong, it contains coco coir, which has great water retention, helps with drainage, and provides aeration. It also includes worm castings (which the company says yields up to 25 percent more crops), a beneficial fungi called mycorrhizae, kelp (which increases the shelf life of fruits and veggies, as well as increases resistance to disease and infestations), and perlite to prevent overwatering.

Shop now: Wonder Soil Premium Organic Potting Soil Mix, $30

5. For everything else: Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix, $13

Now, for the rest of your indoor plants. This soil is great for pretty much any houseplant (aside from cacti, succulents, and orchids). It helps keep pests away, and it doesn't contain materials like compost or bark that allow fungus gnats to thrive. It also contains coconut coir to retain moisture in the soil.

Shop now: Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix, $13

The best low-light plants for your home:

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