If you aren’t growing in a hydroponic system, you need the very best soil for indoor plants. Something as simple as dirt can still get complicated.
Certain brands may skimp on ingredients, and won’t provide the level of aeration or drainage your grow needs. That’s why we put this guide together - to help you find the best soil for your indoor grow!
Before we start covering some of the top soils of 2023, we need to cover some basic information on soil.
Why grow in soil over hydroponics?
There are quite a few reasons growers prefer soil over hydroponics. It's much easier and much more forgiving. The soil acts as a buffer, protecting your plants from overfeeding.
In a hydro system, your roots are exposed to the nutrient solution directly, so if you overfeed, you can easily shock the plant.
Another reason is that you can grow organically in soil. In a hydro system, you’d struggle to do this.
Organic nutrients are much thicker and tend to clog hydroponic systems, but this is a nonissue when growing in soil or a soilless mix!
Different types of soil or soilless mixes
Not all soil is created equal! There are lots of different types of soil and soilless mixes, with each having its own pros and cons. In general, soil comes in three different consistencies: sandy, loamy, or clay.
This doesn’t mean that your garden soil will fall into just one of these categories, however. Many soils are a mix of sand/loam, or sand/clay, etc.
What garden soil is best?
When choosing a soil for your plants, you also need to consider which nutrients you’ll be using.
If you use a really hot soil with tons of nutrients, and then also feed your plants a heavy nutrient line, you can run into trouble with nutrient toxicity.
So, make sure your nutrient line is compatible with your soil before you purchase anything! The best soil for indoor plants will have the following qualities:
- Balanced pH
- Perfect ratio of water retention/drainage
- Good texture
- Quality nutrient makeup
Top 6 soils & mixes for indoor & outdoor plants
We are going to break down the best soil and coco for indoor growing based on use. If you want a recommendation for any other use you don't see on this list, reach out and we'll happily give you our pick!
Best Potting Soil - Mother Earth Groundswell Performance Soil
Mother Earth Groundswell Performance Soil has been not only a top seller on our website since it was launched, but it's also a customer favorite and one of the best bangs for your buck. T his affordable, but high-quality soil is a game-changer and highly recommended by the staff here at Hydrobuilder!!!
A meticulously blended potting soil. This comprehensive blend of ingredients gives your plants a strong start and builds the foundation for success.
Mother Earth® Groundswell Performance Soil is an all-purpose potting soil for promoting root growth. A high-aeration formula provides the grower more control compared to traditional potting medias. Mother Earth® Groundswell Performance Soil is meticulously blended to ensure that growers are receiving the same quality and consistency that they have come to expect from all Mother Earth products.
Best Organic Soil - Botanicare Organicare True Earth Potting Mix
This OMRI-listed(link opens in new tab/window), all-purpose soil redefines what it means to be organic. A revolutionary mix of organic and natural ingredients work together to promote vigorous roots and giant blooms. It’s the performance you expect from Botanicare and it’s organic.
The patent-pending formula blends ingredients like aged compost, which encourages microbial activity, yucca and sphagnum peat for moisture retention and aged bark fines and perlite for aeration. It provides the quality of an organic and the high yield of a synthetic in an OMRI listed (Organic Materials Review Institute) soil.
With a heavy feed up-front and sustained nutrition throughout, True Earth powers every growth stage. Use from seedling to harvest for greenhouse and outdoor container plants.
If you want to make your own super soil, check out our simple super soil recipe!
Best coco and perlite mix - Mother Earth Coco + Perlite
Mother Earth Coco + Perlite is a premium mix of 70% Coco and 30% Perlite.
Derived from the fiber of organic coconut husks and RHI certified, this coco mix is a great option. this completely inert media allows you to really dial in your nutrient feeding schedule.
Perlite is an amendment that greatly enhances aeration and drainage. It is the small white particles you see in many potting soils, and also helps reduce compaction of your soil.
This ratio of coco to perlite leads to ideal growing conditions for your plants with unsurpassed texture, increased porosity, and high cation-exchange capacity.
Because of this, you as the grower can feed more aggressively and push your plant to the limits.
You won't have to worry as much about overwatering, as you may with other mediums.
Best all-around coco mix - Mother Earth Coco/Peat Soilless Potting Mix
Mother Earth Coco + Perlite is a great media, but so is Mother Earth Coco + Peat.
We consider it to be the best all-around coco mix, and one of the best grow media in general.
So many soils and media in general have too much Nitrogen in it, leading to plant irregularities.
Coco Peat on the other hand gives you, the grower, more control than ever over what you feed.
It makes growing easy as it comes pH & calcium charged, preventing the calcium deficiency issues many coco mixes are known for.
Another huge advantage of this mix is the aeration it provides. It dries quickly, so you can feed more frequently without overwatering. This leads to more rapid growth and a heavier harvest.
This mix is formulated from coco fiber, peat moss, perlite/pumice, castings, guanos, and meals.
Best Coco Mix For Heavy Feeding - Botanicare ReadyGro Aeration Formula
The Mother Earth Coco mixes are great for heavy feeding, but we have to give the best coco media for heavy feeding to the Botanicare ReadyGro Aeration formula.
It features a ratio of 55%/45% coco to perlite, which leads to the ideal ratio of air to water.
The media dries quickly, and is perfect for those who automate their watering/feeding.
Because it dries so quickly, you can feed much more frequently and enjoy advanced growth rates and yields.
With more oxygen available to the root zone, your plants will have more aerobic bacteria in the root zone.
This means an increased breakdown of the nutrients you feed them, making the nutrients more readily available to your crops.
Best soil for starting seeds/clones - Fox Farm Light Warrior
If you’re looking for the best soil for starting seeds or clones, look no further than Fox Farm Light Warrior. This is the ultimate grow medium for youngs plants and transplanting.
Its packed with beneficial microbes, humic acid, and earthworm castings. This helps with root growth, fertilizer uptake, and germination!
When it comes to indoor growing, Light Warrior is a perfect quick-draining, lightweight seed starter.
But, it can be used outdoors as well. Once your plants have grown and hardened off, you can transplant into another medium.
Other Top Recommended Soil & Soilless Growing Media Products
PRO-MIX HP Mycorrhizae Soilless Potting Mix
With its high perlite content, PRO-MIX HP provides a great growing environment to growers looking for a significant drainage capacity, increased air porosity and lower water retention. The added benefit of fibrous peat moss and coarse perlite makes this formulation ideal for growers who require a superior-quality product adapted to their needs for watering flexibility and crop seasonality.
- Dries out more frequently than general purpose, peat‑based mixes
- Well suited for low-light growing conditions and high humidity
- More difficult to overwater crops
- Reduces incidence of water related problems (root diseases, algae and fungus gnats)
- Holds less water for improved leaching of fertilizer salts during crop cycle
Fox Farm Ocean Forest
Fox Farm has long been considered one of the best brands when it comes to nutrients and soil. Many of their products are organic, and they are specifically formulated for growing flowering plants.
The Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil is an awesome natural, organic potting soil. This mix contains everything your plants need - including premium earthworm castings, bat guano, crab meal, and fish meal! Its a blend of forest humus, sandy loam, and sphagnum peat moss.
These three compounds give Ocean Forest a light texture with perfect aeration! You can use this soil from seed to harvest, as its not too hot. This soil is pH adjusted to 6.3-6.8, perfect for growing plants.
You won’t need to feed much nitrogen at first, Ocean Forest has it covered! For best results, use with Fox Farm Soil Nutrient Package.
A close runner up is Fox Farm Happy Frog. This is another premium, organic blend of earthworm castings, bat guano, and composted forest humus. It is alive and well with beneficial microbes and fungi that help break down organic matter and feed your plants roots.
Royal Gold Tupur
Royal Gold’s Tupur, pronounced (two-per), was designed with the idea of feeding your plant as much and often as possible. Though not your typical 70/30 coco perlite blend, it is a blank slate to create your own high performance feeding regimen. As a coco fiber based soilless medium, it requires high levels of calcium and magnesium to unlock its true potential. With an astounding balance of oxygen and water holding capacities, Tupur can be watered up to 1-6 times a day! This makes it an ideal choice for automated watering systems, especially drip (drain to waste or recirculating), Ebb and Flow.
Even deep water culture, and aquaponics thrive in this unique and versatile blend. Yet it still excels in hand watered container gardens, with organic OR conventional feeding programs. This versatility has been key in Tupur quickly becoming a household name for cultivation experts and enthusiasts from coast to coast. Packaged in 1.76 cubic foot bags, yet priced to compete with 1.5 cubic foot bagged products, Tupur can give you that extra bang for your buck, in more ways than one! Are you getting Tupur?
- INGREDIENTS: 35-45% coco fiber, aged forest products, perlite, basalt.
Need help choosing the best soil for indoor plants?
These are some of the best soil for indoor plants, but there are tons of other great options.
If you aren't sure which one is right for you, reach out to our experts at 888-815-9763 and we'll help you choose!