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What kind of soil for my containers?

Fallston, MD(Zone 6b)

I am new to container gardening and wish to plants various hardy perennials in large containers and leave them out all year long. My question is: what kind of soil should I use? Potting soil, garden soil, my own awful clay soil or a mix of all the above? Would greatly appreciate any thought on this, as I am now starting to pot em up!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Here's a thread by Tapla (Al) that explains all about soil, planting, drainage, containers:


Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

Your soil is the most important choice you'll make in establishing your container garden, so if you concentrate your efforts on learning what separates a good soil from the pack, you'll be taking a significant forward step in your quest for results you'll be satisfied with. The article Pirl linked you to will help you understand the soil/aeration/watering relationship, which is probably the source of more problems in container culture than any other aspect.


St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Al, could you give me a quick, beginner words, synopsis? Like, buy these 3 things, mix them, add this to the bottom?

I've read your wonderful threads but truthfully, I don't understand it all.

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

Buy pine bark that looks like what you see at 3, 6 or 9 o'clock below. Use 5 parts of it mixed with 1 part sphagnum peat and 1 part perlite. Add 1 tbsp dolomitic (garden) lime to each gallon of soil.

The concepts highlighted in the thread you were linked to are really much more important than the recipe. If I had to distill everything into a sentence, it would be that you can't build a highly aerated soil that supports very little perched water by starting with a large fraction of fine ingredients (like peat/compost/coir/topsoil/sand); you must start with a large fraction (75%+) of large particulates (like the pine bark you see below) in order to reap the benefits from superlative aeration and little or no perched water.


This message was edited Apr 22, 2011 7:21 PM

Thumbnail by tapla
Fallston, MD(Zone 6b)

Thanks Al and pirl; this info is just what I need!

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Thanks to all, I can understand that. :D

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