13 Best Soils to Start Seeds

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Ready to start adorning your garden with your favorite plants? Our recommendations for the best soil to start seeds can help you achieve the best growing results. While some growers use seedlings and small transplants, others prefer to start from scratch using seeds.

If you are one of these growers, you can enhance your results by picking the right seed-growing media. Using special soil to start seeds (or seed starter mix) transforms seeds into healthier plants with strong roots and better fruit yield (if vegetables or fruits.

The best soil for starting seeds is characterized by its lighter and finer characteristics, allowing for better root development and successful growth. Some people may use regular soil to sow their seeds and see their plants grow to maturity.

While this is true, using ideal seed starter soil guarantees stronger and more productive plants. This translates to better-looking and blooming flowers, better-tasting vegetables and herbs, and more fruit yield. So, if you want to experience gardening with better results, a good choice of seed starting soil goes a long way.

If you are clueless about what the ideal seed starting soil is, we have just the answers for you. Here’s a complete guide into everything there is to know about the best soil to start seeds. Plus, you will find the top 13 of the best brands on the market this year.

And if you’re in a hurry, here’s a table to break down the soils and what they are best for.

ProductIngredientsBest for
1. Epsoma Organic Seed Starter Premium Potting Soil MixSphagnum peat moss, perlite, limestone, yucca extract, and mycotoneBest Overall
2. Jiffy 7 Peat PelletsPeatBest Indoor
3. VPS OrganiPlug Hydroponic Seed Starter PlugsOrganic peat and coconut coirBest for Hydroponics
4. Coast of Maine Sprout Island Organic Seed StarterBlended sphagnum peat moss, compost, aged bark, perlite, kelp, meal, lobster and crab shell meal, worm castings, and mycorrhizaeBest Organic
5. Gardeners Supply Company SuperRoot Booster Seed Starter MixProprietary blendBest for Self-watering Plants
6. Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus SoilPine coir, monte clay, and bonsai clayBest for Succulents
7. Purple Cow Organics All Natural Seed Starter MixSphagnum peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, compost(yard trimmings)Best for Herbs
8. Sun Gro All Purpose Potting SoilCanadian sphagnum peat moss, composted worm castings, aged softwood bark, compost, composted rice hulls, composted pumice, cinders, horticulture grade perlite, and controlled release plant foodBest for Greens
9. Burpee Organic Coconut Coir Concentrated Seed Starting MixCoconut coirBest Single-ingredient
10. Home Grown Garden Seed Starter Peat PelletsPeatBest for Flower
11. Mountain Valley Seed Minute Soil Compressed Coco Coir FiberCoconut coirBest Pellet
12. Mountain Valley Seed Minute Soil Compressed Coco Coir BlockCoconut coirBest Premium
13. Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting MixSphagnum peat moss, perlite, fertilizer, wetting agent, ammonium nitrate, ammonium phosphate (monobasic), calcium phosphate, and potassium phosphateCheapest

What is the Best Soil to Start Seeds?

The best soil to start seed is typically finer and lightweight to allow roots to spread, grow, and ultimately, promote healthier and stronger overall plant growth. Seed starting soil can be used in a seed starting station, trays placed on a windowsill, or even seed starting pots.

Unbeknown to many new gardeners, the best seed starting soil is barely composed of actual soil. Instead, it uses one or a mix of lightweight organic materials, such as peat moss, rock wool, coconut coir, perlite, or rice hulls, to name a few. Each ingredient comes with its benefits, although most possess a crucial benefit – water retention and optimal aeration!

Here are some of the key ingredient highlights;

·         Sphagnum peat moss: Sphagnum peat moss is an organic material that boasts incredible water retention properties. This perk alone makes it the perfect environment for growing seeds.

·         Vermiculite: Vermiculite provides much-needed moisture retention, especially for younger seeds, which are usually at a higher risk of drying up. In fact, vermiculite plays a crucial role in seed development.

·         Coconut coir: Coconut coir provides much-needed moisture and moisture control. Using this material, you don’t have to worry about the seed starting media getting too soggy. Coconut coir is considered a wetting agent for seed-starting media.

·         Perlite: An expanded rock, perlite has a high porosity, slowing it to create an airy and well-drained environment. This, in turn, allows the seeds to grow better, receive adequate moisture, and allow for easier root expansion.

·         Rice hulls: The microbial-resistant rice hulls offer excellent moisture-retaining ability and boast a good amount of nutrients beneficial to the plant. Moreover, rice hulls are a great holding shape, allowing for stable seed growth and development.

·         Rockwool: Rockwool, particularly in the form of cubes, is a popular material for seed starting mixes. A popular ingredient choice for hydroponics seed starters, Rockwool offers incredible moisture retention and prevents seeds and seedlings from drying out. Rockwool cubes also boast a dense structure that facilitates strong root development, making them a perfect choice for hydroponics.

When picking the right seed starting soil, your mission should be to pick an option that lets your seeds grow effortlessly. Older or low rated germination seeds require a dedicated seed starting mix to boost their growing chances.

This type of mix typically features fine particulates to enhance moisture retention across the medium (higher surface area means more water will reach the seed easily) to allow the seed to grow easily. Unlike seedlings or transplanting, seeds usually boast a fair amount of nutrients inside.

So, they require minimal to no extra nutrients or fertilizer. What’s important is an adequate amount of water to expand the interior of the seed and kick-start the growth and sprouting process.

Note: The moisture amount must be balanced. Too much water leads to seed rot, preventing the seed from growing and killing it. On the other hand, too little water means the seed doesn’t get enough sustenance to grow and thrive, killing it along the way as well.

You will also find a good amount of seeds that are pretty easy to germinate, like beans, peas, pumpkins, cucumbers, and butternut, to name a few. These seeds do well in regular soil but thrive even better in potting blends or standard seed starter mix as they aren’t complicated.

In many cases, easy-to-germinate seeds, like sunflower, butternut, or beans are usually large. This gives them more surface space, making it easier to absorb the moisture they need from the soil. The best condition to create for these seeds is a wrung-out sponge-like environment, not too wet and not too dry.

When it comes to seed growth, the situation is slightly different for established plants that are still growing. During the seed growth and germination period, root growth happens rapidly. But, rich soils aren’t necessary during this time as the seeds already contain adequate nutrients in them.

This explains why many seed starting mixes are usually soilless, focusing on materials with high moisture retention to keep the seeds moist, instead.

DIY Vs Store Bought Seed Starter Soil Mix

Depending on your budget and soil needs, you can choose to purchase or put together a seed starting soil mix at home by yourself.

DIY Seed Starting Soil

The easiest recipe calls for the use of several soilless ingredients. You can mix 4 parts compost, 1 part vermiculite and perlite, and 2 parts peat moss. The volume depends on the side of your pots and the plant you intend to grow, before transferring them to a garden bed, yard, or pot.

It’s also worth noting that there are myriads of DIY seed starter mix recipes, based on your needs. If you haven’t a clue how to create one, you can find plenty of online resources for these recipes.

Commercial Seed Starter Soil

Commercially available and store-bought seed starter soil mix comes with its benefits as well.  For one, it eliminates the cumbersome process of having to do the mixing yourself. Moreover, commercially available seed starter mix is usually treated and sterilized, ridding it of any microbes, pests, or weeds. This makes it easier for the seeds to grow successfully without the risk of disease or growth issues.

You can also find a myriad of seed starter mixes on the market, built especially for your needs. Whether you need a mix of hydroponics, heavy-feeding vegetables, or ornamental flowers, there’s always the right brand for you. Further, you can find a good variety of seed starter mixes you can use outdoors.

Thinking of Using Regular Soil from Your Yard? Stop and Read This!

Some people try to use regular soil from their gardens for starting seeds. While this may sometimes work for some growers, it is highly discouraged. If you want to successfully grow healthy plants from seeds, you want to stick to the ideal soil mix – whether DIY seed starter soil mix or the commercially available soilless mixes.

While regular soil may work, it comes with many risks. First, like potting soil, regular soil tends to be denser and more compact. Now, this doesn’t work out for the tender roots and shoots of the seeds trying to grow.

Even the smallest pressure from the soil can easily strain and kill these parts of the seeds, ultimately, killing the entire seed. Further, soil from the garden contains a host of contaminants, including weeds, pests, and even diseases. This is never a good thing for seeds you are trying to grow plants from.

How to Choose the Best Soil to Start Seeds

Seed Starting Soil Mix vs Potting Soil Mix

When shopping for seed starter mixes, always pay attention to the label. Choose seed starting mixes instead of potting mixes. Unbeknown to many beginner gardeners, seed starting mix and potting mix are two distinctive products.

Seed Starting Mix

Unlike potting mix, seed starting mix contains just the right ingredients and formula to create the perfect environment for seed germination. Typically, seed starting mixes are well-drained, light, and fine, preventing them from compacting the seeds and preventing the tender roots and shoots from forming and growing.

Further, most, if not all, seed starter mixes are soilless, containing only one or a mix of moisture-retaining organic matter like fine compost, peat moss, composted tree bark, and even lead mold, to mention a few. These mixes also contain porous material, such as vermiculite perlite, and sand, to allow for even better aeration.

Potting Mix

Potting mix or soil is a blend of ingredients used to grow plants in containers or pots. This mix is specifically formulated to feed plants for several weeks or months at a time, promoting their growth. But, potting soil only works for established plants, instead of seeds.

Unlike seed starter mix, potting mix tends to be thicker and denser with larger organic matter chunks or pieces. In many cases, however, you may find that potting mix and seed starting mix contain similar ingredients, only differing in size and consistency. These include ingredients such as soil, compost, peat moss, and perlite, to name a few.

Furthermore, unlike the seed starting mix, the potting mix may contain fertilizer as the grown plants can handle (not susceptible to seed burn) and require fertilizer. This makes potting soil unsuitable for seeds but perfect for plants that have grown enough to handle a thicker growing medium.

While seed starters usually remain at a pH of 6 to 7, potting mixes have varying pHs based on your needs. For example, Potting mixes for acid-loving plants, such as blueberries, may contain acidic organic matter, like sphagnum peat moss, which lowers the pH to make it acidic. On the other hand, if you want a potting mix with a neutral pH, you can choose options that contain other components, like compost, with a higher pH level.

Ingredients

Components that make up the soil to start seeds are also very crucial. Different ingredients play varying roles. Primarily, no matter the type of starter mix you want, you want to ensure it contains a mix of ingredients that harness moisture retention, drainage, and nutrients (optional).

Once you confirm your seed starting mix has these properties, you can then look out for other key details you need. For instance, rock wool cubes are among the best growing mediums for hydroponic seeds. On the other hand, light and airy compost promotes root development and the establishment and facilitates drainage to prevent young roots from rotting due to standing water.

Another component to pay attention to when investing in commercially available soil mix to start seeds is the type of mix. Store-bought mixes can be organic, artificial, or a blend. If you want to avoid chemicals or any artificial additives, choose organic seed starting mixes. You can easily find out if the mix is organic by looking at the label. Look for descriptions, such as organic, and certifications, such as OMRI-listed.

Starter Mix Type

Like the ingredient list, you will also find a versatile amount of seed starter mixes on the market, based on your needs. This allows you to customize your planting to suit your plant needs. Before you choose the type of starter mix to invest in, you want to figure out the exact seeds you intend to plant, where you intend to plant them, and their capacity.

For instance, if you plan on starting a hydroponics garden, you can find ideal mixes to help fetch the best results. Similarly, if you want to plant dwarf tomatoes or herbs in a limited-space potted garden, you will find the right seed starter mix for this type of growing.

Capacity

You should also pay attention to the size of the mix to start the seeds you are purchasing. Typically, seed starting mixes are sold in bags of 4, 6, 8, and 12-quart sizes. One thing to remember is that some of the mixes are expandable, turning into loose soil when you add water. Read the label and figure out how much you need based on the seeds you intend to plant.

Additional Seed Starting Media

In addition to the starter mixes, you want to consider additional materials you will use for the seeds. This also helps you pick the right seed starter. Some of the common ways to plant your seeds with the starter mix include using flats, trays, and inserts, seeding and propagation mats, heated germination stations, or regular pots or containers.

You can also find seed starter mixes with integrated growing media, such as coir pellets. A good example is the Jiffy 7 Peat Pellets that integrate biodegradable containment material. This means that the pellets serve as containers and media at the same time.

After the seeds sprout and grow, you can transfer them to a bigger pot or into the garden grounds without taking them out of the medium. This biodegradable medium will break down and mix with the soil, over time, making it an excellent eco-friendly option as well.

Reviews and Reputation

Sometimes, it may be difficult to quantify the benefits of a particular seed starter brand. In addition to examining the ingredients and capacity, it’s not always easy to tell if the brand is good or not. This is where checking the brand’s reputation on the market comes in.

Explore reviews from verified customer reviews from reputable sources and learn more about the brand’s overall reputation. A thorough search online is sufficient enough to tell you whether or not the brand is good.

You can also check the brand’s performance on the market. For instance, the Espoma Organic brand has been on the market since the late 1920s. Further, the brand remains among the top rated in the industry, which can be proof of its excellent quality products.

13 Best Soil Mix to Start Seeds

Ready to purchase the right soil mix for starting seeds in your garden? Here’s a complete list of the top 13 best commercially available and ready-to-use seed starting mixes to invest in this year;

1. Epsoma Organic Seed Starter Premium Potting Soil Mix

Espoma Organic Seed Starter Premium Potting Soil Mix - All Natural & Organic Seed Starting Mix with Mycorrhizae. For Organic Gardening, 16 qt, Pack of 1

  • Ingredients: Sphagnum peat moss, perlite, limestone, yucca extract, and mycotone
  • Size: 16 quarts

If you want a versatile and organic seed starting mix, the Epsoma Organic Seed Starter is an excellent option. This premium potting mix combines a blend of the finest natural ingredients, including 80-90% sphagnum peat moss, perlite, and limestone. This combination doesn’t just promote moisture retention and aeration.

It also helps to adjust the pH to accommodate a wide range of plants, including vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. The seed starting mix also contains yucca extract and proprietary myco-tone, a blend of beneficial endo- and ectomycorrhizae.

The addition of yucca extra and beneficial microorganisms promotes soil mix moisture retention and optimal root growth, respectively. This, in turn, makes the mixes ideal to use with both seeds as well as root, stem, and leaf cuttings.

Pros

  • 100% organic and natural ingredients
  • Uses natural ingredients to boost its effectiveness
  • Boosts root development and growth
  • Can be used to start seeds or cuttings

Cons

  • It may contain fungus gnats

2. Jiffy 7 Peat Pellets

50 Count - Jiffy 7 Peat Pellets - Seed Starter Soil Plugs - 36 mm - Start Seedlings Indoors - Easy to Transplant to Garden

  • Ingredients: Peat
  • Size: 50 pellets

The Jiffy 7 Peat Pellets is specially made for indoor plants and offers a 2-in-1 seed starter and medium design for eco-friendly perks. Made from 100% peat, these peat pellets let you plant your seeds in the soil plugs instantly. All you do is add the seed and let the pellet expand by adding water. Their 2-in-1 design means that they accommodate safer growing and development of the seed.

Once they sprout and start to produce the plant, you can transplant the entire plug into your indoor plant pot or container of choice. Over time, the peat pellet breaks down into organic material and blends with the regular soil or potting mix. This comes with the advantage of keeping the environment clean since you don’t have any plastic or other non-biodegradable components to throw out.

Additionally, as the pellet breaks down into organic matter, you get more nutrients to keep feeding your plants for healthy growth. However, these peat pellets don’t just come with an eco-friendly advantage. Choosing to use these pellets for your indoor plants also comes with the perks of preventing transplant shock and root damage. Moreover, the pellets offer optimal moisture retention and aeration for your growing seeds.

Pros

  • 2-in-1 seed starter and growing medium
  • 100% biodegradable
  • Makes transplanting easier and prevents shock
  • Reduces root damage

Cons

  • May not be the best for larger seeds

3. VPS OrganiPlug Hydroponic Seed Starter Plugs

VPS OrganiPlug Hydroponic Seed Starter Plugs, 100 Pack, Rapid Root Planting Pods for Seedling, Clone, Cutting, Promotes Plant, Flower, Vegetable Growth w/Organic Soil Ingredients, Fits Standard Tray

  •  Ingredients: Organic peat and coco coir
  • Size: 100 plugs

Go for the VPS OrganiPlug Seed starter Plugs if you plan on setting up a hydroponics garden. These seed starter plugs are made of a blend of 100% organic, kosher, and compostable peat and coconut coir with balanced pH to accommodate a wide range of plants. The peat and coir plugs feature a spongy cubic appearance with the ability to hold air and water.

Each of the 100-count plugs lets you drop a seed, meaning this pack can yield up to 100 plantings. These versatile plugs also allow future transplant into any media, whether coco, rock wool, or soil. On the other hand, these seed starter plugs don’t just accommodate seeds.

You can also establish your plants using these seed starters using seedlings, clones, or cuttings. The peat and coconut coir used for these plugs are mixed using a proprietary formula to harness the best nutrient blend while optimizing their air porosity and water-wicking ability. Furthermore, this blended formula promotes healthier root zones while supporting overall growth.

Pros

  • Small size plugs fit most standard growing trays
  • Specially built to accommodate any hydroponic growing and propagation media
  • pH balanced and pre-moistened
  • 100% kosher certified and OMRI-listed compostable plugs

Cons

  • You may have to re-moist them when seeds are growing

4. Coast of Maine Sprout Island Organic Seed Starter

Coast of Maine Sprout Island Organic Seed Starter with All Natural Ingredients for Root Plant Cuttings and Seed Germination, 16 Quarts

  • Ingredients: Blended sphagnum peat moss, compost, aged bark, perlite, kelp, meal, lobster and crab shell meal, worm castings, and mycorrhizae
  • Size: 16 quarts

If you are in search of the ultimate organic seed starting mix, the Coast of Maine Sprout Island Organic Seed Starter is what you should try out. The seed starting mix is made of a rich mix of blended sphagnum peat moss, compost, aged bark, perlite, kelp, meal, lobster and crab shell meal, worm castings, and mycorrhizae. Whether used on seed germination or root cuttings, the organic seed starter features a ready-to-use formulation for cell packs, trays, or flats.

The blend of ingredients combines to ensure natural moisture retention and superior aeration. The compost used in this blend is fully cured and contains organic and natural soils, mulches, and fertilizer mixed for full benefits. However, the formulation used for the compost eliminates the risks of diseases. On the other hand, adding mycorrhizae improves water and nutrient absorption while strengthening root vitality.

Further, kelp and bark boost starting rate, plant strength, and large root mass, and enhance survivability. The worm castings provide higher levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium to support plant growth and health. The use of seafood shells doesn’t support plant health, but also helps to keep pests out of the garden.

Pros

  • Combines a blend of ingredients to promote growth and prevent pests
  • Great for cell packs, trays, and flats
  • Ideal for seed germination and root cuttings
  • OMRI-listed organic ingredients

Cons

  • Its attractive scent may attract flies

5. Gardeners Supply Company SuperRoot Booster Seed Starter Mix

Gardeners Supply Company SuperRoot Booster Seed Starter Mix | Promotes Strong Roots & Boost Plant Growth | High Nutrients Plant Food for Seed Starting Trays and Planters - 9 Quarts

  • Ingredients: Proprietary blend of natural ingredients
  • Size: 9 quarts

The Gardeners Supply Company SuperRoot Booster Seed Starter Mix is an excellent seed starter blend that offers super benefits for vegetables. Curated by an award-winning team, the seed starting mix combines all the essential components to help your seedling thrive. The seed starter mix combines a fine blend of natural ingredients to promote healthy seed germination and seedlings.

The seed starter mix is ideally formulated for self-watering and regular seed starting trays. The mix is optimized to offer a perfect pH balance, superior draining, strong moist roots and enhanced plant growth, and high nutrient delivery. Moreover, the seed starting mix combines a proprietary MycoActive technology to further promote plant growth and development.

On the other hand, the mix’s fine texture blend is perfect for delicate seeds and seedlings, keeping possible injury or compaction at a bare minimum. This 100% all-natural blend works great for both indoor and outdoor plants. For the best results, you can pair the seed starting mix with the equally effective Self-Watering Galvanized Seed Starting Tray, GrowEase Seed Starter Kit, or Organic GrowEase Seed Starting Success kit from the same brand.

Pros

  • Boosts strong roots
  • Increases nutrient and water uptake
  • Protects plants from stress
  • Boosts tolerance to drought

Cons

  • May experience water absorption issues in the first few days

6. Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil

Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111 - 2 Quarts – Fast Draining – Fight Root Rot – Optimized pH

  • Ingredients: Pine coir, monte clay, and bonsai clay
  • Size: 2 dry quarts                                                

Whether you are planting succulents, cactus, or bonsai, the Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil are specially formulated to facilitate successful seed germination of indoor succulents. The ready-to-use gritty mix works for a vast range of succulents, ensuring the best results.

You can use the gritty mix for Echeveria, Jade, aloe, Crassula, lithops, and Haworthia, to mention a few. The gritty mix combines a blend of organic pine coir, monte clay, and bonsai clay which offer extremely fast-draining functionality. This, in turn, tackles overwatering and prevents root rot.

But, what’s most impressive about this mix is its optimized formula intended especially for indoor plants. The formula is pH optimized and features a bulky density and particle sizes. Most succulents thrive at a pH of 5.5 and this is exactly the pH offered by the seed starter mix. Further, it promotes water absorption and evaporation, ensuring an all-time moisture balance.

Pros

  • Made in the USA
  • Optimized for succulents that need dryer feet between watering
  • Fast drainage to prevent root rot
  • Prewashed and screened to minimize disease risk

Cons

  • Not formulated for water-loving plants

7. Purple Cow Organics All Natural Seed Starter Mix

Purple Cow Organics All Natural Seed Starter Mix for Fast Germination and Vigorous Seedlings with Strong Root Systems for Indoor Home Gardens, 12 Quart Bag

  • Ingredients: Sphagnum peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, compost (yard trimmings)
  • Size: 12 quarts

The Purple Cow Organics All Natural seed Starter Mix is formulated using 100% organic, natural, and manure-free ingredients to help both indoor and outdoor plants. Moreover, the OMRI-listed seed starter mix is specially formulated to work for smaller gardens, containers, or raised bed gardens.  However, what makes this mix special is its ideal herb growth-promoting formula, although you can use it for any other plants.

The herb-optimized seed starting mix living media contains beneficial biology and nutrients to kickstart the growth of your plants to get your seeds starting. The organic seed starting mix can also be used for a wide range of growing media for seed germination, including plastic trays and soil blockers.

Its blend of sphagnum peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and compost provides just the right components to facilitate fertility and germination for up to 45 days. In addition to promoting seedling growth, the seed starter mix promotes optimal health and vigorous seedlings along with strong root systems. Moreover, this high-nutrient starter mix balances drainage and wicks moisture to keep the roots moist and healthy.

Pros

  • Lightweight mix to promote stress-free growth
  • Mixed with an activated compost base with over 2 decades of proven success
  • Finely textured seed starter mix facilitates rapid germination and vigorous seedlings
  • Can be used in trays, small containers, or blocks

Cons

  • May not work for all non-herb plants

8. Sun Gro All Purpose Potting Soil

Sun Gro Horticulture 8-Quart Black Gold 1310102 Purpose Potting Soil With Control, Brown/A

  • Ingredients: Canadian sphagnum peat moss, composted worm castings, aged softwood bark, compost, composted rice hulls, composted pumice, cinders, horticulture grade perlite, and controlled release plant food
  • Size: 8 quarts

The Sun Gro All Purpose Potting Soil combines a superior blend of organic materials to promote the best growing conditions for greens and microgreens. But, it’s all-purpose functionality makes the seed starter great for a host of other plants. In addition to greens, the all-purpose potting mix is also ideal for house plants, hanging baskets, and patio containers.

The seed starter mix is formulated using a mix of 40% to 50% Canadian sphagnum peat moss, composted worm castings, aged softwood bark, compost, composted rice hulls, composted pumice, cinders, horticulture grade perlite, and controlled release plant food. The slow-release food enriches the mix with nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate, and potash, to name a few.

These strong nutrients provide the plants with a superior start. On the other hand, the use of Canadian peat moss offers incredible soil conditioning functions while helping you save water. This type of peat can retain up to 20 times its weight in moisture. So, it retains a high amount of water, slowly releasing it as the seeds need.

Pros

  • Slow-release fertilizer to promote a better start
  • Organic soil conditioner provides moisture regulation and air circulation
  • Excellent water control releases moisture as seeds need it
  • Worm castings provide an ideal seed germination environment

Cons

  • Attracts spiders

9. Burpee Organic Coconut Coir Concentrated Seed Starting Mix

Burpee Organic Coconut Coir Concentrated Seed Starting Mix, 16 Quart

  • Ingredients: Coconut coir
  • Size: 16 quarts (8 quarts x 2)

The Burpee Organic Coconut Coir offers a single-ingredient seed starter that provides an impressive growing medium for a wide range of plants.  The seed starting blocks also come with good value for money, offering you two 2 blocks for the price of one. On the other hand, the compressed block design allows for convenient storage and portable transportation of the mix.

The seed starting mix is made using 100% sustainable and renewable coconut coir, extracted from the husks of harvested coconuts. Each seed starter block comes as a compressed brick that instantly expands to about 8 quarts upon adding 4.5 quarts of water to it. So, you get a total of 16 quarts worth of seed starting mix.

Using 100% organic coconut coir comes with plenty of benefits. The high quality seed starter boosts seed germination and root growth by optimizing moisture retention and aeration. The 100% natural and organic coconut coir boasts natural water-conserving properties to ensure your seeds are always moist. With moist seeds, you don’t have to worry about the possibility of them drying and dying off. 

The OMRI-listed seed starter also improves nutrient absorption, whether growing flowers, houseplants, vegetables, or herbs, to name a few. In fact, these seed starting blocks are built to work with a vast range of plants, including indoor and house plants and a selection of outdoor plants.  This seed starter mix also comes with a treatment advantage, which makes it resistant to diseases and pathogens.

Pros

  • Excellent natural renewable alternative to peat moss
  • Can be mixed with most potting soils and compost
  • Coconut coir brick expands within 2 minutes
  • Excellent moisture retention

Cons

  • Can be a little costly

10. Home Grown Garden Seed Starter Peat Pellets

Seed Starter Peat Pellets for Gardening – Plant Seed Starter Pods for Planting Veggies, Flower Seeds, and Herb Garden Cuttings – Peat Moss Garden Starter Soil Pellets by Home Grown (42mm, 100count)

  • Ingredients: Peat
  • Size: 100 pellets

If you want to achieve the most beautiful ornamental flower garden, the Home Grown Garden Seed Starter Peat Pellets can help you do so. Packed in a 100-count bag, these peat pellets allow you to plant and grow up to 100 flower plants, giving you excellent bang for your buck. However, you can also use the pellets for vegetable seeds and herb garden cuttings.

Made from 100% organic peat, these pellets promote fast, natural, and healthy controlled growing. The peat also contains naturally occurring antimicrobial characteristics to control and prevent possible fungal diseases. This, in turn, creates a safer environment for the full potential growth of your plants.

Further, these naturally biodegradable peat pellets make handling and transplanting easy after the flowers are established. All you do is transfer the plant while still in the pellets into your permanent growing media, whether garden bed or pots. Over time, the organic peat pellets break down to mix with the potting soil, providing the soil with much-needed nutrients.

Pros

  • Comes in 36 mm to 50mm sizes to accommodate small to large plants
  • Great for flowers, herbs, and vegetables
  • Non-GMO and organic
  • Easy to transplant

Cons

  • May require frequent watering to establish absorption

11. Mountain Valley Seed Minute Soil Compressed Coco Coir Fiber

Minute Soil - Compressed Coco Coir Fiber Grow Medium - 40 MM Wafers - Bag of 30 = 5.5 Quarts of Potting Soil - Indoor Container Gardening: Seed Starts, Wheatgrass, More - Just Add Water - OMRI Organic

  • Ingredients: Coconut Coir
  • Size: 30 pellets

The Mountain Valley Seed Minute Soil Compressed Coco Coir Fiber is among the best coconut Coir pellet seed starters. The pellet pack offers thirty 40mm coco coir fiber wafers that can be activated by simply adding water to give you a total of 5.5 quarts of potting soil.

The OMRI-listed organic coconut coir is also made from sustainable raw coconut and offers the full benefits of natural coir. The raw and fibrous coconut coir also offers a lightweight function to accommodate delicate seeds and seedlings. Further, its non-amendment nature gives you more freedom to control your seed germination, letting you add the fertilizer when you see fit.

However, the seed starting pellets still guarantee optimal water holding capacity and aeration for superior and faster plant growth and root development rates. The versatile coco coir fiber pellets can be used on their own as a straight growing medium for plant seeds.

Alternatively, you can add water to them to expand them and add them to your garden soil. Doing so helps to boost your soil’s water retention ability and aeration. Further, the seed starter pellets work for a vast range of plants, including indoor seed starts and house plants, garden soil, flower gardens, vegetables, wheatgrass, microgreens, and herbs.

Pros

  • Compressed pellets easily expand by adding water
  • Can be used as a growing medium or expanded and added to garden soil
  • Works for indoor and outdoor plants
  • Made from pure and untreated raw coconut coir

Cons

  • Very little supply – you need to buy multiple bags for more plants

12. Mountain Valley Seed Minute Soil Compressed Coco Coir Block

Minute Soil - Compressed Coco Coir Fiber Grow Medium - 1 Block = 15 Gallons of Potting Soil (Approx Wheelbarrow Full) - Gardening, Flowers, Herbs, Microgreens - Add Water - Peat Free - OMRI Organic

  • Ingredients: Coconut Coir
  • Size: 1 block/15 gallons

The Mountain Valley Seed Minute Soil Compressed Coco Coir Block offers more seed starter supply to accommodate more plants. The single block can produce up to 15 gallons of finely textured coconut coir when activated by water, equivalent to the size of a wheelbarrow. This premium quality coco fiber block guarantees impressive plant growth results by optimizing seed germination.

Additionally, the seed starter block does an incredible job when it comes to root development. The compressed organic and OMRI-listed coco coir fiber comes in a block but instantly expands to fine soil-like consistency when mixed with water. In this state, the block offers more freedom for your seeds to develop and roots to grow and expand.

The conditions of the coco coir promote faster root growth and nutrient absorption rate. Compared to other seed starter mixes or regular soil, this compressed coco coir delivers incredible results with bigger plants. The best part is that the mixture works for various types of garden plants, including flowers, herbs, and vegetables.

Pros

  • Promotes optimal root development
  • Yields a wheelbarrow worth of seed starter when activated (expands by up to 15 times its size)
  • Comes in a lightweight and portable block
  • Organic and unamended

Cons

  • A little costly

13. Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix

Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix, 2-pack 8 qt., For Use in Containers

  • Ingredients: Sphagnum peat moss, perlite, fertilizer, wetting agent, ammonium nitrate, ammonium phosphate (monobasic), calcium phosphate, and potassium phosphate
  • Size: 8 quarts

The Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix offers outstanding value for money, thanks to its affordability and two 8-quart pack offer for the cost of one. However, this seed starting pot mix doesn’t stand out for its affordability alone.

The proprietary blend of sphagnum peat moss, perlite, fertilizer, wetting agent, and other components is specially formulated to boost faster root development. Furthermore, the formula is enriched with patented Miracle Gro plant food to ensure adequate nutrient supply throughout the plant’s growth process.

You can use this seed starting mix for seeds or leaf, stem, and root cuttings. You can use the mix to grow vegetables, herbs, and slower seeds.  This seed starting mix is ideal for adding to plant growing containers. But, you should avoid using the potting mix for in-ground gardens as it is not designed for such use.

Pros

  • Formulated for fast root development and strength
  • Works for seeds,  leaf, stem, and root cuttings
  • Very affordable – 2 packs for the price of one
  • Enriched with fertilizer and plant food

Cons

  • Not fully organic (contains some chemical ingredients)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Much Will I Pay for Seed Starting Mix?

You should expect to pay anywhere between $10 and as much as $50 for a bag or block of seed starting mix. The pricing varies based on multiple factors, including ingredients, size, and functionality. You will also pay more for an organic seed starting mix than chemically or artificially altered mixes.

What is the Best Liquid to Add to Growing Seeds?

Plain water is the best liquid to add to growing seeds. Remember, you need to create a consistently moist environment for seeds to successfully germinate and grow. Make sure your seed starting growing media is moist and bears optimal moisture retention properties. Some growers also use sugar water for some seeds.

Does Seed Starting Soil Require Fertilizer?

During the beginning of seed planting, seed starting soil doesn’t require fertilizer at all. This is because seeds naturally pack an adequate amount of fertilizer and components to promote germination and growth. All the seeds require is water and an ideal growing environment to activate the growth process.

Over time, as the seeds grow and sprout, they quickly deplete their nutrients. During this time, after transplanting the small plants, you can begin to add supplemental fertilizer to provide the plants with adequate nutrients. You may even find seed starting mixes with slow or controlled-release fertilizer formulated for this particular function.

Can I Start Seeds Using Regular Soil?

You can start seeds in regular soil. But, doing so doesn’t guarantee successful germination and growth of the seeds to produce healthy plants. This is because regular garden dirt can be heavy and not very well drained. This, in turn, prevents proper root development, growth, and expansion. It also prevents the proper uptake of water to further promote growth.

The heavy nature of the soil may also put too much pressure on the delicate parts of the seeds, causing permanent damage and death. Further, taking soil from your garden comes with the risks of weeds, pests, and disease infestation, which may be transferred to the newly growing plants.

DIY or commercially available seed starting mixes are specially formulated to accommodate seed germination and growth. The mixes are light, fine-textured, and well-drained. Further, they are sterilized to prevent pest activity, diseases, and weeds.

What is the Difference between Seed Starting and Potting Soil Mix?

The main difference between the seed starting and potting soil mix is their consistency and functions. Seed starting soil mix tends to be lighter, finely textured, and well-drained to create the perfect environment for seed germination.

However, seed starting mixes aren’t formulated to feed seedlings long-term. On the other hand, potting soil mix is formulated to feed plants for longer periods. This mix is usually heavier and denser, making it an unsuitable environment for seed germination and growth.

Can I Use Potting Soil Mix to Start Seeds?

You should avoid using potting soil mix to start seeds. This is because potting mixes offer a coarser texture and are much heavier and denser. With chunks of materials and rich nutrients, potting mix creates an unsuitable environment for the much tender and delicate seeds to germinate. Instead, you want to use the ideal seed starting mix to start seeds.

The verdict

Different inexperienced growers and gardeners use different growing media and soils to start seeds. While these methods sometimes work, they don’t offer consistent results and aren’t always successful. If you want to enjoy the best growth, rich blossoms, fragrant herbs, hefty fruit harvest, and delicious vegetables, you have to invest in the best soil to start seeds.

These mixes are simply formulated and optimized to create superior conditions for growing your seeds. After all, with their own sufficient supply of nutrients, seeds simply require the right moisture retention, ample aeration, and accommodation of their tender roots and shoots to thrive. This is exactly what seed starters offer, whether you are gardening as a hobby, for sustenance, or commercially.

Are you ready to transform your gardening journey? Try out our favorite versatile recommendation, the Epsoma Organic Seed Starter Premium Potting Soil Mix. If you are growing plants hydroponically, instead, go for the VPS OrganiPlug Hydroponic Seed Starter Plugs.

If you are on an ultra-tight budget, we have just the right steal for you. Available at an affordable price tag, the Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix comes in 2 packets for the cost of one.

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