what happens if you use potting soil in the ground

what happens if you use potting soil in the ground

What Happens if You Use Potting Soil in the Ground?

Using potting soil in the ground is a popular question and one many gardeners struggle to answer. It is an interesting concept that many gardeners don’t understand. There are indeed consequences to using potting soil in the ground, and these should be taken into consideration when making this decision.

What is Potting Soil?

Potting soil, also known as potting mix or potting compost, is a soilless mix of organic matter and other additives made specifically for container gardening. Generally, it is composed of peat moss, peat humus, perlite, vermiculite, and other items. The goal of potting soil is to provide the right combination of air, moisture, and nutrients for the plants.

Consequences of Using Potting Soil in the Ground

  • Nutrients: Potting soil does not provide the same level of nutrients needed for healthy plant growth as soil does. There is a greater chance of fertilizer burn with potting soil and your plants may become over-fertilized.
  • Compaction: Potting soil may become compacted in the ground over time, creating an inhospitable environment for plants.
  • Soil Structure: Potting soil does not contain the beneficial organisms and minerals which give soil its structure and allow plants to thrive. This can lead to poor water drainage and nutrient absorption.
  • Weeds: Potting soil is usually void of weed seeds, which can be beneficial for gardens free of weeds. However, the lack of beneficial organisms and nutrients will allow weeds to gain a foothold, making them harder to remove.


Using potting soil in the ground can have serious consequences. It may not provide the correct levels of nutrients, compaction can reduce the soil structure, and weeds may become more difficult to remove. To ensure a successful garden, it is best to opt for soil or soil-based compost.