Seed Starting Mix vs Potting Soil

Meet our Editorial Team, a collection of expert gardeners, writers, and DIY aficionados committed to delivering top-notch content. From organic gardening and indoor plant care to culinary arts and home improvements, we cover a wide spectrum of topics to enrich your life.
Learn About Our Editorial Policy

2-Minute Read

Seed starting mix vs potting soil, which one you should use to sow seeds and why? This post will answer your questions.

Seed starting mix vs potting soil, which one you should use to sow seeds and why? This post will answer your questions.

Many plants in nature grow where it suits them. A seed falls on the ground, quickly produces a sprout without any human intervention. All those seeds that do not fall off on the fertile ground never germinate.
Similarly, when a gardener sow seeds they require the optimum growing medium to germinate. An optimal seed starting mix creates the best conditions for this journey.

What is Seed Starting Mix

The term “seed starting mix” or “seed starting soil” is used interchangeably. When compared to potting soil, seed starting mix is poor in nutrients, as low as possible (or have controlled nutrients for specific plants).
The other difference is that seed soil is sterilized and have a very fine substrate.

You can buy this at the garden center or learn how to make seed starting mix.

Seed Starting Mix vs Potting Soil 

  1. Because substrate for seed germination should be low in nutrients. Just to make sure the young roots do every effort to be a neat stretch to get food. This helps in developing healthy young plants with well-branched, vigorous root system.
  2. Growing medium should be permeable, loose and crumbly, more important when you’re sowing tiny seeds. Only in such an environment, the tender roots can spread well. Only then is a steady water supply is possible without waterlogged conditions.
  3. The third major reason is that the seed starting mix keeps the saplings free from diseases as it is sterilized. This also ensures that no unwanted seeds of pesky weeds or plants sprout from it with which your seedling has to compete.

Starting Seeds in Potting Soil

You can definitely start seeds in potting soil. Vegetable seeds such as tomatoes, cabbage, and pepper germinate easily in potting soil.

Now when the difference is clearly distinguished in “Seed Starting Mix vs Potting soil” it makes a perfect sense to use a seed starting mix for successful sowing, only the question remains to be answered is: You have to buy it or make your own?

Why Buy a Seed Starting Mix?

  • No specialized knowledge is necessary, if, in case you’re a beginner, it is better for you.
  • Buying ready-made will save time.
  • There are different types of mixes and products are available in the market, which you buy according to the type of seeds sowing needs that means more options available.

Why Make Your Own Seed Starting Mix

  • Unnecessarily pricey, cheaper option is to make your own seed starting mix.
  • Purchased seed starting mix is artificial, nutrient-free and sterile. Your in-house production will retain the biological nature or naturalness of the substrate.
  • Making your own seed starting mix can be a fun. On top of that, there is a good feeling to know exactly what’s inside.

Recent Posts

Join our 3 Million Followers:


Related Articles


  1. Love your ideas of planting veggies and fruit , but would like to know where to buy organic banana seeds , thank you and have a wonderful new year

  2. Excellent information on the difference of soils. Would recommend this article for all growers experienced and non-experienced. Great Job!!

  3. I have two old bags of seed starting soil. At least 2 yrs old. Can I combine this with regular potting soil and possibly add or not add amendments such as perlite, blood meal, worm casings and other fertilizers or am I doing too much?

  4. Appreciate the clarification between the 2 mixes. It would have made sense to conclude with instructions on how to make your own seeding mix or a link to that information elsewhere.

  5. I want to make a good germination in in sidling tray using soilless growing media . Then I will tranfer all the sidlings in agriculture field .Will you tell me please the proper ratio of ingradients . Only cocopeath ,coarse sand and vermicompost are available here .

  6. As an amateur I started my seedlings in potting mix instead of seed seed starting mix How can I make sure they survive all of the extra nutrients?

  7. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that there are multiple grammar mistakes throughout this article. I’m a writer and editor and if you would like help making your website more readable, I would love to help.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here