Can You Use Garden Soil For Indoor Plants?

As a starter with no experience in growing indoor plants, it’s normal for you to wonder if you can use the nutrient-rich soil from your garden for your indoor plants.

You might think that all a plant needs to grow is rich soil and your garden has an abundance of that. So why not use it? Well in this article I’ll be telling you all you need to know about using garden soil for indoor plants.

But before we go into the extra details about garden soil for indoor plants, let’s answer the big question.

Can You Use Garden Soil For Indoor Plants

Can You Use Garden Soil For Indoor Plants?

Well, sadly no. You shouldn’t use garden soil for indoor plants. If you do, you’ll notice soon enough that your indoor plants are struggling and don’t seem to be surviving well.

Now you might be confused and wondering why they would struggle to survive when your garden plants thrive so easily on the same soil.

Well here’s the thing…

Garden soil is way too tightly packed for indoor plants to grow in it. Its composition of clay, sand, and silt is too heavy and tends to compact when they get dry thus resulting in poor aeration. Asides from the poor aeration, garden soil can’t hold water and nutrients long enough for indoor plants to get their required nutrients.

And that’s why you shouldn’t use garden soil for indoor plants at all. I guess you’re wondering what you should do now, and what type of soil your indoor plants need. Let’s find out.

What Type Of Soil Do Indoor Plants Need?

Well, you now know that garden soil is a bad choice for your indoor plants due to its lack of aeration and other disqualifying traits.

The new focus is on what characteristics or soil features are essential for indoor plants?.

Well, they include:

Good Water Drainage

Excessive watering will surely make your indoor plants wilt, so what can prevent this?. Good soil that permits easy drainage of water will prevent your indoor plants from wilting due to overwatering.

If the soil holds water for too long and doesn’t drain it, your indoor plants won’t survive.

Moisture Retention

Even though the soil is supposed to have good drainage, it should be able to retain enough water for the plant to use. It shouldn’t get dried easily, rather it should drain the excess water and retain a harmless amount for the plants to absorb.

Aerated And Light Weight

Now, heavy or thick soil won’t work for your indoor plants at all. The soil needs to be lightweight and well aerated. The plant roots have to be able to breathe within the soil and thrive well else the plant won’t grow.

Nutrient Balance

The whole essence of good soil is for your plants to feed well and obtain good nutrients from it, isn’t it?. For a particular soil to be fit for your indoor plants it has to contain a balanced amount of nutrients which includes nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

A soil without these nutrients is typically a no-no for your indoor plants.

So now that you know the exact things your indoor plants require from the soil, what next?. You’re possibly confused because you believe your garden soil has these properties too so they shouldn’t be a wrong choice for indoor plants.

You’re likely dying to know the details of why garden soil is bad for your indoor plants. I’ll tell you…

Why Is Garden Soil Bad For Indoor Plants?

If you’re here I guess you love details like me and that’s great. Now, here is an explanation of the reasons why garden soil is bad for indoor plants.

They’re centered on:

Water Accumulation

Most garden soils can’t drain water properly so water gets accumulated in the soil. This is one reason why it’s not fit for indoor plants because they can wilt if they’re in overly wet soil for long.

Compact And Heavy

Garden soil is heavy! Yes, it’s too heavy for indoor plants to grow in it. Why do you think it’s heavy? It’s because its particles are tightly packed together and the soil is thick. Most times the garden soil could be dry and hard which is unsuitable for indoor plants.

Critters And Bugs

I do believe you know that your garden soil contains many critters and bugs. While some of these bugs may not really pose a problem to the indoor plants and can even be good for the soil, others may be catastrophic.

They may flourish as pests since they’re in a better environment and then start destroying your indoor plants.

Unbalanced Moisture

Garden soil does not have the moisture balance required by indoor plants. It cannot maintain a medium moisture level that’s suitable for indoor plants. The garden soil is usually too wet or too dry which is not right for indoor plants.

Random Diseases

The likes of fungus, spores, and bacteria that are bad for the growth of indoor plants can be found in garden soil. They can spread easily inside your home and may be uncomfortable and detrimental to your health and not just the plants alone.


Garden soil is susceptible to weed invasion, and this may affect the growth of your indoor plants. When you bring in your garden soil, you’ve probably brought a few unwanted weed seeds in with it, so they eventually germinate to become a nuisance to your indoor plants.

So, I hope you’re now satisfied and convinced that garden soil is not good for your indoor plants.

What can I use for my indoor plants instead of garden soil?

Potting mix is the go-to soil-less and healthy mixture for your indoor plants. It’s a mixture of many natural elements like peat moss, compost, sand, and perlite that are all good for your indoor plants.

Final Words

So should you use garden soil for your indoor plants? Definitely not. They are detrimental to your indoor plants for many reasons which we have analyzed and discussed in detail.

So if you were planning on using your garden soil for your indoor plants, I’m glad I saved you from the terrible consequences that may have resulted from your action.

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