I have been gardening for many years and what I have learned is not all soil is created equal. I am sure you feel the same way. There is nothing more disappointing than seeing plants sulk after you plant them in what you think is great soil. So when I started potting up perennials in January I had to get some soil. My usual sources did not have soil in yet. I mean, it was only January. Who would be asking for soil then? Of course, I was. This winter had been unusually mild and I needed to move some Irises. I finally bought a bag of top soil from the local garden center. I figured it would be okay for a temporary home for my plants. I set out to pot up the Irises with the top soil. I soon ran out of the bags of top soil and found my favourite soil, Dutch Treat, at West Coast Seeds. I planted the rest of the Irises in it.
So the Iris on the right is the one I planted back in late January. The one on the left is the same Iris planted in February in Dutch Treat potting soil. Which one would you buy? I don’t really have to ask, do I?
Not only does this Iris look sickly with its stunted growth, it has brown marks on the leaves. At first I thought it was the plant itself having issues. Then I noticed the Alstromeria I had planted in pots with the same top soil hadn’t thrived either.
This Iris is looking great in the better quality soil. What will I do with the poor plants in the top soil? I will replant them using the Dutch Treat potting soil. Not only is it a better draining soil, it obviously has what my plants need. Lesson learned: Be patient and only use what is tested and proven to be great soil. It may cost you double the price but its worth it in the end.
Cheap top soil at our local garden center-$4.99
Dutch treat potting soil $7.99
I would rather pay the extra money for soil I know will work for my garden. Where will the top soil go? In the compost or on the garden beds. If it says top soil its best used to top dress your garden beds. Its too heavy for any container plants.