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Best Soil For Herbs In Raised Beds Of 2024: Completed List

Gretchen Rubin
  May 22, 2024 7:47 AM

Aromatic leafy plant parts commonly gathered for their flavor and health advantages are used in a variety of ways, from culinary preparations to natural medicine formulations. To save money and time, grow your own herbs instead of purchasing them from the supermarket. However, in order for a herb garden to thrive, suitable growing conditions must be provided, starting with the right soil.

Most herbs thrive in rich, wet, well-drained soil that is relatively productive, although the ideal soil type depends on the specific plant being cultivated. Find out more about how to cultivate herbs, which soils work best, and which soil types are best for a successful herb garden by reading on.

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Herbs that are grown in the ground have different needs than those that are grown in pots or indoors. Garden soil, which is specifically designed for planting in the ground, is the best option for outdoor success. It's possible for garden soil to become excessively compacted in a container, diminishing its ability to drain and damaging the roots.

Using a high-quality potting soil or potting mix is the best option for indoor and container gardening. They may be used interchangeably, but they are actually two distinct items. Potting soil, as the name suggests, is a mixture of soil and other organic materials (either partially or completely). Potting mix, on the other hand, is made up of a variety of natural elements to provide a light and well-draining texture without the use of actual soil. Potting mix is the ideal option for container herb gardening since it drains easily, is sterile, and typically contains additional nutrients.

Fertilizer and Other Ingredients 

Plants thrive in soils and potting mixes that have been professionally prepared to include beneficial nutrients. An organic or chemical fertilizer can give nutrients to plants, and while the specific demands of a particular plant and its growing conditions will vary, most herbs can benefit from a combination of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Overfertilizing herbs can lead them to grow too quickly and lose their flavor, therefore the general rule is to only fertilize as needed.

A soil test for outdoor herbs can help the gardener figure out what nutrients are deficient, so that the gardener can then apply the appropriate fertilizer. Because of the tiny amount of growing material in pots and the potential loss of nutrients due to water evaporation, container herbs may require more frequent fertilization. Plant health can be improved by first using a fertilizing potting mix, and then, if necessary, by adding a fertilizer.

This fluffy, well-draining texture is created and maintained by various materials in potting mixes (soilless), such as peat moss, coconut coir, and perlite. Adding organic elements like compost and manure to garden soil and some potting soils is a common practice to improve soil health.

pH Level

Even while most herbs demand a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0, certain common species prefer a slightly alkaline or neutral soil. If you're looking for rosemary, for example, a pH of 5.0 to 6.0 is ideal. In order to assess whether or not pH-adjusting additives such as limestone or sulfur should be put to the herb garden, you need use a soil pH testing kit.

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Growing media can be supplemented with additional nutrients if desired in order to better feed plants. Organic or nonorganic (chemical) nutrients are often included in high-quality potting mixes to aid plant health.

The percentages of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in the soil are commonly shown on product labels. Additional fertilizer is usually not required for several weeks or months after the initial application of these nutrients because of their gradual release.


Now that we're talking about watering, it's hard to avoid mentioning adequate soil drainage. So, what exactly is meant by "good soil drainage" these days?

Gravity transfers water across, through, and out of soil through a process known as soil drainage. Because of this, when we water our plants and herbs, we want the water to pass through or drain the soil slowly but steadily.

Air fills in the void left by the water as it drains from the soil.

When water drains quickly and evenly from the soil, we say that the soil is well-drained. Air and oxygen can then reach the roots in this manner.

Too rapid a drainage will result in a lack of water holding capacity in the soil, which in turn will prevent plants from absorbing the necessary amount of water.

Drainage holes in the bottom of a container are an absolute necessity when filling a pot or a container with water. The roots will always be standing in water or moist if the container doesn't have holes in the bottom.

As a result of the soil being "water-logged," roots become "drowned" and eventually begin to rot due to a lack of oxygen being able to reach them. Potted indoor plants and outdoor garden plants both fall into this category.

Because of this, a well-drained, well-oxygenated soil is what we need in order to grow healthy plants. Is that some sort of soil?

Soil additives

Pine Bark

Pine bark particles that have been dried and aged can be added to a potting mix. Hundreds of thousands of tiny sponges in the soil, these pine bark fragments soak up water when they're wet, then gently release it as the soil dries out. Because of its specific particle form and size, the soil provides the roots with oxygen.


A common potting soil ingredient is perlite, which is a fine, white powder. Perlite is a volcanic rock that is mined. Under a microscope, a piece of perlite would reveal its porous nature. Using perlite as a nutrient and water storage medium is beneficial, but it also helps to remove excess water. A few of the many advantages of using perlite are its light weight, lack of toxicity, convenience of use, disease-free status, ability to hold up to four times its weight in water, ability to expand soil pore space, ease of drainage, and neutral pH.


Condensed silicate material makes vermiculite an absorbent and spongy mineral. Because of its water-holding and aeration properties, it is commonly found in potting mixes. Different sizes are available, and the color ranges from golden brown to dark brown.

The finest plants to grow in vermiculite are those that require a constantly moist soil environment. Vermiculite is good for water-loving plants since it can absorb up to four times its volume when water is added to the potting soil.

Since vermiculite shares many of the same properties as perlite, what should I use instead? Vermiculite and perlite are very different in terms of drainage and aeration. When mixed with soil, vermiculite behaves like a sponge, allowing the soil to hold more moisture than perlite and stay moist for a longer period of time. Adding perlite to the soil will improve drainage, allowing the soil to dry more rapidly and allowing the roots to receive more oxygen.

Peat Moss Sphagnum

Peat and peat moss are two separate materials, despite the similarities in their names. It's an extremely water-retentive, absorbent moss. Sand and clay soils both benefit greatly from the addition of this fine material. Drainage and aeration are improved as a result. However, it is lacking in nutrition. Acidic peat moss may necessitate the addition of lime in some circumstances to elevate the pH to neutral or higher levels. It's safe to say that peat moss is one of the most widely utilized ingredients in potting soil. Because I is readily available at a low cost, it takes a long time for it to decompose.


How can I plant herbs in pots?

It's simple to grow herbs in containers. Almost every herb can be successfully grown in a pot. Start with herbs, either from seeds or a starter plant if you prefer the easier approach. After that, all you have to do is select a suitable container with adequate drainage and a high-quality potting soil before you can begin planting.

How can I preserve potting soil? 

It's best to keep the soil in its original sealed bag if it's of a high quality. A resealable bag can be used to pour out potting soil from low-quality or damaged bags. It's a good idea to store your sealed soil bags in a sealed container for added protection.

What Kind of Potting Soil Do I Use for Herbs?

Let's take a closer look at how to care for our two sets of herbs. Let's go ahead and do it. The roots of woody Mediterranean herbs do not like to be moist and do not enjoy high nutrition levels. Because of this, we require a nutrient-rich, well-drained growth medium.

A handful of grit or sand can be added to potting compost, or you can look for compost that contains perlite or pumice in it. Avoid over-fertilized potting soils for this group of herbs.

Your lush green herbs, on the other hand, prefer their roots to be wet at all times. And don't forget to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables! Helping our herbs develop large amounts of leafy greens requires well-watered and well-nourished herb roots.

Potting soil that is high in nutrients but also has strong water retention would perform well in this situation. Adding slow-release fertilizer to your potted herbs will ensure that they have all the nutrients they need to thrive throughout the growing season.

What’s the Best Potting Mix for Outdoor Herbs?

A excellent approach to maintain a consistent supply of fresh, aromatic herbs is to grow them in containers or pots outside. However, if you want your plants to thrive, you need to use the right potting soil.

Your first time cultivating herbs? A quality all-purpose potting mix is all that is required. If you're planting woody Mediterranean herbs, add horticultural sand, grit, pumice, or perlite.

The potting mix's nutrients will be depleted as your plants grow. You don't, however, have to dig them up and replant them!

A nutrient-rich medium, like worm castings or handmade compost, can be used instead as a top dressing. The top layer of soil may benefit from a gentle pulverization with this ingredient.

Which herbs like dry soil?

Despite the fact that most herbs thrive in damp soil, some are drought-tolerant and thrive in soil that is nearly devoid of moisture around their roots. Silver mound artemisia, bay laurel, Baptista, cat thyme, fennel, and more are examples of drought-resistant herbs.

Which herbs like wet soil?

Wet soil is ideal for mint, bee balm, marshmallow, and meadowsweet. Although you should never overwater plants, you can get away with it with these herbs since they need the extra moisture. Investing in a soil humidity monitor can be a smart move.


Every garden is unique, and every gardener has their own ideas about the best soil to use for herbs and how to care for the plants that grow there. When it comes to growing herbs, some gardeners prefer to make their own compost, while others prefer to use specially formulated potting mix. For example, rosemary thrives in a loamy soil, which is why it's important to pay attention to the soil's specifics.

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