7 Best Seed Starting Mixes to Buy In 2020
As you plan your garden, there are some important decisions that you will need to make. One of these decisions will involve choosing the kinds of plants to grow and also whether to plant them by buying seedlings or start them as seeds. But regardless of what you opt to do, you will need to get a good seed starting mix.
A seed starting mix provides the right environment for seeds to germinate and choosing the right one is vital because it ensures that you give the plants the best start. Also, it is important to know what sets it apart from the regular potting soils and the factors to consider when buying a mix for your seeds.
Table of Contents
- 7 Best Seed Starting Mixes - Reviews
- Potting Mix Vs. Seed Starting Mix
- Things to Consider When Buying Seed Starting Mix
7 Best Seed Starting Mixes - Reviews
1. Espoma SS8 Organic Seed Starter
2. Hoffman 30103 Starter Soil
3. Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix
4. Gardener's Supply Company Seed Starting Mix
5. Jiffy Natural & Organic Starter
6. Black Gold 1311002 Seedling Mix
7. Coco Coir Bricks by Triumph Plant - A Natural Additive to Potting Soil
#1. Espoma SS8 Organic Seed Starter
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
The Epsoma SS8 is an organic seed starter that is ideal for all types of seedlings and cuttings. This mix has a unique formulation that promotes root growth and using it will ensure that your plants develop healthy and sturdy roots.
Epsoma SS8 contains peat humus, sphagnum peat moss, and perlite to make sure that the seeds have everything that they need to grow into healthy plants. Also, the manufacturer enhances it with a Myco-tone that not only promotes the growth of roots but also increases the uptake of water and nutrients so that you can get larger plants.
This seed starter is the most versatile mix on our list because you can use it for anything from planting seeds to starting cuttings and seedlings. Lastly, it comes in an 8-quart bag to ensure that you have enough soil for you small planting projects and it also has a zip-lock that keeps air out.
#2. Hoffman 30103 Starter Soil
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
Gardeners that are looking for a special soil mix that they can use for anything from planting new seeds to transplanting root cuttings should go for the Hoffman 30103. It has a unique formulation that makes it ideal for planting new seeds and also as a potting mix. This formulation is a blend of 6 premium components that include the Canadian sphagnum peat moss.
This soil absorbs water well, has a granular consistency and also ensures proper circulation of air which is what seeds need to grow. Also, it has a pH of between 5.6 and 5.9 which is perfect for the germination of most seeds. And it comes in a 10-quart pack with a ziplock to keep it safe from contaminants.
#3. Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Miracle-Gro is famous for making some of the best seed starting mixes and potting soils in the marker, and so you should expect nothing but top notch quality from the. This particular mix is for starting seeds and stem, leaf or root cuttings. It has a formulation that ensures fast development of roots while also providing nutrients and promoting proper drainage so that you get big and healthy plants.
This seed starter comes in an 8-quart bag with enough soil to fill two 8-inch pots, and the manufacturer enhances it with the Miracle-Gro plant food that will feed your plants for up to 6 months. Lastly, this soil is also suitable for use when doing potting or repotting for both indoor and outdoor container plants.
#4. Gardener's Supply Company Seed Starting Mix
Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)
This seed starting mix by Gardener’s Supply Company is one of the cheapest on our list. It is a finely textured blend that will ensure that you give your seeds the best start and it is ideal for use with both the regular seed-starting trays and the self-watering ones.
Gardener’s Supply Company makes this seed starting mix with their SuperRoot Booster with MycoActive technology which leads to the creation of a living soil that will help plants thrive. This technology boosts the uptake of water and nutrients while also enhancing the plant's resilience to stress so as to improve the drought tolerance.
The 6-quart bag is enough to fill two 24-cell (the 2-inch ones) seed starting trays or even three for the gardeners that prefer not fill each cell all the way to the top.
#5. Jiffy Natural & Organic Starter
Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)
The Jiffy natural and Organic Starter is the best organic seed starting mix for indoor gardening on our list. This seed starter has an OMRI (organic material review Institute) certification, and so you can be sure that it is suitable for growing organic plants.
This mix has a sweet and rich soil aroma and light texture that is perfect for seeds to develop some strong roots. The 16-quart bag is large enough for individuals with small gardens that want to start some pepper, tomato or even some eggplant seeds.
#6. Black Gold 1311002 Seedling Mix
Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)
The Black Gold 1311002 provides seedlings with the best foundation possible and ensures that they develop healthy roots. It is one of the best seed starting mixes on our list and also in the market, and it is also a fast-acting soilless mix that will help your seeds germinate within a week.
To ensure consistent penetration of water the company blends this seed starter with an organic wetting agent. The other ingredients in the mix include sphagnum peat moss, dolomite lime, and perlite. These compounds ensure that the seeds and seedlings have everything they need to grow and also help with uptake of water and nutrients while also providing perfect air circulation.
Black Gold 1311002 has an OMRI certification for the production of organic food, and you can use it for germination in pots, flats, and plug trays. Lastly, it comes in a 16-quart bag making in one of the largest in our list.
#7. Coco Coir Bricks by Triumph Plant - A Natural Additive to Potting Soil
Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)
If you are looking for an alternative for peat moss which is the most common ingredient in seed starting soils you should go for these Coco Coir Brick by Trump Plant. These bricks use coconut fibers which come from the husks of this fruit instead of peat which causes harm to the environment during its mining.
These Coth Pith Bricks do not contain any bacteria that can hamper the growth of the plants, are also odorless, do not have weeds or pesticides, and they are low in natural salts. They are the most versatile seed starting mix on our list. You can use them both indoors and outdoors and are excellent for starting seeds and seedlings in planters, greenhouses, grow bags, individual pots and vertical gardens.
Each of these bricks can hold up to 10 times of its volume in water, and so you will only need to use a little when planting. You should use these bricks with potting soil to ensure that you create a nutrient rich environment for the plants while also guaranteeing excellent drainage and aeration.
This product is the cheapest on our list, and so apart from all the benefits and various uses, you will also not need to spend a lot of money on it.
Potting Mix Vs. Seed Starting Mix
When you want to plant new seeds, you will have to choose between the potting mix and seed starting mix. Whereas it is possible to use any of them for planting seeds the type of plant that you want to grow is what determines the right soil to use.
Individuals that have been growing plants for a while will have their favorite potting media, but for new gardeners, this might not be the case. However, understanding what the two are and their differences will help you know what to use, how and when.
#1. Potting Mix
The potting mix is the most popular potting media, and it is what most gardeners use for planting their flowers and vegetables. It is a perfect pick when you want to do some potting as it is rich in most of the nutrients that the seedling need as they grow into young plants.
Also, this soil has a coarse texture, and it does not drain very well, and so it might not be appropriate for certain types of seeds. However, it also contains some fertilizer which means that it can feed the plant for several months or as the seeds germinate into some budding plants.
#2. Seed Starting Mix
A seed starting mix is what most gardeners will prefer to use when they want to plant their flowers and vegetables as seeds and not as cuttings or seedlings. It is a soilless mixture with no nutrients that provides a superior germination process for most types of seeds. This mix has a finer texture than the potting soil, and it contains ingredients like milled peat moss, coconut coir fiber, vermiculite, and perlite.
What is the Difference?
Although there are many differences between the seed starting soil and the potting soil the main one is that the seed mix will not contain any fertilizer. A seed does not need any extra fertilizers because it will provide sufficient nutrients for the plant as it germinates. Also, the seed mix is lighter than the potting mix and absorbs more water while also allowing for a lot of air circulation.
Things to Consider When Buying Seed Starting Mix
A good seed starting mix will give your plants the best start possible and so it is important to ensure that you choose only the best quality. And for this to be, so it is crucial to know the essential things to consider when choosing your seed mix.
#1. Lightweight Mix with Good Drainage
Seeds will require soil that is lightweight and also well drained to germinate. And so these are some of the first things that you should consider when shopping for a seed starting mix. A soil with the right balance of organic ingredients like perlite and vermiculite will be light enough and well-drained. Good aeration and water retention make it easy for the roots to push through and also ensure that they will get enough room for growth.
It is important to read the list of elements in any soil mix before you buy it so as to ensure that it contains everything that the seeds will need to grow into some healthy plants. Although the exact composition of the mixture will depend on the manufacturer, there are some vital elements that all good soils should contain.
Sphagnum Peat Moss
Sphagnum peat moss is one of these essential seed mix ingredients, and it is a light compound that absorbs a lot of water to help in retaining moisture for the seeds. A soil with peat moss is perfect if you do not always remember to water the plant or if you live in dry areas. Coconut coir fiber can be a good substitute for peat moss.
Perlite is another ingredient that will be essential for the mix, and this is because it enhances aeration and water retention in the soilless mix. Although it looks like Styrofoam, it consists of small pieces of a natural volcanic mineral.
Vermiculite keeps the soil moist to ensure that your seeds do not dry out and it is an essential ingredient in most seed starter soils. It also helps to eliminate the need to keep watering the seeds.
Diatomaceous Earth is a primary ingredient in seed starting soils from some manufacturers. It acts as a natural and non-toxic fertilizer that can kill any insects which can affect the germination of your seeds. This compound also contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, silicon, iron and sodium which are all suitable for germination.
#3. Organic or Non-Organic
If you want to grow organic plants, you should start by planting the seed in an organic seed mix to ensure that you will have truly organic seedlings. There are organic and non-organic starting mixes in the market, and so you will also need to consider this fact when buying the soil. Also, if you prefer to use an organic mix, you should read the list of ingredients or even contact its manufacturer just to be certain that it is organic.
#4. Soil pH
The level of acidity and alkalinity in any soil is a vital determinant for the germination of any seed. Most seeds will grow well in soils that have a pH level of between 5.6 and 5.9. But, it is still crucial to make sure that the mix that you buy has the right pH level for the particular seeds that you intend to plant.
Read More: 7 Best Grass Seeds to Plant on Your Garden
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