Potting Mix or Soil?

Potting mix and soil are different and are used for different applications.

Potting mix is used in pots and containers, not in the garden.

Soil is found and used in the garden and never in pots.


So what’s the difference?


Potting Mix

Container or potted plants prefer plenty of drainage and a sterile environment. So, to begin with, a good potting medium will have no soil! Usually this means it is a combination of coconut coir or peat moss, pine bark, and vermiculite or perlite (none of which provide nutrition to plants). This is what potting mix is usually made up of, despite looking just like plain old dirt. These ingredients on their own are definitely not an effective potting medium but together create a great environment for pot plants.

Good potting mediums stay aerated and do not compact in pots and containers. They are sterile, hold moisture so they won’t dry out too quickly and provide plenty of oxygen to the roots.


Hello Hello Plants Melbourne Victoria Australia Debco Premium Potting Mix 25 litre bag

General Potting Mix Ingredients

  • Decomposed pine bark
  • Coconut coir
  • Sand
  • Wetting agent
  • Controlled release fertilizer


If you’re unsure, always read the ingredients list on the bag.


Hello Hello Plants Melbourne Victoria Australia AUstralian Standards Red TickFor the best quality potting mix, look for the red tick logo on the bag. This signifies that the potting mix has fertilizer and has met the Australian Standards for Premium Potting Mix.



Did you know almost all potting mixes have fertilizer already in them?


Depending on where you live, the soil in your garden will be made up of different Hello Hello Plants Melbourne Victoria Australia Digging in the garden close up of foot and shovelpercentages of clay, silt and sand. If you live near the beach, generally your soil will be more sandy; if you’re in the highlands you’re more likely to have more clay, silt or a combination of all three creating loam. Even in a single suburban garden your soil can vary every few centimetres! In the back corner you may have a dense clay-loam soil built up from pooling water, but near your clothes line there could be more sand from a pre-existing path that was laid down.


Soil can be very complicated and difficult to get right. Some drain poorly and are too compacted for new roots to grow through. Others don’t retain nutrients or water well. We have found that the number one cause for plant deaths in customer gardens is the soil quality. And it can easily be fixed!

There are many ways in which you can amend your soil to create the perfect environment for your plants to thrive. But to fix your soil you first need to know what type of soil you have.


Find out what type of soil you have here.

Soil Amendments

Hello Hello Plants Melbourne Victoria Australia Soil amendments saw dust, charcoal, coir, compost, diatomaceous earth, straw, leaves, wood ash

Soil amendments such as compost, sawdust, wood ash and leaf mulch just to name a few


A soil amendment improves the physical qualities of the soil, creating a better

environment for roots to grow and

ultimately improving the health and well-being of your plant.


Click here for a list of Soil Amendments and their uses


Below is a list of soils and potting mixes with their uses explained.


Our Potting Mixes:

Superior Organic Potting & Planting Mix Hello Hello Plants Melbourne Victoria Australia Debco Superior Organic Potting Mix

  • For pots and gardens
  • Has great water retention
  • Contains organic blood and bone
  • Composted pine bark
  • pH balanced




Hello Hello Plants Melbourne Victoria Australia Debco Premium Potting Mix 25 litre bagPremium Potting Mix

  • Indoor and outdoor plants
  • Used for broad range of plants including ferns, flowering and foliage plants, trees and shrubs, annuals and perennials




Hello Hello Plants Melbourne Victoria Australia Debco Native Potting MixNative Potting and Planting Soil

  • Banksia, Wattle, Proteas and Cordylines and Flaxes
  • Low phosphorus
  • 6 months of feed




Hello Hello Plants Melbourne Victoria Australia Debco Cacti & Succulent MixCacti and Succulent Mix

  • Made with good drainage and aeration
  • Contains 6 months of feed




Other potting mixes and garden soils

Seed Raising Mix

  • Coarse Sand
  • Composted pine bark
  • Mineral fertilisers

DIY Seed Raising Mix

  • 2 parts sifted compost (remove all large chunks, seeds don’t like large chunks of bark)
  • 1 part coconut coir
  • 1 part sand
  • Sprinkle of worm castings or Blood and Bone

5 Way Mix

  • Rich, fertile soil used for vegetable gardens and heavy feeders.
  • Can differ from supplier to supplier
  • Usually made up of 2 soils and 3 manures
  • Can be used to improve existing soils

3 Way Mix

  • Can differ from supplier to supplier
  • Usually 2 soils and 1 manure mixed
  • Used for planting large trees and natives or improving existing soils