Is Potting Soil Good For Grass?

Growing Green: Can Potting Soil Help Your Grass Thrive? Let’s Find Out!

Looking for the perfect soil for your grass? New gardeners might be surprised to discover that all types of soil work for every purpose – potting soil and topsoil are actually two very different things.

Potting soil, while ideal for indoor plants and sometimes even raised garden beds, isn’t the best thing to use for grass. Potting soil lacks certain nutrients, which grass seeds need to thrive.

For a better idea of how potting soil affects grass, keep reading.

Is Potting Soil Good For Grass?

Even though potting soil is widely used, when it comes to putting down new soil for your lawn, potting soil is far from the best option. Unlike other types of soil, it doesn’t have the nutrients that grass needs to grow properly. 

Why Doesn’t Potting Soil Work For Grass?

Potting soil is generally composed of things like bark, sphagnum moss, perlite, and compost. It’s usually sterile, to avoid transferring any fungus or bacteria to indoor plants.

Grass, on the other hand, needs nutrients in the native soil to thrive. Failing that, it needs soil additives that can provide the necessary additions – something potting soil doesn’t have.

Is Potting Soil Good For Grass Seed?

Potting soil might provide a base for grass seed, but it won’t provide any nutrition for the grass the way other soils or soil additives would. 

Grass seed planted with potting soil is unlikely to grow properly or take root. 

Can You Use Potting Soil To Grow Grass, Under Any Circumstances?

Potting soil on its own will do a poor job of growing grass. It won’t provide the proper foundation for a healthy lawn. 

However, combined with topsoil, or a soil called loam, it may provide additional aeration or ground cover, which may be necessary for certain types of soils or climates.

So What Type of Soil Should Be Used With Grass and Grass Seed?

The best type of soil to use for grass and grass seed is topsoil, or loam.

Either of these will provide a balance of the necessary ground cover and nutrients to help your grass thrive. 

What Is The Difference Between Topsoil and Loam?

The difference between Topsoil and Loam is that topsoil is naturally occurring, whereas loam is specially formulated for the purpose of providing the optimum soil balance and nutrients for gardeners and landscapers.


Loam is primarily made up of sand, silt and clay. 

Sandy loam soil is prized by gardeners, farmers and landscapers as the ideal medium for planting.


Topsoil is recycled dirt, removed from the top 12 inches of the earth during construction projects. Like loam, it usually has a mixture of sand, silt and clay.

Topsoil is naturally occurring, and often contains organic matter mixed into the rest of the earth. The  type of organic matter varies according to the region from which the topsoil is removed.

Because the organic components vary, the quality of the topsoil also varies more than that of loam. For some gardeners, that makes it less ideal for using on lawns and grass.

What Can You Use Potting Soil For?

The best use for potting soil is to contain and support indoor plants, which need to avoid exposure to microbes and fungi, and need a lighter soil to give roots room to grow and yet still retain moisture.

Potting soil can also be used for starting garden plants. The potting soil can help support and protect the seedlings as they mature and grow, during the first few weeks when they are more fragile.

Some special types of potting soil can be used for specific plants, such as specially formulated soil for cacti.

Can Potting Soil Be Used For Raised Flower Beds?

Potting soil can be used for raised flower beds or large containers, but it’s not considered ideal. Potting soil is usually more expensive than other types of soil, and it doesn’t work as well for nourishing plants.

Flower beds are generally too large for the benefits to be worth the expense.

Why Does It Matter Which Type Of Soil You Get For Different Environments?

Different types of soil can provide better support and aeration for different types of plants and growing spaces. 

Without the proper soil balance, plants or ground cover like grass won’t take root and grow. The presence, or absence, of certain minerals or microbes can make all the difference.

Final Thoughts

Potting soil is good for a number of different uses. However, it doesn’t work well for enhancing lawn growth.

In general, potting soil doesn’t have the necessary nutrients to help grass thrive. It doesn’t work as well as topsoil, and it’s also more expensive. 

If you need to boost the health of your lawn, or if you plan to start new grass seed, the best thing to do is use topsoil or loam to help add nutritive elements to the ground to help your grass grow properly.

Nadine is a passionate gardening writer sharing practical tips, innovative ideas, and valuable insights on plant and soil care, In her spare time, she tries to convince her plants to grow by singing them catchy tunes.

Calculate the amount of soil you need for pots, raised beds or planter with the help of this easy to use Soil Calculator