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What Do I Feed Plants After Planting in Miracle-Gro Organic Soil?

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Potting mixes aren’t subject to any standards — some contain plain old garden soil and some contain an intricate mix of anything but. Most fall somewhere in between. Scotts Miracle-Gro produces Organic Choice Potting Mix with starter fertilizer added. The label warns not to add fertilizer, but know what’s in this mix and when to begin fertilizing after its added value is used by your plants.

Container Gardening Basics

Whatever you’re growing in pots, be it flowers, fruits or vegetables, your plants’ roots must work hard to find a steady supply of air, light and moisture. Plants in confined spaces need a mix of ingredients that is lightweight, can retain moisture without becoming waterlogged and that drains easily without turning into hard pan. Ingredients might include compost, shredded wood, sand, vermiculite, perlite, sand or sterilized soil. You’d also have to supply a steady stream of nutrients, typically with one-half or one-quarter strength fertilizer applied more frequently than you fertilize the same plants in the outdoor garden. If you use the company’s Organic Choice All Purpose Concentrate fertilizer, that would mean 1/4 or 1/2 ounce in 2 gallons of water. Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix claims to combine an effective potting mix and starter fertilizer.

Miracle-Gro Goes Organic

Garden center potting mixes certainly represent a step forward in convenience, but because there are no binding standards for potting mixes, you’ll need to check the bag to see what it contains. When Scotts got into the potting mix business, it began marketing its new product by associating it with the name of its familiar Miracle-Gro fertilizers. Miracle-Gro fertilizer is composed of chemical fertilizers, so the company addressed the apparent conflict in the name Miracle-Gro Organic by using chicken litter, a compost of chicken manure and bedding.

What’s In the Bag

Miracle-Gro Organic Potting Mix contains chicken litter, composted, but unspecified, bark and sphagnum moss. Its label lists an analysis of 0.1 percent nitrogen, 0.05 percent available phosphates and 0.05 percent soluble potassium. As 97 percent of the nitrogen is slow-release, the label claims that no fertilizer is needed by plants for “up to 2 months.” Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix is certified as a Premium Potting Soil by the Mulch and Soil Council, a trade association of producers of mulches, soils and potting mixes. It is listed by the Organic Materials Research Institute to U.S. National Organic Program standards.

What’s Left Unsaid

Remember — there are as many standards for terms such as “organic” and “natural” as there are organizations writing them. Also keep in mind that the usefulness of any natural or organic ingredients depend on how completely they’ve been composted. Chicken litter varies in its nitrogen content according to type of chicken and volume of bedding material used to produce it. Whether you water from the top or bottom can determine whether fertilizer washes through the potting mix quickly or stays put. Adding fertilizer to Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix at planting time may burn roots. When to start fertilizing after six to eight weeks, though, depends on how nitrogen-needy your plant is. Look for the typical signs of slowing growth or allover yellowing before fertilizing.

  • University of Vermont Extension: Potting Mixes for Organic Growers
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources: Product Information: Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food Concentrate 15-30-15
  • Scotts Miracle-Gro: Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix Product Label
  • Scotts Safety Data Sheet: Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix
  • Organic Materials Review Institute: Products List Search: Soil Amendments, and Crop, Fertilizers
  • Extension: Organic Potting Mix Basics

An avid perennial gardener and old house owner, Laura Reynolds has had careers in teaching and juvenile justice. A retired municipal judgem Reynolds holds a degree in communications from Northern Illinois University. Her six children and stepchildren served as subjects of editorials during her tenure as a local newspaper editor.

What Do I Feed Plants After Planting in Miracle-Gro Organic Soil?. Potting mixes aren’t subject to any standards — some contain plain old garden soil and some contain an intricate mix of anything but. Most fall somewhere in between. Scotts Miracle-Gro produces Organic Choice Potting Mix with starter fertilizer …

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Purchased a 25qt bag of Miracle-Gro potting soil to repot house plants, after planting the plants stopped growing. The leaves went limp. So I checked the PH, etc., I was raised on a farm. I’m not a newbie to growing but these plants stopped growing then I noticed fungus knots. I tried everything I know to rid of them, I did get them under control but then noticed round, some clear, some yellowish orange eggs in the soil. So I took all miracle gro soil out and went thru it. What I found is little yellowish pieces that looks to be beetles, the adults actually look like a piece of yellow shell. How I know is I put them under a microscope. It’s very hard to see that they are a pest without a microscope so I thought maybe it was a bad bag so I bought another bag but of the moisture control. When I got it home opened the bag.

I thoroughly went thru the soil then I knew for certain the pest came in the first bag because the second bag had lots of the same eggs with lots of LIVE adults and I still haven’t found what they really are. The closest I got is it looks to be in the beetle family. Beware if you buy this soil, if you do go thru it to look for any clear, yellowish eggs or in the adults they look like a seed that has cracked open but they have a yellow shell. I would’ve been much better off going to the barn and got manure, dirt, etc. instead of paying for a soil that was loaded with insects, etc.. I purchased the first bag at Lowe’s and the second at Home Depot.

This soil has gone down hill for some reason. It contained large pieces of wood & clay in it. Cutting corners I expect, but at what cost. You’re tarnishing your company’s name. I think we’ll switch brands next summer.

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The first bag I bought had a large percentage of the weight attributed to rocks and most of the rest was wood. The second bag was about 90% wood shavings/chips. Almost no soil whatsoever. Garbage. Don’t buy it.

I bought two 50qt bags of this at Costco about 2-3 months ago thinking I was getting a great deal since they were on sale for about $8/bag. I’ve used Miracle-Gro before but in the ground. This year I decided to do a lot of potted plants on my porch. I decided to use this brand since I’ve had great results before. This dirt is terrible. You would have better luck just digging dirt out of the ground to use than this junk! It stays too wet all the time. I had maybe 15 containers of flowers and I’m down to about 5 now because all the others have died due to root rot. I hardly watered my plants at all that are sitting in the full sun and it’s hot outside 90s but yet somehow after 1-2 weeks the dirt is magically still wet. I also should mention that I always bring my containers under shelter to keep them from being rained on so that I could control how much water they receive.

Anyway, I’ve conducted a couple experiments. One where I had a flat with about a 1 inch layer of this potting soil in it. Also, I left the bag open on purpose and after 2 weeks both were still soggy wet despite no water being added to them. This causes tremendous root rot and loss of oxygen to plants roots and kills them. I’ll never buy Miracle-Gro products again. I’ve switched my growing medium to peat moss, black kow, and perlite, and I’ve switched all my fertilizers to Ferti-Lome. Now I understand why I’ve heard such bad things about miracle gro products from avid gardeners. You live and learn!

I purchased three bags of Miracle-Gro potting soil. The first two smelled of a factory chemical. It was overwhelming and stayed in my garden for days. The third bag I …