5 Best Seed Starting Mixes – Reviews & Analysis

Last Updated: 12.11.19

 

Top Seed Starting Mixes – Guide & Comparison

 

Here is the place where you will find the best seed starting mix, without spending effort and time. According to our research that focused on the most popular products in this category, we concluded that the Espoma SS16 16-Quart Organic Seed Starter is the one you should try first. Hands down, this is an excellent option for any gardener, as it is made from organic ingredients to ensure that the soil where you grow your seedlings gets the needed boost for creating the perfect environment for them. Since the product is available in 16-quart bags, you will get enough for your indoor starting trays, and you won’t find manipulating the bag too awkward. Also, you should know that the content of lime reduces the pH of the soil, to promote better growth for your plants. In case this product is no longer available, you can also try the Gardener’s Supply Company Seed Starting Mix since it’s an excellent second pick.

 

 

Comparison Table

 

The Good
The Bad
Verdict
Price

 

 

5 Best Seed Starting Mixes (Updated Reviews) in 2019

 

 

When looking for a seed starting mix, you may find yourself in a terrible conundrum since there are multiple products on the market that appear to offer, more or less, the same thing. Our purpose is to help you narrow down your search, which is why we created the following list of excellent starting mixes.

 

 

1. Espoma SS16 16-Quart Organic Seed Starter

 

Who says that you have to spend a lot of money on an organic seed starter? While it is true that such products are more expensive than potting soil, they don’t have to cost a lot of money, and the Espoma SS16 16-Quart Organic Seed Starter is an excellent example. This cheap seed starting mix contains organic ingredients, but it is also budget-friendly.

Recommended for all seedlings and cuttings, it will prove to be your most reliable aid in growing new plants indoors during winter and early spring. The roots will grow faster in this mix, and you will also be content with excellent moisture retention.

This phase in the development of your plants is essential, and such characteristics as the capability to absorb water prepare them for droughts and other circumstances that might later affect them once you transition them into your garden.

Regarding the composition, you should know that this product is made from 75-85% sphagnum peat moss, and also contains perlite, earthworm castings, and peat humus. An additional ingredient is lime, which is used for regulating the pH of the soil used. All in all, this product from Espoma is an ideal choice for starting your garden.

 

Pros

If you want the roots of your new plants to grow fast, this starting mix is ideal since it promotes fast growth and development.

You will find it an excellent choice for plants that need to live later in conditions of low soil humidity and even droughts, due to the high moisture retention abilities.

Made in the US, this seed starter is guaranteed to be made only from organic ingredients, and you can rest assured that it abides by the highest quality standards.

Some interesting ingredients, such as perlite and earthworm castings, improve the sphagnum peat moss formula that is ideal for growing roots fast.

Even more, the formula contains lime, which is the ideal compound to ensure that the pH of the soil is not too acid for plants to grow.

 

Cons

You may be a little surprised at the coarse texture of the product, but you don’t have to worry about it harming the soil quality.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($8.49)

 

 

 

2. Gardener’s Supply Company Seed Starting Mix

 

If the roots of your seedlings need a booster, you can’t go wrong with the Gardener’s Supply Company Seed Starting Mix. This product is enhanced with mycorrhizae, a category of microbes that are root-friendly and help them become stronger and resistant to various critters living in the ground.

According to the manufacturer, the MycoActive Technology used is designed to create a living soil composition that allows plants to develop and thrive. Even more, your seedlings will grow to become plants that have better drought resistance than others.

Unlike other products on the market that may be too coarse and difficult to mix with the existing soil, this one is finely textured and will help achieve a fluffy soil that’s ideal for allowing your plants to thrive without the addition of other products. The roots will be kept moist, and that’s one of the most important aspects to bear in mind.

Your self-starting trays can benefit significantly from the use of this particular compound. Water drainage will happen quickly so that the soil doesn’t become a home for harmful bacteria that might kill the growing plants. At the same time, the roots will remain as moist as it’s necessary.

 

Pros

The MycoActive Technology used by the manufacturer uses mycorrhizae, a special type of microbes for promoting root growth.

Also, the same ingredient included will help the plants to become more resilient, so you will not have to use other products to help them grow strong and impervious to diseases.

Since it promotes water intake, it is highly indicated for use in case your plants are most likely to be exposed to drought conditions or low soil humidity.

You will be pleased with the delicate texture of the blend that makes it ideal for mixing with soil, to create the right type of environment for your plants.

An excellent addition to the soil you’re using, it will also improve your plants’ resistance to stress.

 

Cons

Make sure not to use the mix when you have to deal with fungal infestations, as it will not make a good home with them while you need to apply the necessary treatments.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($8.95)

 

 

 

3. Jiffy 617407738063 (G316) Natural & Organic Starter Mix

 

You might have heard of many people talking about Jiffy seed starting mix products, as they are pretty great and offer a good option for beginning to grow seedlings. This particular mix reviewed here is organic so that it will work great for any soil and any seeds with great success.

The main ingredients in this mix are coir, verm, peat, and lime, making a great composition that will ensure that the soil is proper for helping roots grow. The Canadian peat moss used ensures that your plants will grow fast and develop strong roots so that when you decide to move them from pots to the garden, they can survive on their own without a problem.

You will be pleased to learn that this mix is designed to support the ideal soil pH so that they don’t end up shriveled and dead. Also, the combination is a natural blend of nutrients for the soil that help the plants thrive, too.

A uniform mix that is easy to combine with the soil, it also has a fine texture that will be just to your liking. Also, since there’s enough quantity in a bag, you will find it easy to manipulate with great ease and have enough for all your starting trays.

 

Pros

All organic, this mix is ideal for your plants and will help you grow seedlings with strong roots that will survive later without a problem.

Based on Canadian peat moss, it is a formula that was created with the central purpose of providing your seeds with perfect conditions to germinate.

The fluffy texture will convince you that this mix is suitable for your plants since it will allow water to go through and drain wet while increasing moisture absorption.

Its content of lime works toward creating the perfect pH conditions inside the soil for your seeds to grow into vigorous, resilient plants.

Ideal for indoor gardening, it will provide an indispensable aid in creating a beautiful garden, regardless of what you want to grow.

 

Cons

At first, you may notice that the mix doesn’t absorb water very well, so during the first stages, you might have to water the trays more frequently.

Buy from Amazon.com

 

 

 

4. Hoffman 30103 Seed Starter Soil

 

The Hoffman 30103 Seed Starter Soil is part of a long line of products created by this company that has an enduring tradition and reputation in making excellent mixes for starting your garden. This product, in particular, is ideal for supporting the development of various flowers and vegetables, so it doesn’t matter what you prefer.

Its primary role is to jump-start the germination process when you place new seeds in the soil. Since you don’t want to leave things to chance, you will appreciate what this mix can do. The composition is a blend of 6 different compounds, for which the manufacturer used established concentrations, to make sure that the seeds will germinate quickly and grow to be healthy and strong.

Because of the light texture, you will find it quite fluffy and easy to absorb water while allowing drainage. Your seedlings will grow up just fine, and you will find it especially useful for root cuttings, too.

Small seeds also appear to thrive in this mix. That can be helpful for the times when you want to obtain certain flowers and veggies. You will be pleased with how quickly the seeds germinate, and the roots grow.

 

Pros

Whenever you need a good starter mix for indoor sprouting, you will find that this particular product is ideal for seeds, root cuttings, and transplanting.

You can use it for small seeds, too, as it appears to do a great job when it comes to helping them out to turn into vigorous plants.

The light, fluffy texture is ideal for absorbing moisture and allowing water drainage, which means that the roots will grow to be resistant to low humidity soils.

A perfect blend of 6 different ingredients makes this formula, all chosen carefully by the manufacturer, and added in proper proportions.

You will get 4 pounds of mix, so you will have plenty to start your seedlings and help them grow over the winter into healthy plants that can be transplanted into the garden after that.

 

Cons

If there is one thing that might not be so great about this mix is that some seeds offer average yield, while some simply thrive.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($14.48)

 

 

 

5. Jiffy Natural & Organic Starter Mix

 

Another Jiffy product that makes it to our list is the Jiffy Natural & Organic Starter Mix. It is advertised as being greenhouse quality, something that this company is known for producing, so you can expect some great results when you use it for your seedlings. Since it’s an organic seed starting mix, you can also count on the quality of the ingredients to be excellent.

If you need the perfect solution for growing seedlings and rooting cuttings, you will find that this mix is right up your alley. Peat moss makes the base of the mix, and you can count on it to help your seeds grow to the point that they can easily transition from their pots or starting trays to a vegetable or flower garden.

Due to its lightweight composition, the mix is ideal for letting water pass while the necessary moisture is retained. That’s something you surely want from your starter blend, and this product readily delivers.

You will also like that it is easy to handle the mix due to the bag weight. Because of the ideal pH of the starter, your plants will thrive. Also, the number of nutrients will contribute to the development of your seedlings and root cuttings.

 

Pros

This greenhouse quality starter mix will help you grow a thriving garden of vegetables and flowers, as you’ll be able to grow them from seeds and root cuttings.

You will appreciate the fact that this formula is 100% organic, so you won’t have to deal with plants that die as soon as you transplant them outside.

Also, the manufacturer created a mix with unique pH levels that will provide the perfect environment for your seeds to thrive and grow into vigorous plants.

Many gardeners like starter mixes with a lightweight composition because they allow proper water drainage while retaining moisture.

Another thing you may like is that this product comes in 10-quart bags that are easy to manipulate.

 

Cons

There are some issues with the absorption of water since peat moss, which is the base of this formula, will have to be soaked in water before using it for the first time.

Buy from Amazon.com

 

 

 

Our Comprehensive Buying Guide

 

Growing a vegetable or flower garden from scratch can be a daunting task, but not if you have the right starter mix for developing new plants from seeds or root cuttings. The seed starting mix recipe is vital since the various ingredients that go in it can have an essential influence on the rhythm of development, as well as other aspects.

Specific characteristics are essential when you choose a starter mix for seeds. The composition is one thing, and another is how it behaves when you use it for your starting trays. Here are some essential guidelines for you to use when picking up this type of product.

 

 

100% organic – why does it matter?

Have you ever noticed how certain flowers and bushes look luscious and beautiful when in the windows of the stores that sell them, only to wither and die within a few months after bringing them home? That happens because the plants are sustained on a boosting mix that contains powerful chemicals. However, the same chemicals, once you stop administering them, are responsible for the demise of these plants, because they don’t offer long-lasting effects.

The same rationale must be taken into consideration when you purchase a starting mix. Like in the life of a child, the first steps are essential, which is why you want your seeds to grow in an environment that creates the right conditions for the plants to become vigorous and robust.

That’s why you should always pick a formula that’s 100% organic. All the ingredients are free of dangerous chemicals, and they will support the growth of the plants so that they resist to various conditions later on.

Check the labels and pick a composition that is natural and organic, as these ingredients will feed the new plant so that it grows strong roots and can later be transplanted with great success into your garden. It serves to read some seed starting mix reviews from other users, to see what experience they had with a certain product.

 

Water drainage and retention

You may notice that a lot of debate goes around how to use a starter mix properly. It all takes a little bit of attention since you will want your mix to provide the new plants with a good environment that will help them thrive. For that, proper water drainage and retention are essential.

One of the most common ingredients in good formulas is peat moss. It is not great at absorbing water, so you will have to soak the mix in water for a while if you want good results. At the same time, when adequately soaked, the mix will retain enough water to keep the roots moist, while it will allow water drainage, at the same time.

Along the same lines, you should search for a product that is finely textured, as that will contribute to the water drainage and retention necessary for the starting mix to work.

 

The pH levels and how they are corrected

One thing you may see even in an affordable seed starting mix is the presence of lime. That’s not there by accident, but it doesn’t have a direct role in helping the plants grow strong roots. However, lime has a pretty important role, and that’s regulating the pH levels of the soil.

A mix that is too acid to the plants will end up killing them. That is why manufacturers mix lime in their formulas so that the blend of ingredients you use will not make the soil acidic. All these will help you achieve the type of soil ideal for your seeds and root cuttings to grow.

 

 

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