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Horticulture/Potting media


When starting from seed, is it necessary to use "seed starting mix" rather than potting soil or garden soil?

The seed starting mix I bought seems to be mostly peat moss and vermiculite. I can't tell if this is better for seeds, or just a marketing ploy.

Hi Janet,

No, any sterile mix will do, albeit, some are better than others.  The reason it has to be sterile is that young plants in pots are subject to a disease called damping off, which is caused by a bacteria called rhizoctonia.  It doesn't effect seedlings planted directly into the ground nearly as much.

If you don't like the mix you got, get a cheap potting mix consisting of mostly sand and bark and mix them together.


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Susan Tabor


Entomology,plant pathology, agronomy, native plants, useful and edible plants,medicinal plants,landscape design and installation, plant taxonomy and identification, cultivars and varieties, Botany, nutrient deficiencies, plant recommendations and troubleshooting.


35 years as a professional horticulturist and landscape contractor. I have a network of contacts at leading universities and with acknowledged experts in the field. I've restored the landscapes of several plantations, 2 Governors mansions and owned/managed 3 nursery/garden centers. I discovered a new subspecies of Emelia in 1997. I've locally introduced several native or volunteer species into mainstream landscape design.

Morning Advocate The Register Better Homes and Gardens All Experts - Approx 1996-97

Louisiana State University - horticulture David L. Hoffman - California - phytotheraphy

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