Is there a need for special potting soil?


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I am quite confused by this. I have finally decided on my "ideal" potting mixture but then since last many days, I have observed that people are growing all kinds of plants(aloe vera, mums, passion flower, Syngonium, hibiscus, champa, etc) on simple garden soil mixed with manure. So, Practically, so far I have seen no "need" for special potting soil mixture so can anyone tell what is the need for it? And how are those plants surviving without need for proper soil?
 
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It all depends on what your "garden" soil is. What is its Ph? What trace minerals are present? When I first started gardening a long time ago there was no such thing as "potting soil". All I had was the native dirt into which I mixed organic matter such as manure, leaves, kitchen scraps, garden wastes etc or made compost with which I mixed with native soil or used straight. It doesn't matter what name is applied to the growing medium, all that is needed are the basic NPK and minerals. It is really very simple. All you really need to know is the basic Ph the plants you intend to grow and try to make your growing medium/potting mix/garden soil, what ever you choose to name it, as close to this same Ph as you can
 
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It also depends on what you are trying to grow. Plants that require acidic soil such as blueberries can be almost impossible to grow if planted in the ground. Yes, you may have acidic soil and if so then other plants will be impossible to grow. So as Chuck said, know your ph. If you want to grow something that the soil doesn't support plant those in pots. It's easier to control a pot then to amend your soil.
 

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