If you want your plants to thrive, you need to use the right type of soil. Here’s a look at the difference between potting soil and garden soil.

Potting soil has a mixture of organic materials and minerals that help plants grow in containers. Moss, compost and other matter feeds the plants, while minerals like perlite and vermiculite facilitate drainage and prevent the soil from compacting. Additionally, potting soil is sterile, which protects plants from fungi and other pathogens.

Garden soil is regular dirt enriched with compost or other organic materials. It can be used to create and maintain gardens or raised beds to ensure the soil contains enough nutrients to support plant life. Without additives like perlite, garden soil doesn’t provide enough drainage for potted plants, but it can help prevent flower beds from drying out by retaining moisture. It’s also more affordable than potting mixes.

If you’re not sure what type of soil you need, speak with a local expert.