How long is potting soil good for: Step by step

how long is potting soil good for: Step-by-step Composting FAQ

We are figuring out how to make the soil for pots suitable for a long time.

How long is the soil suitable for pots?

When we transplant potted plants or seedlings into pots outside the window, we, like many gardeners, are concerned about the question.

Ordinary lovers of indoor plants also ask them. Is it possible to reuse the old potting soil for a plant that has already grown, or is it better to choose fresh potting soil?

Experts say: Yes! Old potting soil may still be useful to use again. But first, it must be rehabilitated, at least filled with essential nutrients, otherwise, the potting soil will deteriorate.

Key answer: yes, we reuse potting soil. But before that, we will try to revive it – and replace its nutrients. Here’s how:

How long does potting soil last after opening?

Remove the old potting mix (roots, branches, leaves). Every spring, I take out potting soil bags. If there are pot bugs in them, I understand that store potting soil is dry and it spoils.

I take the bulbs out of the seedling pots and transplant them into a box under the windowsill, adding the necessary nutrients to where they will be present. But before that, I have to clean the bulb from root rot and organic matter in potting soil. It can be difficult to do because the potting soil has been in the pot all winter.

Above on the page: Every spring, I transplant the bulbs from seedling pots, from a closed potting soil bag, or for peat moss.

I clean the flower potting soil outside the window from the greenery withered. I also remove dry potting soil and also free the potting soil from excess salts. And using unopened potting soil bags.

Even fresh potting soil, and even more so unused potting soil, must be filled with organic material, with, for example, fungus gnats. 

How often should you change used potting soil?

We are ready to prepare the potting soil because if not properly stored, potting soil goes bad. Basic science says that plants take nutrients from the potting soil to grow. Scientists explain that indoor potted plants absorb them, absorbing anaerobic bacteria, fungus gnats, and other organic material – all this happens for their development.

The reuse of vegetation when growing greens in a container plant can manifest in revealing the impact on the potting soil and wilting of potted plants. Once a year, try to replace the old potting soil with fresh soil.

Used potting soil does not need to throw away.

Unused expired potting soil with expired shelf life, best filled with organic materials will contain the necessary nutrients because if stored incorrectly, potting soil quickly deteriorates.

With a trowel, I prepare boxes for the transshipment of potting soils. . We must be sure that there are no bugs in the potting soil and peat moss (in which case the potting soil is thrown away), and we must be sure that potting mix is loose and light. There must be room in the fresh soil for the roots to grow.

Is dried-out store potting soil still good? 

No, the potting mix needs organic matter. Otherwise, the potting soil goes bad quickly.

Compost can be added to improve the composition of an unused potting mix area. It is good for potting soils.

You can mix potting soil in an airtight container with organic materials yourself or buy the potting mix from a farmer friend, although peat moss is often used to grow plants. Often, for the winter, I bring in the potting mix soil, which I take from the compost pit. This will secure the stored potting soil and the potting soil or peat moss will be preserved.

I loosen the old soil with fresh potting soil, otherwise, the fresh potting soil goes bad. Potting soil can be properly stored in a closed potting soil bag for about a year. After I loosened up the reused potting soil in good potting soil that is in a plastic container, I added potting soil fertilizer.

I bought an unopened pack of Plant-Tone Organic Plant Food. The organic mix contains bone mucus, hydrolyzed feathers, bird droppings, and other substances that smell a little bad but can restore lost nutrients to the new potting soil.

What is potting soil made of?

The variety of potting soils is great. The main thing that unites them is the presence of the ground. Standard potting soils for container gardening include:

 Perlite: A mixture of volcanic glass.

 Bark: Shredded pine bark is beneficial for aeration.

Vermiculite: A mineral that improves soil nutrients.

Sphagnum peat moss: fibrous material containing nutrients such as nitrogen.

Moving on to peat moss, it’s not as nutrient-rich as compost and as it decomposes.

More importantly, peatlands represent 44% of global soil carbon storage — they store more carbon than other types.

So, when we harvest peat moss, we release billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. 

Does potting soil have an expiration date?

Of course, a bag of soil has its expiration date. In this case, you must use a potting mix.

Otherwise, the potting mix loses its natural drainage properties and becomes waterlogged easily.

The PH of expired soil also changes, making it unsuitable for the plants you bought it for. 

How long is closed soil?

Potting soil comes in tightly closed bags that isolate it from moisture and fungal spores.

If you store the bag in a well-ventilated and dry place, the potting soil inside can be used for up to 2 years. Any cracks in the packaging will drastically shorten the potting soil’s shelf life.

Do I need to replace the potting soil every year?

The rule of thumb with the potted plant is to freshen up the soil in the pot once a year unless the plants are slow growing and will deplete the soil quickly.

 In this case, you can replace the potting soil about once every couple of years. To freshen up the soil, add slow-release organic matter, mix well to improve drainage, and stir the soil to oxygenate it. 

Will potting soil go wrong if it freezes?

Freezing soil does not spoil it. This can be an effective way to sterilize the soil.

If the soil is infested with pathogens, fungal spores, or tiny pests, putting the bag in the freezer for a few days can kill those pesky pathogens.

Allow frozen soil to thaw, then mix with organic materials before using in pots.

Does potting soil need to be sterilized?

Note that garden soil in unopened bags may also contain pathogens.

To be sure of the safety of the soil when planting seedlings and cuttings, it is advisable to first sterilize the soil in a pot.

At home, the best way to sterilize the soil and eliminate all insects and pathogens.


Fresh soil is loaded with organic materials that have a short shelf life.

Always be careful about the potting soil for your indoor plants. They will thank you.


Is it okay to use old potting soil?

Yes, old potting soil can be reused. But first, it must be filled with essential nutrients, otherwise, the peat moss or the reused potting soil go bad.

How long can the soil be stored after opening?

After opening, it is better to fertilize the soil with organic materials that will contain the necessary nutrients, otherwise, the peat moss or the reused potting soil go bad.

How often should you change potting soil?

Once a year, try to replace the old potting soil with fresh soil, otherwise, the peat moss or the potting soil go bad.

Is dried-out potting soil still good?

No, the potting mix needs nutrients, otherwise, the potting soil go bad.

Read also: Can you put moldy food in compost: useful methods for a fertilizer that you can make in the backyard composting bin

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