The Dirt on Potting Soil
If your potting soil feels like a perfectly baked chocolate cake right out of the bag then you are in a good place. When shopping or potting soil don't fall into the trap of having all the additives in the soil.
A GOOD SOIL SHOULD ALREADY HAVE EVERYTHING PLANTS NEED TO GROW.
Save the money, save your time and go for all natural or organic or a growers blend and/or any combination. The big box stores do carry the acceptable stuff and surprisingly it is not the expensive bags either! Get plain potting soil, check it before you buy. Make sure it is nice and soft and you can roll it around in your hand with out feeling tiny sticks, rocks or sand. The little white bits (Pertlite) is fine, they help absorb water and encourage healthy new root growth, but do not feed the plant. The soil should look rich and moist, never chalky or chunky. When you pick up the bag it should not be a stiff brick. This is soft soil for new roots, not a mortar for a brick wall.
The best place for potting soil is always going to be your local garden centers, not the big box stores. You can grow a cheap plant in expensive soil and kill an expensive plant in cheap soil. In the long run, spending an extra few dollars on good soil is going to save the extra money time and hassle of replacing the plants that are killed by the bad soil. Garden centers are great for soil because they can source from local growers in the region, often bringing in the already natural additives that your plants need to grow for your area. They also have access to some of the other companies that are more environmentally conscious when it comes to their horticultural and agricultural practices. In the end, you are purchasing a better product overall.
Dress up your Planters! Add a little bit of pine needle, pine bark, moss or similar organic topping to your planter, when you first plant it. This technique helps with the final presentation and it helps with watering and feeding your plants as well.