Does Potting Soil Go Bad If It Freezes?

Winter is just around the corner, and you are wondering what could happen if your potting soil gets frozen. Can you still use it? Does it go bad? We found the answer for you.

You can still use and reuse soil in freezing conditions, and it won't go bad. Low temperatures can even kill any pests in the potting soil, which is perfect for planting for the next growing season. Thaw the soil and rejuvenate it with essential nutrients before using it so the plants can thrive.

Would you like to learn how to reuse potting soil? We have a thorough discussion regarding potting soil. Continue reading through this post for more insights.

young-woman-holding-potting-soil-over, Does Potting Soil Go Bad If It Freezes?

Does Potting Soil Go Bad Once It Freezes?

It is okay for the potting soil to be frozen, and it does not go bad after freezing. Freezing the potting soil can improve the soil quality, which could help the roots penetrate it. It can also help kill pathogens and prevent multiplying insects. Defrost it after freezing and once ready to use. Mix with compost to bring back the lost nutrients.


Things to consider in freezing potting soil:

  • Ensure that the potting soil is dry before freezing.
  • Avoid freezing large quantities of potting soil because it will be difficult to thaw.
  • Put a label on which has been frozen.

Can You Reuse Potting Soil?

You can reuse potting soil for 2 -3 blooming seasons. However, there are plants that you can reuse their potting soil, but you need to plant a different type. Also, we recommend mixing in fresh soil once a year. Remember that the potting soil should be clean and free of bad microbes. There are ways to clean your potting soil, and we will tackle that.

Consider these things before reusing potting soil:

  • The potting soil's nutrient quality has depleted. Add fertilizer to replenish the lost nutrients.
  • Compressed, poor draining capability, and compacted. You can add coconut coir to bring back the aeration and water retention of the soil.
  • If a plant with disease previously inhabited the potting soil, you sterilize it and clean it by heating or baking it in the microwave. But heating a large quantity of potting soil through baking is a lot of work and inconvenient. You should consider replacing it with a fresh one instead.

How To Clean Potting Soil Before Planting In It?

Sometimes, the potting soil has living organisms like pathogens, molds, fungi, gnats, and nematodes that can harm your plants, especially if the potting soil is reused. You may want to ensure that the potting soil you use is pathogen-free. You have the option to buy a potting mix or a new potting soil, but that could cost you more.

These are the ways to clean your soil before planting:


Place the soil in a cooking pan, pour water into it, cover the pan, and boil it. This procedure will kill all microbes in the potting soil. Let it cool and drain well before using it again.


You can use a steamer for up to 30 minutes to sterilize the potting soil.


Potting soil does not go bad if it freezes and helps kill pathogens.


Place the potting soil in a microwavable container and use a cover with holes for ventilation before placing it in the oven. Set the microwave oven on a high setting and heat 2 pounds of potting soil for 90 seconds.

Does Potting Soil Expire?

If the potting soil has fertilizer in it and the package is open, it could last from 1-2 years, but if the packaging is unopened and stored in a cool, dry place, it could last up to five years.

Why Does Your Potting Soil Smell Bad?


Your potting soil becomes smelly because of the harmful bacteria that love the anaerobic conditions of old, dense soil. You can lay and expose the potting soil under the sun to kill the bacteria and wait until it dries out.

Why Does The Potting Soil Smell Like Ammonia?

Waterlogged due to overwatering or lack of water drainage can cause the potting soil smells like ammonia. Anaerobic bacteria love living in soggy soil, which leads to cause a foul odor.

How to fix this issue:

  • Touch the top of the soil and press down to one inch to see if the soil is damp or dry.
  • Water your plant once the potting soil feels dry.
  • Ensure that the pot has holes for proper drainage.
  • Replace the potting soil if needed. Use better soil or soil mix with good aeration.

Why Does My Potting Soil Not Absorb Water?

When potting soil resists water instead of absorbing it, it becomes hydrophobic. When the soil is hydrophobic, the water goes down to the sides of the container and flushes through the holes. If this happens, the plant's roots will not receive enough water.

Inserting a moisture probe or meter can test the soil to check its absorption capacity. If the inner soil is dry after watering too much, then the soil is hydrophobic.

Click here to see the moisture meter on Amazon.

Why Is The Potting Soil Hydrophobic?

These are the reasons why potting soil becomes hydrophobic:

  • The soil becomes hydrophobic because it is compacted.
  • The soil is too old.
  • The clay mix is too heavy.
  • The peat moss mix becomes too dry.

To solve this issue, repotting is the best solution to have the plant survive.

What Are The Best Potting Soil?


Listed below are some recommended potting soil:

Wonder Soil Organic Potting Soil

Wonder Soil is rich in nutrients, mixed with coco coit, worm castings, perlite, kelp, mycorrhizae, and more to support the plant's growth with vigorous roots. This product is safe for your family and pets.

Click here to check organic potting soil on Amazon.

FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil

FoxFarm is ideal for pots and containers. It contains earthworm casting, micronutrients, and bat guano.

Click here to check potting soil on Amazon.

Sungro Horticulture Black Gold Organic Potting Soil

This potting soil has pumice and perlite, providing aeration and optimum pore for sturdy growth. Purely made from quality organic ingredients, this product is suited for plants in patio containers, hanging baskets, vegetables, and more.

Click here to check organic potting soil on Amazon.

Minute Soil Compressed Coco Coir Potting Soil

Coco coir potting soil expands up to 15 times when you add 5.5b gallons of water into each block. This potting soil is compact, lightweight, aerated, and easy to rehydrate. Use this coco coir potting soil for stronger, healthier plant roots.

Click here to check coco coir potting soil on Amazon.

Leaves And Soul Premium Aloe Plant Soil

Aloe plant soil gives your aloe plants essential nourishment to thrive and provides optimum drainage to retain adequate moisture for your plants' needs. This product is a non-organic all-purpose potting soil ideal for cactus, succulent, and aloe plants.

Click here to check aloe plant soil on Amazon.

Jobe's Lime Soil

Do you need soil for acid-loving plants? Jobe's Lime Soil is the right product for you. This lime soil has alkaline pH, which provides enough pH levels to produce healthier plants.

Click here to check lime soil on Amazon.

Esbenshade's Professional Potting Soil

This potting soil contains Canadian sphagnum peat moss. It is efficient in raising beds and allowing roots to access required oxygen. Ideal to use for indoor and outdoor plants in containers.

Click here to check professional potting soil on Amazon.

Hoffman Organic Cactus And Succulent Potting Soil

Hoffman Organic Potting Soil provides aeration, the proper pH levels, and well-drainage for succulent plants to thrive and grow healthier. This product is made from organic ingredients such as Canadian sphagnum peat moss, perlite, sand, reed sedge peat, limestone, and more.

Click here to check Hoffman on Amazon.

Michigan Peat Potting Soil

Michigan Peat is a blend of perlite, sand, and dark reed sedge peat. It has a slow-release formula to ensure the success of growing healthy plants in containers and soil beds.

Click here to check Michigan Peat on Amazon.

Perfect Plants Bonsai Soil

Enriched with essential nutrients, it provides excellent water control and is well-drained for Bonsai, junipers, redwoods, pine trees, and cedar to thrive.

Click here to check Bonsai soil on Amazon.



Potting soil does not go bad after freezing. You need to thaw the potting soil and rejuvenate it with compost to reuse it. If you have further questions, leave a comment below.

For further information about potting soil and other gardening tips, you may read through these articles:

How Much Peat Moss To Add To Potting Soil?

Does Perlite Aerate Soil And Absorb Water?

Best Soil Mix For Hanging Baskets [7 Top Options You Should Try!]

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