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How Many Pots Can You Fill with a Bag of Soil?

Tags: Container Gardening, pots and small spaces, Soil & Soil Building

When gardening in containers, you’ll want to fill each pot with premium quality potting soil, such as Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix, to provide roots with the very best environment for growing. Look at the sizes of your containers to determine the size of the bag(s) you’ll need to buy.For example, a 20-quart bag fills two 12-inch standard clay pots, or you can fill one 14-inch basket and still have enough to fill half of another 14-inch basket. To follow this example, find the pot sizes in the column on the left, and then follow the line to the right to the shaded boxes.

Size of Bag and Approximate Number of Pots It Fills

Pot type & sizeApproximate soil volume of pot*(dry quarts*)10-qt bag20-qt bag32-qt bag40-qt bag64-qt bag
8 ¼ inch3.6391118
10 ¼ inch6.9369
12 inch10.712346
14 inch15.3½2
STRAWBERRY JAR 5 gallon14¾3
10 inch5.52711½
12 inch7.9458
14 inch13.9¾3
8 inch1.9510½172134
10 inch3.71117
12 inch5.511½
14 inch8.4
16 inch12.0¾¾
18 inch18.8½12
21 ¾ inch31.2¼½12
12 inch3.810½16¾
16 inch7.3
20 inch9.412
12 inch11.21¾
15 inch23.0½1
24 inch11.71
30 inch15.6½24
36 inch19.7½12

This isn’t perfect, but it beats a wild guess.

It’s important to note that these figures are approximate. Here’s why:

There are very few standards regarding container sizes and volumes. To make it even more confusing, containers that do list volume typically measure using liquid quarts. Of course, potting soil is not a liquid, so the bags contain dry quarts, each of which equals about 1 1/8 liquid quarts. Nor do these figures account for any packing down of the soil (the taller the container, the greater the compression). Compression can cause you to need 15% to 20% more soil. On the flip side, the soil that comes with your plants (around the roots) will add volume. In any case, it never hurts to have a little extra potting soil on hand.

It’s a good idea to take notes about how much soil you use in your own pots, if you have containers that you use over and over again.

Store leftover soil in a dry place, perhaps in a clean plastic tub or garbage can, until the next time you need it.

Adapted from soil volume tables from Conrad Fafard, Inc., makers of commercial and home garden potting mixes.

Clay containers are a traditional choice. Look for frost proof clay if you plant to keep pots out during the winter.
Classic clay comes in many finishes and degrees of porosity. Because many clay pots are subject to freezing, you should either refrain from using them in winter or buy those labeled frost proof.
containers filled with lettuce, herbs, and flowers

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