Did you know that many common houseplants like monstera and pothos are aroids? Here’s how you can be set up for happy plants, with this aroid potting mix.
The key to a good potting mix is creating a balance between water retention, aeration and drainage to suit your plant. This aroid mix allows good aeration and drainage, while retaining enough moisture. This helps prevent issues like yellowing leaves or root rot.
Here’s how you can make your own!
For more details you can grab and go on your next shopping trip, here’s the article version.
- Coco chips – Aeration/drainage. As a bonus, it lightens up the mix and is great for larger pots. Alternatively, you can use orchid bark.
- Pumice – Aeration/drainage. This gives the soil structure over a longer period of time as it doesn’t break down as quickly.
- Humus/worm castings – Water retention/Nutritional value.
- Coco peat – Water retention.
- Activated charcoal – Aeration/drainage. This is optional, use in moderation as it can raise the PH of the soil.
So, how much should you use of each ingredient? Look up how the plant lives in its natural environment for inspiration.
Personally, I use more coco chips, and the rest in a varied ratio for common houseplants like monstera, pothos and philodendron. Here’s a sample ratio you can start with.
There’s no one size fits all as everyone’s plants, watering frequency and environment is different.
If your plants dry out too quickly, try more water retentive ingredients like coco peat. If it stays too wet or you start seeing yellowing leaves from overwatering, try more aerating ingredients like coco chips.
Don’t worry! You can amend the mix as you observe how your plant is doing.
Here’s a quick experiment using a heavy commercial soil on the left and the aroid mix we just created on the right. I added the same amount of water to both mixes which were completely dry initially.
Left – Commercial Mix
This sample of commercial mix on the left is heavier, less porous and allows less aeration around the roots, while holding on a larger amount of moisture.
Right – Aroid Mix
The aroid mix we’ve just made drains freely. It retains enough moisture while being porous to allow more aeration, and thus oxygen, around the roots.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use heavier commercial mixes. If you do, it’s a good idea to amend it with materials for better aeration and drainage to suit your plant. I use commercial mixes in 20-30% of the total aroid mix at times and it works as well.
In terms of care, you want to be able to drench the soil so water flows freely out of the pot, so moisture is evenly distributed throughout. Always tip away excess water.
Quick Tip: Try top dressing with a layer that dries quickly like coco chips. While this mix itself dries quickly, having an even faster drying layer above really helps to keep fungus gnats away!
I hope this inspires you to go forth and give your plants the love they deserve. If there’s anything else you’d like to learn about, let me know in the comments below.