The best soil for Monstera plants should be slightly acidic to neutral (pH 5.5-7), well-draining, airy, and high in organic matter. This applies to Monstera deliciosa, adansonii, siltepecana, obliqua, Thai Constellation, dubia, or any other species.
We will take you through Monstera soil mix, tell you about some ingredients you may see, and give you their roles. We also have a few homemade recipes and best-ready-to-use brands to buy.
- Potting mix vs. soil
- Roles of soil or potting mix
- Ingredients in Monstera soil mix
- 1. Peat moss
- 2. Coco coir
- 3. Perlite
- 4. Pumice
- 5. Vermiculite
- 6. Worm castings
- 7. Bark
- 8. Charcoal
- The best soil for Monstera
- 1. what to look in the best soil for Monstera
- a. Retains moisture
- b. Well-draining
- c. Airy or well-aerated
- d. Rich in organic matter
- e. Slightly acidic to neutral pH
- 2. Homemade Monstera soil mix recipes
- 3. Best soil for Monstera to buy
- 1. Miracle-Grow Indoor Potting Mix
- 2. WONDER SOIL Organic Potting Soil
- 3. Premium Monstera Potting Soil
- 4. Repotme Houseplant and Tropical Classic potting Mix
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Potting mix vs. soil
When buying Monstera potting mix or soil, you must understand that these two terms don’t mean the same thing.
Potting mix is soilless, sterile, and has components that improve aeration and drainage (bark, peat moss, coco coir, pumice, vermiculite, charcoal, etc.). Also, it may contain fertilizer.
On the other hand, potting soil may contain sand or garden soil, is not sterilized (may have fungi, disease, weeds), has minerals, organic matter, or compost. It is also heavy.
Roles of soil or potting mix
To grow a happy and healthy Monstera, you need to ensure optimum growing conditions (temperature, humidity, and light), proper watering, feeding, and having suitable soil. Of course, you still need to groom or prune your Monstera and ensure it’s disease and pest-free.
Potting mix or soil is where your Monstera will get water, nutrients, and root unless you opt to grow your Monstera in water. Also, it will help anchor the plant, among other roles.
Ingredients in Monstera soil mix
Monstera soil mix may have as little or two ingredients, i.e., perlite and peat moss or as many as eight or more. Some recipes online maybe seem so intimidating. But they don’t have if you know each ingredient’s role.
Here are some of the ingredients and their role:
1. Peat moss
Peat moss refers to the fibrous, dead material made by decomposing mainly mosses and other plant materials inside peat bogs. It is similar to that compost you make in your backyard, but it mostly has mosses, with the most common one being sphagnum moss. Don’t confuse sphagnum moss you harvest from living plants.
Peat helps hold moisture (up to 20 times its weight, notes Britannica) and nutrients, i.e., prevents nutrient leaching as you water your plants. It also improves soil texture, and since it is acid (pH 3.0 to 4.5), it will help lower potting mix pH.
Lastly, since it doesn’t decompose or compress, it will last for many years. But you cannot use it. Also, it is sterile.
2. Coco coir
Coco coir (coconut coir) is a fiber harvested from outside of coconut husk. It looks like ground peat moss and will help improve aeration and water retention, thanks to the woody fibers that don’t degrade fast if aged well
Please don’t confuse it with coco fiber or coco chips (larger chunks). Unlike moss peat, it is renewable, sustainable. But if used alone, it may swamp your plants and is not as airy.
Ever wondered what the white specks you see in soil are? They are perlite. What are they, and why do we add them to Monstera potting mixes.
Perlite is a neutral, non-organic material formed by the heating volcanic glass at 1600 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat makes it pop like popcorn, expanding about 13 times its initial size, making it porous and lightweight.
Pearlite may aid hold moisture, but unlike vermiculite, it is porous, meaning it will help increase drainage. Also, it makes the soil less compactable and will improve aeration.
Pumice is a porous frothy volcanic rock used for soil amendment and a great alternative to perlite. Like perlite, it has a neutral pH and helps improve drainage, and doesn’t compact.
What makes it better is the fact that it doesn’t require further processing and supports microbial life so will maintain soil texture. Also, it lasts longer and retains some water.
On the downside, it is a bit heavier, costs more, and is not readily available. Also, some grades may be dusty.
Vermiculite is a hydrous phyllosilicate mineral (aluminum-iron magnesium silicate) that resembles mica. The one used in gardening is first heated to expand and look more like pellets.
It is sterile, doesn’t rot, mold, degrade, and is neutral. But it may depend on the origin may react like an alkaline.
Vermiculite like perlite and pumice helps improve soil draining, aeration and helps retain nutrients that your Monstera needs.
Some of the disadvantages of vermiculite include the fact that expensive, hard to find, and tends to stay wet for a little too long.
6. Worm castings
Worm castings or vermicast are organic fertilizers obtained from earthworm poo or waste. Improves soil structure, provides nutrients, boosts soil microbes, may repel some pests that feed on your Monstera like spider mites or aphids.
Also, worm castings may improve soil aeration, help retain water, among many benefits. But it is expensive, takes a long to make, and is not easy to produce in large quantities.
In Monstera and other plant potting mixes, another popular ingredient you will find is bark chippings. They help improve aeration, draining, and water retention. Also, they may help improve soil structure and offer some nutrients as they decay.
Lining some bark on the top of your pot will improve aesthetics and repel some pests like fungus gnats. Also, it will reduce moisture loss just as sphagnum moss lining would.
That is not all. Pine bark will help fight some kinds of Monstera root rot.
Charcoal, biochar, or activated charcoal is another common ingredient you may find in some Monstera soil. Activated charcoal will help absorb impurities like chlorine. Also, it has antibacterial and antifungal properties
Other charcoal benefits include preventing mold, absorbing excess water, holding on to nutrients, improving drainage, among others.
The best soil for Monstera
The best foil for Monstera, be it Monstera deliciosa, Monstera adansonii, siltepecana, obliqua, must be well-drained, aerated, and high in organic matter. Also, it should be slightly acidic to neutral, with preferable pH of 5.5 to 7.
Avoid heavy or compacted potting mixes or water-absorbing gel or beds (moisture controlled). Also, don’t use garden soil or dirt straight from your garden.
1. what to look in the best soil for Monstera
It is not hard to tell if a specific soil mix is perfect for your Monstera or not. All you need to consider is the following features:
a. Retains moisture
A good soil mix must retain moisture without being soggy. Very wet soils also attract pests like fungus gnats and cause root rot.
Peat moss or coco coir will help your soil retain moisture. Also, bark and compost may help hold water.
If your Monstera soil dries so fast, you will need to water often, or your plant will end up thirsty.
Any Monstera potting mix must be well-draining, i.e., allow water to pass through at a moderate rate without pooling or forming puddles. Heavy and compacted soils will not drain well and may cause root rot or make it hard for your plants to absorb nutrients and water.
On the other hand, if water passes too fast, your plant will not have enough time to absorb the water.
To improve draining, use perlite, pumice, vermiculite, fine gravel, etc. How well your Monstera drains depends on your percentage of these components.
c. Airy or well-aerated
Your Monstera roots need oxygen to grow and function well. So, your mix must be airy. Heavy and compact soils will cut air from the potting mix and contribute to Monstera root rot.
To make it airy, use perlite, vermiculite, or pumice. If you don’t have any of these, coarse sand, gravel, or bark chipping may help.
d. Rich in organic matter
In the wild, Monstera grows on animal dropping and dead decaying matter (leaves, bark, etc.), rich in humus or organic matter. For your potted Monstera, ensure your mix has some organic matter.
A good source of organic matter is worm castings and compost. It will help boost microbe health that will improve soil structure.
e. Slightly acidic to neutral pH
Soil pH affects nutrient uptake or availability and soil microbes. For instance, when pH is high, above 7.5, iron availability will decrease, and you may notice yellowing of your Monstera leaves. Similarly, very low pH may affect the availability of other nutrients and microbes.
Go for soils that have pH 5.5 to 7. It would help if you had a soil pH meter to determine pH, a good brand to buy is SONKIR Soil pH Meter which tests soil pH, moisture level and sunlight level.
To lower pH, add peat moss and if it’s too low, use some agricultural lime to increase it.
2. Homemade Monstera soil mix recipes
There is no magic recipe for Monstera. Go for a mix that works for you and your environment. If you tend to underwater your plant, ensure your soil can hold water for long.
On the other hand, overwater should add more perlite to improve draining and reduce peat moss.
Sample Monstera soil recipes:
- 5: 1: 1 soil for Monstera contains 5 parts of pine bark fines, 1 part of perlite and 1 part of peat moss. You can add a small percentage of worm castings.
- 30% peat moss, 30% perlite, 20% bark chips, and 20% compost
- 50% perlite and 50% peat moss
- Add 20% perlite and 20% peat moss to a potting mix.
- 50% potting mix, 25% perlite, 25% compost
3. Best soil for Monstera to buy
If you are looking for the best soil for Monstera, you will find some potting or aroid mixes to support your plant. Here are a few to buy:
1. Miracle-Grow Indoor Potting Mix
Miracle-Gro Houseplant Potting Mix is a perfect buy if you want a potting mix formulated for Monstera, pothos, spider plants, English ivy, philodendron, etc. It has sphagnum peat moss, coco coir, perlite, and fertilizer. It will feed your plants for up to 6 months and doesn’t contain bark or compost, which tend to shelter fungus gnats.
2. WONDER SOIL Organic Potting Soil
This coco coir-based potting mix with added perlite, kelp, mycorrhizae, and worm casting is a perfect pick for Monstera and other indoor plants.
Mycorrhizae will promote beneficial microbes, worm casting acts as a natural fertilizer, while kelp has so many nutrients that plants need.
3. Premium Monstera Potting Soil
This premium potting mix by Houseplant Resource center is a perfect choice for your Monstera species and other aroids.
Its chunky, airy, and contains aged bark, coco coir, perlite. Also, it has some IBI-certified Biochar to help it retain nitrogen, phosphorus, and other vital ingredients. Don’t worry about it bringing pathogens because the manufacturer sterilizes it.
4. Repotme Houseplant and Tropical Classic potting Mix
Look no further if you are looking for a well-draining, chunky potting mix for your Monstera. It has a blend of coir, fine vermiculite, small stalite, and perlite. It is good if you are fond of overwatering your Monstera.
If you decide to buy any kind of potting mix for your Monstera, assess if it drains well. Some manufacturers don’t add perlite, bark, pumice, or vermiculite to improve drainage. If it doesn’t have, add some.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Can i use cactus soil for Monsteras?
No. We wouldn’t recommend the use of Cactus mix the way it is. Cacti mix best suits drought-resistant succulents and cacti but is not the best for your tropical rainforest Monstera. But you can amend it by adding a considerable amount of peat moss. Also, worm castings will help make it nutrient-rich.
Can I use loamy soils for Monstera?
Yes. You can use loamy soil. But since these soils are a bit heavy, you need to add some perlite, bark chips, or pumice to help improve aeration. Also, you may need some compost to make it high in organic matter.
Can I use sandy soil?
Only yes if you add some peat moss. Sandy soils may drain well but won’t hold on to moisture well. So, you need to add some peat moss or coco coir to improve water retention. Also, add compost or worm castings to make it humus-rich.
Which is the best soil for Monstera deliciosa
A well-drained, airy, humus-rich soil that is slightly acidic to neutral. The monstera deliciosa or Swiss-cheese plant doesn’t have a different soil preference from other Monstera species.