What Soil Is Used for Pothos Plants?
With the availability of numerous houseplants today, even the laziest of plant parents have many varieties to pick from. Pothos (also called Devil’s Ivy) is an excellent example of these varieties. With its shiny, heart-shaped leaves this tropical vine plant is the easiest to grow. That being said, even easy-growing houseplants like these have certain preferences.
In the case of Epipremnum aureum (Pothos), you may believe since it is easy to grow, you can use any kind of soil. However, that is not totally true. While the plant can survive in adverse conditions and is super difficult to kill, you will need to use a kind of soil that can simulate this jungle plant’s natural environment. So, what soil is used for Pothos plants? Let us find out!
What Type of Soil is Best for the Pothos Plant?
If you are wondering what soil is best for Pothos plants, you are in the right place. Be it any plant, the soil is a crucial element needed for its growth and development. From good drainage to complete nutrients, there are several elements that the soil type needs to have for the plant to survive. When it comes to Pothos, there are five main elements that you need to look for in the ideal soil mix. They are:
It Should Have Good Drainage
An ideal soil type for your Pothos plant must have good drainage as its main element. Pothos plants require well-draining potting soil as their roots do not like to sit in too much moisture. If the soil does not drain easily, it can end in weakened roots, and may also cause root rot in them.
So, when you look for a soil mix for the plant, make sure that it drains well. If you are looking for something that can improve the drainage properties of Pothos soil mix, vermiculite, perlite, and orchid bark can be some excellent soil amendments.
It Should Be Able to Hold Adequate Moisture
Now, while the soil you choose needs to have a good drainage capacity, it does not mean that the plant needs no water at all. In fact, the need for the soil for enough water retention goes hand in hand with good drainage. Sure, the Pothos plant does not enjoy excess water. However, it still needs a healthy amount of moisture content to grow.
If you add amendments like Vermiculite to your Pothos soil mix, it can easily help the soil hold moisture. This way, it will never be soggy and you do not even have to water it too often. Make sure that whenever you water your Pothos plants, the soil needs to dry out a little between waterings.
That being said, do not make it a habit of not watering at all. We are sure you do not want to end up with an under-watered plant. The usage of a fast-draining soil type and watering it not too often is the perfect trick that can balance drainage with moisture retention. The motive here is to keep the soil consistently damp with gradual drying out so that it remains aerated for the roots to breathe.
Some ingredients that can readily help you achieve this include horticultural charcoal, peat moss, sphagnum moss, and coco coir. As long as you manage to balance them with plenty of aerating ingredients, they can easily help you retain the moisture of the Pothos soil.
It Must Have All the Nutrients Needed by The Pothos Plant
Be it any kind of plant out there, the majority of them get all their vitamins and minerals from their soil. These are vital for them to grow and survive. The same is the case with the Pothos plant. It is a fast-growing houseplant variety that can thrive in nutrient-rich soil in tropical regions. Therefore, always make sure that your soil mix is rich in all the nutrients your plant needs.
In order to make the soil more nutrient-rich, you can add ingredients like compost, mulch, worm castings, and manure to the soil mix. In fact, any good soil mix for the Pothos plant must have a hefty dose of compost and other nutrient sources. These organic nutrient sources can pack a nutritional punch on the soil, and are long-release, as well.
When it comes to soil nutrients, another thing that you need to take care of is that they do not replenish. Since your Pothos plant is a growing plant, it can easily use up all the nutrients in a span of a few months. In such a case, it is a good idea to get your soil tested from time to time. Also, provide it with gentle fertilizers accordingly. Typically, a balanced fertilizer ratio (such as NPK ratio 15-15-15) is sure to perform well.
It Should Have an Ideal Soil pH Range
The next thing that you need to look for about the kind of soil you are choosing is its pH range. In general, a Pothos plant prefers an acidic soil pH range. Ideally, it should be between 6.1-6.8. You can use a soil meter to test it. The same can also help you check moisture and light too. So, the next time you are choosing a soil mix for your Pothos plant, never overlook pH as it is the most crucial factor in healthy soil.
The reason why this is so important is that it can have a great impact on the bioavailability of nutrients present in the soil. It means that if the pH of the soil is off, the plants will not be able to absorb those nutrients even if the soil is rich in nutrients. Luckily, most potting soils are slightly acidic – of a pH that is preferred by Pothos.
Now, you can choose the soil with the right pH range when starting from scratch. But what if the Pothos plant is already planted in the soil, and it has the wrong pH level? In such a case, you will have to pot the plant again in a new soil mix. Alternatively, you can try soil amendments to adjust the pH range. Adding lime or sulfur to the soil to balance the pH is an excellent amendment.
It Should Provide Adequate Aeration
Lastly, you also need to make sure that the soil you choose provides adequate aeration. Make sure that the soil is not tightly packed as it can lead to issues with your Pothos plants. Ideally, you need to look for chunky, well-aerated soil that has plenty of air pockets. Along with this, having a proper container for your plant is crucial. Make sure that it has drainage holes. Also, it needs to be of adequate size. This way, your Pothos plant will not become root bound.
What Should Pothos Soil Contain?
Now that you know what soil is used for Pothos plants, let us see what the soil mix actually contains. So, if you are looking for what soil is used for golden Pothos plants, and what to add to its DIY recipe, your search ends here. Below, we have some of the key potting mix components that you can use to come up with your own potting mix for Pothos. Have a look:
Ingredients You Can Use for Moisture Retention
In order to ensure that the Pothos soil mix will be able to retain the needed moisture, you can add any of the following ingredients to it:
- Coco coir
- Peat moss
- Sphagnum moss
- Horticultural charcoal
Ingredients You Can Use for Aeration and Drainage
In order to ensure that the Pothos soil mix offers proper aeration and drainage for healthy roots, you can add any of the following ingredients to it:
- Orchid bark
Ingredients You Can Use for Nutrition
In order to ensure that the Pothos soil mix has all the nutrients needed by the plant for growth and development, you can add any of the following ingredients to it:
- Worm castings
So, do Pothos need special soil? Well, yes it does. And everything we have told you until here is sure to help you choose that special soil. Irrespective of whether you are making your own soil mix or getting ready-made Pothos soil, this ingredient list will come in handy. Even the soil mix available in the markets should contain a combination of ingredients that offer moisture retention, aeration, drainage, and nutrition.
How to Mix Your Own Pothos Soil?
If you are wondering “can I use all-purpose potting soil for Pothos,” the answer is you can. Usually, all-purpose potting soil made for indoor plants works just fine with Pothos plants. That being said, it is always a great idea to mix your own recipe. Making Pothos soil mix yourself will give you the option to control everything that will go inside the mix.
In order to create the best Pothos soil mix recipe, there are only a few simple ingredients you will need. All of them are readily available at local garden centers. While there are numerous recipes online you can use, the one we suggest needs you to have
- 10 parts Coco Coir for Moisture Retention
- 5 parts Perlite and 4 parts Vermiculite (or Shredded Bark) for Aeration and Drainage
- 1 part Compost (or other suitable plant food) for Nutrition
Here is how you can mix them to make your own Pothos soil mix:
- Firstly, you need to select a pot for your plants. The pot/container must be twice as large (if not more) as your Pothos plant. This is to give its roots adequate space to grow.
- Also, make sure that this pot must have holes in it for an efficient drainage system.
- Now that you have a pot, it is time to determine the volume of potting mix that you need according to it.
- Depending on your requirement, measure the ratios of the ingredients needed, and collect them.
- Then, add the ingredients together in a large container so that you have lots of space for your ingredients to mix.
- Then, mix them away. For it, you can use a small shovel or any other hand tool. Alternatively, you can use your hands if you are okay with it.
- After you mix the dry ingredients thoroughly, you need to add water to this mix.
- Make sure to add adequate water to moisturize the soil. If you are using liquid fertilizer, add it to the water, as well.
- Mix everything once again, and then transfer the moist soil mix to the pot that you have chosen earlier.
- Then, plant the Pothos plant in it by digging a hole of about 1” deep than the Pothos root ball.
- Once you place the Pothos plant in this hole, make sure to backfill it with the soil. After it is done, you only have to water your Pothos plant thoroughly and take care of it as needed.
Now, while a DIY Pothos soil mix can be a lot of fun for some, not all can do so. If you are not a DIY person, you can always use high-quality Pothos soil, and use it straight from the bag. While doing so, you only need to make sure that the soil mix has all the ingredients needed for water retention, aeration, drainage, and nutrition.
Final Thoughts – How to Know You Are Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Pothos Plants?
Do you ever wonder – “can I use cactus soil for my Pothos?” If yes, the answer is you cannot. Using soil designed for succulents and cactus can harm the plant. It is because such soil drains too rapidly and does not retain moisture. From all the “what soil is used for Pothos plants” discussion above, we are sure you now know that this is not the kind of soil Pothos wants.
To sum it all up, always look for a soil type that can retain the water needed by Pothos plants to grow. At the same time, the soil must have proper aeration, and good water drainage capacity to prevent too much moisture. Doing so will prevent the plant from root rot. Also, the most crucial thing Pothos soil must have is all the nutrients needed by it for growth and development.