Monstera plants make an excellent addition to your collection of houseplants. The heart-shaped plants don’t require much maintenance and only need repotting once every two to three years. If you’re ready to take good care of your Monstera plants, you may have questions about which soil will help them survive and thrive.
Despite being relatively hardy and beginner-friendly, Monstera plants are susceptible to root rot, so it is essential to help them drain effectively. The best soil for Monstera plants is based on peat moss because it drains very easily. Monstera plants cannot live well in potting soils that contain compost or bark.
You also need to ensure that the Monstera plant container contains drainage holes. Water retention will eventually cause root rot and lead to the heart-shaped plant’s poor health. Although they’re relatively easy to grow, they require an environment conducive to their growth – including the right potting soil, as we’ll discuss below.
The Best Soil for Monstera Plants – A Quick Look
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Look for an airy aroid soil mix that contains peat moss and regular potting in a 1:1 ratio. These potting mixes will provide the plant with good aeration, allow it to retain moisture, and provide slightly acidic soil. Some plant enthusiasts prefer an airy aroid soil mix recipe for their Monstera plants.
Let’s briefly take a look at the appropriate ingredients for making Monstera soil mix:
● Pine bark
● Horticultural charcoal
If the above confuses you, consider using the following recipe: one part coarse organic matter (composed of pine bark or peat moss), one part humus-rich soil (any all-purpose potting soil will do fine), and one part vermiculite or perlite. You can also add some horticultural charcoal to improve drainage and aeration.
Other experts suggest an airy aroid mix that contains 40% shredded bark, 10% perlite, 20% peat moss, 30% all-purpose potting soil, and a handful of horticultural charcoal.
All potting recipes are specifically designed to create potting soil that provides the roots with plenty of aeration and prevents water retention.
Best Soil Mix Recipe for Swiss Cheese Plant
If you don’t want to visit your nearest garden to buy commercial soil mixes and want to go down the DIY route, we’ve got just the recipe for you!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to create the perfect soil for Monstera:
● 2 parts worm castings
● 2 parts activated charcoal
● 2 parts coconut coir (coco coir)
● 5 parts perlite
Here’s how to mix these together:
● Toss all the ingredients into a large container and make sure to mix them well
● Make sure to sterilize any tools or containers before working with them to prevent the spread of any diseases
● Fill the container with soil mix, making sure to leave some room at the top for watering
● Now water the soil and allow it to drain before planting the Monstera
● Now, pot your Monstera plant in the soil
● Pro tip: Make sure the plant has enough drainage holes!
What’s so special about the soil recipe discussed above (compared to commercial potting mixes)? For one, it allows plenty of aeration while also keeping the plant adequately hydrated. The addition of worm castings provides the plants with an instant nutrient boost as soon as they are planted into the soil.
Can I Use Cactus Soil for Monstera?
Although you can introduce cactus soil to peat moss and create healthy potting soil for your Monstera, using it on its own is not recommended. For one, cactus soil is designed succulents that only prefer dry soil and may not be able to retain moisture for Monstera plants. You can, however, create a recipe that contains cactus soil with other ingredients.
A soil mix containing equal parts peat moss, cactus soil, and all-purpose potting soil should provide a good combination for your Monstera plants.
Are Perlite and Vermiculite the Same Thing?
You’ll see the words ‘perlite’ and ‘vermiculite’ discussed often when discussing soil mixes. Some enthusiasts use the words interchangeably, but the ingredients are not the same. The biggest difference between perlite and vermiculite is how they interact with water. Adding perlite to the soil mix will increase its drainage efficiency.
On the other hand, vermiculite will help the soil retain water. In general, you should use vermiculite if your climate is dry and the soil mix could use some extra water retention. You should use perlite if your climate is damp and you want to encourage soil drainage.
Should I Use Perlite with Monstera Plants?
Perlite is ideal for Monstera plants because it helps retain soil moisture while promoting aeration. It absorbs water and slowly releases it to the plant as it dries out; this means that the risk of overwatering the plant’s roots is minimal. Another advantage of perlite is its unique form.
It resembles tiny Styrofoam beads that provide adequate spaces to form in the soil mix. This allows any excess water to drain through the soil, preventing you from overwatering the plant.
Is Charcoal Good for Monstera Plants?
Most potting recipes for Monstera plants will contain charcoal to improve drainage and aeration. As a rule, consider mixing 1 part of charcoal with 10 parts of soil mix when making a soil mix for your Monstera plants.
In general, it is recommended to introduce charcoal to your Monstera soil mix for several reasons. Charcoal not only improves the health of your Monstera plants but also boosts their growth rate. It increases the rate at which the roots absorb nutrients and raises the soil’s oxygen levels.
Charcoal also allows the plant to absorb more moisture, filter out any toxins found in the soil, and promote good aeration.
Why Soil Choice Matters
The soil plays a direct role in the health and vitality of your Monstera plants. It plays a role in nutrient and water absorption, warding off pests and providing the plants with an environment that supports their root system.
Even something as minute as the soil pH level plays a role in soil quality and health. The soil’s pH level can change its toxicity, nutrient availability, structure, and level of bacteria.
Should I Use Coffee Grounds with Monstera Plants?
Some Monstera enthusiasts are of the opinion that coffee grounds could be a useful addition to the soil mix. Botanists disagree because coffee grounds can promote fungal growth and bring gnats to your plants. Moreover, coffee grounds have a neutral pH level, and it is unlikely that they will be able to alter the soil pH too much.
Some of the negative effects of coffee grounds include:
● Soil retention
● Fungal growth
● Attracting pests, such as fungus gnats
But if you want to add coffee grounds, you should carefully observe the plant for signs of water retention and fungal growth. Adding your coffee grounds to the compost bin is a better option before introducing them to your Monstera soil mix.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Soil for Monstera
Let’s take a look at 5 factors you should consider when choosing the right soil for your Monstera plants.
Monstera plants are particularly susceptible to root rot. This is why drainage is so crucial when choosing the soil type. Besides choosing a pot that provides adequate drainage, choosing a well-draining soil mix for your plants is recommended. In order for the soil to properly drain water, it should contain particles of varying sizes.
To enable proper drainage, you should mix different components for soil preparation. Materials like compost and perlite are recommended because of the size variance in soil components.
Choosing a single substance as the potting soil is not recommended because it would lead to the particles clumping together, resulting in compacted soil. For example, using only loamy soil or peat moss would prevent drainage and drown the plant’s roots after the first watering session.
Monstera soil mix should provide adequate aeration for the roots to stay. Compacted soil that is too damp all the time will prevent the roots from getting access to oxygen. Over time, this will lead to excess water levels in the soil, which can cause root rot. When the roots struggle to breathe, you will notice the presence of fungi that will start feeding on the roots.
This will cause the roots to slowly die, not only from suffocation but also through infection. The problem with root rot is that it can be tricky to fix and may require you to remove large chunks of the plant’s root to cure it. This is why prevention is always better than cure.
Did you know plants, including Monstera deliciosa, obtain nutrients through their root system? In its natural habitat, Monstera deliciosa plants would feed on the nutrient-rich soil under the canopy of an expansive forest. The soil has access to a never-ending supply of animal waste, organic waste, and limitless earthworms – allowing the healthy growth of Monstera plants.
Although indoor plants can’t get the same level of nutrients they would typically find in nature; we can always supplement them with soil and fertilizer mix. A nutrient-rich potting mix will include compost and peat moss. For increased nutrient uptake, consider adding liquid fertilizer in the growing season.
It may be confusing to plant owners when they hear the terms ‘water retention’ and ‘well-draining soil’ being thrown around within two sentences of each other. There is nothing contradictory about these sentences because water retention refers to the soil’s ability to absorb water while slowly releasing it to the plant roots.
For example, highly porous substances like perlite are great at absorbing water and releasing it to the plant as needed.
Soil pH Levels
There is a large variability in the pH levels of plants. Most Monstera plants prefer slightly acidic soil in the pH range of 5.5 to 6.8. The potting soil recipes discussed above will fall within this pH range so you won’t have to make any adjustments. However, just to be on the safe side, we recommend using a pH meter to regularly check the soil pH.
Signs You Are Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Monstera Plants
If your Monstera plant develops gray or mushy roots, this could indicate root rot and soil holding too much water or lacking adequate drainage.
A slow growth rate of Monstera plants or the lack of lush leaves can also indicate that something is off about the soil pH. Although Monstera plants can tolerate various pH levels, they do not grow well if the pH level falls outside the 5.5 to 6.8 range.
And if the plant’s leaves seem to be wilting, then you’re probably looking at insufficient water levels (too much or too little).
If the leaves start turning an unsightly shade of brown, then you’re probably looking at a case of root rot. In some cases, brown leaves are a sign that you may already be too late.
Monstera plants require good hydration. Too much or too little water will create stress and cause them to turn yellow.
If you notice the above signs, it’s time to inspect your Monstera potting mix to see if it is compatible with the plant. Make sure to adjust the soil so that your Monstera plant can make a quick recovery.
How Much Water Does Monstera Plant Need?
You should water the Monstera plant every 1 to 2 weeks. Make sure to allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Consider using the finger test to determine if the plant is ready for watering. Insert your finger about two inches into the topsoil. If it feels moist, wait a few days until the plant is watering. If it feels dry, it’s time to water the plant.
So there you have it, an in-depth look at the best soil for Monstera plants. Make sure the potting mix provides adequate moisture retention while also providing soil aeration. Let us know how you prepared your own potting mix.