Make Your Own Soil Mix For Aroids (4 Effective DIY Recipes)
Most people just use any soil available for their aroid plants. That’s why their plants don’t thrive or grow, and they even end up with root rot. Instead, all successful aroid plant parents use their DIY aroid soil mix.
In this article, we will show you 4 effective recipes & how to make your own aroid soil mix easily like a pro.
What Are Aroids?
Aroids are from the family, Araceae. This family includes many of our favorite and rare houseplants. Common examples are monstera, philodendrons, alocasias, pothos, anthuriums and aglaonemas.
While aroids come in all different varieties, they tend to have similar needs. They are primarily tropical understory plants in their native habitat, and aroids benefit from well-aerated filtering soil.
Aroids are prone to root rot since the roots are adapted to growing in loose top soil with natural aeration in their native habitat.
Why You Should Mix Your Own Aroid Soil?
While regular commercial potting mix often includes a small amount of perlite, it usually doesn’t have nearly enough ingredients for aeration that your aroids need.
What about buying a pre-made aroid mix?
While aroid soil mix is getting closer to what your plant needs, keep your specific growing environment in mind.
Pre-made aroid soil mix may not have enough aeration elements for your growing environment, or it may have too much aeration if your home is very dry. This is why it is best to mix your own.
You have full control of what ingredients to use & how much of each ingredient is actually in the soil mix.
With a soil mix that is specially made for your aroids, they will grow bigger in a shorter amount of time, have stronger roots, and not have issues with root rot.
What Does a Good Soil Mix for Aroids Look Like?
The recommended soil mix for aroids includes percentages of these common ingredients:
- Potting soil
- Peat moss or Coco Coir
- Orchid Bark
- Perlite or Pumice
Factors to consider when deciding how much drainage to add
- Temperature: Plants kept in hot climates will dry out faster.
- Light: Low light will cause soil to retain moisture for longer.
- Humidity: Low humidity (below 50%) will dry the soil faster.
- Water: Use plenty of drainage if you water often, or reduce the drainage amendments if you let your plants get too dry.
- Type of aroid: Research your specific aroid’s moisture requirements.
Our Favorite Soil Mix for Aroids
- 40% Orchid bark
- 30% Pumice or perlite
- 20% Coco coir
- 10% Worm castings
Don’t worry too much about getting an exact ratio, as you can adjust it to fit your plants & growing condition.
Reasons We Think This Mix Is Great
Orchid bark is a beneficial ingredient that provides aeration and a chunky mix, which is good for developing roots. You can also put some orchid bark on the top of your soil to deter fungus gnats. Since this ingredient serves multiple functions, we recommend it for almost half of your mixture.
Pumice or perlite provides filtration that is smaller and finer. This helps aerate the soil more evenly and provides drainage. Since we want a balanced mixture of fine drainage, we recommend nearly a third of your mixture be pumice or perlite.
Coco coir is a popular choice for the moisture retention ingredient in aroid mixes. This is because it doesn’t retain as much moisture as peat but still gives the plant a soil-like substrate to hold nutrients. It drains better than peat. If you cannot find coco coir, you can try using peat in its place and experiment with how your plant responds.
Worm Castings provide a source of organic nutrients for aroids. It is safer to use than concentrated or chemical fertilizers as it won’t burn the roots.
How Can You Adjust This Recipe for Your Growing Conditions?
For reference, our growers who like this recipe normally keep their plants in humidity of 55 – 70%.
They water most of their aroids (monstera, philodendrons, aglaonemas, ZZs & pothos) when the soil is completely dried out.
The exception is alocasias, which we recommend watering when the top half of the soil is dry. All the plants are kept in bright indirect light except for the ZZ (kept in medium indirect light).
If you are an infrequent waterer or have your aroids in lower humidity, you could try increasing the coco coir percentage to 30% and add 10% less orchid bark.
However, be sure to pay close attention to the soil moisture if you are unable to provide bright indirect light for your aroids. In lower light, the plants will take longer to use water and can sit in wet soil. It is safer to have well-draining soil and water more often than to risk root rot.
Soil Mixes From Fellow “Planty” People
We have gathered aroid mixes from other knowledgeable plant enthusiasts. These recipes vary, and the creators have different reasons why they prefer these ratios of ingredients.
Kaylee Ellen’s Aroid Mix
Popular plant YouTuber and rare plant expert, Kaylee Ellen always has tried and true advice.
In this video, Kaylee Ellen goes over these ingredients and their benefits in excellent detail. We will summarize her recipe here. Please watch her full video for details.
|Kaylee Ellen’s General Aroid Mix||Benefits of Ingredients|
|25% Orchid Bark||Adds aeration, encourages stronger roots|
|25% Perlite or Pumice||Provides drainage|
|20% Coco Coir||Degrades slower than potting mix and stays drier than potting mix|
|10% Activated Charcoal||Leaches out impurities built up in the soil, oxygenated|
|10% Worm Castings||Natural fertilizer|
|Optional Topsoil Dressing: Orchid Bark||Deters fungus gnats, decorative|
|Optional Topsoil Dressing: Sphagnum Moss||Reduces soil drying out in low humidity|
Kaylee also provides these alternatives for a temporary mix if you cannot get the ingredients listed above: 50% perlite & 50% potting mix
She adds that everyone’s growing environment is different and advises tweaking the recipe if you notice your plant drying out too fast or taking too long to dry out in your environment.
Pretty in Green’s Rare Aroid Mix
Pretty in Green is a family-owned houseplant company. You can shop their selection and supplies at PrettyInGreen.com.
In this video, Chris prepares an aroid mix with extra drainage for rare and expensive aroids. This mix is helpful for young cuttings or plants that you cannot risk getting root rot.
Pretty in Green’s Rare Aroid Potting Mix
Aroid Potting Mix Recipe (10.25 Total Parts):
- 5 Parts Bark (or Coco Chips)
- 3 Parts Perlite
- 1 Part Sand
- 1 Part Peat/Potting Mix/Coconut Coir (Optional)
- 0.25 Part Organic Plant Food
(Put more peat in if you are going to be watering less)
This is a good mixture that falls in the middle between soil mixtures and using just lecca. It is very aerated and well-draining.
The only disadvantage with this mix is that you will be watering more often. Chris stated that you will likely need to water every 5-7 days typically, 10 days at the most, with this airy mix.
Chris also mentions light, heat, and humidity as factors that will determine how much aeration you might need for your plants.
Only Plant’s Aroid Mix
This is an informative YouTube channel for houseplant enthusiasts. The creator is in Indonesia, and his collection is stunning!
|Only Plant’s General Aroid Mix (Exact measurements not given)||Benefits of Ingredients|
|Coconut Chips or Bark (main ingredient)||For drainage, and epiphytes like this so they can grip onto something. It makes “their roots think they are climbing” so you get bigger leaves.|
|Dried Twigs||Lifts up the potting mix. Provides texture and aeration.|
|Burnt Rice Hulls||Absorbs moisture quickly and also dries out quickly, which is perfect for aroids. This helps prevent root rot.|
|Perlite||Aeration for the roots|
This knowledgeable creator adds that these plants have all adapted slightly differently from their native habitats. He encourages viewers to research their specific aroid and adjust the soil mixture as needed.
Remember to consider the factors in your environment as you determine how much aeration you will need for your mixture. Feel free to experience & test out different recipes. Adjust them to best suit your plant & environment.
The bottom line with aroids is that good drainage is essential for their health and growth. Their origins are in the understories of tropical forests, and they like having room for their roots to grow. We want to replicate their native habitat as much as possible to have happy plants and enjoy them in our spaces.