What’s the best potting medium for the feisty tropical Monstera? They love the heat and need well-draining soil.
It’s not so different from cacti, so it might seem tempting to use a cactus blend. But even though they share similarities, there are many reasons why this is a bad idea. Let’s take a look!
Cactus mix does not provide the proper support for Monstera. They need a soil blend suited to their specific needs, with good texture and aeration in addition to good drainage.
What Kind of Soil Is Best For Monstera?
When deciding on the best soil for your Monstera, you must first understand the plant’s requirements.
Monsteras are a type of aroid, which is demanding tropical climbers. These plants take root on the forest floor and spread their vines in the wild, looking for things to climb. This means that your soil mix must be able to handle this.
It is best to grow monstera in loose, well-drained soil rich in chunky plant matter. As the forest floor, their potting soil must be free-draining and full of loose organic material, like their treetop root-holds.
It must also support trailing specimens, such as those that hang from pots or baskets.
Components of Monstera Potting Mix
When planting or transplanting the plant, pay close attention to the soil to ensure it feels at ease and grows normally.
For the most part, you can buy soil from amazon or a nearby garden store. However, if you have the time and resources, you can prepare the soil yourself.
To do this, you’ll need to combine turf soil, peat, humus, leaf soil, and sand in a single mixture. There should be an equal amount of each element in the following ratios: 3:1:1:1:1.
This type of soil will absorb liquid well when watered and allow air to flow. Simultaneously, the mixture becomes quite loose, which is only for the benefit of the young Monstera.
Adding a lot of organic material to a Monstera mix will help it retain moisture without overburdening the roots. If possible, use peat moss or coco coir as the primary filler.
Also, the material in the mix breaks down over time and releases nutrients, which helps keep the pH level where it needs to be.
Wood Chips, Bark, and Large Chunks of Organic Material
To look like the Monstera’s natural habitat, the last thing you need to add is chunky organic matter, like wood chips, bark, or other broken-down material.
As a climbing plant, a Monstera will do its best to keep its roots in the ground. However, it can be challenging to maintain good drainage while still allowing the roots to take hold.
Your Monstera will stay upright and stable if you add crushed bark or wood chips to the soil.
Can I Use Cactus Soil for Monstera?
Monstera can’t grow in cactus soil because it’s too sandy and lacks structure. So it’s not a good idea at all.
Roots won’t hold on to things like large bark pieces or wood chips without them. As a result, the Monstera will become unstable and more likely to fall.
In addition, they’ll be stressed because their roots won’t hold them in place, and upright climbers won’t be able to stay on their feet.
That organic matter also helps keep the Monstera’s pH level at the right level, enabling it to grow. They prefer mildly acidic soil (pH 5.5-7). As leaves, bark, and chunks of timber decompose, acids are released into the soil.
Acidic soils aid in the Monstera’s ability to obtain nutrients from the soil. Cactus mix doesn’t have that acidity, so the Monstera won’t get what it needs from the mixture.
Finally, cactus mix compacts easily. Cacti can better handle soils that behave this way because they have evolved to take the hard ground.
Compacted soil also becomes hydrophobic, which doesn’t take in water. Because cacti thrive in dry soil, they can consider this a blessing. However, Monstera requires regular watering.
Monstera will wilt and curl its leaves if you don’t water it for an extended period. The main enticing feature will be gone.
Homemade Soil Mix for Monstera
Except for overly salty soil, Monstera is perfectly tolerant of everything. It is still best to include sphagnum moss, bark, and charcoal (about 40% of the total mix).
If you don’t have time to make a special mix, the plant won’t mind and will thrive in ready-made soil from the store.
If the potting soil is of high quality, it will contain a significant amount of compost, manure, or worm castings. This provides your Monstera with the nutrients it requires to grow those beautiful leaves and nimble vines. (Check the prices here)
Coco coir is better for potting plants in high humidity because it retains less water and is less susceptible to rot. Perlite, on the other hand, aids drainage and won’t rot!
My go-to aroid mix ingredient is an orchid mix. This is an orchid-specific growing medium. Wood and bark chips and horticultural charcoal, perlite, and other beneficial elements may be present in the mixture.
To ensure a long-term supply of healthy plants, I use a mix that includes slow-release fertilizer and horticultural charcoal.
Even a small amount adds a fantastic texture to the growing medium. It provides a range of additional support that bark pieces or chipped wood alone cannot provide. (Check out the prices on Amazon here)
I prefer to use two parts peat moss instead of one part coco coir in dryer growing environments, especially those with aggressive air conditioning or heating systems.
As compared to coir, peat is better at retaining moisture, making it less likely that the mix will be dried out by climate control systems. In addition, it will aid the mix in generating a small amount of soil humidity.
Do Monsteras Like Acidic Soil?
In general, Monstera prefers a slightly acidic growing medium. They can tolerate pH levels ranging from 5 to 7 but perform best around pH 6.5.
The acid in the soil mix improves the nutrient release efficiency utilized by the roots. Without that extra assistance, the Monstera will struggle to obtain its minerals to produce its magnificent geometric leaves.
Natural acids are found in the fibers of peat moss and coco coir. It slowly releases its constituents into the growing medium as the material decomposes.
Peat moss contains more of these compounds and is particularly effective at retaining acidity in growing mediums. Coco is gentler, but it will also support the preferred pH of a Monstera just fine.