You enjoy showing off your spider plants in pots or hanging baskets. They grow naturally in the ground in their tropical native lands, however.
To keep your spider plants thriving and beautiful, you want to mimic the properties of this natural soil.
Organic-rich, well-draining potting soil is the best potting soil for spider plants. Perlite, vermiculite, coconut coir, or sand can be added to a general-purpose potting mix to improve aeration and drainage. It is critical to include sphagnum peat moss, worm casting, or compost to increase the nutritional value.
Put on your gardening gloves and apron. I’ll show you how to make the best spider plant potting mix possible.
The Best Soil for Spider Plant
First and foremost, do not pot your spider plant in garden soil. It can become too dense and drown your spider plant.
The last thing you want is to have to deal with multiple bouts of root rot.
As a result, the best soil for spider plants must contain a combination of materials. The overall soil matrix must support the spider plant’s need for aeration, drainage, and fertility.
This combination of materials should retain a lot of moisture while not becoming soggy or waterlogged.
Keeping this in mind, your spider plant will benefit from nutrient-rich, well-draining soil.
Choose loamy soil as the base medium for a perfect soil mixture, then mix in the other ingredients.
As for me, I use a general-purpose potting mix as the foundation.
A good mix can be made by adding a portion of pumice, perlite, or vermiculite to the base for added aeration.
I also like to add a scoop of worm casting, compost, or coffee grounds to boost the nutrition of your plants.
Components of Spider Plant Potting Mix
Each ingredient in your spider plant’s potting mix should have a specific function. So, you must ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the ingredient improve the soil’s nutrition?
- Does it help the soil drain well?
- Does it improve water retention capacity?
- Will it improve bulk or add some weight?
- Will it increase aeration in the soil?
I’ve owned and cared for spider plants for years. In my experience, the best components to corporate into your spider plant growing medium include:
Sphagnum Peat Moss
Peat moss has been a godsend for gardeners since its introduction at the turn of the 19th century. It’s a superb addition to your spider plant potting mix. And with good reason:
- Sphagnum peat moss has superior moisture management capacity
- It holds vital nutrients that would otherwise flush out with irrigation water
- It enhances the consistency and texture of potting soil
- It can do wonders for soil pH balance and nutritional content
- Helps aerate the soil
As you can see, peat moss is the holy grail of potting mixes. Almost every knowledgeable gardener has a supply of sphagnum peat moss on hand.
Not to mention the fact that it is inexpensive and lightweight.
The ideal potting soil for spider plants should have a fluffy texture, be light and rich, and be uniformly moist.
Peat moss can help with all of these aspects of the growing medium. How much peat moss should you put in the potting soil?
Peat moss has an acidifying effect. So, you should use it sparingly because spider plants require roughly neutral soil pH to thrive.
Peat moss should not account for more than two-thirds of the total composition of the potting mix for best results.
Coconut coir is a fibrous byproduct of the coconut processing industry. Because it is pH neutral, readily available, and lightweight, it is an excellent spider plant potting mix component.
Given the abundance of coconuts, a bag of coconut coir is inexpensive. (Check the latest price on Amazon here).
Some sellers of coco coir may use confusing names. Some people refer to it as coir dust, coir fiber pith, coco-peat, or coir-peat.
Whatever you call it, adding coir to your potting mix has numerous advantages:
- It aids the retention of soil moisture. Get this: coir can hold up to 30% more moisture than peat moss.
- Coir is also easier than peat moss to rehydrate when it gets dry
- Ensures air porosity and aeration even when the soil is wet
- It doesn’t affect soil pH because it isn’t acidic like peat moss
- It’s sterile and weed-seed-free
- It helps improve drainage and texture of heavy soils like clay
- You can use coconut coir as a liner for your spider plant hanging baskets
- You can use horticultural coil in place of or in addition to Sphagnum peat moss
- You may find it labeled as coir-peat, coco-peat, coir fiber pith, coir dust, and other similar-sounding brand names.
- Research suggests that coir improves resistance to root rot diseases like pythium rot (Source: Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, JASHS)
However, it is deficient in nutrients when compared to peat moss. The presence of a high coir content can also cause the potting mix to compact.
To that end, the percentage of coconut coir in the potting mix should not exceed 40% of the total composition.
Perlite vs. Vermiculite
Perlite is a non-organic component of potting soil that consists of round white specks of water-containing volcanic glass. I primarily use it to aerate my spider plant potting mix.
It should be noted that you can use vermiculite, but perlite is far superior. Both ingredients aid in the retention of soil moisture.
Perlite, on the other hand, is more porous and allows water to drain more efficiently.
Aside from the benefits of aeration and water retention, perlite is also pH neutral and naturally pasteurized.
It’s also very light! Perlite should account for 10-20% of the potting mix.
The spider plant despises having its feet “wet.” If it sits in damp soil for too long, root rot disease will set in. That is never a good thing.
If you don’t have access to vermiculite or perlite, coarse sand will suffice. It is the least expensive aeration medium. It also prevents the compaction of the potting mix.
Check that it is lightweight but coarse enough to loosen soil clods. If you do, the coir will be extremely useful.
This is due to the fact that it improves the water retention of sandy potting mixes.
The Ultimate Spider Plant Potting Mix Recipe
Spider plants are tough and adaptable. They do well in a variety of potting mixes.
However, when you bring your spider plant home, the potting mix may be dry or lacking in nutrients.
That is why the best spider plant potting mix recipe is essential. It can be used when planting a new plant or repotting an existing spider plant.
Remember that you should repot your spider plant every one to two years.
There are two recipes that I use for spider plant potting mix:
Recipe number 1:-
- 3 parts organic potting soil. Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting mix (Check the latest price on Amazon here) is often considered the gold standard for well-draining potting mix.
- 1 part perlite. Of course, you can use coarse sand, vermiculite, or pumice in place of perlite.
- A handful of coconut coir or orchid barks
- A handful of earthworm casting, compost, and/or sphagnum peat moss
Recipe number 2:-
- 2 parts succulent soil mix. There are plenty and readily available cactus soil mixes (Check the latest price on Amazon here). This element is necessary for aeration and nutrition.
- 1 part coconut coir or peat moss
- 1 part high-quality compost
- You can sprinkle earthworm casting, as well.
The base potting mix in either recipe may retain moisture for longer than spider plants require.
As a result, you’ll need to add some perlite, vermiculite, coarse sand, or pumice to compensate. In either case, coconut coir is the ideal component.
It’s best to add a handful of compost or earthworm casting for a good measure of organic richness. Sphagnum peat moss perfectly ties everything together.
As a general rule, you must thoroughly mix the blend to ensure uniform distribution of nutrients and aeration.
Don’t forget to check the pH of the growing medium at the end.
Peat moss, for example, may shift the pH of the soil toward the acidic end.
If this is the case, make sure to add horticultural limestone as needed to compensate for the pH imbalance.
Homemade Soil Mix for Spider Plants
You prepare your homemade growing medium for your spider plant in the same way that you would commercial potting mix.
It should be consistent, lightweight, and easy to handle. Of course, it should provide adequate drainage.
You must fine-tune your potting mix’s water-retention capacity, density, nutritional content, and texture. You most likely have everything you need for that.
Furthermore, sphagnum peat moss, perlite, compost, coir, and sand are readily available in the United States.
Basic Potting Soil Recipe for a Spider Plant
Finding the sweet spot when it comes to the potting mix ingredients is vital. Here’s a basic DIY recipe you can follow:
At least a quarter of the potting mix should be organic material. Nutrient-reach components are included in this section of the potting medium.
You can use mature compost, sterilized manure, or earthworm casting as amendments.
Organic materials can be mixed and matched. The nutritional profile of the potting mix is improved by diversity.
After all, you don’t want a growing medium that’s high in potassium but low in nitrogen or phosphorus.
Composted wood chips are my favorite organic ingredient. By increasing soil pore sizes, it improves air circulation and drainage.
To aid in the breakdown of the composted wood chips, add some alfalfa meal or blood meal.
Of course, compost is the ultimate organic richness ingredient. Its superior water retention capacity is noteworthy.
It also contains billions of beneficial microbes that keep the roots of your spider plant healthy.
Nutrient and Water Retention
Well-draining soil, such as loam sand, can quickly lose nutrients and water. This is exacerbated if you water from the top.
That is no longer the case with coconut coir and peat moss. They aid in the potting mix’s ability to retain nutrients and moisture for an extended period of time.
Unfortunately, peat moss and other water retention aids can have an acidifying effect on the soil pH.
As a result, you add some liming agents, such as limestone, to counteract this effect.
One part of the potting mix should be coco coir, peat moss, or other “water-holding” components.
Drainage is incredibly important for spider plants. The potting soil must be well-drained to prevent waterlogging or soggy conditions.
For that, you’ll need to add at least a part of the drainage-boosting ingredients.
The best ones are:
- Coarse sand
As well as boosting drainage, they aerate the soil. They can also break down soil clods, allowing roots to penetrate and grow with ease.
What is the Ideal Soil pH for Spider Plants?
Spider plants prefer fairly neutral soil in the 6.0 to 8.0 pH range. Good thing is, they can tolerate slightly alkaline to slightly acidic soil.
However, they can’t thrive when the soil pH is on the extreme ends. Most organic potting mixes fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.
Other additives, such as peat moss and coco coir, can cause the soil pH to tip towards the acidic side. Peat moss, for example, has a relatively acidic pH of 3 to 4.5.
That is, adding just 25% peat moss to the total volume of potting mix can cause the soil pH to rise to unacceptably high levels.
If your pH meter registers a reading less than 6.0, you must take action. I strongly advise you to use limestone.
If the soil is too alkaline (above 8.0), you can add more sphagnum peat moss or iron/aluminum sulfate.
Why Does pH Matter?
Considering the PH of your spider plant potting mix is important. That’s partly because it impacts the availability of vital nutrients, especially iron.
If the soil is too acidic, the amount of available iron will be much lower, leading to a deficiency.
An iron-deficiency spider plant is likely to develop interveinal yellowing or paling of leaves. You must get the soil limed to neutralize the acidity.