To help your plants grow and thrive, its best to research what type of soil mixtures is best suited for your plant. Because plants can come from many different environments such as deserts, rainforests, islands, and mainland’s, they will each require different soil mixtures to provide a healthy environment for your plant. Popular aroid houseplants include monsteras, philodendrons, anthuriums, alocasia, aglaonemas, pothos, ZZ plants, and more. This blog will focus specifically on aroid plants and how to make an effective recipe for your aroid plant.
Aroids are a large family of plants, scientifically known as Araceae, that are famous for their unique foliage and flower structures. Aroids come in many different shapes and sizes, ranging from small, compact houseplants to large, tree-like specimens. Depending on the family and species of plant, some aroids are terrestrial, like a ZZ plant, meaning they are rooted in and grow out of the ground. Other aroids can be epiphytic, like a Monstera, meaning they latch onto and use another plant, rocks, trees, branches, etc. to grow onto and up.
One of the defining characteristics of aroids is their ability to produce aerial roots, which can help them cling to trees and other objects in their natural habitat. These roots can also absorb moisture and nutrients from the air.
The leaves of aroid plants are also unique, which can take on a variety of shapes, from simple to complex. Some species have leaves that are large and arrow-shaped, while others have leaves that are more intricate, with patterns of holes or splits. Some aroids have leaves that are variegated, with patterns of different colors. Aroids also have unique flowers, which are often hidden within a specialized leaf structure called a spathe. The spathe is often brightly colored and can be shaped like a funnel, cone, or cylinder.
Overall, aroids are a fascinating and diverse group of plants that have similar care needs. Aroids are native to tropical environments and it’s important to create a soil mixture that reflects this. Because of their native soil habitats being well-aerated, loose, and rich in organic matter, it is important to mimic this in our DIY soil mixture. Failure to provide good aeration can lead to root rot, which unfortunately, aroids are prone to.
Commercial potting mixes often do not have enough ingredients to provide the type of soil structure needed for most plants. They tend to lack nutrients and compact easily. Additionally, using commercial soil can increase your chances of fungus gnats. Buying a pre-made soil mix is a great option, but it is important to consider the specific aroid you are growing. Sometimes these pre-made soil mixes do not provide enough aeration so its best t mix your own so you can have full control of the ingredients you are using. These pre-made mixtures also tend to be more expensive than making your own. Using the correct soil mixture will help your plant grow bigger leaves, encourage healthy root development, and help to ward of root rot.
A good aroid mixture is well-draining and aerated. It is important to consider environmental factors when creating you potting mix such as:
- Water- the more drainage, the more you will need to water. Less drainage, the less you will need to water
- Light- If your plant is seated in a high light area, the soil will dry out faster in comparison to being seated in a low light area, which will dry out slower.
- Humidity- The lower the humidity, the faster the soil will dry out. Remember, aroids are native to tropical environments, so they do require a higher level of humidity.
- Temperature- again, because they’re native to tropical regions, the temperature needs to be warmer than average. The higher the temperature, the quicker the soil will dry out.
- Plant Genus- some aroids will require different moisture levels in their soil so it is important to research your specific aroids needs.
Below, we have described several different aroid mixtures from expert to beginner! Soil ratios can be interpreted into scoops or cups. Meaning, if you read a 2:2 ratio of soil to perlite, this means you’ll have two even scoops, or two cups of soil to every two cups of perlite. A pie chart with percentages of each amendment are also listed below each mix. Please note that each person’s home may have a different environment so you may need to tweak each mixture to best suit your plants environment. We discuss some of these tweaks in the next section.
1. Expert Aroid Soil Mixture= 4:3:2:1:1 coco coir, bark, perlite, charcoal, worm castings
Coco coir is a sustainable, soilless option that provides good moisture and nutrient retention. Due to the shape and texture of coco coir, it helps to improve aeration around the roots.
Orchid Bark is key to an aroid soil mixture. Bark will help provide good air circulation around the roots, thereby helping to develop healthy roots. This will also help prevent the roots from sitting in too much moisture, further helping to reduce the chances of root rot.
Perlite is used for soil drainage. Perlite absorbs excess moisture from the soil and allows water to drain more freely through the soil, further increasing soil aeration.
Horticultural charcoal is very beneficial for your soil’s health. Charcoal helps to filter toxins and remove buildup from your plants soil. This helps prevent soil-borne illnesses and increase the longevity of your soil mixture. Additionally, the natural chunky shape of charcoal enhances soil structure from the aeration this material provides. Charcoals natural abilities help’s to maintain the soils pH over 7.0, maintaining a more alkaline than acidic soil.
Worm Castings is a great organic fertilizer formed from the waste of earth worms. The nutrients provided from the worms are slowly released in your soil and absorbed by the roots. Worm castings are also super effective at repelling pests such as aphids and spider mites. It also improves soil structure by increasing aeration, improving drainage, and enhancing moisture retention all at the same time!
Helpful tips when creating soil mixture
If the humidity in your home is lower or you water less often, you will need to tweak your soil so it can retain slightly more moisture. You could try adding increasing your coco coir and decreasing the amount of bark. Having more coco coir will decrease the amount of watering required for aroid plants.
This would make change your soil mixtures to:
- Expert= 5:2:2:1:1 coco coir, bark, perlite, charcoal, worm castings
- Advanced= 5:2:2:1 coco coir, bark, perlite, worm castings
- Intermediate= 5:2:2 coco coir, bark, perlite
If you tend to be someone that waters more frequently, or has the tendency to over water, increase the amount of perlite and decrease the amount of coco coir. This will help increase the soils drainage as well as pull excess moisture from the soil. This would change your soil mixtures to:
- Expert Aroid Soil Mixture= 3:3:3:1:1 coco coir, bark, perlite, charcoal, worm castings
- Advanced Aroid Soil Mixture= 3:3:3:1 coco coir, bark, perlite, worm castings
- Intermediate Aroid Soil Mixture= 3:3:3 coco coir, bark, perlite
- Beginner Aroid Soil Mixture= 2:1 perlite, coco coir
When creating a soil mixture specifically for aroids, it is essential to ensure good drainage in order to encourage healthy root growth and leaf development. Because aroids are native to tropical regions, you want to replicate this as closely as possible to have a happy plant. This includes ensuring the soil has the ability to hold moisture while also providing good drainage to remove the excess, as well as making the soil rich in organic material. Following these steps will guarantee you a happy and healthy plant!