Beautiful and lush monstera deliciosa is one of the best houseplants to give a tropical touch to your space. Also known as the Swiss cheese plant, Monstera is highly preferred by budding gardeners, especially in colder regions, as it can grow beautifully in even tight conditions. But that doesn’t mean we can take it for granted. If you want a beautiful monstera with huge leaves, you need to pick the correct soil.
However, picking the right soil mix isn’t easy with all the options available in the market. But you don’t have to worry a bit, as we’ve got everything covered, right from the ideal soil to the best potting mix for Monstera deliciosa.
Why Is Correct Soil Important For Plants?
Soil isn’t just an element of your plant. It provides five crucial things to your plants:
- Proper gas exchange
- A place to anchor
- Temperature control
- The right amount of water
If the soil isn’t meant for your plant or if the soil potting mix doesn’t suit the plant, it will struggle to get all the things mentioned above, which are vital for its growth and sustenance. This can cause immense damage to your plant, not to mention death.
The Best Soil For Monstera Deliciosa:
Soil is one of the most essential parts of growing a healthy plant, especially when you want it to thrive, not just survive. Monstera deliciosa, in particular, prefers a potting soil that’s similar to the soil found in tropical and subtropical regions.
Besides, it even prefers nutrient-rich and well-drained soil. We would like to emphasize the word ‘well-drained’’ because monsteras get a bit upset with overwatering. So how can you avoid overwatering your monstera? By keeping it in soil that does not retain too much moisture.
Best Soil pH For Monstera Deliciosa:
The ideal pH range for monstera’s soil is around 5 to 7, which means it prefers acidic to neutral soil. The good news is that most of the potting mixes available in the market fall into this category. So picking a potting mix won’t be much of a task. But avoid adding anything that changes the pH of the soil.
Factors To Consider While Choosing A Soil For Monstera Deliciosa:
When you’re picking a potting soil for your monstera, the most important factor you need to consider is drainage. Houseplants need the perfect balance of everything as they thrive in constricted spaces. Monstera, as mentioned earlier, is very sensitive to excess moisture and its soil can get damaged if it doesn’t drain.
When the soil is too wet or dense, it gets difficult for the roots to access oxygen. And when the oxygen is unable to circulate around the roots, it gets fungal issues, which eventually soften and kills the roots, an irreversible condition. This condition is called ‘root rot’. Not just oxygen, the roots absorb all the nutrients required for the healthy growth of a plant. And when it rots it fails to do that as well. So you can imagine the kind of effect root rot can have on plants. So ensure that you plant your monstera in a pot that has a drainage hole to discard excess water.
We would also like to mention that dry soil is also not good for monstera plants. A little bit of moisture is required, lest the roots will get stressed out, leading to a series of root problems. So keep poking the soil to check the moisture level. If the top 2 to 3 inches feel dry, water it. You can water your monstera every ten days.
The Soil Should Be Nutrient Rich:
Needless to say, the soil you pick for your monstera deliciosa should be nutrient-rich. Pick a potting mix that has the perfect balance of all the nutrients. Fertilizers are also important for indoor plants, including monstera. When the plants grow in the wild or outdoors, they keep getting their regular supply of nutrients from animal droppings and plant debris. This isn’t possible indoors. Hence you need to supplement your monstera with fertilizers.
A soil that’s dry and compact will prevent air exchange, thereby leading to brown and mushy roots. Therefore, aeration is as important as drainage and nutrients. Hence, you must pick a soil mix that allows adequate air exchange for your monstera plant.
Which Type Of Soils To Avoid While Planting Monstera?
Avoid Ground Dirt:
Contrary to what most people believe, potting mix isn’t a soil mix. In fact, it contains no soil at all. These mixes are usually composed of peat or sphagnum moss, and vermiculite as the base, along with some more components, like coco coir, compost, sand, and pine bark. The ingredients may vary, but most of the mixes contain these ingredients as they cater to almost every plant’s needs. The natural soil, on the other hand, is a lot denser and heavier than a potting mix. These types of soil hold in a lot more moisture and do not even contain sufficient nutrients required for the healthy growth of the plant. But that doesn’t mean you will use ground dirt for your monstera plant. That’s a strict no-no.
Avoid Moisture Control Potting Mix:
When you’re purchasing potting mix for your monstera, avoid the ones with ‘moisture control’ labels on them. These potting mixes contain water-absorbing gels that absorb excess water and then release it slowly to protect the soil from over or under-watering. While it does sound cool, in reality, it does nothing, except giving a false sense of security to the plant owners. So it would be best for you to understand the watering habits of your plant and apply them accordingly.
Try To Avoid Peat Moss:
Most potting mixes contain peat moss used to improve water retention. But the issue with peat moss is that it decays quickly, which leads the soil to compress and lose drainage. It even builds up harmful salts on the soil. Moreover, peat moss becomes hydrophobic when it fully dries, which means it repels water. Since we need well-drained soil, not a dry one, peat moss can be a bad idea. If you want to use it, use it in less quantity.
Soil Mix Recipe For Monstera Plant:
If you’ve bought a Monstera plant from a hardware or grocery store or even a nursery that doesn’t specialize in houseplants, there’s a mighty possibility that the soil it comes with is optimized for growing in commercial greenhouses, not homes or other indoor spaces.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of potting mixes available for the Monstera plant in the market. A nutrient-rich and well-drained potting mix would be your best option. But do not just plant your monstera in a store-bought potting mix. You need to make a few adjustments to make it work for your monstera. Below we have shared two perfect combinations or recipes for your monstera plant. The best thing is that this mix will work with most of the tropical houseplants.
Monstera Deliciosa Potting Soil Mix Recipe Or Combination:
You Will Need:
- ½ part potting mix
- ½ part coco fiber
- A handful of orchid mix, coco chips, or perlite. This will help in aeration
Mix 1 part of potting mix with a handful of orchid mix or perlite and 1 part of coco fiber. This combination will give you a perfect soil for your monstera, rich in nutrients and well-drained, of course. You can even dress the top layer of the soil with orchid bark. It will prevent gnats from laying eggs on the soil.
You Will Need:
- 2 parts of potting mix. Foxfarm Potting Soil is one of the best soils for monstera plants.
- 1 part of coarse sand or perlite
This is a pretty straightforward recipe. All you need to do is mix 2 parts of potting mix with one part of coarse sand or perlite. This combination will make the mix well-drained and airy, the two most important factors for a monstera’s soil. If you feel that the mix is dense or light, feel free to adjust the ratio slightly.
Best Pot For An Indoor Monstera Deliciosa:
When we are discussing soil, how can we not talk about pot? Many people don’t realize but the right pot is essential in preventing your monstera’s soil from going bad. Do not consider any particular size for monstera deliciosa. The size of the pot will depend on the size of the plant. You can grow your plant in an 8 inches’ pot or a 28 inches’ pot, everything comes down to the size and growth of the plant.
One thing about monstera is that it grows very quickly and densely, especially the roots. So your goal should be to repot your monstera every two years, provided it’s growing normally. And always pick 2 inches’ larger pot than the present one. You can even go for 4 inches bigger in size, but never the same size. Do not plant in a very big pot as it can affect the growth of the roots.
Apart from that, buy pots with drainage holes for all your plants, not just monstera, to drain excess water and prevent it from accumulating in the soil.
Take a look at this contemporary monstera plant pot.
Signs You’ve Picked The Wrong Soil For Your Monstera:
The best thing about plants, including monstera, is that it will let you know when you are using the wrong soil, through some signs. Below mentioned are some of the commons signs that show something is wrong with your choice of soil.
Leaves Turning Yellow:
Yellowing is the most common sign that something is wrong with your Monstera deliciosa. If there’s excess water in your soil and it’s unable to drain it, it will drown itself. The first sign of drowning roots is yellow leaves. Hence, it’s recommended that you use a soil mix that doesn’t hold too much water. Also, pick a pot with drainage holes to discard excess water.
Brown spots on leaves or plant are a sign of root rot, which also happen due to overwatering. These spots start out small and then spread throughout the plant. They even enlarge with time.
Let us tell you, watering isn’t just the only cause of moist soil. An improper or incorrect soil mix can also prevent the soil from drying. Since the roots are constantly exposed to water, they begin to rot. They even fail to soak up nutrients and water and eventually die.
When Does A Monstera Plant Need Repotting?
Monstera deliciosa should be repotted when it has outgrown its present pot. Monstera deliciosa grows very quickly and in the process, it starts displacing the soil. This displacement can cause the pot to break. Hence, you should repot it as sooner as you can so that it can accommodate itself well.
Secondly, if you’re using a potting mix that contains peat moss, we would suggest you repot your plant every year as peat decomposes quickly.
Thirdly, if your monstera isn’t growing as fast as it generally does, you might need to find the underlying issue. Most of these issues are connected to root bound or root rot. In that case, it would be best for you to repot the plant.
The signs of root bounded monstera include:
- Monstera plant looks dehydrated
- Soil dries up really quick
- Leaves start curling or drooping
- The slow growth of the plant
- Roots spiraling at the bottom
- Roots coming out of drainage holes
- Pots breaking down because of the expansion
- Brown or yellow leaves
FAQs On Best Soil For Monstera Deliciosa:
Q. Can I use cactus soil for my monstera plant?
A. No, you shouldn’t use cactus soil for your monstera. Cactus soil is best suited for succulents as they prefer dry soil. A cactus soil doesn’t contain the adequate amount of moisture required by a monstera plant. If you plant your monstera in cactus soil, you will lose all the leaves and the plant might even die.
If cactus soil is your only option, you need to tweak it a bit to make it acceptable for a Monstera deliciosa. Mix a part of cocopeat or peat moss and a part of compost to your cactus soil. Ensure that the ratio of all the ingredients is 1:1:1. The additional ingredients will help the soil retain moisture and minerals, creating a perfect balance for a monstera plant.
Or, just create a potting mix using the recipe above and it will work wonders for your plant.
Q. Is Monstera deliciosa an acid-loving plant? Does it like acidic soil?
A. Monstera deliciosa prefers acidic to neutral soil in the pH range between 5.5 to 7.0. We would say, a pH level of 6 would be perfect for your monstera, with a little bit of variation here and there. If the soil is below 5.5, it can get too acidic for your plant, which can lead to burnt leaves and stunted growth.
Q. Does the shape of the pot or the size of the plant impact soil choice?
A. No, the shape of the pot or the size of the plant makes no difference in the soil you choose. All the species of Monstera deliciosa does well in well-drained and slightly acidic soil.
Having said that, the container or pot size you choose will decide how much you need to water your plant. For example, if you have a larger monstera in a large pot, you’ll have to put in a lot more water than a smaller monstera in a smaller pot. It’s all about volume.
What is the best soil for repotting Monstera deliciosa?
A. Whether you’re potting or repotting, use the same potting mix as mentioned above. But remember to change the soil when you repot your plant. This will prevent any interaction with all the pests and fungal diseases present in the previous soil.
Does Monstera deliciosa like moist soil?
A. No, monstera isn’t really fond of moist soil. However, it performs really well in a soil potting mix that drains out excess moisture but still holds enough to sustain itself. Also, ensure that your container or vessel has a proper drainage system to expel excess water.
How to mix monstera soil?
A. That’s very easy. Just mix in all the ingredients mentioned in perfect ratio/quantity/measurement and add some water until it’s moist. Do not put too much water in it. Mix it thoroughly and use it to plant your monstera.
Can I use regular potting soil for my monstera plant?
That’s not something we would recommend as potting soil straight out of the bag is too dense and sit too long on water. This can lead to overwatering and eventually root rot. You should always mix a bit of perlite into your potting mix to help it drain faster.
Can I use loam soil for Monstera deliciosa?
A. Since loamy soil also stays wet for a long time, we would tell you to avoid using it. If that’s the only option left, you can mix with bark and perlite. This will keep the soil aerated. But your best option would be going for a soil meant for monstera.
We hope our article answered all your questions on the best soil for Monstera deliciosa. You just need to understand all the components of an ideal soil for monstera and you’ll whip up a perfect mix for your plant in no time. Just go for the one that works best for your plant baby.
Aiza Siddiqui is one of the content providers in Gardener’s Toolbox. From a very young age, Aiza has been passionate about gardening, which explains her choice of major in studies. She holds a BSc Degree in Botany from the University of Calcutta. Aiza is a green thumb through and through and owns more than 100 different types of plants. Every article that she contributes to Gardener’s Toolbox is written by doing extensive research and from her own experience with planting and gardening. Hoping that you will find her articles on different houseplants helpful.