Epipremnum aureum, commonly known as pothos plants, are highly coveted for their gorgeous, heart-shaped leaves, ivy-like tendrils, and of course for their ability to withstand all kinds of conditions. In fact, it’s nicknamed Devil’s Ivy because it’s nearly impossible for this plant to die. There are several varieties of pothos plants, such as Marble Queen Pothos, Golden Pothos, and Jade pothos. And all the varieties call for a good potting mix or soil. In this article, I will discuss what kind of soil is best for the pothos plant or Devil’s Ivy along with the most suitable potting soil or mixes. Read on!
Pothos plants or Epipremnum aureum perform best in well-drained soil. Soil mixes that are heavy and compact with little to no airflow can cause waterlogging, which may lead to root rot and all the problems associated with it. And if you’re talking about soil-free mixes or the readymade ones that are available online, vermiculite, peat moss, and perlite perform best. Just avoid garden soil as it is too heavy and not suitable for pothos.
Why Appropriate Soil Is Vital For Plant’s Health?
Suitable soil is highly essential for the proper growth and development of a plant, which includes pothos plant as well. When it comes to a houseplant, soil mixes consisting of three inert particles, namely silt, sand, and clay along with some organic matter such as coco coir and peat moss are usually used. These ingredients or materials provide nutrition and oxygen to the plant. Apart from providing the required nutrients, potting mixes also facilitate drainage, hold the plant in place and provide aeration.
Using the wrong soil for your plant can give rise to a host of problems, such as insufficient drainage and aeration which can cause root rot. Also, soil that fails to hold moisture can dry out the plants.
Soil structure also determines the availability of nutrients to your plant. If your soil contains organic matter particles and clay, it will hold the nutrients to make them available for use when needed.
Signs You’re Using Wrong Soil For Your Pothos Or Epipremnum aureum?
Plants always give out signs when they are distressed. So if there’s something wrong with the soil, it will manifest itself in the following ways.
Yellow leaves in pothos plants could be due to a variety of reasons, one of them being using unsuitable soil mix. The leaves of devil’s ivy turn yellow when they don’t get enough oxygen. Lack of oxygen mostly stems due to waterlogged soil. When the soil is compact due to water, it finds it hard to access oxygen.
Additionally, yellow leaves could also be because of root rot. Root rot is an attack by the fungus, but it happens due to waterlogged soil. So you must always opt for well-drained soil, particularly because pothos is very sensitive to overwatering.
This is a pretty straightforward cue. If the soil remains moist for a long period of time, it means you’ve opted for a heavy soil mix, which is unsuitable for pothos plants. When you water pothos, the excess should come out of the drainage holes rather than sitting in the soil. And the soil should also be dry between watering. If the soil mix you’ve opted for is correct, the top few inches of the soil should dry out within one to three weeks. So if the top surface of the soil is constantly wet, it means there’s some issue with the drainage.
Plant Tissues Turn Soft:
If the roots or the tissue above the ground of your pothos feel soft, it could be because of root rot. Root rot is caused by a fungus that forms when the soil is constantly wet. Therefore, if the tissues of your plant have gone soft, it’s time to inspect the soil.
What Type Of Soil Is Best For Pothos Plant Or Devil’s Ivy?
Pothos or Epipremnum aureum absolutely detest sitting in water. It takes a toll on their health and even leads to fatal conditions, such as root rot. Therefore, for growing pothos plants, you must opt for well-drained soil. When soil doesn’t drain properly, the air pockets inside remain filled with water. This prevents the soil from accessing nutrients and oxygen, both of which are essential to their growth. It can even lead to root rot, which is a highly dangerous condition for plants. Therefore, the ideal soil for the pothos plant should be lightweight, nutrient-rich, well-drained, full of airflow, and definitely not dense. This will facilitate better absorption of oxygen and nutrients and better drainage.
Not just that, you must choose pots with drainage holes for your pothos plant to avoid waterlogging. Also, pothos plants grow quickly, so you must ensure that they are planted in nutrient-rich soil.
Best Potting Soil Or Soil Mix For Pothos Plant
If you can get your hands on the perfect soil mix for pothos, well and good. But if not, you can mix your own soil. Mixing your own soil isn’t as daunting as it appears. You just need to whip up ingredients that have adequate nutrition for your plants and are efficient at drainage. Below mentioned are some of the most common ingredients for the pothos plants.
Peat moss: A decomposed layer of soil mainly found in bogs. They help in oxygen and water retention.
Vermiculite: Vermiculite is a hydrated mineral that aids in nutrient and water absorption. It even helps aerate the soil, which is essential for the wellbeing of the plants.
Sand: Sand is also required to create extra drainage and air pockets.
Perlite: Perlite is another naturally occurring mineral that improves airflow in the soil and absorbs water quickly.
Compost: Compost, used only for outdoor plants, add the required amount of nutrients in the soil.
Shredded Bark: Shredded bark is also useful for improving airflow and adding drainage to the soil.
Coco Coir: Coco coir, obtained from coconut trees is added to the soil to improve its drainage and water retention capacity. It’s mostly used as a substitute for peat moss.
Remember, you must not use garden soil for any of your plants, be it indoor or outdoor. Such type of soil is very heavy and is often laden with fungus gnats that can make things worse for your plant.
Best Pre-Made Or Store Bought Potting Mix For Pothos Plant
The easiest thing you can do is buy good quality and organic potting mix for your plant. These are readily available online and in local garden stores. Potting mix, even though they are called soil mix by most people, are essentially soilless. They are sterile, hence there’s no scope of fungi or pests attacking your plant. While purchasing, just ensure that the mix contains perlite. This is particularly important for proper aeration.
Soil Mix Recipe For Pothos Plant
As discussed above, an ideal soil mix for the pothos plant must be well-drained with good airflow. Here’s the best soil mix recipe for your pothos plant. But before going ahead, test the pH level of your plant. The ideal pH level for pothos plants is between 6.1 and 6.5. Pothos are not very fussy, but it would be great if you could maintain it.
- 4 parts coco coir or peat moss
- 2 parts perlite
- 1-part shredded bark
- 1-part sand or vermiculite
How To Mix Pothos Plant Soil?
Put all the ingredients in the perfect ratio in a large vessel and add some water to it until its moist. Mix thoroughly and fill the plant pot with it.
- 2 parts of potting mix (I personally prefer Miracle Gro indoor potting mix)
- 1-part perlite
How To Mix Pothos Plant Soil?
Mix the two ingredients and plant your pothos in them. You’ll see new growth sprouting in no time. The Miracle Gro potting mix is also sufficient on its own as it holds water really well. But if you happen to reside in humid locations, it would be best if you added perlite or sand to the potting mix. This will improve drainage capacity and airflow of the soil.
Pothos Soil Requirements FAQs
What is the ideal pH value for pothos plants?
A neutral pH is 7.0. Numbers below it are considered acidic and the numbers above it are considered alkaline. Pothos prefer soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 6.5, which means slightly acidic soil.
Do pothos plants like wet soil?
Pothos absolutely hate wet and soggy soil. You should never overwater your pothos as it can lead to root rot. Water only when the top couple of inches of the soil has dried completely. Even if the surface has dried, the soil around the roots will remain moist. So don’t worry about underwatering pothos plant. Even if you do, they’ll hold themselves together well.
Do pothos plants like acidic soil?
Pothos prefer soil with a pH value between 6 and 6.5. This means they like to thrive in mildly acidic soil. Make sure the acidity level of the soil isn’t very high otherwise it will damage the roots.
Can I use cactus soil for my pothos plant?
Never use cactus or any succulent soil for your pothos plant. Soil mixes meant for cactus do not retain moisture for a long time. This makes it unsuitable for pothos, which prefer well-drained but aerated soil. If that’s the only option you have, you can add some peat moss or compost to the mix. This will add the necessary amount of moisture and nutrients to the soil.
Can I add coffee grounds to the pothos plant’s soil?
Coffee grounds are used to increase the acidic level of the soil. So if your pothos soil has a pH value of over 6.5, you can add coffee grounds to it. This will save it from getting too alkaline, which is unsuitable for pothos. Also, coffee grounds act as a natural fertilizer by providing extra nutrients to the plant. Plus, it contains nitrogen, which is essential in the growth of the plant. So you can definitely add coffee grounds to the soil, provided it isn’t too acidic already. Always check the pH value of the soil before adding anything to it.
Do pothos plants like moist soil?
Pothos perform best in soil that’s moist but also drains fast. And by moist I don’t mean wet soil. I’d like to reiterate that pothos does not like sitting in water. So the pot you’re using for your pothos must have drainage holes that can help discard excess water after watering.
Can I use orchid potting mix for my pothos plant?
Orchid potting mix is too light and contains too much bark, making it difficult to support a well-grown pothos plant. So I would suggest you avoid it.
Does the pot size affect the soil?
In some ways, the size of the pot does affect the soil. It doesn’t really alter the quality of the soil, but if the size of the pot is bigger than the plant, it will take a long time for the soil to dry out. So in case, you’ve potted your plant in a huge container, avoid watering it often. Ideally, you should always go for planters just an inch bigger than the soil.
In which soil should I repot my pothos plant?
You must use the same type of potting mix for repotting your pothos plant. There’s no need to alter anything, as these plants will forever prefer well-drained soil. But don’t use the same soil for repotting purposes. Discard the old soil and use a new potting mix to prevent the spread of pathogens.
To sum it up, pothos isn’t very picky about soil mixes, but the best soil for it, be it premixed or self-made, should be well-drained and airy enough to allow the roots to breathe and survive. Other than that, you have nothing else to worry about. They are huge-hearted plants and will readily forgive you for your minor mistakes. But don’t let these minor mistakes become major.
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.