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Selecting the correct soil for your philodendron can be challenging, especially if you are a beginner. Choosing the correct soil is crucial as it can determine your philodendron’s health.
So, if you are wondering what soil would be ideal for your philodendron, we are here to help you with that. In this article we shall discuss all about soil requirement of philodendron and the best soil mix for them.
As a general rule, philodendrons do well in peat-based soil that ensures adequate drainage and holds enough moisture for the plant. Make sure the soil is rich in organic matter. You can make a well-draining soil by mixing 1 part potting soil, 1 part of coco peat, and 1 part of the compost.
Whether your philodendron will thrive or wilt depends upon the soil you pick. So you should understand the soil requirements of the philodendrons before picking any soil mix.
Today we will figure out what makes the soil suitable and ideal for the philodendrons.
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Things to keep in mind while choosing a soil mix for philodendron
If you want to understand the easy way of selecting the suitable soil for your philodendron, you must keep the below-mentioned factors in mind. These will help you to make the right choice while selecting a soil mix.
- Rich in nutrients
- Should retain the required moisture
- Should allow proper aeration
Overwatering is a common problem in all houseplants, and using a heavy soil that retains a lot of water and doesn’t let the soil dry quickly can contribute to overwatering.
To avoid all these issues, you need well-draining soil to let excess water pass out through the drainage holes.
A well-draining soil mix can also save the plant from root rot.
The soil should also be nutrient-rich as philodendrons need ample nutrients as they are fast-growing plants.
So make sure that you get nutrient-rich soil for your philodendron that will boost its growth.
Philodendrons don’t prefer soggy soil, but they like their soil to be slightly moist. If the soil becomes bone dry, it will affect the health of your philodendron.
So, along with ensuring that the soil is well-draining, you should also make sure that it retains the required amount of moisture that will keep the philodendron happy and healthy.
Using a heavy soil mix that is tightly packed won’t allow air to flow in and out of the soil or between the roots. The roots will suffocate due to lack of air and might lead to other problems.
While choosing the soil, make sure that it allows proper aeration as that is essential for the root health of the plant.
What is the best soil for philodendrons?
Philodendrons can adjust to various cultural conditions, but you must use nutrient-rich soil if you want them to stay healthy and show consistent growth.
Some other factors play important roles, and we have already mentioned those above. You need to select or create a soil mix with keeping all those factors in mind.
If you don’t make the right combination, you will not get the perfect soil mix for the philodendrons.
We have listed some recipes that you can use and create a nutrient-rich and well-draining soil mix that also supports good aeration. You can check what ingredients you have in hand and prepare the right soil mix accordingly.
Adding some coco coir can help improve the texture of the soil and will help the roots grow firm and sturdy.
Mix these ingredients and plant the philodendron in this soil.
Coco peat makes the soil porous and helps in draining the excess water out of the pot.
You can also opt for cactus or succulent mix as this supports well-drainage.
Peat moss helps the soil to remain well aerated and holds the nutrients. It also helps to retain the required moisture.
Similarly, perlite also improves the aeration and soil structure. It makes the soil well-draining.
Also read: Can I Use Garden Soil For Indoor Plants?
Signs that tell that you are using the wrong soil
Your philodendron can show different signs that can tell you that you are using the wrong soil mix.
Let’s discuss some common problems caused by using the wrong type of soil.
Yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering. But what if you are not overwatering it? Yes, your philodendron can still have yellow leaves. This happens because the type of soil used is not suitable for the philodendron.
If you are using a regular potting mix or soil that is too heavy for the philodendrons, it will retain excess moisture and make the leaves turn yellow.
If you are keeping your philodendron in a heavy soil mix, it can develop root rot. The heavy soil will not allow excess water to drain out, and the soil will remain moist for long. This will also keep the roots wet.
When the roots remain wet for longer than usual, they start losing their health and become soft and brown. The roots don’t function well, making the plant weak that leads to falling leaves.
So if you notice that your philodendron is losing leaves, you should check the soil and repot the philodendron if you are using the wrong type.
While most problems occur due to a heavy soil mix, some problems are caused due to soil that cannot retain moisture.
While creating a well-draining soil mix for your philodendron, if you end up using too many elements that help in drainage, you might miss out on the elements that also retain moisture.
In this case, the soil will not hold enough moisture, and the soil will get dry faster than usual. So the plant will remain thirsty for an extended period and become dehydrated and weak.
Do philodendrons like acidic soil?
Philodendrons like slightly acidic soil. The ideal pH for philodendrons is between 5.0 and 6.0.
You can mix regular potting mix with perlite and peat moss to get the ideal pH for the philodendrons.
When should I repot my philodendron?
Philodendrons grow aggressively in their natural habitats and grow fast, even as houseplants. You should repot your philodendron whenever it outgrows its current pot. But some other reasons can demand repotting of the philodendrons.
You should repot the philodendron if you notice these:
- Rootbound plant
- Root rot
- Slow growth
- Pest infestation
Let’s start with the most apparent reason for repotting, which is a rootbound plant. When a plant outgrows its current pot, it becomes rootbound. It happens due to a lack of space in the pot.
When the plant grows big, its roots grow longer and try to go deeper, but if there’s not enough space, the roots will not grow freely.
The roots start displacing the soil and coming out of the drainage holes, indicating that it is high time to repot the philodendron.
Root rot is a severe disease in plants that require repotting if you want to save the plant. When the roots stay moist for long, they start becoming brown and soft, which is not a healthy condition for the roots.
The best way to save your plants from root rot is by pruning the affected roots and repotting in a new pot with fresh soil mix.
Slow growth means that you have a rootbound philodendron. When the roots can’t grow freely, they can’t supply water and nutrients adequately, so the plant becomes weak. The growth also slows down due to a lack of energy.
Sometimes the soil can lose nutrients if you have not repotted the plant in a long time, which can also lead to slow growth.
Repotting with nutrient-rich soil will boost growth in your philodendron, and you will notice more growth in the plant after repotting.
A pest infestation can severely damage the plant if you don’t notice it on time. Pests feed on the sap of the plant and make it weak. The pests can spread throughout the plant very fast, and sometimes they also thrive on the soil and affect the roots.
To completely eliminate the pests, you need to spray neem oil and repot the plant with a fresh soil mix. This will reduce the chances of pest infestation again.
What pot size is best for philodendrons?
The size of the pot of your philodendron should be based on the size of the plant.
You can start by keeping your philodendron in a 4” or 6” pot and get bigger size pots as your plant grows bigger.
Philodendrons are fast-growing plants, so you need to level up often; otherwise, the plant can become root-bound.
Whenever you plant to repot your philodendron, choose one size bigger pot than the previous one. So if you are currently using a 4” pot, repot the philodendron in a 6” pot next time.
Don’t choose a pot that’s too big as that will hold too much water.
Also, it is best to use terracotta or clay pots for your philodendron instead of plastic ones. The plastic pots don’t allow proper aeration and hold too much water in them.
How to repot a philodendron?
You should repot your philodendron in summer or spring so that it can adjust to the changes quickly without getting stressed.
Do not repot in the winter season as the plant can get shocked due to the unfavorable conditions.
Let’s check out the steps of repotting your philodendron.
- Choose one size bigger pot. Get a pot with drainage holes, or make one before putting the plant inside it.
- Prepare a nutrient-rich and well-draining soil mix by adding regular soil mix with some coco coir.
- If you want to prevent the blockage of the drainage holes, you can place some pebbles inside the pot.
- If you want your philodendron to come out of its pot with ease, water the plant thoroughly one day before repotting it. This will also save the plant from stress.
- You need to gently lift the philodendron out of the pot so that the roots don’t suffer any damage.
- If you notice any damaged or soft roots, prune those off. If you notice any clutter, you should also get rid of that so that the roots get enough air.
- Place the philodendron inside the pot. Fill the sides with some soil to ensure that there are no air pockets.
- Water the soil thoroughly till the water starts draining out of the drainage holes. If you think there is space for some more soil, you can add that to the pot now.
If your goal is to find the perfect soil mix for your philodendron that brings out the best growth, you should make sure that the soil is well-draining and remains slightly moist most of the time.
The philodendrons do not appreciate soggy soil or soil that can’t hold moisture at all. If you want to improve the draining and aeration in the soil, add some perlite or pumice to the soil.