Choosing the right kind of soil for your pothos could be daunting for some people. I didn’t know much about soil and how it works when I first started. But with the experience of a few years, I have learned a lot about different types of soil and how it impacts plant growth. So, whether you are looking to repot a pothos or propagate a new one, we will help you choose the right type of soil for your pothos. So, let’s get started.
Pothos generally prefers nutrient-rich, well-draining soil mix that provides good air exchange. Prepare a soil mix using two parts of potting soil, with one part of peat moss and one part of perlite. This mix will ensure the plant gets enough moisture and aeration for growth.
Choosing the right type and mix of soil is what makes the most difference for your plants. Whether your pothos will thrive or barely survive depends on the environment you provide and the type of soil you use. Thus, today we shall learn all the secrets of soil mix for pothos, and that too in layman’s terms.
Also read: Why is my pothos dying?
Table Of Contents
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Can you use regular potting soil for pothos?
Yes, we can use regular potting soil for pothos. Pothos are those plants that can adapt quickly and grow in a wide range of soil types as long as they are well-draining.
However, I have noticed that some potting soils may hold onto too much moisture, leading to overwatering and root rot.
Therefore, mixing in some perlite or coarse sand with the potting soil is a good idea to increase drainage and prevent water from staying too long around the roots.
I have also used pre-mixed potting soil specifically designed for indoor plants adding some organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, to provide additional nutrients for the plant, which goes with pothos too.
Things to keep in mind while choosing a soil mix
The soil mix for pothos is effortless and straightforward.
You needn’t learn the science behind it. You just need to keep a few things in mind while choosing the soil:
- Must retain moisture
- Aeration of the soil
These are the four crucial things to remember while choosing a soil mix for your pothos.
Having nutrient-rich soil is crucial as pothos are fast-growing plants, and they absorb most of their needed nutrient supplements from the soil.
Providing a nutrient-rich substrate will boost their growth, which is crucial if you are repotting or propagating your pothos.
One of the most common problems with houseplants is overwatering.
Most people shower a lot of love on their plants, and as a result, they end up overwatering them.
It can lead to many issues, especially when the soil is heavy and water cannot pass through.
The soil you use must be well-draining, and the water needs to pass through.
Else your pothos may see problems like droopy leaves, root rot, and more.
The aeration and water retention capacity of the soil is also crucial for your pothos to thrive.
If the soil is tightly packed and doesn’t allow the roots to breathe, your plant may suffer from stunted growth.
Thus, adding something for aeration is essential.
While pothos doesn’t like remaining wet at all times, they don’t want to be left dry as well.
If the soil you are using dries out pretty quickly, then your pothos may struggle to grow.
You may see signs of leaf curling and brown leaves as well.
Thus, adding something into the soil mix for retaining a little bit of moisture is crucial.
Also read: Do pothos need fertilizer? (How much, what type and more)
What is the best soil for pothos?
Pothos are not such demanding plants, and they can do well in most kinds of soil.
However, if you want your plants to thrive and grow longer and bushier, choose a nutrient-rich potting mix.
Wait, Wait, Wait! Just because I told you to use any good potting mix, you cannot go ahead and throw a bag of mix in there and plant your pothos.
We need to make a few adjustments to the potting mix so that the conditions for your pothos are set right!
After experimenting and trying out a bunch of combinations, I have brought it down to two well-balanced recipes for the perfect soil mix.
This mix works great with most houseplants that demand similar conditions.
So, without further delay, let’s dive right into it.
Mixing the soil ingredients and creating a perfect blend for your pothos can be time-consuming and challenging at the same time.
But you are in luck! You can buy a ready-to-go bag of perfect potting mix for your pothos from rePotme.
rePotme is an excellent place to buy ready-made mixes for all your houseplants and succulents.
If you want to check out other mixes they offer, you can check them out here(rePotme).
- Take 2 parts of Miracle-Gro Indoor potting mix
- Mix a part of perlite/pumice/coarse sand into the mix
- Take a part of cactus soil
- Mix a part of the compost
- Add a part of peat moss/cocopeat
Both of these soil mixes cater to the need of your pothos.
The first soil mix is pretty straightforward and effective, as well.
You just need a bag of Miracle-gro indoor potting mix, which we shall mix with a part of perlite.
Although this particular potting mix is created to keep indoor plants in mind, I still feel it holds the moisture for a little longer.
That might work well in dry and arid climates but doesn’t work well in tropical, humid places.
Thus, adding a part of coarse sand or pumice if perlite will help with the soil’s aeration and drainage.
The second soil mix is also effective, but it needs a little bit more work to prepare it right.
If you already have any kind of succulent or cactus soil in hand, then go with this mix as it will save you a few bucks.
We prefer Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix in which we add a portion of compost and a part of peat moss/cocopeat to retain adequate moisture and minerals for the plant to thrive. You can also add some vermiculite if required.
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Looking for a readymade indoor plant soil mix that you can open and pour? Check out rePotme. They offer a wide range of readymade soil premixes for all your indoor plants.
Do pothos like acidic soil?
Pothos prefer slightly acidic soil. The ideal pH levels for pothos is anywhere between 6.1-and 6.5. To maintain a healthy pH preferable mix is 1 part of perlite, 2 part of peat moss and 1 part of pine bark fines.
However, they can do well even if the soil is somewhat outside this pH range.
They don’t enjoy soil that is too acidic (pH 5.8 or below) as it can damage their roots leading to stunted growth and wilting of leaves.
Do pothos like cactus soil?
No pothos do not like cactus soil as it doesn’t hold moisture for an extended period.
However, you can prepare cactus soil to keep your pothos in it.
If you have a cactus soil mix, we will suggest you mix a part of compost with compost and peat moss or cocopeat in it.
But why did we do so? Cactus and succulents prefer dry soil, whereas pothos prefer moisture in the soil so the plant’s roots don’t dry out.
Adding some cocopeat or peat moss will help with moisture retention, and a handful of compost will make the soil organically rich.
Thus, a perfect mix for your pothos to thrive.
How often should you repot pothos plants, and why?
Depending on the plant size and the pot, you can repot pothos every 1-2 years. Repotting is essential for several reasons:
- Nutrient depletion: Over time, the potting soil’s nutrients can deplete, affecting the plant’s health. Repotting allows fresh soil and nutrients to be added, which can help the plant thrive.
- Root-bound: Pothos plants are fast-growing and can quickly become root bound in their container. When the roots become overcrowded, they may grow in circles around the root ball, which can cause the plant to become stunted and unhealthy. Repotting allows the roots to spread out and grow properly.
- Soil getting compact: Over time, the potting soil can become compacted, making it difficult for water and air to penetrate the soil. This can lead to overwatering and root rot. Repotting allows fresh, loose soil to be added, which can help with drainage and prevent root rot.
If your pothos have outgrown the size of your current pot or become root-bound, you must repot them immediately.
Otherwise, don’t bother to repot your pothos repeatedly, as it hampers your pothos’ growth rate.
Also read: How would I know if my houseplant needs repotting?
My pothos had started showing me signs that it was root-bound and needed a larger pot. Below are the signs I noticed:
- Roots coming out of the drainage holes
- Stunted growth
- Yellow and brown leaves
- Droopy leaves
- Pot starts expanding or breaking down
If you start noticing these signs, prepare to repot your pothos.
However, it is best to repot them during spring and early summer as they grow during this season.
Most of the winter or colder months are the dormant stages for your pothos plant, and repotting them at that stage doesn’t make sense.
When repotting a pothos plant, it’s essential to choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the current pot, as a pot that is too large can hold onto too much moisture and lead to overwatering.
Additionally, it’s essential to use well-draining potting soil and to water the plant thoroughly after repotting to help the roots adjust to their new environment.
Also read:- Is my pothos root bound?
What size of the pot is best for pothos?
The size of the pot depends upon the size of the plant, but it is ideal to start with a 4″ to 6″ pot. As your pothos grows in size, you need to move them to a bigger pot.
Pothos can quickly become root-bound if left in a pot for a long.
You need to repot them every two years or so, depending upon the growth of your pothos.
Always move them to a pot 2″ more prominent than the previous one.
For example:- If your pothos is currently planted in a 6″ pot, you need to move them to an 8″ pot next time.
Please don’t go too big, as it will slow the growth of your pothos.
Also read: Pot size and its impact on the growth of the plant.
How to troubleshoot common soil-related problems with pothos plants?
Pothos can develop some soil-related problems if the soil conditions are not right.
Here are some common soil-related problems which I faced initially with pothos plants and how I got over them:
- Overwatering: Pothos plants are susceptible to overwatering, leading to root rot and other problems. To avoid overwatering, ensure the soil is well-draining and the pot has drainage holes. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings, and avoid leaving the plant in standing water.
- Underwatering: If the soil is too dry, the pothos plant’s leaves may wilt or turn yellow. To avoid underwatering, thoroughly water the plant when the top inch of the soil feels dry.
- Nutrient deficiency: If your pothos is not getting enough nutrients from the soil, its growth may be stunted, and its leaves may turn yellow. To avoid nutrient deficiency, use high-quality potting soil or add compost or other organic matter to the soil. Additionally, you can fertilize the plant with a balanced fertilizer every two to four weeks during the growing season.
- pH imbalance: If the soil pH is too high or too low, it can affect the pothos plant’s ability to absorb nutrients from the soil. To avoid pH imbalance, make sure to use potting soil with a neutral pH or adjust the pH of the soil using pH adjusters. You can also test the soil pH periodically using a soil testing kit.
Can you use hydroponics to grow pothos plants instead of soil?
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, and you can grow your pothos in water, just like in soil.
All you need to do is to cut a portion of your pothos with 3 to 4 nodes.
Take a transparent medium sized glass bottle or a container and place the vine in it.
Ensure that the portion inside the water has only roots and no leaves.
Leaving leaves under the water can cause them to rot.
You can fill the container with regular tap water, but if you see that the water has too much chlorine, let the chemical evaporate by leaving it for 2 days to settle and then place your pothos vine in it.
Add a few drops of liquid fertilizer to boost your plant’s growth.
Place it in indirect light and change the water every 2 to 3 weeks, and your pothos will undoubtedly do well.
How to properly water pothos plants in different types of soil?
Here are some tips on how to properly water pothos plants in different types of soil:
- Well-draining soil: Pothos like well-draining soil. Water these plants when the top soil is dry to the touch. In this way, you can avoid overwatering. When watering, ensure the excess water drains out of the pot.
- Soil with high moisture retention: Some potting soils are designed to retain moisture for extended periods. If your pothos is planted in this type of soil, allowing the soil to dry out slightly before watering is crucial. Check the soil moisture level by inserting your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If the soil feels moist, wait a few days before watering again. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water.
- Soil with added fertilizer: Some potting soils contain added fertilizer. When watering pothos plants in soil with added fertilizer, use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
- Terrariums or small containers: If your pothos is planted in a terrarium or small container with limited drainage, be careful not to overwater. These types of containers can hold moisture for extended periods, which can lead to root rot. Water only when the soil is dry to the touch.
How to fertilize pothos plants in soil, and what type of fertilizer to use?
You can use both water-soluble and dry granular fertilizers for your pothos.
Make sure that it is a regular NPK(nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) fertilizer with a 1:1:1 ratio.
If it is a liquid fertilizer, use it every 2 to 3 weeks. If it is a solid granular fertilizer, please follow the instruction on the label because the size of the container will also determine the amount of fertilizer required.
If you haven’t read the entire post and skipped to the conclusion directly, I would summarise everything for you. Pothos can live and grow in almost all types of soil. However, providing an appropriate substrate is crucial if your goal is to have a thriving plant.
This plant prefers well-draining, nutrient-rich soil that can hold moisture for a while. The soil must not remain soggy or absorb too much moisture. However, it must have some moisture-retaining capacity. Also, don’t forget to add some perlite or pumice for aeration.
I would strongly recommend checking out the soil mix we discussed earlier in this article for a detailed understanding of how it works.
Also read: How to save a dying pothos?
When to move pothos from water to soil?
Once your pothos cuttings have 1 inch of root growth, you can move them to the soil.
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Can pothos live in water permanently?
Yes, they can easily live forever in water. You only need to keep changing the water every 2 to 3 weeks and provide it with a few drops of liquid fertilizer.
Can I use succulent soil for pothos?
Using succulent soil for pothos is not recommended because it drains too rapidly, which can deprive your pothos of water.
Source: Effects of Different Pot Mixtures on Pothos, Soil and leaf nutrient, Air and Soil Temperatures and Fertilizer Level Affect Growth and Quality of pothos, Short-term effects of organic amendments on soil fertility, Soil Fertility and Diversity of Microorganism
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