Skip to Content

What Soil To Use For Monstera Plants? (Ideal Soil Mix+Growing In LECA)

Soil is the key to Monstera’s good growth and development. However, all soil types are unequal, so you should make them perfect. Let’s learn what type of soil Monstera or Swiss Cheese plants like. 

Monstera plants prefer soil that is rich, well-drained and retains moisture while drying between waterings. It should be fertile and have a pH of around 5.5 to 6.5. A good soil mix would be 1 part peat, 1 part coco coir, and 4 parts pine bark fines. 

In my 12 years of gardening, I have grown multiple Monsteras and used several soil mixes. In this guide, I will elaborate on the ideal soil type, DIY recipes, and store-bought soil options for Monsteras. By the end, you will learn everything about it. So, let’s begin without further delay. 

Soil for Monstera plant

I have done my best to address all of your concerns in the article below. However, if you still have any questions or are confused about the article, you can receive personalized one-on-one assistance from me by leaving a comment below. I will respond to your comment within a few hours.


Please note: Simplify Plants is reader-supported. Some links in the post are affiliate links and I get a commission from purchases made through links in the post.

Choosing the ideal soil type for Monstera 

Are you willing to grow Monstera but don’t know how to choose the right type? Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered. 

Consider the factors below and ensure these features are present in the Monstera potting mix

Monstera potting soil drainage 

Drainage is one of the most critical aspects of Monstera potting soil. 

Monsteras are epiphytes that grow on other trees and objects and don’t do well in wet or soggy soil. 

Chunky materials like perlite or orchid bark will be needed in the soil mix as they can make air pockets and ensure good drainage and air circulation. 

Moisture retention in Monstera potting soil 

Monstera potting soil should retain some moisture and slowly release it as per the roots’ requirement. 

Retaining moisture doesn’t imply soggy or wet soil

The components in the potting mix will stay damp after excess water drains out. 

Perlite can help in both drainage and retention. The small beads soak the moisture and retain it while slowly releasing it as the soil dries out.  

These beads also create spaces to let the excess water drain and ensure good airflow. 

Monstera potting soil aeration 

The next important thing to look at is aeration for Monstera potting soil.

Monstera roots require oxygen to breathe. 

Otherwise, they can begin to rot in compact and damp soil. 

Aeration and drainage are considered a 2-in-1 package. 

Ingredients that help in drainage also improve aeration. 

Nutrient content in Monstera potting soil 

In their native land, Monstera soil is naturally rich. 

It constantly receives nutrients from the biodegrading plants, the droppings of the forest animals, and aeration by earthworms. 

Hence, choose a nutrient-rich potting soil for Monstera plants. 

Sometimes, the potting mixes do not have any nutrients. 

In that case, add fertilizers while making the potting mix to add the missing nutrients. 

Soil pH and testing for Monstera 

Monsteras prefer slightly acidic soil. 

The pH scale for Monstera ranges between 5.5 and 6.5. 

Ingredients like peat moss and pine bark fines can create an acidic environment for Monsteras. 

Peat moss has a pH level of around 4.5 and pine bark contains 5.2-6.8 pH levels. 

Using a pH testing kit, test the soil pH after you have made or bought the potting mix. 

Essential soil amendments to use in Monstera soil mix

Monstera plant checking the soil

The soil mix must have the ingredients mentioned in this section to make it ideal for Monstera plants and help them thrive.  

If not all, a few of these amendments must be used to make the growing medium perfect for Swiss Cheese plants. 

Here’s a list of the essential ingredients to be used in Monstera’s potting mix: 

Other ingredients like composted leaves, fine sand, and silt can also improve the soil texture and nutrition. 

Signs you are using the wrong soil mix for Monsteras 

A few months back, one of my readers emailed me a picture of her Monstera plant. She was worried about her plant’s health.  

It had some discolored leaves, and the soil seemed wet. 

She even told me the soil takes a long time to dry out. 

While discussing primary care, I learned she had used regular potting soil but has not added ingredients like perlite or bark fines. 

That’s when I understood the soil mix was the issue. 

Only potting soil does not provide all the requirements. 

Hence, you must amend it with a few more ingredients to improve its quality. 

While your Monstera may survive in such soil, it won’t thrive or remain strong and healthy.

If you are using the wrong type of soil, below are some signs you might notice in the plant: 

  • Yellow leaves 
  • Brown spots 
  • Drooping or wilting 
  • Stunted growth 
  • Mushy roots with a foul smell 

These happen when your Monstera plant’s soil doesn’t drain or retain well. 

When the soil holds too much moisture, it suffocates the roots, reduces airflow and access to oxygen, and inhibits moisture and nutrient uptake. 

Similarly, when the soil has poor retention, nutrients and moisture drain before the plant can absorb them. 

For this, photosynthesis or chlorophyll production gets disturbed, leading to yellowing or wilting. 

Brown spots indicate root rot resulting from excessive moisture around the roots. 

Wrong pH is also to be blamed as it creates nutrient imbalance, struggles with nutrient uptake, and stunts plant growth.

Monstera plant leaves turning yellow

Troubleshooting the issue by amending the Monstera potting soil with the right materials

  • Add perlite or vermiculite to improve drainage and aeration. 
  • Mix peat moss to improve soil retention. 
  • Add worm castings to improve soil nutrition and aeration. 
  • Pine bark and peat can adjust the soil pH and balance the nutrient level. 
  • Add activated charcoal to prevent pests and fungal growth like root rot. 

DIY soil mix recipes for Monstera plants 

I have used multiple soil recipes for Monsteras, and some are yet to be used. 

Want to make your own soil blend for your Monsteras but struggling to find one? 

From my own experience and through detailed research, below, I have shared around 10 DIY recipes for Monsteras.

Recipe 1: 

  • 30% all-purpose potting soil 
  • 40% shredded bark 
  • 20% peat moss
  • 10% perlite 
  • 10% of horticultural charcoal 

You can skip potting soil to make a soilless medium. 

In that case, I change the quantity. 

I use 25% orchid bark, 20% coco coir, 25% perlite, 10% charcoal, and 10% worm castings. 

Recipe 2: 

  • 4 parts pine bark fines
  • 1 part perlite 
  • 1 part sphagnum moss or coco coir

Recipe 3: 

  • 2 parts potting mix
  • 2 parts coco fiber or peat moss
  • 1 part perlite, orchid mix, or coco chips 

Recipe 4: 

  • 5 parts orchid bark 
  • 5 parts perlite 
  • 4 parts coco coir 
  • 2 parts worm castings 
  • 2 parts activated charcoal 

This mixture is also called aroid mix

Recipe 5: 

Here is another chunky aroid soil blend for Monstera. Mix equal parts of: 

  • Indoor potting soil 
  • Orchid bark 
  • Perlite 

Remember that a chunky potting mix can dry out faster. 

Hence, you should check the soil and provide adequate watering for good hydration. 

Recipe 6: 

  • 1 part sterilized garden soil 
  • 1 part perlite 
  • 1 part leaf mold 
  • 1 part moss 

Recipe 7: 

  • 1 part topsoil 
  • 1 part compost 
  • 1 part LECA 

Recipe 8: 

  • 1 part terrarium soil
  • 1 part LECA

Terrarium soil retains moisture for long, and LECA can add air pockets. 

It reduces the chances of overwatering or root rot in Monsteras. 

Recipe 9: 

  • 2-3 parts of Miracle-Gro, Espoma, Foxfarm, or any all-purpose indoor potting mix
  • 1 part of large-sized perlite, coarse sand, or pumice 

Recipe 10: 

  • Perlite and potting mix in a ratio of 1:1
  • A couple of handfuls of orchid bark or pine bark fines
  • A handful of sphagnum moss or dried moss 
  • Some LECA pebbles or sand 
  • A bit of fertilizer, half the recommended strength for nutrition 

Commercial potting mix for Monstera

Commercial soil mix

While making your own soil blend for Monstera can be fun, it needs time and effort. 

You can use ready-made Monstera potting soil mixes to skip the effort and save time. 

Below, I have shortlisted 10 ready-mixed potting soil mixes for Monstera plants:

  1. Tropical Climber Soil Blend from OH Happy Plants
  2. FoxFarm FX14054 12-Quart Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil
  3. Premium Monstera Potting Soil – Quick Drain Potting Soil for Monstera Deliciosa/Swiss Cheese Plant
  4. FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil, 1.5 cu ft, brown/a (FX14000)
  5. Noot Potting Soil Mix for Indoor & House Plants – 1 Gallon – Orchid, Succulent, Cactus, Aroid, Houseplant, Monstera – Bio-Organic – Fast Draining – Rapid Root Growth – Pre-Soaked & Ready to Use
  6. THE CHONK. Chunky Soil-Less Potting Medium. Premium Wood bark, pumice, peat Moss. Promotes Root Growth, Helps Prevent Root Rot. Good for All Indoor Plants, aroids, Hoyas, Cactus, etc. 1 Gallon
  7. Southside Plants Trail Mix Chunky Soil for Tropical Houseplants – Organic Mix of Coconut Husk, Charcoal, Perlite, and River Rock – Multi-Purpose | 1 Gallon
  8. Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants, 2-Pack
  9. House Plant and Tropical Plant Potting Soil, Re-Potting Soil for All Types of Indoor House Plants, House Plant Re-Potting Soil, 8qt
  10. Burpee Premium Organic Potting Mix, 9 Quarts – 2 Pack | Natural Soil Mix with Plant Food | Ideal for Container Garden – Vegetable, Flower & Herb | Use for Indoor Plant or Outdoor Plant

However, some of these store-bought potting mixes are not very perfect. Some are slightly poor in drainage or retention. 

But don’t worry; you can make it better by adding 5 of the store-bought potting mix with 1 part orchid bark and 1 part perlite. 

Monstera potting soil alternatives 

There are alternatives for Monstera potting mix. 

In this case, you won’t have to create a blend; you only need one substrate as a soil alternative.

Below are two such alternatives: 

Pon 

Pon is an inorganic material containing zeolite, pumice, and some slow-release fertilizer. 

Lechuza Pon is a recommended brand of Pon. 

It reduces the chances of overwatering and root rot. 

Pon is also well-aerated due to being chunky. 

The slow-release fertilizer will help your Monstera plants to grow faster in this substrate. 

I have used Pon once for one of my Monstera; they have thrived since then. 

Try Lechuza 18-020-950 12L Planting Substrate, 12 Litre, Neutral.

LECA 

LECA stands for Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate.

I have already shared some DIY soil mixes where LECA needs to be added for Monstera plants.  

However, you can use only 100% LECA hydroponically, which won’t require soil. 

You have to add the nutrients to the water reservoir. 

The moisture will get wicked away by the capillary effect. 

Monsteras thrive in 100% LECA, ensuring healthy plants by maintaining moderate temperatures and avoiding submersion or exposure of roots above the water level. 

Tips for maintaining healthy soil for Monsteras 

  • Use the right soil type for Monsteras. 
  • Water your plant correctly. Let the top few inches dry out before watering. It will let the soil stay wet and maintain proper plant hydration while reducing the chances of prolonged wet soil.  
  • Fertilize Monstera with a balanced fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing season to provide them with sufficient nutrients. 
  • Monitor for pests and prevent them by keeping the surrounding clean, improving airflow, and avoiding prolonged wet conditions. 
  • Repot your Monstera every 1-2 years during their active season. 
  • With these tips, your Monstera soil will remain healthy and let the plant thrive. 

Final thoughts 

If you have reached the end of this guide, you know every detail about Monstera’s soil. Let me summarize it for you. The soil should have good drainage, retention, aeration, and nutrients and maintain a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. 

The potting mix should contain ingredients like potting soil, peat moss, sphagnum moss, coco coir, bark chips, perlite, pumice, vermiculite, worm castings, activated charcoal, or wetting agents. You can skip the potting soil if you want a soilless medium. You can also use 100% Pon or LECA for Monsteras for a soilless medium. 

I have shared multiple options for both DIY soil mixes and store-bought potting mixes. Use anyone to plant or repot your Monstera. Whether you have one Monstera or multiple Monsteras, use the same soil mix for one plant. Changing the soil mix for a particular plant can stress and shock it. Using the same mix will reduce the shock. 

Can I use cactus soil for Monstera?

Cactus potting mixes are specifically designed for cacti and other succulents because they prefer, love, and even survive a long, dry spell. But Monstera needs consistent moisture. So, avoid cactus potting mix.

Can I use compost soil for Monstera?

Compost soil is heavy and doesn’t provide adequate drainage. However, you can use it because of its nutritional value. Mix 1 part compost with 1 part each of potting soil, peat, and perlite or vermiculite. You can increase perlite or vermiculite to improve drainage.

Will orchid potting soil work well for my Swiss Cheese plant?

Orchid potting soil is very well-drained but poor in retention. You can still use it by mixing it with 1 part each of peat moss or coco coir and potting soil.

Reference: Monstera Wikipedia


Recommended Garden Supplies

Are you 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.


Sharing is caring!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *