True story: I got my very first pothos when I visited a friend and saw her amazing pothos plants. Before I could say a word, my friend was basically throwing a few cuttings at me.
But having, ahem, not always had the greenest thumb, I’d long learned that having the right potting mix is key to a plant’s survival. This soon led me down the rabbit hole of finding out which is the best soil for pothos plants.
After all, these are resilient plants, but you still want to grow them in the best conditions possible. In this case, it’s particularly imperative that your pothos’ soil is well-draining.
In this article, I’ll cover all about how to pick the best soil for your pothos. Stick around and learn how to grow the best pothos in your plant collection!
Table of Contents
What is the best soil for pothos?
The best soil for pothos is one that’s well-draining to avoid your plant retaining too much moisture, which can lead to root rot. Having the right nutrient content is also important. You can make your own pothos soil mix or buy a ready-mix for pothos plants.
Pothos are perhaps the best plants to start growing as a beginner. I call them my ‘less fussy’ bunch since I don’t have to do much for them to thrive. The plant does well in most soil types, so long as there’s good drainage.
The type of soil you choose matters when you want an amazing plant, especially an indoor one. The secret is learning how to create the perfect mix for your plants to get a happy, fast-growing pothos.
Best soil for Pothos
Light and well-draining (perfect for avoiding root rot) while being packed with just the right nutrients – that will feed your plant for up to six months. The best soil for keeping your pothos healthy and strong.
What soil pH levels are best for pothos plants?
Pothos thrive in soil with a pH of 6.1 to 6.5. This type of soil is slightly acidic. While you can grow pothos in soil slightly outside of this range, any mix with a 5.8 pH and below will be too acidic.
The issue here is that too much acidity in the soil leads to root damage and stunted growth. This is particularly important if you’re training a climbing pothos as an incorrect pH level could mean your plant won’t have enough strength to reach as high as you want it to.
Soil pH plays an essential role in the growth and vitality of your Pothos. It determines if the soil has the right nutrients for the plants or not. At 6.5, the soil has most of the plant’s nutrients to grow and gives you the best chance of being able to grow a full and bushy pothos.
What’s the best pothos soil mix recipe?
In my opinion, the best soil for pothos consists of the following soil mix recipe:
- 2 parts coco coir or peat moss
- 1 part pine bark fines
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part coarse sand
Of course, it’s not an exact science, so eyeballing it is often good enough.
At the same time, if you have other ingredients available and want to save yourself a trip to the store, there are other pothos soil mix recipes that will definitely do the job. The first one below is my preferred out, as mentioned above, but there are others collected from around the internet that will also more than meet your pothos’ soil needs.
1. Coco coir or peat moss mix
For this mix, you need:
- 2 parts coco coir or peat moss
- 1-part pine bark fines
- 1-part perlite
Mix the three ingredients in a bucket, adding some moisture. Remember that your pothos plant needs drainage, so it’s best to add this mix to a pot with a drainage hole at the bottom to ensure the soil mix is moist but not wet. Having the hole helps to get rid of the excess water.
This is a pretty straightforward mix that pothos need to thrive. It suits indoor plants but is also moisture retentive for plants you want to keep outdoors – which could include your pothos, as did you know that pothos can live outside?
That said, if you live in a tropical or humid area, consider adding 1-part coarse sand. Adding the sand makes it easier for soil aeration to take place.
2. Cactus soil and compost mix
For this mix, you need:
- 1-part compost
- 1-part cactus soil
- 1-part cocopeat
Mix the three ingredients in a pot or container with drainage holes at the bottom. You should also ensure the cactus soil has some essential nutrients in it – although, if it doesn’t, you don’t have to worry since you’re adding 1-part compost to really tick that box.
As you’ll see below, I wouldn’t recommend using cactus soil alone as your pothos soil mix. However, when included with the added ingredients mentioned above, it can work really well for your plant.
3. Peat moss and coarse sand mix
For this mix, you need:
- 1-part peat moss
- 1-part coarse sand
- 1-part perlite
- 1-part shredded bark
Peat moss is excellent for pothos since they require acidic soil. It will help to manage the soil pH.
Similarly, perlite and coarse sand will help with drainage, creating the perfect environment for Pothos.
4. Forest humus and perlite mix
For the potting mix, you need:
- 1-part forest humus
- 1-part peat moss
- 1-part perlite
Mix the three ingredients well to make a really good Pothos soil mix.
The forest humus creates the perfect moisture control potting mix for Pothos. It also adds lots of nutrients to the mix.
How much perlite for my pothos soil mix?
Always add 1-part perlite to your pothos mix when combining the other ingredients. The role of the perlite is to ensure the soil mix has proper drainage. While pothos loves moist soil, the excess moisture must drain off to avoid issues like root rot.
Perlite discourages water from sitting on the soil. If the water doesn’t drain off, you might start to notice your plant suffering. Your pothos leaves tend to droop when this happens, and the stem feels mushy, with even the roots of the plant beginning to rot after some time.
Thanks to its porosity, perlite is a crucial ingredient in your pothos soil mix. It allows the soil to absorb lots of water and expand.
While perlite is an excellent ingredient in a pothos soil mix, take care when working with it. Perlite tends to be dusty, and you can easily inhale it. So, start by dampening it with water before adding it to the soil mix.
You can also choose to wear a mask and protective wear if you don’t want to dampen it before mixing. Also, work the soil while wearing protective gloves for your skin.
What should I repot my pothos in?
Repot your pothos in fresh soil mix that’s well draining and slightly acidic, with nutrients to help your pothos thrive. Make sure you clean the pot well when repotting to avoid any pests or disease finding their way into the new mix.
You don’t have to change the soil type when repotting, as your freshly repotted pothos will still thrive in the same mix. What’s important though is that you use a fresh batch of soil.
FYI: It’s best to repot pothos only every two to three years, as repotting can be quite stressful for a plant. Pick a time when it’s warm – ideally spring or summer – before the temperatures drop. As the vines spread, the plant develops more roots and needs a bigger pot for better distribution, but doing this in the cooler months can be risky for many houseplants.
Start by mixing a fresh batch of pothos mix before you start repotting. Remove the plant from the old pot and break off the old soil. Only then can you repot the plant in the fresh soil.
Repotting requires a proper pot to fit the plant. Check the size of the plant before picking a pot. One that’s too big or too small will affect the growth of the pothos.
Do pothos plants like moist soil?
Pothos like moist soil, so always check to see if the soil is ideal or too dry. If you notice the soil is dry, you need to water the plants as soon as possible. You can use a moisture checker to keep tabs on when you need to water your Pothos plants.
But, as you do so, ensure you don’t overwater your pothos, as they don’t like sitting in excess water. This can affect growth and development, eventually causing you to lose your plant.
If you want to learn about watering, consider the temperature and time of the year. In the warmer months, you can water the Pothos once a week as a general rule. Use just enough water to wet the soil and keep it moist. You should also allow the soil to dry out slightly before each watering.
But, when the temperature drops, the plant can go for a longer duration without watering. Always check the color of the leaves. Yellow leaves indicate overwatering, while wilting brown ones indicate an underwatered pothos.
Want to know more about how often to water your pothos? Take a look here!
Can I use succulent soil for pothos?
You should not use succulent soil for pothos. While this type of soil suits succulents, it will negatively affect pothos as the water will drain too quickly for your pothos to get the amount of moisture that it needs. Instead, you need well-draining soil that retains some moisture.
That is, succulent soil mix ensures there’s ample moisture drainage to suit succulents. However, pothos needs a soil mix that retains moisture. This is why it’s best to use a mixture that allows drainage, but to a certain degree.
Alternatively, if you already have it on hand, you can use succulent mix if you make sure that you add some compost and moisture retentive ingredients. That ensures the Pothos plants have ample moisture and nutrients to keep growing.
For example, adding peat moss to the succulent soil will help with water retention. Since the succulent soil is light, allowing water to sip through. The peat will clamp it closer together, permitting it to be moist.
Can I put pothos in cactus soil?
Don’t put pothos in cactus soil at any time, even when the plant is small. The reason is that cactus soil is designed for water to drain quickly from it, meaning it has poor moisture retention. However, pothos need soil that retains moisture for some time.
That said, as mentioned above, it’s possible to create a soil mix using the cactus blend that suits pothos. The key is making the soil moisture retentive. To do this, you can add compost, peat, or cocopeat to the cactus soil.
Cacti thrive in soil that dries up quickly. But, your pothos plants will need some moisture left in the soil to keep growing. Still, if all you have is cactus soil, adding the ingredients above can save you a trip to the gardening store.
Not only that, the compost helps enrich the soil. Since there are few nutrients in cactus soil, the compost helps pothos to thrive in this soil.
Do pothos like Miracle-Gro?
Pothos definitely like Miracle-Gro potting mix. It’s well-draining and nutrient-rich with a pH range of between 6.0 and 6.5, making it just right for your pothos’ needs. In particular, Miracle-Gro’s Tropical Potting Mix has just the right balance to suit your pothos.
Miracle-Gro’s mixes are particularly well suited to houseplants that need well draining soil – which is most popular houseplants, to be honest. This means that if you’re creating your own indoor jungle, this would be a good mix to buy as you should be able to use it on most of your houseplants, not just the pothos.
Can I use African violet soil for pothos?
While it’s an excellent soil type, African violet soil isn’t ideal for pothos. This type of soil works well for cacti and succulents since it’s light, but it may not retain enough moisture for your pothos. It’s also more expensive than other, better options.
The main issue with African violet soil is poor moisture retention. Pothos need well-draining soil that still has the capacity to retain moisture. Even many other houseplants don’t grow well in this soil type.
Are coffee grounds good for pothos?
Coffee grounds are good for pothos, but they require careful application. They contain high amounts of nitrogen which pothos like for better growth. Since the grounds are acidic, they can help to improve the soil pH to suit your plants.
But be cautious not to overdo it. Remember, pothos like acidic soil, but not extremely acidic types. You risk making the soil extremely acidic if you add too many coffee grounds.
In addition, one reason that pothos like coffee grounds is that they are an excellent source of nitrogen. You can use them to add nitrogen to the soil. That way, you don’t have to buy harmful chemicals for your plants.
Lastly, it’s best to add coffee grounds to a potting mix that requires a moisture retentive ingredient. Coffee grounds improve the quality of the soil. That way, it can hold more moisture when you plant the Pothos.
Are eggshells good for pothos?
Eggshells are good for pothos since they are a rich source of calcium. This can be particularly helpful when creating your own pothos soil mix, as considering the nutrient level is key. If a mix has low calcium, it will affect plant growth and so eggshells can help with this.
After preparing some eggs, gather the shells somewhere instead of throwing them away. About 40% of every 1 gram of eggshells is calcium. That will enrich the soil and make the plants steadier. Calcium also makes the vines that spread from the plant stronger.
Take the eggshells, crush them, and spread them on the soil. But, be careful not to leave any egg white on the shells. It’s best to clean them after removing the contents and keeping them out in the sun to dry.
Mix the crushed eggshells into the pothos soil. It’s also possible to place the shells at the bottom of the pot, then add the soil and plant. Eggs are an exceptional form of organic fertilization that will help your pothos thrive.
Apart from mixing the shells with the soil, you can create a liquid fertilizer.
Take the sun-dried shells and crush them into a fine powder. Add that to boiling water and leave it to sit overnight. In the morning, you’ll have liquid fertilizer for your pothos plants.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you choose the type of soil to use for any houseplant:
- Proper soil aeration
- Well-draining soil
- Moisture retention
- Availability of nutrients
Start by finding out the soil’s aeration and moisture retention capacity. In the case of the pothos, ensure the soil permits airflow and retains some moisture for the plant to thrive. Indeed, this plant (along with many other houseplants) does not do well in lots of water. But, that doesn’t mean leaving them bone dry for extended periods is the right thing to do either.
In addition, the soil must drain well enough for your plant’s needs. This is the best way to prevent plants from getting root rot. Too much moisture also creates room for fungi and bacteria to grow.
Lastly, when choosing the soil for your plant, consider the nutrient level. Many houseplants need a rich variety of nutrients to grow. You can always opt for organic fertilizers if you prefer and even consider using items from your kitchen.
In particular, you can use kitchen waste to make compost, coffee grounds, and eggshells, among others. These make great organic fertilizers that also improve soil quality for your houseplants – including your prized pothos.