Best Soil Mix for Philodendrons – Unlock the Secret to Thriving Philodendrons
Despite your best efforts, are you having trouble getting your philodendrons to grow as beautifully and lush as the ones you see in plant forums and magazines? We have the solution with our comprehensive guide to the best soil for philodendrons. We cover everything from our favorite philodendron soil mix recipe to ready-made commercial mixes. We’re confident you’ll be admiring your healthy, vibrant philodendron collection in no time.
It isn’t hard to see why philodendrons are popular houseplants amongst indoor plant enthusiasts. With their gorgeously luscious heart-shaped green leaves and tropical appeal, who wouldn’t want one (or ten) in their collection?
One of the essential elements to consider is the quality of the philodendron soil mix. Without proper attention, a philodendron will struggle to thrive in the wrong soil mix, limiting its growth potential.
With that in mind, let’s explore the properties we look for in the best soil for philodendrons.
What Does the Perfect Philodendron Soil Mix Look Like?
Philodendrons are not the most challenging houseplant to care for. Mastering the three basics (light, water, and plant preferences) will enable you to keep your plant alive. But we don’t just want to keep our plants alive…we want them to thrive!
And that is where adding suitable soil into the mix (pun intended😛) can make all the difference in their growth, look, and overall health.
Let’s explore the ideal soil characteristics for philodendrons.
Drainage – Wet, but Not Too Wet
If you have been around the Garden Bench Top before, you will know we often equate caring for our plants to the story about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
And this analogy is perfect for describing the moisture-retaining properties of a philodendron’s soil mixture because it needs to be just right.
The optimal soil mixture should have the ability to absorb and retain moisture to supply the main roots with water.
But do not hold too much water so it remains overly wet, and you end up with soggy soil. Any excess water should be able to escape out of the drainage holes in the pots freely.
While perlite and sand will provide a soil mixture with drainage and aeration.
Nutrient Rich – Give Me Food!
The ideal philodendron soil mix will also provide your houseplant with the basic building blocks in the form of nutrients they require to grow strong and healthy.
Including natural organic materials like processed compost, aged manure, or worm castings will supply all the essential nutritional elements for your philodendrons. Plus, it will increase the humus content in your potting mix.
pH – Slightly Acidic
Another important element to consider in the best soil mix for philodendrons is the pH level.
Philodendrons prefer a slightly acidic environment, with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5.
When the philodendron soil type is within this pH range, it can extract the maximum amount of nutrients from the soil.
Both are affordable and readily available at your local nursery, garden center or online marketplaces like Amazon.
Philodendron Soil Mix Recipe – Let’s Get Our Hands Dirty!
Okay, that’s enough talk – let’s get our hands dirty with our DIY best philodendron soil mix recipes. And yes, you read correctly. It isn’t a typo. We meant to write recipes, plural.
The reason we are providing you with several versions of our philodendron soil recipe is:
- To provide you with options depending on the availability of materials in your area.
- Enable you to choose the recipe more suited to your local climate. It is essential to understand each recipe will have slightly different properties. So, if you live in a particularly humid environment, we recommend using a mix with better aeration (with orchid bark).
- Adapt the recipe suitable for your species of philodendron.
Philodendron Soil Mix Recipe 1 – Good All Round Mix
- 50% sphagnum peat moss
- 25% perlite
- 25% regular potting soil
This soil is an excellent mix for most types of philodendrons. It contains all the essential elements, with good drainage (perlite), essential nutrients (regular potting mix), and excellent water retention (from the sphagnum moss).
Having this recipe as your default will have your philodendron collection thriving with those luscious, vibrant heart-shaped leaves.
Philodendron Soil Mix Recipe 2 – Maximum Nutritional Value
- 40% compost
- 30% coco coir
- 15% fresh worm castings
- 15% orchid bark
If you want to keep your plant healthy and fed well, use our second philodendron potting mix recipe.
With over half of the mixture of compost and castings, you will ensure plenty of nutrients and minerals for your philodendron to thrive.
In addition, the coco coir provides the soil with water retention properties, and the orchid bark allows any excess water to exit the soil.
Philodendron Soil Mix Recipe 3 – Light, Airy and Excellent Drainage
- 40% orchid bark or bark chips
- 30% sphagnum moss (or peat moss)
- 15% perlite or pumice
- 15% vermiculite
This philodendron soil is ideal for philodendron varieties that require ample drainage.
The combination of orchid bark, perlite (or pumice), and vermiculite means minimal medium to hold onto the water.
This soil recipe is particularly useful in tropical climates where the humidity also helps to supplement your tropical plant’s water intake.
If you use this soil for philodendron, we recommend increasing your fertilization frequency as this mixture is not particularly rich in humus (organic material).
How to Recognize Signs You Need New Soil for Your Philodendron
If your philodendron is looking a little limp or lackluster, there could be an issue within the soil it is living in.
Here are a few common signs or symptoms to be on the watch for in soil-based problems.
Wilting or Leaves Drooping
Philodendrons with droopy leaves are not happy plants. Drooping or wilting tends to suggest an issue with moisture in the soil.
The issue could relate to a lack of water (soil too dry) or too much water (soil too soggy).
It sounds strange that it could be too much or too little water (remember the Goldilocks analogy)!
We recommend using a moisture meter or finger test to help you determine which problem your philodendron is experiencing. Check out our tutorial on the soil moisture finger test HERE.
Another indication there is a soil issue is when your philodendron leaves begin to turn yellow. Usually, if the yellow leaves are a result of a soil-related problem, it will be due to a disease present in the soil, such as philodendron root rot.
If it is root rot, don’t panic, we have a step-by-step guide to help you eliminate the disease and nurse your philodendron back to health. Use the link above to access our guide.
Commercial Soil for Philodendron
Even though we love to get our hands dirty with some DIY soil mixing, we understand not everyone has the time to indulge in such activities.
Sometimes you just want a ready-made solution, like a commercial soil mix.
So, for those time-challenged plant enthusiasts, here is a list of our favorite go-to commercial philodendron soil mixes:
- Better Gro Special Orchid Potting Mix – we love the excellent drainage properties of this orchid potting mixture. It is rich and full of bits of bark, charcoal, and sponge rock which allows for an ideal well-draining soil. We would suggest mixing in some organic materials like regular potting mix or worm castings to provide some nutritional value to your mix.
- Premier Horticulture Organic Cactus Mix – we love using cactus soil mixes for our philodendrons because the soil mixes have very similar water retention and drainage properties. As the name suggests, the premier version has more premium nutrients in the soil mix, which your philodendron will love.