Are you wondering which soil mix is best for your repotted Monstera? Do you consider to make your own soil mix?
Monsteras thrive on well-drained and aerated soil. A combination of Orchid bark chips, coconut coir, perlite, activated charcoal, and worm casting make the perfect soil mix for the Swiss Cheese Plants.
In this article, I will reveal my soil mix recipe and step-by-step for how to make it. Also, you’ll discover three practical tips that will improve your DIY soil mix.
Let’s get started!
Soil Mix Preference for Monstera
Monstera thrives very well in aerated (airy) and well-draining soil mix.
Aeration in the soil allows for a more even distribution of moisture. And more importantly, It also helps with the flow of oxygen through the plant’s roots.
Similarly, a good soil drainage allows water to move through the soil at a moderate rate without puddling, so plants have time to properly absorb the water.
Remember, when soils drain too fast, plants are not able to properly absorb the water. While a slow drainage may lead to root rot.
Benefits of Making Your Own Soil
I decided to stop buying potting mix because I wanted to use soil specifically created for the type of plant I was growing. Also, I saw how much more profitable it would be for me and my plants if I just made my own potting mix.
Besides, you can never be 100% sure of what chemicals are inside the mix you buy. Some producers may not clearly state the ingredients in their potting mix. And when you go home and use this on your plants, it ends up damaging them or even killing them.
When making your own potting mix, you choose what goes into your mix, depending on what you feel is best for your plant.
Some people just enjoy the process of making your soil – it can be quite calming if you know what you’re doing.
Making your own soil also comes with a range of benefits that not only help your plants grow better but assist you too! I’m going to highlight two main benefits of mixing your soil on your own instead of buying potting mix:
Higher soil quality for lower cost
Now, you can find cheap potting soil in the market, but it’s cheap for a reason. They are usually low quality and lack the key ingredients needed to help your plant grow.
In my experience, while it’s not as cheap as the lowest price potting mix in the market, you can make amazing soil mixes for just a bit more money than buying a potting mix. So, the quality is higher and the ingredients are spot-on.
With these ingredients, you can make a potting mix that works best with your plant, lasts longer, and is predominantly safer and cost-effective.
Allow ingredients customization
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, your soil mix is tethered towards the best kind of soil your plants need to survive and grow to the best of its ability.
With most commercial soil mixes, there’s a lack of variety, and what you buy may not necessarily be the best type of soil for your plant.
By making your own soil, you get to experiment and research which ingredients work best with a particular plant. If you want to make it 100% professional-grade raw materials in your soil, you can do that.
Best Ingredients for Monstera Soil Mix
Your ingredients can vary based on the plant your gardening, but here are some of the main requirements for making your own soil for Monsteras:
(Orchid) Bark chips
Bark chips are shredded or chipped tree barks. They provide your soil with extra nutrients that help the plants grow. Its coarse nature is fantastic at aerating soil, resisting compaction and providing drainage in a substrate mix.
This is a natural fiber extracted from the inner structure of a coconut. It can absorb water up to 10 times its weight. Thus, it is good for water retention and adding moisture to your soil.
Perlite (or Pumice)
Perlite and Pumice are coarse, pebble-like rocks that are highly porous. Their function is to modify the soil substructure to be less compact and well draining, thus helping in creating aerated and well-drained soil.
This is a highly porous charcoal that has been processed using gases, high temperature or chemical activation. It increases your soil’s ability to rids soil impurities, repels insects, prevents mold and absorbs excess water (preventing root rot).
This is an organic fertilizer produced from earthworms. Earthworms are already great for your soil. With worm casting, you have a super-charged rich soil that provides your plant with the nutrients it needs to grow.
Alternative (If You Can’t Find All the Ingredients)
While most of these ingredients are easily accessible, here are some alternatives in case you run into trouble when trying to find the original ingredients:
Perlite or Gravel
Out of all the ingredients I mentioned above, Perlite is the easiest to find in store. Yet, if you can’t find perlite, you may switch them with gravel.
It is recommended that perlite makes up about 10 to 50% of your soil, so don’t worry about having too much of it.
Perlite helps with drainage. This means it helps your soil absorb water at an even amount without it soaking up. Similarly, gravel also helps with drainage. It also prevents your soil from cementing together when the water dries out.
This refers to your regular store-bought potting mix composed of peat moss, coconut coir, grit, sand, vermiculite, and more perlite.
You can use 50-50 ratio of perlite and potting mix for your Monstera if you can’t find the ingredients I state earlier.
Soil Mix Recipe
Now that you know the ingredients needed to make the perfect soil mix, you still need to understand the measurement needed for each ingredient and how to go about mixing your soil.
I’ll try to break it down to the simplest format, so you can easily follow step by step:
- Orchid Bark 25%
- Coconut Coir 20%
- Perlite 25%
- Charcoal 10%
- Worm Casting 10%
How to Mix
- Place each ingredients into a mixing bowl
- Churn the ingredients with gardening spoon (or your hand!) until you get a good balanced mix.
Top Dressing the Soil Mix of Monstera
Learning how to dress your mix well is a step that should not be underrated.
For starters, it helps to keep away pests such as gnats. Gnats are small, two-winged flies. They are attracted to the moisture of your soil. Because of this, they lay their eggs in your soil and add to the fungi. Gnats move in swarms, so this can be very bad for your soil.
Additionally, dressing your soil helps it look more aesthetically pleasing. We all want a garden we can show off to our friends and neighbors, and dressing your soil helps you do that.
You can dress your soil using a variety of things. You could decide to layer it with an inch of orchid bark, or two inches of sphagnum moss. This way, your plant looks attractive, and both ingredients also help to slow down moisture evaporation in your plants, when in dryer homes.
Tips for Making Soil Mix for Monstera
1. Different Environment Need Different Ingredients
The level of temperature and humidity will have an effect on how quickly moisture will evaporate from your soil.
If you live in a hotter climate, you should put sphagnum moss on the surface of your soil to retain the moisture from evaporating.
So be sure to choose a soil mix that works well with the humidity and temperature of the environment around you.
2. Watering Habit Changes the Ingredient Mix Ratio
Yes, plants do need adequate water to survive. But overwatering a plant is actually as bad as not watering a plant.
While not watering the plant will cause the plant to shrivel and die, overwatering drowns your plants. It blocks the space for air and oxygen to pass through. This can end up killing your plant.
If you tend to overwater your Monstera, it is best to add extra perlites in your soil mix. They help to aerate the soil better and flush excess water, thus preventing root rot.
The best thing to do is to create a watering plan based on the type of plant you’re growing, the type of soil, and how often it needs to be watered. You can then set timers to alert you to when your plant needs to be watered.
Here is my in-depth article on How often to water a Monstera.
3. If You Are Saving From Root Rot – Add A Little More Bark and Perlite to Add More Aeration and Drainage
Whether you’re trying to save your plant from already existing rotting roots, or you want to prevent this, the best way to do this is by adding extra bark chips and / or perlite.
They are both great moisture absorbers and help with aeration which reduce the risk of further root rot.