Tips
Inspiration
3 minute read

The perfect potting soil mix for your houseplants!

Do you already consciously think about the substrate your plant stands on? If so, a big compliment to you being a thoughtful PLNTSparent! This is something that’s often forgotten. If it is something you are reading for the first time, this blog will be of interest to you. Most people change as little as possible about the conditions of their new green friend. We understand that, because it is already a big thing for a plant to get used to the conditions in your home, that should take a week or two.

After those two weeks, however, there are many different options to choose from when it comes to substrates. This is also a very important choice for the eventual growth of your plant. So read on and make sure you will soon be an expert in potting soil and substrates!

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What are substrates?

A substrate is a growth medium or nutrient medium. For plants, this is usually a combination of soil and organic matter, but some plants can also grow in other places. For example, rocks, tree trunks or walls can also be suitable for some plants to grow on. This is also the reason why it is not always best for plants to stand/grow in just regular potting soil, but to mix it with other substrates.

Potting soil is the basis, but why?

Potting soil works well as a basic substrate for a wide variety of houseplants. Peat has unique physical, chemical and biological properties. Due to its low weight and correct pH value, its great stability, its ideal air and water retaining capacity and the large quantities of good nutrients available, peat is the ideal, and some would say indispensable, basic raw material for houseplants.

The standard potting soil that you can find in all garden centers is often a ready-made mix. This mix already consists of a number of substrates and substances to ensure that the soil has a good structure, but also contains enough nutrients. Usually you will find peat, peat chunks, coconut, natural organic fertilizers and other similar ingredients in such a mix.

Our favourite potting soil (a special PLNTS mix) has been carefully compiled and contains, we believe, the perfect additives to ensure that your plants grow perfectly.

Unfortunately, potting soil is not really environmentally friendly, because it often contains peat and when digging up peat, CO2 is released which is not good for the environment! We keep a close eye on the developments concerning environmentally friendly potting soil. We find sustainability and environmentally friendly options very important. We will therefore remain absolutely alert to the options in order to really try to change this when possible.

Upgrade your potting soil!

Upgrade your potting soil to finally create the ideal conditions! The ideal potting soil mix for houseplants varies because the original habitat of each plant determines its soil preference. Is it a tropical forest or a sandy desert that your green friend officially loves? So before you start, it is a good idea to do some research on this.

Although the exact composition of a plant's preferred mix varies, there are common elements. All houseplants need the following:

Water: it must contain or retain the right amount of moisture to keep your plant happy between waterings.

Air: there must be enough air for your plant's roots to breathe.

Nutrients: your beloved plant must be able to draw sufficient nutrients from the soil to be able to grow and shine as it should.

Anchoring: the soil must have sufficient structure to support the root system.

There are so many different substrates with all their own super powers. For all details, I refer you to our PLNTS doctor page about potting soil and substrates. For now, we would like to make it a lot clearer for you with the table below. It clearly shows which substrate is good for what and it should make it clear to you what you would like to add to your potting soil, so you can be sure that your plant has what it desires.

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Our perfect potting soil mixture tips!

You don't have to do anything, but your plants can really grow better because of the kind of substrate they grow in. After all, you want the best for your plant, right? So, we would like to give you some examples of potting soil mixtures, but please also experiment yourself! It is really fun to try things out and discover this botanical experience for yourself. In the end, you will be able to say that you are THE potting soil and substrate expert!

A different mix is actually recommended for each plant species. After all, they have all adapted to different conditions. Nevertheless, we do have a tip about a mix that almost all plants like. We call it the: the repotting mix.

This repotting mix consists of 3 different substrates. These substrates are carefully selected. Good to know is that we already have a good basic potting soil mix and based on that we have chosen the additives. Additives that we think are perfect for most plants! We have chosen the following substrates and percentages:

  1. Potting soil 80%
  2. Perlite 10%
  3. Tree bark 10%

As a strong basis our already carefully composed potting soil. Perlite and tree bark then ensure that the potting soil remains light and airy. This is good for the supply of oxygen and the absorption of water and nutrients. Every plant will appreciate this!

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Then secondly we would like to share with you our Aroids potting mix tip. The Aroids mix consists of 5 different substrates. Perfect (in our opinion) for Aroids, which includes many common houseplants like the Monstera, Philodendron, Syngonium and Alocasia!

  1. Potting soil 60%
  2. Tree bark 15%
  3. Coco fibre 10%
  4. Active Charcoal 10%
  5. Perlite 5%

Aroids need a chunkier mix to really live their best life. So with this mixture, you create the ideal environment for the plant but especially for the roots to grow and multiply. Ultimately, it enables your Aroids to live a long and happy life and to really shine.

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We also have a tip for you Epiphyte lovers. The PLNTS tip for the perfect Epiphytes potting mix consists of 4 different substrates. In our opinion, these are perfect for Epiphytes (this includes common houseplants such as the Anthurium, Orchid, Tillandsia and some Hoyas)!

  1. Tree bark 85%
  2. Sphagnum moss 10%
  3. Perlite 3%
  4. Charcoal 2%

Epiphytes usually grow on trees, shrubs and other vegetation. An epiphyte is therefore a plant that grows attached to a substrate rather than on or in soil. If you choose to plant an epiphyte in a pot, then a very well draining potting soil is really important. So this mix consists mainly of tree bark mixed with Sphagnum moss, Perlite and Charcoal so that the roots can truly hold on to something. Also, water can never accumulate but it is never too dry either. Perfect!

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Last but not least, we have not forgotten the succulents! Our Succulent potting mix tip consists of 3 different substrates. Succulents include common houseplants such as Aloe Vera, Sansevieria, Peperomia and the Cactus. We have chosen the following substrates and percentages:

  1. Potting soil 80%
  2. Perlite 10%
  3. Cocopeat 10%

A succulent that ends up in standard potting soil will have to deal with nutrients that the plant does not necessarily need. Moreover, standard potting soil is not very porous. When you water your plants, the soil will clot together and the excess water will not be able to drain away. Succulents often die from too much water, so a light and well drained potting soil mix such as this is always a good choice.

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We hope these tips will help you a bit, but again, try out different things and see what works best for you and your plants. We are happy to help you on your way with our potting soil mix sets for a attractive price, but we also have all substrates for sale separately. How great is that! We can't wait to see you turn into real botanic kings and queens.

We would very much like to hear about your experiences. So share your tips or ideal potting soil mixes with the hashtag PLNTS or BabyPLNTS and who knows, we might also share your mix in a blog or on our socials.

@greeny_lab is already a fan of our substrates and of course we are proud of that. She has also written a handy and fun blog about her favourite substrates and mix per plant. Check out her website.

Manon.png
Manon

Manon is the biggest PLNTSlover you'll find. Her love for and knowledge about plants is huge, what makes her a true plant care expert! In her blogs she will share all her plant care tips and hacks with you!

February 15, 2022
Hi, I'm Emma, your PLNTS.com guide!

Hi, I’m Emma, your PLNTS.com guide!