Everything You Need to Know About Anthurium Plants and Soil!
In this guide, we’re going to cover some soil basics and information that will help you choose the best soil mix for Anthurium plants. The Anthurium genus includes about 1,000 tropical flowering plants primarily native to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. With their brightly colored, exotically shaped flowers, anthuriums are also a favorite for growing in indoor climates worldwide thanks to their numerous uses and benefits and rich symbolic value. To ensure your anthurium plants have everything they need to survive and thrive, start by getting the potting soil right.
- The Best Soil for Anthurium – The Essentials
- Why Soil Choice Matters
- What Are the Primary Components Used in a Potting Soil Mix?
- Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Anthurium
- The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Anthurium
- What pH Levels in the Soil Are Best Suited to Anthurium?
- The Ultimate Anthurium Soil Mix Home Recipe
- The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Anthurium
- Soil Mix for Anthurium Plants FAQs
- Create a Long-Lasting Friendship With an Anthurium
The Best Soil for Anthurium – The Essentials
Anthurium plants are epiphytes with aerial root systems which require a well-draining potting mix that can support their unique roots while providing adequate nutrients. Anthuriums prefer rich, slightly acidic soil (pH 5.5 to 6.5) that includes a combination of pine bark, peat, and perlite.
Why Soil Choice Matters
Plants grow in different types of soils worldwide, and each ecosystem offers its own unique blend of components. Selecting or mixing potting soil with the right ingredients to support an anthurium’s individual needs will help it thrive.
The best soil mix for an anthurium will contain everything (other than water and sunlight) that it needs to live. The best soil can promote growth with nutrients and offers the right level of root aeration to facilitate the proper gas exchange. It also provides natural disease and pest control and retains the right level of moisture.
The soil’s acidity (pH level) also affects soil quality; pH level can modify the soil’s toxicity, bacterial content, structure, and nutrient availability.
What Are the Primary Components Used in a Potting Soil Mix?
Potting soil is way more than just dirt; it contains several ingredients, including different bases and other ingredients that provide differing soil structures, nutrients, and minerals.
Common Soil Bases
As you might expect, soils can vary quite a bit. This is true for both naturally-occurring soils as well as manufactured potting mixes.
When you look at natural soil, you’ll see it’s broken down into three primary particles: sand, silt, and clay. Sand is the largest, followed by silt and then clay.
The combination of these particles impacts soil texture. Scientists use this texture to classify soils.
- Clay – Clay contains little organic matter (nutrients) and has the smallest particles of all soil bases. Clay retains water and provides little aeration.
- Silt – Silt is comprised of rock and minerals. Its particles are medium in size and have a dusty texture.
- Sand – Sand particles are irregularly shaped and are larger than both clay and silt particles. It drains well and provides great aeration.
- Loam – This topsoil contains a combination of clay, sand, and silt.
- Peat – also called turf, peat is nutrient-rich and comes from peat bogs. It contains a high level of partially decomposed organic matter.
- Chalk – Chalk soils are made from calcium carbonate and offer nutrients to plants in mineral form. Chalk tends to be alkaline, well-draining, and stony.
Common Potting Mix Additives
Many potting mixes are made from various combinations of the same components. Here are some common potting soil ingredients.
- Organic Matter/Compost – Various living and dead things come together in the soil to create organic matter and provide nutrients to plants.
- Sphagnum Moss – Sphagnum moss comes from peat bogs but has not yet decomposed into peat. Dried sphagnum moss helps improve moisture retention in sandy soils.
- Coco Coir – Coco coir is made of shredded coconut husks. It’s also added to sand to improve moisture retention.
- Vermiculite – This rocky material contains aluminum, magnesium, and iron. In addition to providing mineral nutrients, it can aerate and lighten potting mixes.
- Pine Bark Fines – These tiny slivers of pine bark improve moisture retention and add nutrients, as they decompose.
- Pumice – This volcanic rock improves aeration and drainage while also loosening soil.
- Perlite – A volcanic glass, perlite helps loosen and improve drainage in clay-based soils.
- Sand – Added to heavier soils, like clay, sand improves drainage and aeration while preventing compaction.
- Soil Activator – This synthetic product improves the release and availability of nutrients in the soil.
- Rocks/Pebbles – Gravel in the soil allows plant’s root systems to penetrate deeper soil levels in search of water in arid climates.
Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Anthurium
You might be using the wrong potting mix for your anthurium if you experience any trouble with getting your plant to bloom or signs of root rot such as yellowing leaves, floppy leaves, wilting, drooping, or brown and mushy stems.
The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Anthurium
Like orchids, anthuriums are epiphytes. This means that they have evolved to grow on the sides of other plants and in rocky outcroppings rather than in the soil. As a result, their aerial roots systems are highly susceptible to root rot. They cannot tolerate standing water or overly moist, soggy soil. You’ll need to be particularly cautious with propagated anthurium plants.
For more, see our essential guide to watering Anthurium plants at home.
What pH Levels in the Soil Are Best Suited to Anthurium?
Anthurium plants prefer a slightly acidic potting mix with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5.
The Ultimate Anthurium Soil Mix Home Recipe
To create your own rich and well-draining anthurium potting mix at home, combine equal parts of pine bark, peat, and perlite.
You can also mix your own potting soil for anthuriums using two parts pre-mixed orchid soil, one part peat, and one part perlite.
To mix your potting soil, combine all of your ingredients in a large container. Add a bit of water; just enough moisture will help to bind all the components together. Be careful not to add so much water, however, that the mix becomes soggy.
It’s worth noting that Anthurium plants are considered somewhat toxic to humans and pets so it’s prudent to wear a pair of gloves when handling these plants.
The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Anthurium
If you don’t have your own potting soil ingredients or you’re simply looking for a mess-free alternative, there are several pre-mixed varieties available to purchase. The following potting mixes are suitable for anthuriums and are ready-to-use right from the bag:
- Bloomscape Potting Soil
- Soil Sunshine Anthurium Plant Planting Soil
- Creative Plant Mama Anthurium Growing Medium
- Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix
If you’re looking for potted and composed Anthurium plant ready-to-go on delivery see our guide to the best plant shops for Anthurium offering nationwide shipping.
(Editors Note: Petal Republic participates in partnership programs with Amazon and other merchants to help connect readers with relevant products and services we may recommend).
Soil Mix for Anthurium Plants FAQs
How often should I switch my anthurium’s soil?
Anthuriums grow moderately slowly and prefer to be in smaller rather than larger pots, which means they usually only need to be repotted every 2 to 3 years. You can keep the soil rich in between potting by applying a phosphorous-rich fertilizer.
Can I use cactus soil for an anthurium?
Cactus soil drains well enough and offers the suitable pH for an anthurium, but it doesn’t provide a high enough nutrient content to support a thriving plant. In a pinch, an orchid mix with a bit of peat and perlite is best.
Do anthuriums like wet or dry soil?
Anthuriums prefer soil that retains some moisture to create a more humid environment but should never be left in soggy, overly moist soil or standing water.
What are the primary considerations for soil when repotting anthuriums?
Does the size of the plant affect the soil mix for an anthurium?
Anthuriums of all sizes require a slightly acidic, well-draining soil mix that offers a sturdy structure to support the plants’ root systems.
Does the potting container influence the type of soil mix for an anthurium?
Anthurium plants should always be potted in containers that drain well. If your container does not offer adequate drainage, you can add a bit of gravel or pebbles to the bottom of the container to help prevent excess water from sitting around the plant’s roots.
Do anthuriums need deep potting containers?
Since they are epiphytes, anthuriums have relatively small aerial root systems. These plants prefer smaller containers to larger ones and do best when slightly root-bound.
Create a Long-Lasting Friendship With an Anthurium
Anthurium plants symbolize long-lasting love and friendship. With the right soil type and environmental considerations, your new Anthurium love affair will have a solid foundation designed to support a long, mutually beneficial relationship between person and plant.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.