In this guide, we’re going to cover some soil basics and information that will help you choose the best soil mix for heartleaf philodendron plants (Philodendron hederaceum). If you love nature and want more of it growing in your home, then the heartleaf philodendron which represents both growth and a love of nature is the perfect plant for you. These beauties have heart-shaped leaves and are relatively easy to care for – especially when you give them a good start by planting them in the right potting mix.
- The Best Soil for Heartleaf Philodendron – 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 Heartleaf Philodendron
- The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Heartleaf Philodendron
- What pH Levels in the Soil Are Best Suited to Heartleaf Philodendron?
- The Ultimate Heartleaf Philodendron Potting Mix Home Recipe
- The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Heartleaf Philodendron
- Soil Mix for Heartleaf Philodendron FAQs
- Perfect Potting Mix, Happy Hearts
The Best Soil for Heartleaf Philodendron – The Essentials
Heartleaf philodendron plants prefer a light, chunky potting mix that includes peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite and have a neutral to slightly acidic pH range from 6 to 7. Most pre-mixed potting soils will suffice, as long as they include a rich nutrient source.
Why Soil Choice Matters
Essential to plant health, soil choice can mean the difference between a healthy, thriving plant or a sickly, dying plant.
All around the world, in different ecosystems, plants grow in strikingly different types of soil. In fact, some don’t even grow in actual soil. Choosing the right soil for a heartleaf philodendron will ensure that its roots are adequately supported and aerated while the plant has the proper moisture level and all the nutrients it needs to grow.
Additionally, a plant’s potting medium can help protect the plant from diseases and pests. At the same time, its pH level changes the soil with respect to its toxicity, structure, bacteria content, and nutrient availability.
What Are the Primary Components Used in a Potting Soil Mix?
Potting mediums and soil mixes contain are much more than soil. Some potting mixes (the ones preferred by heartleaf philodendrons) don’t even contain actual soil. Everything that goes into creating a potting medium changes the mix and affects the plants growing in it.
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 soils have the smallest mineral particles. On its own, it doesn’t drain well, offer aeration, and has almost no nutrients.
- Sand – Particles of sand are irregularly shaped and are the largest of soil base particles. They also provide the best drainage and aeration.
- Silt – Medium-sized silt particles have a mineral and rock composition which gives silt a dusty texture.
- Loam – This topsoil contains a mixture of clay, sand, and silt.
- Peat – also called turf, peat is a layer of topsoil that mainly contains decomposed peat moss.
- Chalk – Made of calcium carbonate, chalky soils are high in minerals, are alkaline, stony, and drain well.
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 – This part of the soil provides nutrients and comprises decomposing dead things and living things like the bacteria and fungi that break them down.
- Sphagnum Moss – This dried material is often added to sand to improve moisture retention.
- Coco Coir – Shredded husks of coconut shells also improve moisture retention in sandy soil.
- Vermiculite – This mineral is used to aerate and lighten heavy potting mixes while also providing nutrients.
- Pine Bark Fines – As these slivers of pine bark decompose, they add nutrients to a potting mix while improving moisture retention.
- Pumice – Pumice prevents soil from compacting and improves aeration.
- Perlite – Like pumice, perlite loosens soil and improves drainage and aeration.
- Sand – Sand is a soil base that’s also a common additive in heavy soils. It improves drainage and aeration while preventing compaction.
- Soil Activator – A synthetic garden product, soil activator improves the release and availability of nutrients to plants in the soil.
- Rocks/Pebbles – Gravel improves soil drainage while making deeper layers of soil and their higher moisture content more accessible to roots. This is especially useful in arid areas.
Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Heartleaf Philodendron
Yellow, wilting, drooping, and mushy leaves are the most common signs of root rot in heartleaf philodendron. If your plant’s leaves don’t look as healthy as they once did, then the problem might be that your potting mix is retaining too much moisture.
If your plant is growing more slowly than you would expect it to or producing leaves that are smaller than normal – just tiny hearts instead of bursting hearts – then your soil’s nutrient content might be too low.
The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Heartleaf Philodendron
Heartleaf philodendron plants have a vining growth habit and aerial root systems that help them cling to branches in the wild or trellises in your home. As a result, of their unique roots, they are particularly susceptible to root rot when their roots are allowed to sit in soggy soil or standing water. The temperature and humidity range for Heartleaf Philodendrons is also an important consideration.
What pH Levels in the Soil Are Best Suited to Heartleaf Philodendron?
Heartleaf philodendrons thrive in an only slightly acidic to mainly neutral potting mix with a pH range between 6 and 7.
The Ultimate Heartleaf Philodendron Potting Mix Home Recipe
You can make your own heartleaf philodendron potting mix at home. To create a light, well-draining heartleaf philodendron potting mix, combine two parts peat moss and one part each of perlite and vermiculite. Add a few handfuls of used coffee grounds or slow-release fertilizer pellets to improve the mix’s richness.
When mixing, it’s best to add a bit of water because the moisture will help hold your new potting mix together.
Just be careful not to create a wet mix that will need to sit and dry out before it’s safe for your moisture-sensitive plant.
For more, see our in-depth guide to watering Heartleaf Philodendrons.
The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Heartleaf Philodendron
If you want a process that’s less messy and hands-on, you can always plant your heartleaf philodendron in a pre-mixed potting mix that’s ready to use from the bag.
Heartleaf philodendrons do well in most all-purpose, soilless potting mixes. The following are great options:
- Bloomscape Potting Soil
- Dirtco. House & Tropical Plant Potting Soil
- Soil Sunrise 100% All Natural Heart Leaf Plant Potting Mix
- Creative Plant Mama Philodendron Growing Medium
- Miracle-Gro Houseplant Potting Mix
If necessary, you can improve drainage by adding additional vermiculite or perlite and adding nutrients with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer during the growing season.
(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 Heartleaf Philodendron FAQs:
How often should I switch soil for my heartleaf philodendron?
Heartleaf philodendron plants typically need to be repotted every 2 to 3 years when they become rootbound. They can grow quite quickly with enough sunlight. In these cases, yours might need to be repotted more frequently.
You can refresh your plant’s soil with a monthly application of all-purpose houseplant fertilizer during the growing season
Can I use cactus soil for heartleaf philodendron?
Although it drains well, cactus soil does not provide the nutrients, moisture retention, or the proper pH level for heartleaf philodendron plants. If you’re looking for pre-mixed potting soil, most general-purpose, soilless houseplant mixes work well.
Do heartleaf philodendrons like wet or dry soil?
Heartleaf philodendrons prefer a moist environment that is not overly soggy. For this reason, the potting mix needs to retain moisture while also offering adequate aeration.
Does the size of the plant affect the soil mix for heartleaf philodendron?
No, the primary considerations when repotting a larger philodendron should be that your container accommodates the plant’s rootball and that you maintain consistency with the original potting mix to avoid shocking the plant.
Does the potting container influence the type of soil mix for heartleaf philodendron?
Regardless of their containers, heartleaf philodendrons need a rich, neutral, well-draining potting mix to thrive.
Do heartleaf philodendron plants need deep potting containers?
Heartleaf philodendron plants are happiest in containers about 2-inches wider in diameter than the plant’s rootball.
Perfect Potting Mix, Happy Hearts
When you grow a heartleaf philodendron in the right soil mix from the start, you can count on enjoying years of healthy, heart-shaped, leafy-green beauty with your new houseplant.
Philodendron Plant Care & Buying Guides
For more, see our growing and care guide to Philodendron Heartleaf, Split-Leaf Philodendron, Philodenreon Micans, and Philodendron Hope Selloum.
If you’re looking for your next live plant, see our guide to the best plant delivery services shipping Philodendron plants nationwide.
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.