With so many variations, Pothos plants are a houseplant that everyone can love and benefit from. Choosing appropriate potting soil is one of the most essential aspects of properly caring for pothos plants. Here I’ll take you through everything you need to know about the best soil mix for Pothos plants to ensure your plants thrive at home.

The Best Soil for Pothos Plants (Essential Tips)

The Best Pothos Soil Mix – Key Takeaways:

Pothos plants grow best with a well-draining soil mix that balances water-holding capacity and drainage. The soil pH should be between 6.0-6.5. The perfect pothos plant soil mix is two parts peat moss to one part perlite to one part pine bark fines.

The Ultimate Pothos Plant Potting Mix Recipe

The Ultimate Pothos Plant Potting Mix Recipe

The good news about Pothos plants is that they can handle soil mixes made from various materials, as long as the soil provides what the plants need.

 To make a great soil mix at home, mix the following:

  • 2 parts peat moss OR coco coir
  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part pine bark fines

While you’re mixing the materials, add enough water, so the soil is moist but not wet.

Great Pre-Mixed Pothos Plant Soils

If you don’t want to make your own soil, there are several excellent Pothos soils on the market. This potting mix from DirtCo is made from peat and perlite, and it’s suitable for Pothos. Happy Frog Potting Soil (via Amazon) is another Pothos option I’ve had good success with.

Can You Use Cactus or Orchid Soil Mixes With Pothos Plants?

You Pothos plants will do okay in cactus or orchid soil mixes, but they aren’t ideal. These mixes drain a bit more quickly than a soil mix a Pothos plant will love.

Why Soil Choice Matters

Why Soil Choice Matters

The soil you use to plant pothos plants makes a massive difference to your plant’s health and growth. In fact, the right soil is essential to a D. sanderiana’s ability to thrive.

Soil plays several key roles in pothos plant health. First, it provides a foundation for roots, so plants can stand firmly. But just as importantly, soil delivers the water, oxygen, and nutrients that plants need to survive and thrive. Let’s look at a few ways plants rely on soil to survive:

  • Plants need nutrients, such as the minerals calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, and more; plant roots take these nutrients from the soil.
  • Plants also need air to transform sugars into energy; the tiny spaces in between particles of soil, known as pores, contain air that plants can access through their roots.
  • Plants need water, and the pores in soil hold water; plants access the water with their roots, and it then travels up and through the plants, delivering nutrients, cooling the plant, and spurring photosynthesis.
  • Finally, soil acts like insulation, protecting plants’ roots against sharp temperature changes.

What’s in soil? It’s a mix of compost — or decomposing plant and animal matter — and mineral particles. The type of soil depends on the texture and size of these particles.

  • Sand particles are the largest. Sandy soil drains very quickly and allows lots of air to get to roots but doesn’t hold moisture or nutrients well.
  • Clay particles are much smaller. Clay soil holds water and nutrients but doesn’t drain quickly or provide much air for plant roots.
  • Silt particles are in-between clay and sand in size. Silty soil holds moisture and nutrients, drains at a moderate pace, and offers adequate aeration to plant roots.

Soils have a mixture of these three particle sizes and are named for the particle there’s the most of. When there’s about the same amount of sand, clay, and silt, the soil is known as “loamy.”

Other types of soil include “peaty,” which has a high amount of compost or biomass. Peaty soil offers both moisture and nutrient retention and aeration and tends to have a lower pH level. 

On the other side of the pH scale lies “chalky” soil, which tends to be more alkaline. Chalky soil drains quickly and doesn’t retain nutrients very well.

What are the Primary Components Used in a Potting Soil Mix?

What Are the Primary Components Used in a Potting Soil Mix?

Potting soil for pothos plants is made from a mix of elements. When blended, they will hold moisture and nutrients, allow excess water to drain, and provide aeration to plant roots. Each plant type has its own specific soil needs, so choosing the right soil mix is key to plant health.

Common elements found in potting soil mixes include:

  • Coco coir, a fibrous material made from coconut husk that improves aeration.
  • Compost/organic matter enriches the soil with nutrients.
  • Perlite, or broken down volcanic rock, improves moisture retention, aeration, and drainage.
  • Pine bark fines, or tiny shavings of mulch that increase acidity and moisture retention
  • Pumice, or lightweight volcanic rock that improves both drainage and aeration
  • Sand helps soil drain quickly.
  • Soil activator is a commercial product containing humic acids that speed up the composting process, helping increase nutrient levels in the soil.
  • Sphagnum peat moss is a non-renewable resource harvested from wetlands and bogs; it increases soil acidity while enhancing moisture retention and drainage.
  • Vermiculite is a lightweight soil amendment that boosts water and nutrient retention and moisture retention.

Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Pothos Plants

Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Pothos Plants

If you’re using the wrong type of soil for your Pothos plant, you’ll likely notice one or more indicators. Both your plant and the soil itself will show you that you need to choose a different soil.

Yellow Leaves

While yellow leaves or leaf loss can be a sign of a variety of Pothos problems, they are often a signal that you’re using the wrong soil mix or the plant is lacking nutrients (fertilizing can help here in addition to some basic pruning).

Yellow leaves often appear when your plant doesn’t have access to oxygen. If you are using soil that doesn’t provide proper drainage, your plant’s roots cannot access the oxygen they need.

Yellow leaves can also be an indicator of root rot. While root rot is caused by a fungus, it often appears in wet conditions. Allowing your soil to dry out between waterings will help prevent root rot. For this to happen, you need to use a well-draining soil mix!

Soft Plant Tissue

If you notice your plant’s roots or above-ground tissue is soft, it might be experiencing fungal issues. These fungal issues often appear when a plant is constantly in wet soil.

If you notice any soft tissue, check your soil. Excess water should drain out the bottom rather than sit in the soil.

Wet Soil

When you water your pothos plant, the soil should become moist. However, the excess water should drain out of the bottom of the planter rather than remain in the soil.

The soil should also dry out over time. Environmental conditions impact how fast the soil should dry, but the top two inches of soil should be dry within one to three weeks.

If you notice the top of your soil is constantly wet, your soil is not draining. This is a sign that you need to choose a different potting soil for your Pothos plant.

The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Pothos Plants

The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Pothos Plants

One of the most important aspects of good Pothos soil is proper drainage. If your soil doesn’t allow excess water to escape, you’ll end up with water-logged soil that your plants will hate.

When soil isn’t well-draining, air pockets stay filled with water. This means that plant roots don’t have access to oxygen — essentially, they’re drowning!

Soils that aren’t well-draining also create problems with root rot and other types of fungal and bacterial issues.

What Soil pH Levels are Best for Pothos Plants?

All varieties of Pothos (including variegated pothos cultivars) plants prefer soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. If the pH is a little outside of this range, your plants will be fine.

How Plant Size and Pot Type Affect Soil

How Plant Size and Pot Type Affect Soil

You may be wondering if the size of your Pothos plant and/or the type of planter impact what soil you should choose. For the most part, the answer is no.

All Pothos plants should be planted in a well-draining soil mix with a slightly acidic pH. The size of the plant nor the type of container it’s planted in affects this.

With that said, these two factors do impact how you should water. A larger planter will hold more soil, which will dry slower than soil in a small pot. This means you will need to water your plant less frequently.

However, large plants will also use more water than smaller plants. So large plants may need to be watered more often, even if they’re in a larger container.

The resounding answer is that the type and size of your Pothos plant, as well as the type and size of your planter do not change the soil you should use.

Best Potting Soil for Repotting Pothos Plants

Best Potting Soil for Repotting Pothos Plants

When you re-pot your Pothos plant, you don’t need to alter the type of soil you use; these plants will still like a well-draining soil mix.

However, when you repot, it’s a good practice to dust off the old soil and replace it with new potting soil. This will prevent the spread of pathogens and elevate any issues with compaction.

Pothos Plant Soil FAQs:

What Soil pH is Best for Pothos Plants?

Pothos plants do best in soil with a slightly acidic pH. Remember that a neutral pH is 7.0, and any number below this is considered acidic. Pothos plants do best in a mix with a pH between 6.0-6.5.

Can you use cactus or orchid soil mixes for Pothos Plants?

Cactus potting mixes typically won’t have enough nutrients for pothos plants, and orchid potting mix generally contains too much bark, making it too light and loose to support a mature pothos plant.

What are the main soil considerations when repotting a Pothos Plant?

Always switch out your soil when you repot your Pothos Plants to remove any issues with compaction, pests, and diseases.

How do you mix Pothos Plant soil?

To make the Pothos Plant soil mix, add all the ingredients to a large container, then add water until just moist. Thoroughly mix the ingredients together, and then fill your Pothos Plant pots.

Do Pothos Plants like moist soil?

Pothos plants do best in a potting mix that holds moisture yet drains well. Ensure your potting vessel has a drainage system so excess water can disperse during watering cycles.

Wrapping Up

Fortunately, Pothos plants aren’t too picky about their potting soil. The most important aspects of a great Pothos soil mix are a well-draining structure and a pH between 6.0-6.5.

For more, see our in-depth guide on whether pothos plants are pet friendly, and our ultimate guide to pothos plant care at home.

Contributing Editor | Full Bio | + posts

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

Author Briana Yablonski

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

Comments are closed.