So, you fell in love with the beautiful foliage, acquired a Chinese evergreen, and you can’t wait to start caring for it. Before you worry about watering schedules and sunlight patterns or humidity levels in your home, you should start caring for it by planting it in a potting mix that will help your new aglaonema thrive. We’re going to cover some soil basics and information that will help you choose the best soil mix for your algaonema plant.
- The Best Soil Mix for Aglaonema Plants– 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 Aglaonema Plants
- The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Aglaonema Plants
- What pH Levels in the Soil Are Best Suited to Aglaonema Plants
- The Ultimate Aglaonema Potting Mix Home Recipe
- The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Aglaonema Plants
- Soil Mix for Aglaonema Plants FAQs
- Sit Back, Relax, and Watch Your Chinese Evergreen Thrive
The Best Soil Mix for Aglaonema Plants– The Essentials
Aglaonema plants (Chinese evergreens) require a peat-based (humus), nitrogen-rich soil mix with a slightly acidic pH (5.6 to 6.5). The potting mix should also be lightweight and well-draining. To make your own, mix equal parts of perlite or sand, peat, and general-purpose potting mix for houseplants.
Why Soil Choice Matters
Countless soil compositions exist naturally worldwide and creating one that’s perfect for your plant will help your plant grow and stay healthy.
The right soil will not only support your plant’s growth by providing the optimal blend of nutrients. Still, it will also support its health by helping to keep aglaonema pests and diseases under control while also regulating air via gas exchange and the water supply via moisture retention.
Additionally, a soil’s acidity (pH level) affects various factors such as the soil’s structure, bacterial growth, toxicity, and nutrient availability.
What Are the Primary Components Used in a Potting Soil Mix?
Potting mix is much more than just dirt. There are various factors such as different bases and components, minerals, nutrients, and particles (and their size), making each mix unique.
Common Soil Bases
- Clay – Clay soil does not contain much organic matter and has very fine mineral particles. This offers low nutrient content and poor aeration and drainage.
- Sand – A sand-based soil contains several irregularly shaped grains of sand that are larger-sized particulates. As a result, water passes through quickly, creating good aeration.
- Silt – Silt has a dusty texture and is comprised of mineral and rock particles that are smaller than sand but larger than clay.
- Loam – Loam is a type of topsoil that is a combination of clay, sand, and silt.
- Peat – Also called turf, peat is mostly comprised of partially decomposed organic matter.
- Chalk – Chalk is the mineral known as calcium carbonate, and chalky soils contain a large amount of it. Chalk-based soils are alkaline and usually stony and well-draining.
Common Potting Mix Additives
- Organic Matter/Compost – This is the portion of potting soil that contains a combination of living and dead things in various states of decomposition. This is one of the primary nutrient sources for plants.
- Sphagnum Moss – Not to be confused with peat moss (above), dried sphagnum moss added to soil is light but retains some moisture. It’s a good additive for succulents because it keeps some moisture in the soil without becoming soggy.
- Coco Coir – Coco coir comes from the outer husk of coconuts. It can be used in the same way as sphagnum moss to add moisture to sandy soils.
- Vermiculite – Vermiculite is a mineral that retains moisture while simultaneously lightening and aerating a potting mix. It also adds mineral nutrients such as magnesium, aluminum, and iron.
- Pine Bark Fines – These tiny pine bark slivers condition a potting mix by retaining some moisture and adding nutrients as they decompose.
- Pumice – Pumice, an igneous rock, is a good additive for clay soils, as it adds aeration, lightens the soil, and retains a bit of moisture.
- Perlite – Perlite, a volcanic glass, keeps potting soil loose and well-draining while also preventing it from becoming overly compact.
- Sand – Sand generally improves aeration and draining while loosening soil.
- Soil Activator – A soil activator is a synthetic product that is thought to help release nutrients from the soil, making them more available to plants.
- Rocks/Pebbles – Rocks and pebbles help create gravelly soil that enables roots to penetrate the ground more deeply in areas where surface water is scarce.
Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Aglaonema Plants
Wilting Leaves, Mushy Stems, and Stunted Growth
These are all signs and symptoms of root rot. Your soil is likely too heavy or holding too much moisture, damaging the plant’s root system.
Does Not Bloom
If your aglaonema plant refuses to bloom, its soil might not be providing enough nutrients to the plant. Try adding a fertilizer that contains both nitrogen and phosphorous.
The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Aglaonema Plants
Aglaonema plants are susceptible to overwatering and overly moist soil because their stalk-like root systems retain water. This adaptation protects them from drought, but it makes them especially susceptible to root rot.
If their root stalks are already full of water, and the surrounding soil is full of water, too. The plant’s root system will eventually begin to break down and rot in this overly moist environment.
So, it’s essential that when you water your plant, its roots take in water, while the soil swiftly allows the rest to drain away.
The best type of soil structure contains plenty of sand or perlite for easy drainage and even a bit of bark to lighten and aerate the mix.
What pH Levels in the Soil Are Best Suited to Aglaonema Plants
Aglaonema plants prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH ranging from 5.6 to 6.5.
The Ultimate Aglaonema Potting Mix Home Recipe
To create the perfect potting mix for a Chinese evergreen at home, mix:
- 1 part humus (peat)
- 1 part perlite or sand
- 1 part general purpose potting soil
Your potting mix should never feel heavy or dense, and while remaining slightly moist, it shouldn’t hold too much moisture. If your mix feels too heavy, you can add a bit of bark to lighten the mixture.
When creating your mix, wear gloves to keep your hands clean and add a bit of water as you blend to help bind the mixture together.
The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Aglaonema Plants
If you’re not up for mixing your own potting soil for your Chinese evergreen, these pre-packaged potting mixes can work well, too:
If any of these seem too heavy or like they are retaining too much moisture, simply mix in a scoop of horticultural perlite.
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Soil Mix for Aglaonema Plants FAQs
How Often Should I Switch Soil for My Agloaonema Plants?
To ensure your plant has fresh, well-draining soil in which to thrive, it should be repotted once every 18 to 24 months.
Can I Use Cactus Soil for Aglaonema Plants?
Aglaonema plants prefer peat-based soil that’s slightly higher in nitrogen, but they can still survive in cactus soil, too, because it is well-draining and usually has a pH level in the perfect range. Add a bit of nitrogen-rich fertilizer, and your Chinese evergreen should thrive.
Do Aglaonema Plants Like Wet or Dry Soil?
Chinese evergreens prefer well-draining, slightly moist soil that is allowed to dry completely between waterings.
What Are the Primary Considerations for Soil When Repotting Aglaonema Plants?
When repotting a Chinese evergreen, it is best to select or create a well-draining, nitrogen-rich soil mix that is similar to your plant’s current soil mix – as long as your plant has been growing healthily in it.
Does the Size of the Plant Affect the Soil Mix for Aglaonema Plants?
With aglaonema plants, size does not affect soil type. As your aglaonema grows larger, you can continue using the same light, peat-based, well-draining soil mix as before.
Does the Potting Container Influence the Type of Soil Mix for Aglaonema Plants?
A Chinese evergreen should have a container with plenty of drainage holes. Although it is not recommended, if your pot does not allow for draining, you might consider increasing the amount of sand or perlite in your soil mix and adding pebbles to the bottom of the container.
Do Aglaonema Plants Need Deep Potting Containers?
Chinese evergreens have shallow root systems. So shallow containers with a diameter wide enough to accommodate the plant are best. Deeper containers or containers that are too large provide space for excess moisture to accumulate, leading to root rot.
Sit Back, Relax, and Watch Your Chinese Evergreen Thrive
Now that you’ve done the work of potting your aglaonema plant in the perfect soil mix, your job should be easy. Stick to a regular watering schedule and make sure your plant receives the right amount of sunlight, and you’ll be enjoying fresh indoor air and beautiful foliage for years to come.