Best Soil Mix for Ficus Audrey Plants to Thrive

Ficus Audrey plants (aka Ficus benghalensis or Banyan fig) grow best in a soil base that holds plenty of moisture without risking root rot. In my experience, peat moss balanced with plenty of perlite is ideal to reach the right conditions. I also like to mix in worm castings to add nutrients to help my plant grow steadily. For optimal growth, Ficus Audrey soil should be slightly acidic with a pH ranging from 6.5 to 7.0.

The best soil mix for Ficus Audrey Plants (Essential Tips)

The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil

Ficus Audrey requires more water than other Ficus varieties. It relies on a steady moisture level in the soil to keep it from losing leaves or drying up, especially in the home’s dry air. 

Yet if the potting mix stays too wet, it’ll cause the plant’s roots to rot. Well-draining soil allows for regular watering without risking damage to the roots of the Ficus Audrey.

Ideal pH Levels

Less picky than other plants about soil pH, Ficus Audrey prefers a soil mix with a pH of around 6.5 to 7.0. It prefers the acidic side of the spectrum, but only mildly. This makes using various composted bark products for its potting mix easy.

The Ultimate Ficus Audrey Plant Potting Mix Home Recipe

A collection of potted Ficus Audrey plants with leaves in various shades of green

To create your own well-draining, nutrient-rich, loose, and supportive potting mix for Ficus Audrey plants, mix:

  • 50% peat moss or fine coco coir
  • 25% perlite or vermiculite
  • 15% coarse sand
  • 10% worm castings or screened compost.

I find that Ficus Audrey plants are heavy feeders, so ensure there’s a source of natural nutrients in the mix. I like to wet the first two ingredients with warm water first, mixing them with a small spade or my hands. Then, proceed to add coarse sand and compost.

The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Ficus Audrey Plants

Almost any basic peat moss potting mix can be enriched with another 25% perlite by volume. This creates a loose enough mix that will still hold plenty of moisture. I find that Ficus Audrey plants fare well in most general-purpose potting soils formulated for houseplants. Here are a couple of excellent options (via Amazon and Miracle-Gro):

Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix

A ficus audrey plant with a wilting and decaying leaf potentially due to the soil base

Inappropriate soil bases can lead to a number of plant care issues. Here are some common signs I look out for when assessing if the soil mix isn’t providing a suitable base for healthy growth:

  • Yellow leaves: If the soil holds too much moisture, root rot will cause leaf yellowing in extreme circumstances.
  • Leaf drop: if your Ficus Audrey is frequently dropping leaves, the soil mix might be too compacted, which restricts essential plant functions and healthy growth.
  • Fungal growth: Mushrooms sprouting up in the pot can indicate the soil is staying too moist. The fungus won’t directly hurt your plant, but it will attract gnats and indicate poor conditions.
  • Poor growth: In general, a mismatch with the potting mix will cause this houseplant to grow sluggishly or not at all.

Why Soil Choice Matters

Soil plays multiple roles in supporting the growth of a plant. Houseplants like Ficus Audrey rely on their potting mix (in addition to water and appropriate sunlight) to keep them upright and encourage a healthy root system. 

The potting mix or soil must also supply the plant’s nutrients and water. Yet if the soil stays wet for too long, sensitive plants like Ficus tend to develop problems like root rot. 

Soil composition even affects factors like the temperature around the roots. It’s necessary to allow roots to absorb oxygen and exchange other gases, which is why you don’t want heavily compacted soil.

Most soil in the ground is based on a combination of sand, clay, silt, and loam. The dominant component determines the type of soil. 

Chalky soils are thick with rocks and chalk, while peat soils are heavy and dense. Potting soil mixes should combine only the most suitable soil ingredients in specific ratios for a better balance.

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

A good potting soil mix is made from a combination of organic material that holds water and harder materials that don’t hold water. Adjusting the balance between these two main categories of ingredients determines the final texture and use of the potting mix. Common ingredients include:

  • Perlite and vermiculite: These are expanded mineral materials that look like tiny white balls or flakes. These ingredients help keep mixes light. They don’t hold any moisture but prevent compaction.
  • Volcanic rock: Pumice and other expanded rock is an alternative to perlite that offers slightly more water-holding capacity without affecting drainage.
  • Sand and pebbles: Holding no water yet improving soil texture, coarse sand and small pebbles are popular in drier mixes.
  • Composted materials: Fully composted forest products, loam, and municipal compost all offer texture and nutrients while holding water. Using a mix that is 100% of these products will lead to dampness and excessive settling.
  • Pine fines and other bark: Partially composted and finely shredded, bark from pines and other trees form the bulk of many potting mixes. They’re light and fluffy yet hold some moisture.
  • Coco coir: Harvested as a waste product from coconuts, this shredded material replaces peat moss in many mixes. It holds some moisture but drains well.
  • Orchid bark: As a more size-controlled alternative to pine fines, orchid bark is made from fir bark that’s chunked and screened.
  • Peat moss: Not as renewable as other materials, sphagnum peat moss holds moisture better than most other potting mix ingredients.
  • Soil Activators and Other Additives: Natural additives like soil activators, wetting agents, and fertilizers are common in pre-made soil mixes.

Soil Mix for Ficus Audrey Plants FAQs:

How often should I switch soil for my Ficus Audrey? 

Ficus Audrey benefits from a new round of potting mix every year. This ensures it gets plenty of nutrients and doesn’t experience compaction around its root ball.

Can I use cactus soil for Ficus Audrey? 

Cactus soil can be a little too fast draining for this Ficus. It prefers more moisture to stay around its roots, so try a standard potting soil with 25% perlite or coarse sand added.

Do Ficus Audrey plants like wet or dry soil? 

They prefer moist soil, but the roots will rot if the potting mix stays too wet. That makes drainage essential to ensure moisture doesn’t puddle at any point and lead to root rot.

Does the potting container influence the type of soil mix for Ficus Audrey plants? 

Poor draining pots are hard to compensate for with soil mix alone. Stick to adequately sized and well-draining pots to ensure that the soil mix can do its job.

Do Ficus Audrey need deep potting containers? 

The height of these plants calls for balancing them out with deeper pots. The roots generally grow best when the pot is about 1.5 to 2 times as tall as it is wide.

Wrap Up

Ficus Audrey has become one of the trendiest house plants lately due to its relative ease of care. This plant can thrive in almost any home near a south-facing window and the right fast-draining soil mix. Misting can help improve the humidity around the plant to prevent leaf drop.

For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position Ficus Audrey plants in the home for optimal care and Feng Shui benefits.

Editorial Director | andrew@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

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.

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