I never realized how important the kind of potting soil is to grow Anthurium in, together with the type of pot it is planted in.
After learning from my mistakes, where my choice of standard garden soil led to my Flamingo flower (aka anthurium) dying due to root rot, I’ve experimented and learned a lot more about these plants.
Anthurium can bloom all year long in the right growing conditions, and this includes the right potting mix.
Stick around to learn about what potting mix you can buy for your anthurium and why self-made potting soil is the best.
Anthurium Potting Mix
The best potting mix for your anthurium is one that is a loose and coarse growing medium. While you can use a store-bought orchid potting mix, it’s better to improve the soil’s drainage quality by adding chunky ingredients like coconut husks, pumice, perlite, and charcoal. You can also create your own potting mix. Just ensure that the potting mix has a 5.5-6.5 pH.
The Best Potting Soil for Anthurium
Natively, Anthurium are epiphytes, a kind of air plant. Most Anthurium are climbers, so their roots extend into leaf litter or moss that builds up under trees that they climb onto, or they grow aerial roots.
As such, Anthurium should not be planted in dense soil since their roots need oxygen. A dense soil contains fine particles that retain too much water.
And while all plants need water to thrive, if the soil an anthurium is planted in becomes waterlogged, then microbes can build up and the roots can rot. This leads to your houseplant dying, which is something neither of us would want.
Thus, the best potting soil for Anthurium is a looser substrate with many large air pockets to emulate their native growing conditions in the tropics of Central and South America.
However, I never buy standard garden soil for my Flamingo flowers, and neither should you, as these soils don’t drain water fast enough and they don’t provide enough air for the roots of an anthurium.
These kinds of soil typically mix conifer bark, perlite, and peat moss, and these are ideal for water to drain well. They provide enough airiness in the soil for the anthurium’s roots to thrive.
Why Mix Your Own Potting Mix for an Anthurium
When I don’t have a lot of time, I buy orchid potting mix; however, I do prefer to mix my own potting soil for my Anthurium.
The reasons include that a home-made blend:
- Provides better drainage as I ensure the soil is even coarser so root rot is not something I need to worry about.
- Is more environmentally friendly. Peat moss, which is a standard ingredient in store-bought potting mixes, is a non-renewable resource. I prefer to use sustainable alternatives where possible.
Anthurium Potting Mix Ingredients
Here’s a list of the kinds of ingredients you can use to create your home-blend of anthurium potting mix. I’ll also share which options I use and why.
- Pumice: To add aeration and improve the soil drainage, I generally add pumice to my potting mix for my Flamingo flowers.
- Hardwood charcoal: This is similar to perlite, but it is more sustainable, and thus why I prefer using this ingredient. It is also chunkier but lighter than perlite. A note of caution: don’t use the briquets you can buy for grilling your steaks at home!
- Perlite: If you can’t find hardwood charcoal, perlite is a good alternative. I prefer to buy mine in a super coarse grade to further improve my anthurium’s soil drainage and to add air.
- Compost: I like to add a little compost instead of synthesized fertilizers or peat moss to my potting mix. It enhances flowering and plant growth with the nutrition it provides. However, compost has denser particles, so I increase the coarseness of the other ingredients; hence, choosing a super coarse grade perlite. You can also add more pumice and bark in your mix if you add compost.
- Coconut husk: While not as acidic, it is a fairly decent alternative to pine bark or fir.
- Cocopeat or coconut coir: A popular replacement to peat moss, coconut coir is made of dried, ground-up coconut shells. It is a fluffy growing medium that is loose enough and great for Anthurium and other epiphytes.
For my potting mix, I essentially need three categories of ingredients. I need coarse woody materials.
Coconut husks or pine bark will do. Next, I need perlite or pumice, which makes up the porous ingredients of the potting mix.
Lastly, I need cocopeat, compost, or peat moss to be the organic element.
I usually use one ingredient of each category in equal parts to the others. So, my go-to potting mix is equal parts pine bark, hardwood charcoal, and cocopeat.
When I do add compost, I do 30% pine bark, 30% hardwood charcoal, 20% cocopeat, and 20% compost.
How to Mix the Potting Soil
In a large container, so I have enough room to mix all the potting mix ingredients thoroughly, I add my pine bark, cocopeat, and hardwood charcoal (and sometimes compost).
If the layering method appeals to you, don’t. This actually increases the chances of root rot as your drainage isn’t improved.
All the finer ingredients will make their way in between the open areas of the coarser ingredients.
Moreover, there won’t be much soil in the bottom of your pot, so a pool of water will accumulate when you water your anthurium, and this is a perfect environment for a fungal infection to take root.
Frequently Asked Questions about Anthurium Potting Mix
What soil is best for Anthurium?
The best soil for Anthurium is a potting mix or soil that is similar to the soil the plant is currently potted in. Anthurium need soil that is light and loose and that has a pH of between 5.5 and 6.5.
Can I use a potting mix for my anthurium?
It’s acceptable to use potting mix for your anthurium. For the best results, you should plant your anthurium in a potting mix that is coarse in texture so it drains water well. If you are buying your potting mix at the nursery, get an orchid mix and mix it with peat moss and coarse sand.
The Final Mix
Anthurium need a loose, coarse potting mix that is airy and provides adequate water drainage for the plant to thrive. If you use finer, more compact potting soil, root rot will set in and your pretty house plant will die.
If you buy a potting mix, opt for one that is suited for growing orchids in, and where possible, add other coarser ingredients to the mix to help aerate it and improve drainage.
I still prefer to make my own potting mix and I’ve found that my Anthurium grow best in my soil recipe that I’ve shared with you.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.