Being one of the most popular houseplants all over the world, Monstera Deliciosa is an absolute beauty from the Mexican tropics. The leaves, with their magnificent color, shape, and size, give the plant the unique place in our hearts and homes that it deserves.
But like all other living beings, Monsteras, too, have some special requirements to thrive. Besides water, CO2, and light, the soil that it is living in plays a crucial role in how well your Monstera Deliciosa thrives.
What Is the Best Soil for Monstera Deliciosa?
Monstera Deliciosa, in its natural habitat, grows on the forest floor. You have to choose a soil mix that can closely mimic the plant’s natural growing conditions. Look for a well-draining, nutrient-rich mix with peat and compost. If you’re preparing the soil yourself, ½ portion of your regular potting mix, ¼ compost, and ¼ perlite will do the job for you excellently. The mix may vary according to your climate.
How to Choose the Right Soil for Monstera Deliciosa?
With the wide range of commercial potting mixes out there in the market, choosing the right soil for your Monstera Deliciosa can seem a bit overwhelming. And you might as well find yourself more confused when trying to create the potting mix yourself.
Here’s an in-depth guide to what your plant needs and the different ways to provide it.
Important Factors to Consider
Monstera Deliciosa is particularly susceptible to root rot. Hence, drainage is the most crucial aspect to consider when choosing the type of soil.
Apart from placing your plant in a pot that has a good drainage outlet, you also need to consider if the soil is well-draining or not.
For soil to be able to drain, it must contain particles that differ in size. You’re recommended to mix different components together to prepare your soil. Chunky materials like perlite and compost create that size variance in soil components along with the regular potting mix.
The problem with using a single substance or multiple substances that have similar particle size as a potting medium is that the particles can easily clump together and compact the soil.
For instance, if you use only peat moss or only loamy soil, the potting mix will compact in the pot on the very first watering and leave the plant with drowning roots and no drainage.
More often than not, Monstera Deliciosa parents overlook the fact that just like the foliage needs CO2, the roots need oxygen in order to stay healthy.
If the soil is too compacted and damp all the time, the roots may never be able to access the much-needed oxygen.
The absence of oxygen and the presence of excess moisture is what leads a plant to root rot. When the roots are unable to breathe, fungi take advantage and feed on the roots.
Gradually, the roots start softening and die off as the infection spreads. Root rot is almost impossible to be reversed, and as they say, prevention is always better than cure.
Good aeration and drainage are a two-in-one package. The same soil components that improve drainage also improve aeration.
The primary mechanism whereby fresh air is provided to the roots is the vacuum created when water flows down through the soil.
When you water your Monstera Deliciosa, the water seeps down throughout the soil as it is well-draining.
When the extra water exits from the drainage hole below, it creates a vacuum in the empty spaces in the soil where the water was present prior to exiting. The vacuum sucks fresh air into the soil, allowing the roots to breathe.
A plant obtains necessary nutrients for growth (i.e., nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) through its roots.
If your Monstera Deliciosa were growing naturally on the forest floor, its roots would’ve been feeding on the nutrient-rich soil. Soil that is fed continuously by dead plant debris, animal droppings, and the powerful earthworm effect.
Although houseplants cannot get the same nutrients as they would in nature, we can still supplement their nutritional needs via fertilizer and soil mix.
Peat moss and compost will serve as the primary nutrient sources for your Monstera Deliciosa. You can always add nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer in the growing season.
When it is said, “Monstera Deliciosa likes well-draining soil with good water retention,” plant owners are often left scratching their heads. The two terms, ‘well-draining.’ And ‘good water retention,’ in the sentence make it sound self-contradictory. However, this is not the case.
When we talk about water retention, we are talking about the soil’s ability to absorb water and slowly release it as the roots require it. The water retention part is done by the porous material present in the soil.
Perlite, for instance, is highly porous and can absorb water and fill all the tiny air spaces that are present inside. When a little perlite unit cannot absorb any more water, it lets the extra water pass by.
This happens on a massive scale when you water your Monstera Deliciosa, and perlite is part of the potting mix.
Soil water retention is crucial for the plant’s well-being as it is complicated. When all extra water has drained out of the pot, the roots are still absorbing water in the soil.
When the water around the roots is used up, the water stored inside the perlite and other water-retaining components is released gradually as per the plant’s requirement.
This way, the soil is kept moist without the risk of excessive dampness.
Different plants thrive in different soil pH levels. Monstera Deliciosa prefers soil that is slightly on the acidic side, with an ideal pH range of 5.5-7.
The potting mix we have mentioned above will already fall into this pH range, so you don’t need to make additional adjustments to it.
Not everyone can easily access the ingredients mentioned in our original potting mix, but that is not a hard and fast rule. As long as the essential soil functions are being fulfilled, we can opt for any soil mix.
Here are a few alternates.
- ½ regular potting soil, ½ coco peat or peat moss
- ½ regular potting soil, ½ coco chips or orchid bark
- ¾ regular potting soil, ½ perlite or pumice
What Type of Soil Monstera Deliciosa Doesn’t Like?
This tropical herbaceous will manage to grow even if you pot it in only regular soil or any mix of your choice. But there are certain soil types you need to keep away from, as they will keep your plant struggling.
Do not use dirt or soil that is taken from the ground. The regular potting mix we have mentioned does not contain ground soil as a component. Ground soil often retains a lot more moisture and does not contain the required nutrients for potted plants.
Also, be careful not to use any soil component that may have a pH above 7.
Frequently Asked Questions about Monstera Deliciosa Soil
When should I repot my Monstera Deliciosa?
Despite their vigorous growth rate, Monsteras can smoothly go 2-3 years in the same pot. If you’re thinking that your plant needs repotting, try taking the rootball out and checking if roots are circling at the edge of the soil. The best time of the year to repot is spring.
Why is my Monstera Deliciosa drooping after repotting?
It is normal for plants to display signs of transplant shock when they are repotted recently. If you’ve done the repotting right, you should expect the foliage to look happy in a few days. If the problem persists, it may be the wrong time of the year to repot or the plant may not like its new home.
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.