Choosing a soil mix for aroids can be tricky. Equal to any other houseplant, they need the best soil mix to reach their maximum growth potential. Even though there are many commercially available Aroid Soil Mix Recipe, making your soil mix can save you more money!
Furthermore, you can mix and match the components based on what you need. Are you ready to learn how? Let’s get started!
What are aroids and why do they need a special aroid mix?
Aroids are perennial plants from the Arrum or Araceae family. Philodendrons, monsteras, alocasias, photos, colocasia, anthuriums, and any other related plants are part of aroid plants. They’re relatively easy to maintain, adaptable to life indoors, and grow fairly quickly.
Aroids also vary in size, color, and shape. Alocasia macrorrhizos, for instance, can even grow as tall as 5 meters! With those spectacular and heterogeneous forms, no wonder aroids became one of the most well-known houseplants.
In their natural habitat, aroids’ shallow roots thrive on the tropical rainforest floor. As a result, they’re adaptable under lower-light conditions and best grow in areas with indirect sunlight.
Most aroids also prefer high humidity. Rainforest soil is rich and sure enough, it can provide aroids with many nutrients and oxygen it’s needed.
The topsoil allows water to soak into a deeper layer, hence it won’t sit in aroids’ roots for too long. This makes aroids need porous soil with a well-drained system and well aeration. Note that aroids are also prone to root rot. So with that background, you will need to make a special aroid soil mix.
Everything you need to make an aroid mix recipe.
Making an aroid soil mix recipe is not as difficult as you think. The important thing is to make sure the soil mix is not only rich but also allows aroids to breathe and can retain moisture well without causing root rot. Just ensure to provide these things and voila! You got the best aroid mix recipe!
There’s no exact way about the aroid soil mix ratio, but in this article, we will use the 4-3-2-1 mix ratio that contains the best mix and is easiest to remember. The ratio is also recommended by Dr. Croat, a senior aroid botanist from the Missouri Botanical Garden.
However, there are several internal factors you also need to pay attention to, like how humid and dry your home or garden is. It’s also better to do some more research on what type of aroids you are planning to grow since each aroid needs different humidity. You can mix and match this aroid soil mix recipe depending on those factors.
The tools you will need are gloves, a trowel for mixing the ingredients (optional, you can use your hand instead), and a face mask (optional, only to protect your nose and respiration from debris). Got all the tools already? Now it’s time to make the soil mix!
1. Orchid bark (around 40% of the aroid soil mix recipe)
The first ingredient you will need is orchid bark. Orchid barks are not made from orchids but from tree barks like fir trees. Why do we use orchid bark the most? Because it’s a great natural substrate that will hold moisture, but at the same time it won’t retain water that much as it’s well-draining. It contains chunky pieces of wood that are good for aeration and promotes their growth!
Alternative choice: Wood charcoal. As beneficial as orchid bark, wood charcoal also can be used to increase drainage to allow more oxygen. Studies also have shown that using wood charcoal can improve the soil structure and will result in healthy root growth!
2. Potting mix or “black gold” (around 30% of the aroid soil mix recipe)
The potting mix gets its nickname because it is made from porous compost that is rich in nutrients. Yet people often mistake them for potting soil. Keep in mind, they’re not the same. Potting mix is a non-soil substrate while potting soil may or may not contain soil at all.
Potting mix is sterile, which means it’s free from harmful pathogens like diseases, fungi, and insects. It’s also lightweight and can be used to improve aeration and drainage.
On the other hand, potting soil is not sterile and may contain diseases and fungi. It’s also way heavier than potting mix. But it doesn’t mean you should not use potting soil at all. They’re also rich in compost and you may use potting soil when growing non-container plants.
Potting mix acts similarly to orchid barks by increasing drainage. Some valuable materials are sphagnum moss or peat, pumice, and vermiculite.
Alternative choice: If you can’t find a potting mix, you can make one on your own. Overall, they’re a mix of the already listed above ingredients. Just add some minerals like sand or perlite. Still, looking for another alternative? The good news is, you can use potting soil.
There are several ways to avoid the effect of dangerous pathogens. First, you can fertilize the potting soil. Second, do not store the potting soil in warm and high-humidity areas since it can stimulate bacteria and fungi growth.
3. Coco peat or coco coir (around 20% of the aroid soil mix recipe)
Coco peat is a planting substrate made from coconut husk. It’s a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial material, making it a perfect addition to your aroid potting mix recipe. Moreover, coco peat is also good for aeration while still retaining water, plus, it is rich in nutrients like phosphorus, calcium, and sodium.
Alternative choice: If your favorite gardening shop is running out of coco peat, there are two available options you can use. First, peat moss. It performs similarly to coco coir but keeps in mind that peat moss is acidic and most aroids prefer slightly acidic soil. You shall lower the pH level a bit.
The second available option is LECA (Light Expanded Clay Aggregate) or also known as hydroton. They provide the same value as coco coir and peat moss. The downside is, LECA is more expensive than a bag of soil.
4. Perlite (around 10% of the aroid soil mix recipe)
Perlite is a volcanic rock produced from volcanic eruptions. It has a porous texture capable and is efficient to maintain the soil’s structure as well as providing well-draining.
Alternative choice: Pumice is a more eco-friendly replacement for perlite. It’s also more lightweight and porous but will cost you some more cash. You can mix these two mineral rocks. Just make sure to pay attention to the quantity so the soil mix does not become too porous.
Another extra useful addition for your aroid mix recipe.
Apart from the main ingredients above, you may want to add some extra nutrients to your aroid soil mix. Same to any other living being, aroids need nutrients to grow, germinate, and fight diseases. Do not over-fertilizing as it can lead to more serious problems.
Several additions for your aroid mix such as worm castings or vermicompost, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, fish meal, bone meal, blood meal, and manure are packed with many essential nutrients for aroids’ growth. That is including the main nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, nitrates, magnesium, and calcium.
Do not have time to buy all those things? Worry not! You can make your natural fertilizer based on materials available at home. For example, you can crush eggshells into a powder and sprinkle the eggshell powder at the top of your aroid soil mix.
Other similar natural options include banana peels, coffee grounds, wood ash, and kitchen waste. By using these natural fertilizers, you indirectly contribute to making our Earth greener!
Frequently asked questions about aroid soil mix recipe.
1. How long can you store the aroid soil mix?
Because it’s natural-based with no additives, we recommend you store the aroid soil mix for around 6 months to 1 year.
2. Can I use the aroid soil mix for another plant?
We do not recommend it since this mix is formulated for aroids which require well-drainage and well-aerated soil. For example, snake plants do not need well-drained soil as much as aroids.
3. Where should I keep the aroid soil mix?
We recommend you keep the aroid soil mix in a cool, dark, and dry room with low humidity. Do not forget that some materials may attract insects and fungi. Also, keep the aroid soil mix away from pets and children.
4. How frequently should I change the aroid soil mix?
Generally, you should change the aroid soil mix every 12 to 18 months. For several special circumstances, such as if your aroids suffer from disease or have outgrown their growing pot, then you shall change the soil mix as soon as possible.
5. Are aroids heavy feeders?
It depends on many things, such as how old, which species, and how massive your aroid is. Massive aroid species like monsteras and philodendrons are heavy feeders when they’re growing, thus you have to provide them with more soil mix alongside its nutritive addition.
To wrap up, the five main ingredients you will need to make aroid soil mix are orchid barks, potting mix, coco coir, perlite, and natural or commercial fertilizer. Make sure to provide the soil with good aeration that drains water well. Also always check out the temperature, light, and humidity and make it ideal for your aroid. Your aroids shall grow into happy and healthy plants!