Anthuriums, known for their marvelous leaves and exotic flowers, are one of the most popular houseplants all over the world.
Many people keep these tropical beauties in the living room to attract visitors. However, for the plant to keep its health and beauty over a long period of time, you need to make sure that it gets the environment it deserves.
And, choosing the soil medium is the first step in creating an ideal environment.
In this article, I’ll be going through everything you need to know about choosing the ideal anthurium potting mix, all based on scientific evidence.
Here are the topics,
- Best Anthurium Soil Mix
- Effects Of Soil Ingredients On Anthurium Growth
- Signs Of Using Bad Potting Soil
- Pre-made Soil Vs DIY Anthurium Soil
- Lots more.
Let’s get started.
Best Soil For Anthurium Plant
Anthurium plants prefer a well-aerated, nutrient-rich soil mixture that preserves a limited amount of water to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. When mixing your own soil, try to include ingredients like coco peat, peat moss, leaf mold, perlite, etc. If you prefer pre-made soil, then orchid mix with a little bit of additional perlite to improve drainage is recommended.
Whether you just bought an anthurium plant or repotting your old plant, choosing the ideal potting soil should be given the topmost importance.
An ideal growing medium for anthurium should be able to anchor the plant’s roots and stems so that it does not tip over as it becomes larger and mature, while also preserving enough moisture, nutrients, and aeration.
It is common sense to understand that the best potting mix for anthuriums is the one that closely resembles what they get in their natural habitat.
As you already know, anthuriums are native to the tropical forests in South America, where they grow above multiple layers of leaf mold and trunks of trees. And, that is the reason why they love coarse soil mixtures.
So, if you don’t have much time to read the complete article, here are some of the ideal soil combinations for your anthurium plant.
- Peat Moss + Perlite + Leaf Mold (2:1:1)
- Peat Moss + Vermiculite + Leaf Mold (2:1:1)
- Coco Peat + Vermiculite + Leaf Mold (2:1:1)
- Coco Peat + Perlite + Leaf Mold (2:1:1)
- Peat Moss + Charcoal + Leaf Mold + Pine Bark (2:1:1:1)
Also, while mixing your own potting soil always make sure that the pH level is in the range of 5.5 to 6.5. Anthuriums like the soil mixture to be slightly acidic.
Effects Of Soil Ingredients On Anthurium Growth
Many studies prove that different potting ingredients and mixtures have unique effects on plant growth and health. Be it root growth or flower life, each ingredient has its own effect.
Before seeing the effect of different potting media on anthurium growth, first, let’s have a quick look at the commonly used potting ingredients.
Here are the most commonly used ingredients of anthurium potting mix,
- Peat moss
- Coco coir
- Leaf mold
- Pine bark
Now let’s have a look at how each of these ingredients and their combinations affects plant growth.
Effect On Leaves, Roots & Stem
Based on research conducted in Poland, the potting medium containing coal (charcoal) grew significantly denser and thicker roots than the mediums without it.
Also, in another study mentioned in ARCC Journals, the tallest plant with the highest number of leaves was seen in the anthurium potting mix containing cocopeat perlite and sphagnum moss in a ratio of 2:1:1.
Another study compared six potting mediums like river sand, FYM, loam sand, cocopeat, and coconut fiber and their combinations in a greenhouse. The results were pretty similar to the above ones, the plants in medium containing cocopeat and a combination of leaf mold and cocopeat had the most number of branches.
Summary: We can be pretty sure that coco peat, peat moss, charcoal, and leaf mold are very good for anthurium root and stem growth.
Effect On Flowers
Based on a 1978 study published in the American Society Of Horticultural Science, the anthurium potting mix containing peat moss, perlite and pine bark in the ratio of 2:1:1 produced the highest quality flowers.
The same study also concluded that the plants planted in cocopeat medium, as well as a mix of leaf mold and cocopeat, produced the most flowers per plant, bloomed earlier, and had the longest floral life.
The flower quality is rated by checking the spathe length, spathe breadth, spadix length, and flower stalk length. All of these parameters were higher for the plant subject grown in either cocopeat alone or in a combination with leaf mold.
Another study conducted in 2009, mentions that the highest number of flowers were observed in a medium containing coco peat and wooden charcoal compared to other mediums.
Summary: Even coco peat or peat moss alone will produce the best flowers. By combining leaf mold and charcoal, the quality of the flowers can be increased.
Signs Of Using Bad Potting Soil For Anthurium
The potting soil mixture determines the quality and number of anthurium flowers a particular plant can bloom in a cycle. The majority of anthurium owners complain about slower flower growth or distorted flowers, but they are unaware that their low output and quality may be due to a bad potting mixture.
And, if you suspect that your anthurium potting mix is not a good choice, then check for the following symptoms.
1. No flowers
Anthuriums are flowering plants irrespective of where they are growing, be it indoors or outdoors. If it’s not blooming, then there is a problem.
Producing flowers is one of the tasks that require a lot of energy. And, to generate energy plants need water, oxygen, light, and nutrients.
When an anthurium plant is sitting in bad potting soil which lacks any of the required qualities like nutrient density or moisture retention capability, then the plant cannot generate the needed energy to support blooming.
Lack of flowers is not a definitive sign of bad anthurium potting mix because other plant care mistakes like overwatering, underwatering, lack of enough sunlight, etc can also stop the blooming capability of anthurium plants.
2. Slow or stunted new growth
When your anthurium plant is not getting enough nutrients, water, or sunlight, the plant will start to reserve the energy it has to survive instead of new growth.
According to a research paper published in the Australian Journal of Soil Research, the ability of roots to grow and deliver water and nutrients to leaves is affected by soil structure.
If the soil is very damp and has a very bad structure, the roots produce hormonal signals that inhibit the growth of the shoot, even if they are currently able to take up enough water and nutrients.
Other than slow growth, the newly grown leaves will be much smaller when compared to the previously grown leaves. It is due to the fact that nutrient-deficient soil will keep the leaves tiny and the root system small.
3. Always dry/wet soil
This is one of the most commonly seen symptoms of using the wrong potting soil. This happens when your potting soil is poor in terms of water holding capability or drainage.
If your anthurium soil is always dry, then the soil may not be a good choice due to the lack of water-holding capability. On the other hand, even after a couple of days of watering if the soil is still very wet, then the water lacks enough drainage capability.
Even though these are the common sigh of wrong soil, you should consider the climate in your region.
If the soil is too dry only in scorching summers, then it is probably due to high temperature. On the other hand, if the soil is too wet only during winters, then it is due to low temperature.
So, before dismissing the current soil as bad, just have a thought about the climate in your region.
4. Discoloration & wilting of leaves
According to the same study mentioned above (from the Australian Journal of Soil Research), whenever a plant is in distress, the leaves are the first ones to show signs.
As already mentioned, the wrong potting mixture does not allow the roots to suck up enough water and nutrients that are required for healthy leaves. As a result, of the maintenance of chlorophyll, the green pigment stops and leaves start to turn yellow and eventually brown.
If the plant is not transplanted to a better potting picture, over time the water content in the plant’s body starts to decrease. As a result, leaves will curl themselves to preserve water.
At some point, the plant cannot withstand anymore without water and other nutrients and leaves will dry and wilt.
Pre-made Soil Vs DIY Anthurium Soil
To provide your plant with an ideal potting mixture, there are two options: either use a pre-made potting soil or mix your own soil mix.
If you are quite busy and don’t have enough time to make your own soil mixture, then purchasing a pre-made potting soil is the best way. By going this route, you’re potentially saving time that can be used to do other productive things.
Purchasing a premade soil also guarantee results, since they are mixed based on scientifical proportions. You don’t have to do any guesswork, just unpack the bag and plant your soil and you’re good to go in the majority of the cases.
On the other hand, if you have a large plant collection, then purchasing premade soil mixtures for each variety of the plants can become exponentially expensive in the future.
Also, if you have a passion for plants and gardening in general, then taking some time off your work and learning to mix your own soil should be a good skill to master.
One of the main advantages of mixing your own potting soil is its adaptability.
You can make the soil mixture based on the climatic conditions in your region. For example, if you live in a place where the climate is too hot always, then you can slightly increase the concentration of cocopeat or peat moss to retain more water.
This can be said for the opposite conditions as well. If your region is too cold and has a lot of humidity, then you can increase the concentration of perlite or vermiculite to adjust the water draining capability of the mixture to prevent anthurium from root rot and similar issues that arise due to too much water.
Anthurium Soil Requirements – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Choosing the best soil for anthurium plants is one of the tasks that make houseplant owners confused.
In this section, I’ll be answering some of the commonly asked questions on the internet related to anthurium soil requirements so that you don’t have to ask these doubts somewhere else.
Do anthurium need soil?
No, anthuriums do not need a potting medium with soil for proper growth. In nature, they are grown above layers of leaf mold and tree chunks. Time and again, many studies have found out that the maximum growth of anthurium happens in soilless mediums like peat moss, coco coir, charcoal & leaf compost, etc compared to mediums with soil.
Can I use Miracle Grow on anthurium?
Miracle grow is a good soil medium for anthurium plants to start with. If you can add in a part of perlite and coco peat, then that is even better than miracle grow alone. A healthy combination will be 60% miracle grow, 20% peat moss/ coco peat, and 20% perlite/vermiculite.
Is cocopeat good for anthurium?
Multiple studies suggest that cocopeat is an excellent ingredient to add to a soil mixture for anthurium plants. It enhances soil aeration for healthy root growth while maintaining optimal plant nutrient availability. Being easily available and cheap, cocopeat is considered to be the best alternative for peat moss or sphagnum moss.
Is charcoal good for anthurium?
Yes, charcoal is a good ingredient to add to an anthurium soil mixture. Charcoal acts as natural compost for common houseplants like anthurium, peace lily, etc. By slowing or lowering nutrient leaching caused by rain or irrigation, charcoal improves the soil’s ability to hold onto plant nutrients and beneficial soil bacteria.
Can I use vermiculite for anthurium?
Yes, you can use vermiculite for anthurium to increase the water retention and draining capability of the soil mixture. If you cannot get vermiculite in your region, try to add perlite which is a good alternative for vermiculite.
Choosing the perfect potting soil is by far the first step to making your anthuriums thrive indoors.
Anthuriums love potting mixes that provide excellent water draining and retention capabilities along with good aeration and nutrient density.
If you have enough time, then I recommend you make your own potting soil mixture with ingredients like peat moss, coconut husk, perlite, and leaf compost. On the other hand, if you prefer premade soil mixtures, try to buy something that is specifically made for anthurium plants.
To back up the information we provide in our articles, the Plantials team only uses high-quality sources published in peer-reviewed university or scientific research journals.
- Evaluation Of Pine Bark As A Substrate For Anthurium Production In South Africa, International Society For Horticultural Science.
- Role Of Growing Medium In Yield And Quality Of Anthurium: A Review, Agricultural Research Communication Center.
- Growth And Nutrient Uptake By Potted Foliage Anthurium, Ornamental Horticulture SciELO Brazil.
- Best Conditions For Growing Anthurium Plants, TNAU Horticultural Portal.
- Compost Fundamentals, Washington State University.
- Soil Structure And Plant Growth, Australian Journal Of Soil Research
- A media and fertilizer study in Anthurium [andreanum Lind. cv Ozaki Red in Hawaii], Journal American Society for Horticultural Science.