The Best Soil for Pothos Plants: Recipe & How to Mix Soil Like a Pro

Pothos is an excellent starter plant and for experienced houseplant lovers too. But note that being an easy plant to grow doesn’t make the process mindless. Many homeowners assume that soil doesn’t matter or that most are the same. But this is far from reality. 

The potting soil you use impacts what nutrients your plant gets. It also defines the plant roots’ growth.

You’ll need to take care when picking your plant’s potting mix. We’ll discuss that below and explain how to select the best soil for pothos.

But First– 4 Consideration For Choosing The Best Soil For Pothos Plants

The soil mixture affects how your plant grows. Any plant gets most of its nutrients and water from its soil. Thus, it’s a requirement to ensure the proper nutrients are present and in a way that they can be absorbed so that the plant can thrive.

Also, a plant’s roots should breathe well. If the soil is heavy or too compact, that’s a problem. Even dense soil can drown a plant’s roots and make drainage an issue. Plus, the soil is home to many microorganism ecosystems. Therefore, they contribute to plants’ nutritional uptake and essential functions.

This leads to our first point about pH and plant care:

1.) What pH Levels Work Best with Pothos?

Most plants grow well in neutral pH levels. For example, a pothos plant will enjoy soil with a pH of 6.2-6.8 (considered neutral but leans slightly to acidity). Thankfully, most are in that range, so it hasn’t hard to find soil for your pothos.

Even better, soil pH levels are often listed on labels. And if you’re still skeptical, you can use pH meters to evaluate those levels yourself.

If you see that your plant is in soil with an unsuitable pH level, we recommend getting a more viable indoor potting mix.

Also, you can adjust the pH by adding sulfur or lime to that soil. However, those additions are best suited for large farms and less for household plants.

2.) Proper Drainage: Well-Draining Soil

A pothos plant can tolerate dry soil. They’re excellent for any household owner that’s forgetful to water their plants! However, since pothos is drought tolerant, they don’t work well in soggy soils. So, you’ll need well-draining soil that retains the right amount of moisture.

When picking a potting mixture for pothos, we recommend well-aerated chunky soil. Make sure the soil has many air pockets. 

Also, as you water the plant, ensure the water drains quickly afterward. Finally, ensure the soil’s top half feels dry from 7-9 days after adding water.

Ingredients such as perlite, orchid bark, and vermiculite can help with soil drainage, so be sure to include them.

3.) Potting Mix Aeration and Moisture Retention

Pothos plants prefer a well-draining soil mix that drains fast. They also like to dry slowly with each watering.

Still, ensure you aren’t relying on soil too quickly to dry. If so, your plant may end up underwatered! Instead, we recommend balancing moisture retention with drainage. 

Keeping the soil damp over time helps it dry out faster. Also, the soil stays aerated, letting air into the roots.

For moisture retention, you can try ingredients such as coco coir, sphagnum moss, peat moss, and horticultural charcoal. They are suitable for almost all pothos.

4.) Nutrition= Nutrient-Rich Soil

Plants get most of their nutrition as minerals and vitamins from the soil. They’re needed for survival, so it’s crucial to ensure those nutrients are rich in the soil.

Also, note that growing plants can consume soil nutrients pretty fast. As a result, you’ll often end up with depleted soil within months. You can remedy that issue with a liquid fertilizer (such as Indoor Plant Food).

Also, you can try ingredients like manure, mulch, worm castings, and compost in your soil. This should give your plants a nice nutritional boost.

Ingredients for Best Pothos Soil Mix

Harlequin or Manjula Pothos plant in white pot

Below is a list of ingredients to include in pothos potting mixes for your plant to thrive. We’ve divided them into three categories:


  • Mulch
  • Biochar
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Worm Castings

Drainage and Aeration

  • Perlite
  • Vermiculite
  • Orchid Bark

Moisture Retention

  • Sphagnum Moss
  • Peat Moss
  • Coco Coir
  • Horticultural Charcoal

Whatever soil mix for your pothos you go for, it’s best to blend in the previously mentioned ingredients.

Let’s Say You Want to Make Your Own Soil Mix for Pothos

woman making potting soil

That’s an excellent option; it lets you control what gets added to the final potting mix. Plus, it’s a fun experience to make your own potting mix.

Here’s a Pothos Potting Soil Recipe

It’s simple, and you can find it via Kaylee Ellen’s YouTube. It’s an ideal potting mix for your pothos and works well with multiple aroids, such as peace lilies and philodendrons!

To prepare the recipe, mix the following in a big bowl:

  • Worm castings (2-parts)
  • Activated charcoal (2-parts)
  • Coir (4-parts)
  • Orchid bark (5-parts)
  • Perlite (5-parts)

Simple recipe, isn’t it? But let’s say you want a faster option since you don’t have the space or time to mix your own. What should you do?

Alternative: Purchase Ready-Mix Type of Soil

Find you need more time to blend a soil mix? If so, skip the process, and get pre-mixed soil.

Multiple commercial houseplant soil mixes exist. They include hand-blended soil that gives your plants all they require to grow. And many of those products go with the ingredient ratios mentioned on their bags, which you can reference through our quality-check guidelines.

Also, multi-purpose potting soil works well with pothos, specifically if tailored to indoor plants.

3 Recommended Ready-Made Soil Mixes

Yes, the market has a multitude of options to explore! They include:

1.) Jessi Mae Air Cleaning Plant Soil

Consider this the perfect soil for pothos! However, the mix can be pricey and usually sells fast online (due to the minor batch mixes in the US). 

The mix is formulated to be chemical-free and organic- it is made to work well with any pothos plant and matching species. Plus, the soil has a pH on the slightly acidic side. Finally, it has an aerated consistency, so your plant’s roots won’t rot!

2.) Fox Farms Ocean Forest 

This potting mix for pothos emphasizes a quality end product and healthy soil microbes. The brand’s pre-mixes are highly popular and use aged forest ingredients. Those include crab meal, fish emulsion, bat guano, earthworm castings, and peat moss.

The soil’s pH is somewhat acidic, matching pothos plant preference. Also, fertilizer ratios are 0.3-0.45-0.05. Thus it’s missing a little potassium.

3.) Miracle-Gro Indoor

Miracle-Gro indoor potting mix uses multiple ingredients, including a wetting agent, fertilizer, perlite, coco coir, and sphagnum peat moss. 

Fertilizer ratios are 0.25-0.13-0.19, which isn’t too balanced, but it syncs with pothos plants. Also, many users see this potting soil mix as excessively moist. Thus, throwing in some perlite before trying it on pothos is an excellent idea.

What if I’m Using The Wrong Soil Mix?

Realize you’re using the wrong soil mix for pothos? No worries. Bad soil mixes tend to show themselves fast. With a pothos plant, you’ll see that as a watering problem with lousy soil drainage.

You can also use the following symptoms to check for improper pH levels and nutrient deficiency. They include the six conditions below:

1.) Slow Growth

You might need to replenish the soil’s nutrients if your plant shows poor growth. We recommend balanced fertilizers for the best results (for example, a 15-15-15).

2.) Drooping

If your plants are starting to wilt, you may have a dry soil problem. We recommend keeping your watering schedule consistent. Water thoroughly if the soil’s dryness extends to 1 inch in depth. If the soil dries too fast, add pine bark or vermiculite to improve retention.

3.) Wet Soil

Sometimes, dry soil isn’t the problem. However, if your soils stay wet for over ten days, you might have too heavy of a soil mix. Then, we recommend you re-pot into a lighter mixture. 

A soil that’s aerated works well, especially if the plant doesn’t show signs of being overwatered (like dark spots or yellow leaves).

4.) Soft Plant Tissues

This is usually a sign that a plant is being watered too often

If you notice tissues that are dark brownish with soft spots, be sure to check soil moisture levels. You can use your finger, but a moisture meter gives more accurate results. 

If the soil stays wet for too long per watering, we recommend switching to a lighter soil mix.

5.) Yellow Leaves

pothos leaves turning yellow and with leaf spot

Leaves can be yellow for multiple reasons. “Overwatering” is at the top of the list. This implies that you’re using compacted or dense soil, which will not drain fast enough.

If pothos soil is wet a week after watering, and it takes time for drainage to occur, then you’ll need a well-aerated fresh soil mix!

Also, yellow leaves imply a thirsty plant. This means that the soil doesn’t retain water properly. If the soil dries out some days post-watering, the water hasn’t gone deep enough. 

It could also imply a rapid rate of water drainage.

To check for those issues, water your pot slowly. If drainage takes 2-3 seconds to start, add more water. But if that water drains out faster, you’ll need to introduce foam.

Also, consider fertilizer use. If that last use was a while back, use one of the above options for a nutrient boost.

6.) Root Rot

healthy pothos roots
Healthy pothos roots are firm and whitish-gray colored.

Got dark-brown leaves or squishy and darkened stems on your plant? If so, there may be root rot. 

Root rotting occurs when harmful bacteria or fungi grow in very wet conditions. It’s a sign of a drainage problem or excess watering.

Either way, the treatment is the same. In addition, you can repot your pothos with fresh soil in a new pot to help alleviate root rot.

Be sure to add root supplements as you do so. Also, pick a high-quality soil brand (like the ones mentioned above). Finally, ensure that the soil mix is chunky and light to match your plant.

More importantly, if you see any rotten roots, don’t forget to cut them away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Orchid Soil or Cactus Mixes Work With Pothos?

Orchid potting mix and cactus are used as mixes for any plant that likes drainage. Those mixes work well with pothos.

However, not all orchid mixes or cacti are made equal. Specific combinations drain too fast for pothos. Others may be cheaper but do retain excess water.

If a mix you see looks light, we recommend trying it. However, if it’s excessively chunky, you should add peat moss to boost moisture retention.

After putting your plant in a pot, keep a close watch. Looks at signs that indicate the plant’s viability with the soil.

Do Coffee Grounds Work With Pothos?

They can. However, they need to be appropriately applied. Coffee grounds have high nitrogen levels, which improve pothos growth. Plus, since coffee grounds are acidic, they’ll modify alkaline soil for your plants.

We recommend caution when using coffee grounds. Keep in mind that pothos enjoys acidic soils, but excess acidity is a risk of utilizing lots of coffee grounds.

Also, pothos enjoys coffee grounds mainly because they work well with nitrogen. They can be used as supplements to most soil mixes. This means you don’t need to use harsh chemicals.

Are Eggshells Viable With Pothos?

They are since they’re rich in calcium- eggshells are 40% calcium. They compensate for the lack of this ingredient. Too little calcium can impact your plant’s vine growth. They also keep improving pothos plant steadiness.

Collecting eggshells is easy too. After preparing eggs:

1.) Keep the shells aside.
2.)Clean them, and ensure that no egg whites remain.
3.) Rinse them, and let them dry out in the sun.
4.) Crush them after that, and store them for later use.

The shells need to be mixed into the soil. Alternatively, you can leave them in the bottom of the pot, then pour the soil in.

Why are there mushrooms growing in pothos plant soil?

Mushrooms growing in a pothos plant are a result of organic matter decomposition in the potting mix. They are harmless to the plant and can be easily removed. To prevent mushroom growth, regulate moisture levels by allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings.

That’s All for Now!

Picking the best soil mix for pothos is much easier than you think. Just make sure it drains properly and doesn’t dry fast in a matter of days.

While you can mix a personal soil blend, we recommend sticking to a quality brand. Indoor Plant Soil is one you can try. It’s one of the few with balanced ingredients and high-quality soil.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.