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Soil Mixing Guide

What kind of soil does my plant need?
The kind of soil your plant needs depends on the type of plant, the environment it grows in (light, humidity, air flow), and watering frequency.


Why is the right soil important?

Proper soil is crucial for plant health. The wrong soil can lead to drying out, overwatering, rot, and hindered root or leaf growth. A good potting medium retains moisture long enough for the plant to absorb water and nutrients while providing enough air space to prevent soil compaction and root drowning.


What kind of soil do carnivorous plants need?

Carnivorous plants get their nutrients from insects and leaf litter that fall into their traps. Because of this, they have thinner roots and don’t like too many nutrients in their soil. A soil too rich would cause the plant to lose their traps and not develop any since they do not need to collect any more nutrition.


What is a well-draining mix?

A well-draining mix is a chunky soil mixture that allows water to flow easily through the soil but oxygen is still easily exchanged. This type of soil is generally recommended for aroids to prevent root rot. See below for our recommended well-draining soil mixes.


What is root rot?

Root rot occurs when plant roots lack adequate air due to compacted soil, causing them to become waterlogged and unable to dry out properly. Over time, this leads to root decay and is a common problem with improper soil selection.


What is ultramafic soil?

Ultramafic soil contains high metal content with low nutrients. These soils are often rocky and have poor water retention qualities.


Recommended Soil Mixes

Every mix will need at least one water-retaining ingredient and one aerating ingredient.

 

 Water Retaining Ingredients

Sphagnum Moss:

  • Retains moisture effectively.
  • Ideal for carnivorous and sensitive plants due to its lack of inherent nutrients.

Peat Moss:

  • Superior moisture retention compared to sphagnum moss.
  • Excellent for bog plants and can alter soil pH due to its acidity.
  • Important: Ensure peat moss does not dry out completely as it becomes hydrophobic and hard to re-wet. Check that peat moss is fertilizer-free for use with carnivorous plants.

Aerating Ingredients

Perlite:

  • Provides aeration and retains a slight amount of moisture.
  • Reduces media compaction.
  • Pre-wet to minimize dust.

Orchid Bark:

  • Offers aeration and minor moisture retention.
  • Helps prevent media compaction.

Coco Coir:

  • Enhances aeration and retains some moisture.
  • Must be leached of salts before use with carnivorous plants.

Horticultural Sand:

  • Adds aeration without water retention.
  • Ensure it is free of salts/nutrients for carnivorous plants.

Akadama:

  • Suitable for plants in ultramafic soils.
  • Provides slight aeration.

Aragonite:

  • Supplies calcium to the soil.

Other aerating options: vermiculite, and pumice.

Suggested Soil Recipes

All mixes are measured by volume and should be thoroughly blended before potting.

What kind of soil do pitcher plants need?

Nepenthes Mix:

  • 1 part sphagnum moss
  • 1 to 2 parts perlite

What kind of soil do Heliamphora need?

Heliamphora Mix:

  • 1 part sphagnum moss
  • 2 parts perlite

What kind of soil do aroids need?

Anthurium / Aroid / Houseplant Mix:

  • 1 part sphagnum moss
  • 2 parts rinsed coconut chips
  • 2 parts perlite
  • 2 parts orchid bark

What kind of soil do butterworts need?

Pinguicula Mix:

  • 4 parts sphagnum moss
  • 4 parts rinsed coconut chips
  • 6 parts perlite
  • 1 part aragonite

or 

  • 2 parts vermiculite
  • 2 parts perlite
  • 2 parts pumice
  • 1 part aragonite sand

What kind of soil do carnivorous bog plants need?

Venus Flytrap / Sarracenia / Drosera Mix:

  • 1 to 2 parts perlite
  • 2 parts peat moss

 

Need more information? See our growing tips and care guides.


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