To keep your leafy monstera looking glorious and healthy, it’s important to use the right soil. Though monstera appear to be quite unfussy when it comes to soil types (they will grow – slowly – in just about any soil mix), they do flourish best in their favored lightweight soil mix.
Monstera love soil that mimics the natural soils found in the subtropical regions it originates from between Mexico and Panama.
They prefer a well-draining, nutrient-rich potting mix with good moisture retention and aeration. In terms of pH levels, a slightly acidic or neutral balance will keep your monstera looking perky.
Though there are so many great soil options, FoxFarm’s Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix is ideal for monstera. Not only is the Ocean Forest mix wonderfully light, aerated and perfectly pH balanced (wavering on the slightly acidic side which monstera prefer, at pH 6.3 – pH 6.8), it is also packed full of the rich nutrients monstera need to thrive. The unique combination of necessary nutrients and other matter – the best from the forest floor and the ocean combined – really promotes monstera growth.
If FoxFarm’s Ocean Forest mix is not to your taste there are plenty of other fantastic soil mix options to choose between that will encourage your monstera’s development and aesthetic appeal. We will look at great budget-friendly and premium options that both have great drainage and water retention properties that are essential for healthy plants.
For anyone who loves a good deal, Bloomscape’s repotting kit is a perfect choice as their water-retaining, well-draining soil mix is accompanied by a beautiful pot (available in several size and color options) and matching saucer to boost your plant’s attractiveness and its drainage. For anyone who over-loves their monstera with a too-frequent watering schedule, the Noot Organic Indoor Plant Soilless Potting Mix provides great drainage.
As well as recommendations of ideal commercial monstera soil mixes, this guide features some great homemade potting mix recipes for you to try. Find the best simple and advanced homemade recipes here, or read on for details on the best ready-made monstera potting mixes.
See Our Recommendations:
- Best Overall: FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix
- Best Budget-Friendly: Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix
- Best Premium: Premium Monstera Potting Soil
- Best Organic: Burpee Organic Premium Potting Mix
- Best Drainage: Noot Organic Indoor Plant Soilless Potting Mix
- Best Repotting Kit: Bloomscape’s Repotting Kit (16” Pot)
- Best Homemade Recipes: Simple and Advanced
To find out more about these excellent monstera soil mixes, keep reading. Every detail – the ingredients used, the price point, the benefits that will most support your monstera – will be evaluated to help you make the right choice for your plant.
Best Monstera Soil Product Reviews
Best Overall: FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix
FoxFarm’s organic potting mix is beautifully aerated and lightweight, which is perfect for monstera! With an impressive array of nutrients and a lovely pH level of 6.3 – 6.8, this potting mix is well worth the investment.
- Ingredients: Blend of aged forest products, sandy loam, sphagnum peat moss, earthworm castings, bat guano, fish emulsion, crustacean meal, fertilizer (including nitrogen, phosphate, potash and calcium)
- Weight: 11.3 kg
- Multi-purpose: Yes – this organic mix is super flexible. It will keep many different varieties of houseplant happy and can be used both indoors and outdoors!
Why This Product?
- Designed for use in containers.
- Unique blend of nutrients and matter that will support your monstera’s growth.
- Especially good for young plants as the rich nutrients help to stimulate strong growth.
- Also try FoxFarm’s Coco-Loco Coconut Coir Potting Mix for less frequent watering.
Best Budget-Friendly: Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix
A blended potting mix with the necessary nutrients to keep your monstera happy. The coconut coir in particular is ideal for monsteras as it helps moisture retention without encouraging the soil to become too waterlogged.Key Features:
- Ingredients: sphagnum peat moss, coconut coir, perlite
- Weight: 1.2 kg or 9.5 kg options
- Multi-purpose: Yes – this mix can also keep your peace lilies, african violets and other leafy friends satisfied.
Why This Product?
- Designed for use in containers.
- Should help keep your monstera well-fed for up to 6 months (with a suggested annual repot with fresh potting mix to prevent the soil becoming too compact and to replenish the nutrients).
- Contains coconut coir which helps to retain water.
- Less prone to gnats due to lack of compost or bark which can shelter fungus gnats.
Best Premium: Premium Monstera Potting Soil
With premium ingredients, but at a reasonable price, this Premium Monstera Potting Soil takes the ticket for best premium buy. This ideal mix of nutrients, excellent drainage and water retention properties will help your monstera to flourish.Key Features:
- Ingredients: Coconut coir, bark, perlite
- Weight: 4.08 kg
- Multi-purpose: While it won’t kill off your other plants, why waste the perfect monstera soil mix on others?
Why This Product?
- Designed specifically for monstera deliciosa and other monsteras and aroids.
- Includes coconut coir for better water retention and a perfect feeding formula of nutrients, including Biochar for improved nitrogen and phosphorus retention.
- Reduces the chances of brown spots, root rot and drooping leaves due to its good drainage. Both moisture and air will be well-balanced for your monstera.
- Comes in a handy resealable bag.
Best Organic: Burpee Organic Premium Potting Mix
This organic potting mix contains coconut coir to help moisture retention and provides slow release plant food which feeds your plant for up to 3 months.Key Features:
- Ingredients: Coconut coir and fertilizer (including nitrogen and phosphate)
- Weight: 2.1 kg
- Multi-purpose: Yes
Why This Product?
- A premium organic blend that does good for your monstera and the planet.
- The product does not contain peat (which cannot be extracted sustainably and releases lots of CO2 when collected).
- Neutral pH level which will suit most houseplants, as well as monstera.
Best Drainage: Noot Organic Indoor Plant Soilless Potting Mix
A great soilless mix which is ideal for plants that need good drainage, such as monstera, orchids and fiddle leaf figs. This mix is as beneficial for the planet as it is for your monstera as the mix contains only organic matter, is made using organic processes and doesn’t contain peat (which releases lots of CO2 when collected).
- Ingredients: Coconut husk, coconut coir, coarse perlite
- Weight: 1.07 kg
- Multi-purpose: Yes – this mix is great for drainage-loving plants, so your fiddle leaf fig can be just as happy as your monstera.
Why This Product?
- Excellent drainage.
- Coconut coir promotes water retention.
- Coconut husk keeps the mix well aerated to allow for the flow of oxygen and moisture.
- Coarse perlite is used to encourage drainage and airflow to the roots.
- Organic and doesn’t contain peat (which is unsustainable and releases CO2 when collected).
Best Repotting Kit: Bloomscape’s Repotting Kit (16” Pot)
Bloomscape’s potting soil is pH balanced and is made with Canadian peat moss, perlite and hydrafiber to encourage water retention but also good drainage. As well as two bags of their quality soil, the repotting kit comes with a beautiful pot and matching drainage saucer in a range of colors, from classic clay to popping indigo!
- Ingredients: Peat moss (57%), perlite (10%), hydrafiber (33%)
- Weight: 7.5 kg
- Pot size and weight: 39.8 cm in diameter, 34.7 cm in height and a weight of 3.9 kg
- Multi-purpose: Yes
Why This Product?
- A perfect blend for root-bound plants like monstera.
- The perlite helps to improve drainage and aeration, ensuring your monstera does not have to suffer from excessive stagnant water build-up and has access to plenty of air.
- Plus the pot comes in 5 different color options to suit all tastes and interior decor styles: stone, clay, charcoal, slate and indigo.
Best Homemade Soil Recipes: Simple and Advanced
The process of making your own monstera-friendly potting mix is actually really simple.
The ingredient options for homemade monstera potting mix are very varied. You can use a combination of any of the following: all-purpose potting soil, compost, peat moss, pine bark or shredded bark, perlite, vermiculite, horticultural charcoal.
As long as your homemade potting mix is lightweight, drains well and provides good aeration for your monstera’s roots, your plant will be happy.
Here are two great easy-to-follow recipes (one simple option for beginners and one advanced alternative for the experienced green-fingered gardener) to help you whip up a homemade monstera potting mix in a flash.
Best Simple Homemade Soil Recipe:
This simple monstera mix recipe requires only 3 ingredients and can be thrown together, following the straightforward method, very quickly.
- 1-part humus-rich (organic-rich) soil (such as a commercial all-purpose potting soil or compost).
- 1-part coarse organic matter (like peat moss, pine bark or shredded bark).
- 1-part perlite or vermiculite (see this explainer to learn about the difference between these two options).
The soil provides your monstera with nutrients and moisture, while the organic matter adds structure, nutrients, improved drainage and better aeration. The perlite or vermiculite also improves the drainage.
- Mix the soil and perlite or vermiculite first in a large bowl or bucket. This forms the base of your mix. Keep the ratio even by adding a handful of each at a time.
- Once the base mix is well mixed, add your chosen organic matter to improve the drainage and aeration. The organic matter is also important for adding the structure which your climbing monstera needs, so add a layer of this matter to the top of your pot.
- Moisten the mixture slightly with a light watering (the mixture should not become soggy).
- Apply some fertilizer to promote healthy growth (repeat the fertilization at least once per month in the spring-summer growing period).
- Then plant your monstera!
Tip: Store unused mix in an airtight container for future use.
Best Advanced Homemade Soil Recipe:
Though the simple recipe above contains everything a monstera needs for healthy growth, this advanced recipe uses the ideal combination and proportions of the perfect ingredients to really help your monstera to flourish.
A perfect mix for monsteras should contain around:
- 30% all-purpose potting soil
- 40% shredded bark
- 20% sphagnum peat moss
- 10% perlite
- A handful of horticultural charcoal
- A handful of sand or horticultural pebbles (especially needed in larger pots)
- Mix the base first in a large bowl or bucket, which includes the soil, perlite and horticultural charcoal.
- Once the base is ready, add the sphagnum peat moss which will improve moisture retention and provide additional nutrients as it breaks down.
- Add the shredded bark (this improves the drainage and aeration, as well as providing your climbing monstera with a little structure).
- Turn over the mixture a few times to spread the peat moss and bark throughout the mix.
- Moisten the mixture slightly with a light watering (avoid drenching the mix).
- Plant your monstera.
- Add the sand or pebbles to the top of the mix to improve the drainage and help stop the mix becoming compacted during watering.
Tip: As with the simple recipe, this mix can be stored for later use in an air-tight container!
Monstera Soil Buyer’s Guide
Whether you are looking to repot your growing monstera, buy your very first monstera deliciosa or are looking to improve the appearance and health of your plant, choosing the right soil is important.
This buyer’s guide is informed by thorough research, and my own personal experience dealing with a sad-looking monstera deliciosa, to help you make the right soil choice.
5 Tips For Choosing The Right Monstera Soil
Whether you are buying or making your potting mix, there are lots of possible ingredients that will benefit your monstera. Here are some of the best ingredients to look out:
- Sphagnum peat moss: this has great water-retentive properties and will add nutrients to the potting mix as it breaks down. However peat moss is harvested from peat bogs which release lots of CO2 when it is collected and, given that it is extracted from the natural world and there is a limited amount, it is not very sustainable.
- Coconut coir: this is great at retaining moisture without compacting when watered and is nutritional enough to work as the sole growing medium. It is also a waste product so the environmental impact is low.
- Pine bark: great for improving air circulation and providing structure within a potting mix.
- Perlite: an important addition to a potting mix as it provides oxygen filtration. A coarse perlite will improve aeration and also reduce the compacting of the mix.
Monstera need nutrient-rich soil in order to really thrive.
A nutrient-rich soil encourages the plant’s shallow roots to spread out in search of nutrients. It will also help your monstera grow and maintain its fabulously large deep green leaves.
- Nitrogen (recommended amount: 3 parts)
- Phosphorus (recommended amount: 1 part)
- Potassium (recommended amount: 2 parts)
Luckily, most monstera-friendly potting mixes already contain these critical nutrients. Just check the recommended date for a soil refresh and additional fertilizing on the pack so that you can replenish the nutrients when needed (usually fertilization is recommended every 2-4 weeks in the spring and summer growing period).
#3 Moisture Retention and Drainage
Monstera are climbing plants that are used to absorbing lots of moisture from the frequent rainfall in Central America and the water vapor in the air as they cling to the trees. (Given their climbing nature, your monstera needs support – try this stackable moss pole which also helps your monstera absorb moisture!)
Though monstera love absorbing water, the soil also needs to be well-draining to avoid root rot. You should only water your monstera once the top of the soil has dried out, so a soil that retains too much water will limit how much (and how quickly) the soil can dry out.
Aim for a balance of good drainage and moisture retention. Opt for a soil mix that contains some larger pieces (such as bark or other organic matter) to allow the moisture to flow.
Peat moss or coconut coir will discourage the build-up of stagnant water which can cause root rot. This is especially important if your monstera is situated in a larger pot.
Avoid soils that are described as having moisture control ingredients as the beads or particles added absorb and retain moisture too effectively for a monstera. The soil will remain too damp, possibly causing root rot and other fungal diseases.
#4 Density and Aeration
A lightweight potting mix is best for your monstera as it will have the dual benefit of discouraging stagnant water build-up and improve the aeration.
The signs that your monstera is suffering from a lack of oxygen (which can be caused by overwatering as well as an inadequate soil mix) include the yellowing of the plant’s leaves and leaf drop. Fungal growth is also an important sign.
Selecting a pot that has a drainage hole and limiting the watering schedule (only water your monstera when the topsoil is dry) will help improve aeration. Ensure that there is a gentle flow of air for indoor monstera (but avoid placing your monstera near heavy draughts).
Perlite is also great for improving the flow of oxygen which your plant needs to thrive.
#5 pH Levels
Monstera like a potting mix with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level. Anything between pH 5.5 and pH 7 will work well.
For reference, a peat moss-heavy mix is usually around pH 4.5, while coconut coir is often between pH 5.2 and pH6.8, and pine bark is often pH 5.
How do I know if my monstera is unhappy with the soil?
The telltale signs that your monstera does not like the soil include: yellowing and/or droopy leaves, weak stems, root rot and frequent scale infections.
What is the best soil mix for monstera?
A soil mix that is lightweight and provides good aeration and drainage is ideal for monstera. Look out for mixes that have chunky organic matter (like bark or peat moss) and perlite. FoxFarm’s Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix is highly recommended!
Can I use cactus soil for monstera?
Soils designed for cacti and succulents will not provide your monstera with the nutrients and moisture it needs.
However you can use a cactus soil within a blend of other ingredients to make your own monstera soil. Mix equal parts cactus soil, all-purpose potting soil and peat moss to keep your monstera happy.
Can I use all-purpose soil for monstera?
All-purpose soil or compost will be too dense for your monstera to really flourish. This soil will compact when watered, restricting oxygen flow. It will also hold the moisture for too long and restrict drainage.
Instead, combine your all-purpose soil with equal parts organic matter and perlite.
Are vermiculite and perlite the same?
Although vermiculite and perlite are both non-organic soil additives that improve drainage and aeration in potting mixes, they are different.
Vermiculite is a natural mineral that is mined and heated. It looks like silvery-brown flakes and can be brought in different sized grains.
Perlite is a mineral that forms when expanded volcanic glass is re-heated. It looks like tiny white styrofoam pellets.
Either can be bought online, from garden centers or hardware stores. They both serve the same function in homemade monstera soil mixes.
Do monstera need acidic soil?
Slightly acidic soils are best for monstera due to the nutrient balance – aim for around pH 5.5 – pH 7. Most potting soils have a pH level close to 6 or 7.
Monstera will grow in pH level conditions outside of this range, but growth will be a little slower.
Do coffee grounds help monstera plants grow?
The acidity in coffee grounds might lead you to think that they will help your monstera grow, but the pH level (6.8) is so low that it will make little difference.
There are also some negative effects, including fungal growth, attracting fungal gnats and too much moisture retention, which can lead to root rot.
Adding a few coffee grounds won’t hurt, but it won’t benefit your plant much either. A better way to get rid of your used coffee grounds is in a compost bin (then use your finished compost to top up your monstera soil)!
What Soil Do You Think Will Work Best For Your Monstera?
The great thing about monsteras is that they will flourish quite happily with the simple consideration of just three soil qualities: moisture control, aeration and nutrients. FoxFarm’s Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix delivers on all three components. The unique blend of ocean and forest organic matter ensures good drainage, appropriate moisture retention, the flow of oxygen and all the essential nutrients a monstera needs.
The good news is that there are many potting mixes which successfully deliver on moisture control, aeration and nutrients. Your monstera’s health and appearance will be bolstered by any of the commercial soil mixes or homemade recipes suggested! In particular, the Noot Organic indoor Plant Soilless Potting Mix – as an organic mix that focuses on matching sustainability with excellent drainage – is really worth the investment.
A Reminder of the Essential Monstera Soil Qualities:
- Good drainage
- Consistent moisture levels/a soil mix with water retaining properties
- Lightweight mix with good aeration
Want To Learn More About Monstera Plant Care?
Read our article full of monstera care tips and tricks here.