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9 Best Soils for Pothos – 2024 Reviews & Top Picks

Pothos

Pothos

Pothos plants aren’t extremely hard to take care of. However, they do require a specific soil to thrive. By choosing the correct soil, you can make caring for your pothos much easier.

These plants do best in well-drained soil to prevent water from sitting on the roots. You can mix your own soil, but this often requires buying many raw materials in large amounts. If you only have one or two plants, this usually isn’t practical.

Luckily, many commercial options work for pothos plants. Below, we’ll review our favorite commercial options and help you pick one.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix
  • Very aerated
  • Well-draining
  • Natural nutrients added
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix
  • Protects against watering problems
  • Well-draining soil
  • Contains small crystals that suck up water
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Wonder Soil Organic Potting Soil Wonder Soil Organic Potting Soil
  • Lots of natural nutrients
  • Expands when water is added
  • Supports drainage
  • The Valley Garden Organic Potting Soil The Valley Garden Organic Potting Soil
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • pH balanced
  • Rio Hamza Trading Organic Professional Grower Mix Rio Hamza Trading Organic Professional Grower Mix
  • Well-draining
  • Aerated
  • Designed for species that prefer drier soil
  • The 9 Best Soils for Pothos

    1. FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix – Best Overall

    FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix

    Size: 12 quarts
    Ingredients: Peat Moss, Forest Humus, Sandy Loam
    Nutritional Additives: Earthworm Castings, Bat Guano, Fish and Crab Meal

    If you want the best for your pothos, try using FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix. This indoor mix includes many nutritional additives, including earthworm castings and fish meal. It contains more nutrients than your average soil, improving the growth and health of your plant. The bulk of the mixture contains moss, humus, and loam. All of these materials promote draining and moisture retention.

    This blend specifically encourages strong root development. It has a pH of between 6.3 and 6.8—the perfect pH for pothos plants.

    Overall, this soil contains everything your plant needs and nothing it doesn’t. Therefore, it is easily the best overall soil for pothos.

    Pros
    • Very aerated
    • Well-draining
    • Natural nutrients added
    • Retains moisture
    Cons
    • Expensive

    See Also: Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Review – Pros, Cons & Final Verdict


    2. Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix – Best Value

    Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix

    Size: 8 quarts
    Ingredients: Sphagnum Peat Moss, Coir, Perlite
    Nutritional Additives: Nitrogen

    For those on a budget, we highly recommend Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix. This potting mix was designed to protect against water problems, often an issue with pothos plants. Therefore, it may work well for those that aren’t the best at watering their plants on time.

    The mixture contains tiny crystals that suck up excessive water. Therefore, these crystals can prevent the soil from being overly saturated. Plus, if you forget to water your plant, the crystals will release the water they’re holding back into the soil.

    Therefore, this mixture prevents both overwatering and underwatering.

    Plus, it is also much less expensive than the competition, making it the best soil for pothos for the money.

    Pros
    • Protects against watering problems
    • Well-draining soil
    • Contains small crystals that suck up water
    • Inexpensive
    Cons
    • Only includes a chemical fertilizer

    3. Wonder Soil Organic Potting Soil – Premium Choice

    Wonder Soil Organic Potting Soil

    Size: 12 Quarts
    Ingredients: Coco Coir
    Nutritional Additives: Worn Castings, Perlite, Kelp, Mycorrhizae

    Wonder Soil Organic Potting Soil is extremely high quality and supports drainage. While we highly recommend it, it is also quite expensive. Therefore, we recommend it mostly for those that don’t have a strict budget. It is high in various natural nutrients, including kelp and worm castings. It provides your plant with plenty of nutrients for a while, eliminating the need for immediate fertilization.

    While this bag is only 12 quarts, it is made to expand when watered. Therefore, we recommend not filling the pot up before watering, as the soil will likely expand over the top. Instead, soak a small amount in water and then fill up the pot. You’ll get much more for your money if you wait for the soil to expand first.

    Pros
    • Lots of natural nutrients
    • Expands when water is added
    • Supports drainage
    • Organic
    Cons
    • Expensive

    4. The Valley Garden Organic Potting Soil

    Valley Garden Organic Potting Soil

    Size: 2 quarts
    Ingredients: Substrate, Perlite
    Nutritional Additives: “Low Fertilizer”

    The Valley Garden Organic Potting Soil is specifically made for succulents and cacti. While pothos plants don’t fall into this category, this soil supports drainage and aeration. Therefore, it is a good choice for a pothos plant. These formulas are completely organic and lightweight. Plus, it is pH balanced at 5.5, which is a suitable growing pH for most plants.

    We love that this soil is extremely breathable and provides plenty of drainage. Pothos plants are prone to root rot and this soil helps prevent that.

    This soil is designed to be used right away. It doesn’t include many nutritional additives, though. It does list “low fertilizer” as an ingredient, but no information is provided on what this is. Likely, this is chemical fertilizer in a lower-than-normal amount. Therefore, this works best if you plan on fertilizing your plant with something else.

    Pros
    • Breathable
    • Lightweight
    • pH balanced
    • Low levels of fertilizer
    Cons
    • Exact fertilizer is unknown

    5. Rio Hamza Trading Organic Professional Grower Mix

    Rio Hamza Trading Organic Professional Grower Mix

    Size: 2 quarts
    Ingredients: Not specified
    Nutritional Additives: Not specified

    The reviews for Rio Hamza Trading Organic Professional Grower Mix are extremely positive. Many people claim that it works well for a wide variety of plants. This exact mixture is coarse for succulents, cacti, and similar plants. However, because it is extremely well-draining, it works well for all species of pothos, too.

    Still, the main problem is that the ingredients of this mix aren’t specified. The bag lists the ingredients as “hand mixed soil.” However, what exactly is in this soil isn’t listed. No nutritional additives or fertilizers are listed, either. Therefore, there isn’t a way to tell exactly what is in this soil. Whatever it is, it seems to work well for most plants.

    This formula works well for those that don’t want to dive into the specifics of the soil. If you just want something that works, this may be what you’re looking for. For those that want to know exactly what’s in their soil, this isn’t the option for you.

    Pros
    • Well-draining
    • Aerated
    • Designed for species that prefer drier soil
    Cons
    • Ingredients aren’t specified
    • Expensive

    6. Miracle-Gro Tropical Potting Mix

    Miracle-Gro Tropical Potting Mix

    Size: 6 quarts
    Ingredients: Peat Moss, Coir, Lava Rock, Sand
    Nutritional Additives: Fertilizer

    Pothos are tropical plants and so tropical potting soils often work well. For this reason, we recommend Miracle-Gro Tropical Potting Mix. This planting mix is designed specifically for tropical plants, as the name would suggest. It includes lava rocks, which provide plenty of extra drainage that most tropical plants need.

    This formula is fortified with chemical fertilizer. This fertilizer is typically enough for around 6 months. After that, you’ll need to supplement your plants as necessary. You can use this mixture for both indoor and outdoor potted plants.

    With that said, this formula doesn’t provide quite as much draining as other options. Therefore, you’ll need to be more careful when watering.

    Pros
    • Includes chemical fertilizer
    • Made specifically for tropical plants
    • Ready to use right out of the bag
    Cons
    • Doesn’t provide tons of drainage
    • No natural nutritional additives

    7. Plants Colorist Organic Potting Soil

    Plants Colorist Organic Potting Soil

    Size: 4 quarts
    Ingredients: Organic Materials, Perlite
    Nutritional Additives: None

    For the most part, the Plants Colorist Organic Potting Soil works well for pothos plants. It is very well draining, as it was designed for succulents. While a pothos isn’t a succulent, they prefer extremely well-draining soil, so soil designed for succulents often works well.

    We like that this formula is completely organic. While no one will eat their pothos plant, your hands will be in this soil. Therefore, it is nice to know that it is completely natural and not full of chemicals. If you have kids and animals that might get into the pot, organic soil is even more important.

    This formula doesn’t include any fertilizer. If you’re planning on using your own, this is great. Sometimes, pothos plants respond better to customizer fertilizer, which allows you to do. However, this does mean more work on your part.

    Pros
    • Well-draining
    • Organic
    • No fertilizer
    Cons
    • No fertilizer
    • Vague ingredient list

    8. Perfect Plants Indoor Plant Soil

    Perfect Plants Indoor Plant Soil

    Size: 8 quarts
    Ingredients: Pine Bark, Coco Coir, Perlite, Sand, Garden Lime
    Nutritional Additives: None

    Perfect Plants Indoor Plant Soil is another soil that doesn’t include any fertilizer. On the one hand, this means that you won’t have to worry about your pothos plant getting too much fertilizer. You can add exactly what your plant needs. However, it also means that you will have to add fertilizer and other additives as necessary.

    In other words, this soil does need some care before it can be used with great success.

    This soil is designed for water management and includes perlite for this purpose. Lime is utilized to maintain a proper soil pH, even with fertilization. Sand is used to improve aeration and reduce the chance of soil becoming compacted. The main bulk of this soil is coco coir, which is lightweight while keeping the ingredients bound together.

    Pros
    • Well-draining
    • Includes sand for aeration
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • No fertilizer
    • May need added perlite or stones for aeration

    9. Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

    Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

    Size: 16 quarts
    Ingredients: Peat Moss, Humus, Perlite
    Nutritional Additives: Earthworm Castings, Alfalfa Meal, Kelp Meal, Feather Meal

    Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix is a completely organic mixture that mostly contains peat moss. Perlite is added for extra drainage, which helps ensure that your plant’s roots don’t rot. It also prevents fungal problems later on. This formula is designed to be used for all potted plants, so it isn’t specialized. Despite this, it seems to work well for pothos plants.

    There are tons of nutritional additives in this soil mix. It contains earthworm castings and other additives to give your plant extra nutrients. You will need to fertilize your plant eventually, but this mixture should keep it going for a while.

    However, this mixture comes in an extremely large bag. So, purchasing it may not make sense unless you have many different plants. Furthermore, this soil doesn’t have much water retention. You may have to water your pothos plant more often.

    Pros
    • Tons of nutritional additives
    • Well-draining
    Cons
    • Very large bag
    • Doesn’t retain water well

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    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Soil for Pothos

    When choosing soil for your pothos, there were several features you need to keep in mind. Choosing the wrong soil type can lead to your plant being too dry or too wet. It may also cause pest problems, especially since some soils are known to contain bugs.

    Where your pothos plant is may also determine what soil it needs. Those in a sunnier location may need more water retention, for instance.

    In this section, we’ll look at all the factors you’ll need to consider.

    Soil Ingredients

    The ingredients in soil determine a lot about how the soil behaves. Therefore, you should be careful to choose a mix that contains ingredients that work well for a pothos plant. Each potting mix will contain slightly different ingredients, so you should be able to judge a potting soil based on its ingredients pretty easily.

    However, potting mixes aren’t required to list ingredients. Some soils will simply list “organic matter” or nothing at all. In these cases, judging the soil can be more challenging.

    Here are some ingredients that work well for most pothos plants. Your chosen soil doesn’t need to contain all of these.

    However, if you see soil with mostly these items, it is a good sign:
    • Coco coir. This ingredient is harvested from coconut husks. It is stringy and lightweight, but it helps keep the soil together. It also retains water and is naturally absorbent. Therefore, it works well for succulents and pothos plants.
    • Bark. Any kind of bark is often helpful, as it encourages draining. Bark ensures that small holes are left in the soil, allowing water to move and encouraging aeration.
    • Perlite. Most soils on our list included perlite, which is light and prevents compaction. When soil compacts, it may prevent water from draining or reaching the plant’s roots.
    • Sand. Sand encourages drainage, as it doesn’t soak up much water. It also adds some structure to the soil, which may help with larger plants.
    • Peat moss. You’ll see peat moss a lot in potting mixes. It is very absorbent and helps with water retention while also being lightweight. It often works as the base of a potting mixture.

    As you can see, most potting mixes don’t contain dirt or soil, especially those used for the pothos.


    Moisture Retention

    Moisture retention is how well a potting mix holds its water. Usually, more absorbent ingredients will allow the soil to stay damp for longer, limiting how often you need to re-water your plant. You want soil that absorbs water while also letting excess water drain away, which is a bit of a counterintuitive approach.

    Peat moss and coco coir are the main ingredients used for this purpose. Often, they are used as the base of the mix thanks to their ability to hold water for an extended period. Both release it slowly back to the plant, which allows them to be continuously watered.


    Aeration

    Surprisingly, plant roots typically need a small amount of air. This air is usually received via small air pockets in the soil. Aeration also provides drainage, allowing the water to move through the soil easily.

    Aeration is usually achieved by large ingredients. You could mix gravel or stones directly into the soil to achieve this. However, most mixes include bark or lava rocks, as they are lightweight and create plenty of structure in the soil.

    woman hands putting soil in the pot
    Image Credit: rolkadd, Shutterstock

    Drainage

    Pothos are prone to root rot and prefer very well-draining soil. Therefore, you’ll need to plant your pothos in a mixture that allows excess water to drain easily. You’ll also need a pot with several holes to allow the water to leave the pot and not simply pool at the bottom.

    Both of these factors are necessary, as one is pretty useless by itself. For instance, having well-draining soil isn’t helpful if the pot has no holes, as the water will simply pool at the bottom. Conversely, compacted soil won’t allow the water to move through it easily, making a holed pot useless.

    We recommend choosing a potting mix that is designed for drainage. Usually, ingredients that help with aeration also help with drainage, providing a clear path for water to move.

    You can improve drainage by adding gravel or small rocks to the very bottom of the pot before adding the potting mix.


    Nutrients

    You also have to consider the nutritional quality of the soil. Most soils contain some sort of fertilizer. This may be natural, such as worm castings. However, it can also be a chemical fertilizer contained within the soil. Usually, these fertilizers are designed to keep a plant fed for six months. After that, you’ll have to add your own fertilizer to the pot.

    Usually, pothos needs fertilization every month or so whenever their soil has become depleted. However, in the winter and late fall, they may need less as their growth slows down.

    For the most part, people choose soils with some sort of fertilizer. After all, not having to fertilize your plant for six months may sound like a great idea.

    However, you cannot control the exact nutrients your plant receives during this time and the nutrients may or may not be suitable for your plant. It all depends on the exact potting mixture you choose.

    Some experienced plant parents prefer mixes without fertilizer. These mixtures allow them to add their own fertilizer that better contains exactly what their plants need.


    pH

    Each potting mix will have its own pH. Usually, potting mixes are balanced to have around a 6.1 to a 6.8 pH. Luckily, this is exactly what a pothos plant needs, but some do fall outside of this category. If possible, it is always good to check.

    You can purchase pH testers at many gardening centers and online. There are tons of ways to adjust pH, as well. While the soil doesn’t have to be the right pH, it will be less work for you in the long run if it is.

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    Conclusion

    There are several factors to consider when choosing a potting mix for your pothos. Not all potting mixes are made equal, and they can vary pretty widely.

    We recommend that you choose FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix for most purposes. It contains everything your pothos needs and nothing it doesn’t, making it a great choice in most situations.

    However, if you’re on a strict budget, you may want to consider Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix instead. This formula is inexpensive and contains tiny crystals that soak up water and so it may prevent overwatering and underwatering.

    Hopefully, one of the potting mixes on this list stood out as suitable for your pothos plant.


    Featured Image Credit: sweetlouise, Pixabay

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