Soils and Nutrients

Choosing a good soil for you plants plays a major role in how healthy they will grow to be. With how many ready-to-use choices that are available, it can be overwhelming to choose. Over the years I’ve found some favorites, and some that just don’t work too well for me.

Store Bought Soils

This section is geared towards succulents and cacti, as I mix my own soils for Aroids. You can find information of Aroid soil mixes here.

One of my all time favorites for a quick, out-of-the bag soil, I recommend Black Gold Cactus Mix. It drains really well, and the compost in the mix is nutrient rich, always causing a growth spurt in my gardens. I never found the need to add anything to it, and highly recommend it for beginners.

Another brand I have come to love is EB Stone Organics. Their succulent and cacti mix contains pumice, lava rock, and sand to aid with drainage, and I’ll tell you what: it works. I find it dries out quicker than any other mix I have ever used, and the plants seem to really love it. If you’re a lazy waterer like I really want to be, you may want something more like the Black Gold Mix

I find a lot of people reach for Miracle-Gro Cactus Mix since it is widely available in most stores that sell anything related to gardening. If you choose to use this mix, I highly recommend adding a 50% ratio of perlite or pumice since it retains a lot of moisture. This led to a number a casualties in my early days of collecting, since the retention would lead to rot.

Soil Additives and Their Benefits



Perlite is created from a volcanic glass that is treated with heat to cause expansion, making it incredibly lightweight and porous. It is great for aeration and the prevention of soil compaction, and drainage. Perlite is used in many soil mixes for its aeration properties, and can even be used as a media to amplify humidity. It can also aid in rooting stubborn propagations. When using perlite, you should spray it down with water, as it is very dusty.



Pumice is also a volcanic rock substrate that has similar properties and uses as perlite, but proves to be more durable, as it can be sterilized and reused time and time again. Pumice is more porous, making it slightly more effective at either water retention, or aeration. The air bubbles in the rock are great for retaining vital nutrients, and releasing them over time. This is a great additive to any soil. If using in a soilless mix, you will see the benefit of reduced pests and fungal issues.



Leca is a Hydroponic growing media, but it can be used in soil mixes for aiding drainage, reducing potential rot issues, moisture retention and humidity dispersion; it can even be sterilized and reused over and over again. If using in a soilless mix, you will see reduced pest or fungal issues, but you will need to regularly add nutrients, and do ‘flushes’ to keep the media healthy.

For more in depth reading on Leca, see the Leca Propagation page.

Coconut Coir


Coconut coir chunks, or a ground coir are a great soil amendment for aroids, as it holds onto calcium and magnesium, and slowly releases potassium and nitrogen. Chunks can be used as a replacement for a bark.

  • mixture of leca, soil, perlite,

    Soils and Amendments

    There’s an abundance of choices for soil mixes available, or you can buy amendments to create your own mix. Every plant has different soil and nutrition needs. Some plants prefer higher moisture, whereas others like to be dry.

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  • Lighting

    Giving your plants the right type of lighting will help them flourish and thrive, and bring out their best colors. There’s so many choices, and it can be difficult to choose a starting point. Read more to find out about the lighting I use for my collections.

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  • Pest Control and Fertilizers

    Pests are inevitable part of gardening! From Mealybugs, to Spider Mites, Thrips, and more, we all end up with some bugs in our garden. Gone untreated or unnoticed, they can be devastating to a collection. Read more to find out how you can fight those pesky pests!

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  • Succulent Care

    Succulents and Cacti are commonly misrepresented as low maintenance plants, but their care needs go much further than you would think!

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  • Aroid Care

    The watering, lighting and nutritional needs can vary wildly from plant to plant. In this guide you will find some generalized care tips if you are just starting out!

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  • Understanding Variegation

    Variegation is mesmerizing, whether chunky and sectoral, or subtle and streaky. There’s lots of different looking variegation patters to explore.

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