What is the best aglaonema soil mix

What is the best aglaonema soil mix?

Equal parts houseplant potting mix + pumice or perlite + peat

Aglaonema, or better known as the Chinese evergreen plant, thrives in light, moist, and well-draining soil.

Plus, its soil has to be slightly acidic with a pH of 5.6 to 6.5, enabling it to absorb as many nutrients as it can through the roots in order to be healthy.

And to make the perfect Chinese evergreen soil, mix equal parts of a houseplant potting mix, soil amendments (pumice or perlite), and peat.

Learn more about the aglaonema plant in this guide. We’ll go over the importance of the right soil, different soil components, and more!

Why does the right soil matter for Aglaonemas?

Why does the right soil matter for Aglaonemas

In addition to indirect bright sun and regular, deep watering once or twice a week, the right soil is needed for your aglaonema to give it the ideal environment to live in.

Secondly, it prevents the plant from drowning due to a sodden and overly dense potting medium. Hence, no root or crown damage as well as plant pest diseases can affect it.

Consequently, the aglaonema plant will grow fast and beautiful just as you expect it to. And you can be proud of it displayed on your patio, room, or garden.

Proper Soil Drainage and Aeration for Aglaonemas

Proper Soil Drainage and Aeration for Aglaonemas

Soil drainage allows the plant to stay hydrated for a certain period and not succumb to mold and mildew that cause awful-looking marks and serious plant damage.

Earlier, we said that the soil must be moist and well-drained. It has to stay a bit damp while being capable of draining excess water or moisture.

In addition, the soil must be aerated. Spaces in between the soil particles must allow air to pass through.

Then the roots can take in oxygen to convert it into energy for the plant to photosynthesize.

The Harmful Effects of Overwatering Chinese Evergreen Plants

The Harmful Effects of Overwatering Chinese Evergreen Plants

Overwatering a Chinese evergreen plant most often results in yellow or drooping flowers, which are sure signals that the roots have rotted.

How can you tell if the roots of a Chinese evergreen are healthy? Check their roots. They should be tan or white in color, bountiful, and succulent.

In contrast, roots that appear brown or black, soft, and mushy are unhealthy or damaged.

Here’s a full list of the harmful effects of accidentally overwatering these plants:

  • Yellowing or drooping foliage
  • Brown leaf marks or spots
  • Leaf edema (corky and unsightly leaves)
  • Rotten odor from the soil

How to Save an Overwatered Chinese Evergreen Plant

How to Save an Overwatered Chinese Evergreen Plant

First-time growers are usually the ones that accidentally overwater a plant. The reason is that they aren’t aware of when the plant has had enough water.

Fortunately, you can still save your precious Chinese evergreen by following the steps outlined below:

  1. Take out damaged foliage – But take care not to pluck out more than a third of the leaves of the entire plant.
  1. Move the plant somewhere with indirect light – For example, you can locate it in a north-facing window that receives mild, partial sunlight all day.
  1. Ensure that the ambient temperature is 65℉ (18℃) at all times – This will rejuvenate the weakened or overwatered plant.
  1. Eliminate the plant pests – Remove scales by spraying them with water or organic insecticidal soap.
  1. Repot in fresh soil – Transfer the aglaonema to fresh and correct soil, which we’ll discuss below.
  1. Feed it regularly with fertilizer – Use a balanced houseplant liquid fertilizer diluted to 1/4 strength once or twice from spring to summer.

What are the soil mix components of Chinese Evergreens?

What are the soil mix components of Chinese Evergreens

We divided this section into two parts—one for the base soil and the other for the amendments or the components you add to the base soil.

Each of these components will be listed and explained briefly so you’ll know how they can benefit your aglaonema.

Chinese Evergreen Soil Base

Here are the soil bases you can use for your Chinese evergreen plant:

  1. Peat – It’s a kind of soil derived from decomposed organic materials in wet bogs. It takes thousands of years for this process to complete.

Peat is an excellent soil base given its drainage and water-retentive properties.

  1. Sand – This component has a gritty texture but fine particles, allowing better drainage for the soil, which is important for a Chinese evergreen plant.
  1. Clay – Another common soil base, clay consists of mineral particles without much organic matter.

As there’s not much space between the mineral particles, it’s sticky in texture. This shouldn’t be used alone, as it doesn’t help the soil drain well.

  1. Silt – Silt is a sedimentary material that’s medium in particle size as opposed to clay and sand. It becomes slippery when wet.

More productive than other soil types, it promotes aeration and water retention, which are, again, important for aglaonemas.

  1. Loam – This is the composite of sand, silt, and clay. They have an excellent balance of drainage, aeration, and water retention, making them a high-quality soil base!

Furthermore, loamy soil feels sticky and soft enough to be molded by the hand.

Chinese Evergreen Soil Amendments

This time, let’s take a look at the materials you can add to amend your Chinese evergreen soil:

  1. Compost – This is also referred to as organic matter. As the name suggests, organic matter is derived from living organisms, including plants and animals.

This helps the plant transport and get the available nutrients it needs to flourish.

  1. Sphagnum Peat Moss – This is the decayed plant matter of sphagnum plants obtained in boglands. 

Its function is to hold moisture, which it can amazingly do so several times its weight, as well as convey it to the plant’s roots.

  1. Orchid Bark – It’s a natural substrate for certain types of plants, such as orchids, epiphytes, and aroids.

A superb additive for Chinese evergreen soil, they help it to retain moisture in the soil and drain excess water out of it.

  1. Coconut Fiber – This material is obtained from coconut husks. They possess fantastic aeration properties, making them a vital soil component for aglaonemas. 

And it does this by creating more pockets in the soil, thereby enabling the roots to get more air, water, and nutrients.

  1. Sand – Horticultural sand can benefit the soil in a few ways. These are loosening up the soil plus improving airflow and drainage. The Chinese evergreen just loves them.
  1. Perlite – Perlite is a volcanic glass with no distinct form. Inherently, it has high water content.

They not only enhance the drainage of the soil but also improve its airflow, resulting in a loose and well-draining potting medium.

  1. Pumice – Like perlite, pumice is an expanded volcanic rock that feels soft to the touch. 

It’s a great soil additive to aid aeration and moisture regulation. So that’s two birds with one stone for your Chinese evergreen plant.

  1. Decorative Stones – More than just an embellishment, decorative stones also keep the soil formation stable and increase drainage quantity.

For an easy soil amendment for the aglaonema, one of the best options out there is to use decorative stones.

How to Make the Correct Chinese Evergreen Soil

How to Make the Correct Chinese Evergreen Soil

Peat + perlite (or gravel or horticultural sand) + orchid bark

You now know the different soil components and how they can improve the soil. Now allow us to explain how to make the correct Chinese evergreen soil.

A peat-based potting mix is ideal for your Chinese evergreens because it allows the soil to hold moisture and the water to easily flow out of the soil. These plants need them.

Afterward, you’ll have to amend the soil with perlite for that extra drainage kick and orchid bark for loosening and aerating the soil.

But if you don’t have perlite, you can just use gravel or horticultural sand in place of it.

And remember, the aglaonema’s soil should be lightly acidic within 5.6 to 6.5 of the pH scale. To know whether it’s acidic or alkaline, you can conduct soil testing, which isn’t difficult to do.

Taking care of aglaonema by using the kind of soil mentioned above will result in a productive plant. And who knows, it might even bloom flowers sometime in the future!

Commercial Soil Mixes for Chinese Evergreens

Commercial Soil Mixes for Chinese Evergreens

If creating your own soil is a hassle for you, you can just order premixed soil from your garden center or local nursery.

Some excellent premixed or commercial potting products are as follows:

  • MiracleGro houseplant mix (note that three parts of it would have to be mixed with 1 part of perlite)
  • Bloomscape potting soil (if there’s a lack of airflow or moisture retention, amend the plant with perlite, coconut fiber, or orchid bark)

What pot or planter should I use for Chinese evergreens?

What pot or planter should I use for Chinese evergreens

Although Chinese evergreen plants can be grown in any pot so long as it has good drainage, they’re most suitable to be planted in ceramic or clay pots.

These types of pots are moisture-wicking, making them an excellent choice in case you water the plant just a little bit too much.

In other words, clay and ceramic pot vessels are porous, able to let air and moisture in for the roots, all the while not allowing the soil to dry out as fast.

And because they also look very nice for Chinese evergreen plants, you might want to gift a potted aglaonema to your friend or loved one on their birthday.

Should I add fertilizer to my aglaonema plant?

Should I add fertilizer to my aglaonema plant

Chinese evergreen plants aren’t heavy feeders like other ornamental houseplants. But they can still benefit from fertilizer to develop healthy roots, stems, leaves, and flowers.

When selecting a fertilizer, you can choose these natural or commercial ones:

  • Balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to 1/4 of the recommended strength
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Fish or seaweed emulsion

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