Most houseplants do best in a general-purpose potting mix.
What Potting Mix to Use
Happily most houseplants aren’t particularly fussy. They will be happy in a general-purpose potting mix that says it’s for houseplants or container plants on the bag. There should be a variety of choices available at your local garden center.
What to Avoid
Don’t use a product where the packaging says it’s for outdoor use. This includes most top soil, compost, and raised bed soil. You should also avoid using soil you dig out of your yard. The problem your plants run into with these types is that they don’t usually drain well, and can cause root rot. They may also introduce pests and diseases.
Most indoor plants do fine with a general purpose potting mix, but you may find more success going with a specialized product for these plants:
- Cacti and Succulents: Because they like good drainage and to dry more between waterings, look for a product that’s formulated for cacti and succulents. Avoid potting mixes designed to hold moisture better in between waterings.
- Hoyas: Hoyas like a well-draining potting mix. They can have trouble in a general-purpose mix, or one formulated to hold moisture. This is especially true if you tend to overwater. Look for a potting medium formulated for epiphytic plants or add extra perlite or bark to increase the amount of air in the mix.
- Lucky bamboo: You can repot your lucky bamboo into a potting mix. Or you can rinse the stem and roots off and grow it in a vase of water.
- Orchids: Epiphytic orchids (those that don’t grow in the ground), like our moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) and dendrobium orchids, shouldn’t be planted in a general-purpose potting mix. Rather, look for an orchid mix, which usually contains high amounts of bark or moss to ensure the roots don’t suffocate. Learn more about repotting orchids.