Know Your Indoor Plant Soils

Just as every person needs specific nourishment to grow to their full potential, different plants thrive best in different conditions. If you're an avid plant lover stretching your green thumb, it's a good idea to understand the various indoor plant soils that are available, and how to use them to create beautiful, bountiful blooms!

Starting Your Soil Journey

Before learning anything else, hear this: garden soil is no substitute for indoor plant soils. Garden soil is often way too dense for a potted plant, and it could constrict the roots and keep precious water and nutrients from reaching them. You should always opt for a product that says it's an indoor potting mix.

Potting mixes are often a nice blend of organic materials like humus and peat moss. These mixes could work as they are, but they can also be easily amended for extra aeration or water retention. 

If you use a potting mix, make sure it has soil amendments that fit your plant's needs. For example, sand is great for succulents, while pine or fir bark is commonly referred to as orchid bark for how well it works for epiphytes.

Flowering Plants

For flowering plants, you're usually okay with choosing something more all-purpose. If you're dealing with something more sensitive, like an orchid or an African violet, you may want to seek out a soil that calls the plant out by name. Those soils cater to the needs of the more fickle flowers in the family.

An indoor-plant-specific mix is the way to go. These mixes usually won't have pine bark, as that can bring unwelcome bug friends to the pot.


We think of cacti and succulents as indestructible, but anyone who's owned one knows that isn't the case. It all comes down to water retention. Go with potting soil that contains ingredients like perlite and peat moss. Cacti also benefit significantly from mixes that incorporate a bit of sand to help drain off excess water.

Rubber Trees

You'll want well-draining, slightly acidic soil to keep rubber trees happy. Soils that hold too much or too little moisture could bring stress to the tree and possibly cause root rot. Going with a combination of peat, pine bark, and sand is optimal for these beauties.

Indoor Vines

When a vine plant is happy, you'll know it! They grow incredibly quickly, and some can even grow beautiful flowers. Many indoor vine plants thrive in acidic soil that's also well-draining. A combination of perlite and peat moss can be effective, as can any potting soil geared toward African violets.


Ferns such as the gorgeous Boston Fern or Blue Star Fern can add a shimmer to your plant collection. These plants love soil with organic materials and good drainage. A potting mix with peat moss and sand or gravel will help them grow big and strong.

Soil, What Else?

To keep your new plant happy, become an expert on it! It's always good to do thorough research about the species to give it the best chance of thriving. Remember that each plant will have its unique needs. As long as you can provide for it, you'll have a happy, healthy plant!

Visit to find plant ideas for your indoor spaces.