When it comes to caring for plants, much of the focus is on making sure they get the right amount of sunlight and water. But even if they are, your plants won’t really thrive unless they’re getting what they need from the soil.
Sometimes, adding another material to the mix—like pumice—can help. Here’s how and when to add pumice to your soil.
What is pumice?
Pumice is a lightweight, porous rock formed when volcanoes erupt so forcefully that the magma becomes frothy, then cools down quickly, leaving in bubbles in the newly created stone. It’s a popular amendment to soil, thanks to its ability to regulate moisture and give it some structure.
- Preventing soil from compacting
- Ensuring that soil doesn’t get waterlogged after heavy rain (or overwatering)
- Releasing water steadily into the soil
- Being sterile—free from disease or vermin
When to add pumice to your soil
Though pumice can be a useful addition to the soil for most plants because of its ability to improve drainage, it tends to come in especially handy for those that either need a lot of water, or very little water. Some examples of those include:
- Aroids (like monsteras and philodendrons)
- Succulents and cacti
How to add pumice to your soil
Although there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to adding pumice to your soil, there are a few guidelines:
- General use: 10-15% pumice for a regular soil mix
- Tricky plants, like monsteras and calatheas: 30% pumice
- Ferns and other water-sucking plants: A little less than 1/2 pumice and 1/2 soil
- Cacti, succulents, and caudexes: Mix the pumice with something that does not retain moisture, like sand
And if you don’t get the mix right the first time, you can always go back and adjust it later.