Top 6 organic substrates for your houseplants

Top 6 Organische Substrate für Deine Zimmerpflanzen - FARBIO® - Nachhaltige Bio-Flüssigdünger aus Hamburg

Houseplants often lack the right substrate to thrive optimally. A good substrate mixture is crucial for the growth and health of the plants. It is also important to note that not all plants have the same needs. It is therefore advisable to find out about the specific needs of each plant before using substrates. But which planting substrates are there and what advantages do they have? Regardless of whether you just want to improve commercially available universal soil or want to optimally mix organic and mineral components for your urban jungle - in this article we will introduce you to the top 6 organic substrates for houseplants. Because most plants, including the popular Monstera, benefit from special mixtures!

Difference between organic and mineral substrate

The main difference between mineral and organic substrates for houseplants lies in their composition and properties.

Purely mineral substrates consist mainly of inorganic materials, such as rocks and minerals. They have good drainage and aeration, making them particularly suitable for plants that require good drainage and do not require a nutrient-rich environment. Most succulents and cacti prefer this.

Organic substrates consist primarily of living materials. They have a higher water storage capacity and many nutrients. Therefore, they are ideal for plants that prefer wetter conditions or have higher nutrient needs. Most plants, such as B. Philodendrons or Ficus prefer this.

The most important difference to remember when using houseplant substrates is that organic substrates release nutrients, while mineral substrates provide little to no nutrients. Therefore, you need to fertilize plants growing in these substrates regularly to meet their nutritional needs.

Overall, there is no universally perfect substrate as it depends on the specific requirements of the plants. It is important to consider the needs of each plant and adjust the substrate for your houseplants accordingly.

The best organic substrates for plants


Compost is an excellent material for houseplants because it is rich in nutrients and microorganisms that can promote plant growth and health. It is essentially a natural fertilizer created by breaking down shredded plant and food waste under certain conditions to create a nutrient-rich soil conditioner. Compost that you can buy often consists of industrially decomposed waste such as green waste. But material from home composting can also be added to the houseplant substrate, such as worm castings. When making home compost, it is important not to compost plants that are affected by diseases or pests - as these can then multiply and affect the health of your plants. You can use it as a main ingredient or as an additive to potting soil.


wood fibers

Wood fiber as part of a substrate for houseplants offers several advantages: good water retention and aeration of the soil as well as a slow release of nutrients. In addition, they promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms and prevent the soil from clumping. In addition, wood fiber materials are free of pathogens and weed seeds.

However, it is important to note that you should not use wood fiber alone as a complete potting mix as it does not have sufficient nutritional content. Instead, you should use them as an addition to other substrates such as compost.


Biomass pyrolysis occurs in the production of biochar, also known as biochar or activated carbon. Wood and other plant residues such as green waste, straw, bark, fermentation residues, kernels and the like can be charred. Biochar is suitable as a natural water and nutrient reservoir in the soil. You first have to charge the coal with its spongy, porous surface with nutrients. Then added to the soil, this additive releases water and nutrients to your plant as needed!

Coconut products

Coconut products come from the drupe of the coconut palm ( Cocos nucifera) . A coconut consists of the following layers from the outside to the inside:

  • Exocarp: outermost pericarp
  • Mesocarp: covers the coconut, air-containing middle layer of the fruit wall, which contains fibers and fruit tissue
  • Endocarp: innermost, hard layer of the pericarp (nut shell) that contains the pulp and coconut milk

Only the fibers of the mesocarp can be called coconut fibers. The remaining spongy tissue of the mesocarp is the coconut pith also known as cocopeat. Coconut fibers and coconut pulp are ideal starting materials for a substrate. If coconut fibers and pulp are not separated and the mesocarp as such is cut into pieces, it is referred to as coconut chips or chopped coconut. Coconut products are almost exclusively delivered pressed in block form. The pressed material must then be loosened with water before it is used.

Coconut products

Coconut fiber and coconut pulp can absorb and hold large amounts of water, ensuring good hydration for the plants. The fine fibers and loose material promote good aeration of the soil, allowing oxygen to reach the roots better. Coconut fiber and coconut pulp are natural sources of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen that are slowly released to provide plants with long-term nutrition. Coconut fiber and coconut pulp are durable and you can reuse them as needed.

Pine bark

Pine bark is obtained from the bark of pine or pine trees. The bark is usually removed from the trunks and branches of trees and then crushed or chopped into pieces. The size of the pieces may vary depending on the intended use. It is particularly used for orchids. The water capacity is extremely low. On the other hand, the air capacity is very high due to the high proportion of coarse pores, which is ideal for use in crops with roots that require air. The pH values ​​can vary depending on the type and origin of the bark. The pH value is in the range between 4.5 and 5.5. This value is in the acidic range and is suitable for plant species that prefer an acidic soil environment. Alternatively, another starting material with a higher pH value must be mixed in.

Bark humus

Bark humus and bark mulch are both organic materials obtained from the bark of trees. However, they have different properties and applications.

Bark humus is made from the inner layer of tree bark. The shredded bark is composted and contains more nutrients than pine bark. It has good water holding capacity and loosens and aerates the soil.

Bark mulch, on the other hand, is made from the outer layer of tree bark. It is often used as a ground cover for the garden to protect the soil from drying out and temperature fluctuations. Bark mulch can also prevent weed growth and improve soil structure. However, it is important to note that bark mulch is not always the best choice for houseplants, as its coarse texture and slow decomposition tend to acidify the soil and lower pH.

Mixture suitable for most houseplants

When mixing your plant substrate, it is important that the ratio of coarse, medium-coarse and fine components is the same. You can mix mineral and organic ingredients to get a good base.

Before you use your green plant soil, you should make sure it has the right consistency: Squeeze a handful of the substrate. When the substrate falls apart, it is well-drained and your green favorites are ready for repotting!

Our FARBIO® organic fertilizer for green plants supports you in caring for your houseplants! By supplying it with the most important nutrients, rapid growth is promoted and the development of lush green leaves and magnificent flowers is supported.

Pine bark