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So this is going to be a lengthy post and I do apologize. I am trying to figure these plants out and it seems when I think I do something else happens. So here it goes.
I bought a small umbrella plant from Walmart about 2 years ago. So far it is doing well and has just about tripled in size. Has always done well...
Then we moved in with family as we were selling our house. A few of the leaves got brown tips...maybe 3 or 4. I snipped them. Then I started noticing white stuff on the soil...thinking is it fungas...lets move on to the other plants.
Our Aunt passed away in August. It was awful as she was loved dearly and just too young. From the funeral there were tons of baskets and flowers. I wanted a basket of house plants to keep...I guess to keep me connected to her in some weird way.
There were 5 plants loosely placed in a basket. Here they are and the issues I have had.
Peace Lily: White stuff on soil. At one point I had brown tips on alot of the leaves. I snipped them.
Rubber Tree: White Stuff on soil. Spots on leaves.
Parlor Palm: White stuff on soil. the shorter stems with leaves have browned and I have removed. Some leaves on the more mature stems have some brown streaking.
Arrowhead Vine: White Stuff, Leaves underneath yellowed and died off. They have been cut off and the plant seems to be doing well with 5 new leaves. Still white stuff though.
Ivy: Pretty sure it is English Ivy :white stuff, not growing well, the 2 new sprouts dies off and not it is drooping.
With all the plants, I have gone back and forth on what the issue is with them. Seems the white crap is the biggest issue. I have sprayed with rubbing alcohol but it comes back. The house we live in has the sun coming across the back of the house. The 6 plants are split between my room and my sons room, in the front of the house. So I would say it is a medium to lower light. I have had the plants since August 6th. And besides the issues listed above, they all have new growth and seem to be doing...ok. Except the ivy.
Yesterday I sprayed each plan with a fungicide. I need to add 2 things. Sometimes I have taken the plants to the big kitchen with a sky light...it is bright indirect light. I have only done this a handful of times. When I do this I go through each plant, talking to them and looking for issues, new growth. I have forked through the soil and have seen bugs. Not many...not an infestation so to speak, but I have seen a few and I seen what I would call larvae??? Looked like a white, lilac colored worm as thick as a piece of yarn fuzz. I saw him when i picked around the soil. I have seen them in a few other plants also...like I said though not an infestation an d when i do see them, I spray rubbing alcohol.
I have also noticed many more gnat / fruit flies in this house as well. Which leads me to believe it is the black fungas gnat. Which is why I bought the fungicide which is also an insecticide.
Can anyone offer me some advice / help? I have used miracle grow potting soil to pot them all...I know about the gritty mix as I have done my fair share of googling all these issues. Thing is I dont have a big budget right now to do this mix and need a cheaper alternative until I can afford to repot them...preferably in the spring when we plan to move to our new home.
Each pot does have drainage holes and I do dump the excess water. It seems like it takes FOREVER for the soil to dry out. I have never let it totally dry out but I have let it get to the point were the dry soil on top was a different color because it it dry...but I am sure the bottom and middle isnt dry.
These plants mean the world to me...I even named each of them. I love this new hobby and I want to learn and do good and someday have a flower garden outside and veggie garden as well.
I cant speak as to how to fix your plant problems, but I can say that I used to put everything into MG potting soil exclusively and was never really happy with the results. The soil stays wet for Long periods as you are finding out, and can damage your root systems. I'm pretty sure your gnat problem stems from your choice of soil, as I at one time had much the same problem.
You have a sentimental attachment to these new plants, but as time passes, your concerns over their problems multiply. Please read the Sticky thread at the top of this Forum by Al Tapla. Learn about what goes on Underneath the soil, and you'll have a better idea of development etc., which in turn promotes all the growth above the soil.
I've recently changed most of my collection over to a 5-1-1 soil recipe. I'm pretty sure the investment was less than $20.00 total for the ingredients. That's a small price for the Peace of Mind I now have regarding my plants. Had I continued to do things 'The old way', the alternative may have and most likely would have been .. No plants, and further blaming myself for the failures which in most cases are easily corrected..
Good luck Tiff.. there's alot of conflicting information out there.. find a good teacher. Be a good student.
I did, and I am.
Thanks. I had a feeling I was going to have to change the soil. I guess what I am looking for right now is someone to give me a recipe. I am clueless. I did read the thread and it is alot of information to take in right now. I have a 19 month old and a 4 month old and I dont have alot of time to myself to read and research. I am looking for someone to give me a recipe on what to buy, how to mix and so on. I feel like I am on borrowed time with the plants and I want to save them rather than research and learn right now. Which I eventually I do want to do.
As I mentioned all the plants are doing well for the exception of the ivy. He is in bad shape. This morning one of the leaves on the arrowhead is droopy and yellowing. I have to say I am attributing this to the fungicide crap I sprayed the other day. I can only hope the rest of the plants dont follow suit.
I wont be able to do the soil till next week (payday) so I hope they allow me that time. I am not overly concerned about the ivy, as it is just ivy. But I do want to save it if I can.
Is there anyone who can help me with what I need to accomplish?
Sounds like your plants are staying too wet--drooping and yellowing leaves are a symptom of overwatering and if the white stuff on your soil is fuzzy it's mold and is also a sign that things are too wet. Fixing your soil is definitely worth doing, but until you're able to do that you should adjust your watering habits. You pointed out above that you realize the soil is probably still wet underneath the surface when you water--watering when the appearance of the top of the soil looks dry rather than waiting for the underneath part to dry out a bit more is a sure way to keep your plants way too wet. I'd recommend doing the finger test--stick your finger down a few inches into the pot to see how wet things feel, if it's still wet down there then you need to hold off. The bad news is that even if you do that and wait until things dry out more in the middle/bottom before watering, if you have really poor draining potting mix the plants can still have their roots too wet for too long. So I'd still change out your potting mix when you can, but in the meantime reducing your watering frequency might help keep things alive until you can get them better soil.
I plan to do that. My watering cycle has been about 2 weeks +. Not all the plants are droopy and this JUST started happening to the arrowhead and ivy with the last 2 days. Everything else looks ok so far.
I need someone to spell out how and what to use to repot when I get the opportunity to do so, hopefully within the next week.
Should I put 2 inches of pebbles at the bottom then a soil mix and what type of soil mix...please. I need this to be resonable in money as I cant afford to make some expensive gritty mix at the moment. Someday I will, right now I need to do this as inexpensive as I can.
As another poster suggested, you may want to cut back on watering. I would also stop spraying alcohol and any other spray remedy you may be using until the problem had been diagnosed.. I dont believe there is a cure-all or an across-the-board fix for what you have going on.. What may be right for one may not be right for another..
The 5-1-1 Mix I now use is quite simple to throw together, using only 3 ingredients..
5 parts bark (I bought a big bag at Petsmart for $10)
1 part Perlite (I think it was $5 at Walmart)
1 part Bagged soil mix.. (I used Cactus Mix.. maybe another $5)
You'll find your watering will increase as it flows out the bottom of your pots, giving the plant only what it needs, but you seem to be very 'Hands-on', as I am with your plants so I dont think you'll mind too much..
Whatever you do, dont put any pebbles or anything else on the bottom of your pots.. it will only raise the water table in your pots, further damaging your roots.
Take a visit over to Garden Web/House plants.. find Al.. I'll take a look around and try to send him an Email so
he can find you and read up on your above situation..
Everyone has given good advice, and understanding the concept behind soils like the 5:1:1 mix and the gritty mix is the first step toward being able to effectively implement them, which would be a good idea to make a priority. The sticky at the top of this thread is a good overview that if implemented will help you avoid most of the pitfalls people show up on the forums seeking help for; and, you'll enjoy a much greater likelihood your plants will be able to grow as close as possible to their genetic potential. All of our plants are programmed with the potential to be beautiful examples of their kind ... if we can just learn how to stay out of their way. ;-)
I didn't miss the fact that you have little time to yourself. When you get some time and you're moved to do some reading. I'll suggest you focus on the sticky and on this thread: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1073399/ Make sure though, that before you start to make a soil, you have the right ingredients, so you don't have to compromise. It's not always easy, but it's worth getting right the first time, for a variety of reasons. Essentially, I'm suggesting you go about it in a relaxed manner.
I can help you deal with your water-retentive soil until you get familiar with some of the things that will make growing MUCH easier. It's not the same as growing in a well-aerated soil, but the copy/paste from something I wrote (following) should at least help you get to where you can water correctly (to flush the soil when you water) w/o the worry of root rot. That's the most logical place to start. The white stuff is probably dissolved solids from fertilizers and/or tap water - mineral deposits - and are resultant of the top of the soil remaining wet for extended periods and the water that evaporates leaving the solids behind as it evaporates - like the white stuff that accumulates on a tea kettle.
This should help:
A good friend recently asked me if putting a brick in the bottom of a container interferes with drainage? After reading the question, it occurred to me that there are aspects to the question that Iíve discussed very little here at GW. It also occurred to me that I could use her question to help those who grow in heavy (water-retentive) soils. Iím going to define those soils, but this isnít about disparaging soil types - itís about helping you try to squeeze the most plant vitality (and the water) out of them. Heavy soils are based on fine ingredients. If the soil contains more than 30-40% of any combination of peat, coir, compost, or other fine ingredients like builders sand or topsoil, it will retain appreciable amounts of 'perched water' and remain soggy after itís saturated - and this is about dealing with soggy soils.
Perched water is water that remains in the soil after the soil stops draining. If you wet a sponge & hold it by a corner until it stops draining, the water that is forced out of the sponge when you squeeze it is perched water. From the plantís perspective, perched water is unhealthy because it occupies air spaces that are needed for normal root function and metabolism. The gasses produced under anoxic (airless) conditions (CO2, sulfurous compounds, methane) are also an issue. The main issue though, is that roots deprived of sufficient oxygen begin to die within hours. You donít actually see this, but the finest, most important roots die first. The plant then has to spend stored energy or current photosynthetic (food production) to regenerate lost roots - an expensive energy outlay that would otherwise have been spent on blooms, fruit, branch extension, increasing biomass, systems maintenance Ö.. Perhaps the plant would have stored the energy for a winterís rest and the spring flush of growth instead of expending it on root regeneration.
You can see that perched water, from the plantís perspective, is not a good thing. From our own perspective, we think itís rather convenient when we only need to water our plantings every 4-5 days, but because we canít see it, there is a sacrifice in potential growth/vitality for our convenience - like driving on low tires reduces fuel economy. How we choose to resolve this issue is of no concern to me - we all arrange our priorities & few of us are willing to water plants every hour to squeeze the last wee bit of vitality from them. Growing is about compromise in more cases than not. There is no judgment passed here on soil choice.
If you donít agree that perched water is generally a bad thing in containers, thereís no need to read on. If youíre still interested, Iíll lay a little groundwork here before I outline some things remedial you can do to combat excess water retention. Almost all out-of-the-bag soils retain a considerable amount of perched water after they have been saturated. Each individual soil formulation will retain a specific height of perched water unique to THAT soil. No matter what the shape or size of the container - height, width, round, square ÖÖ the height of the PWT (perched water table) will be the same. You can fill a 1" diameter pipe with a particular soil or a 55 gallon S-shaped drum with the same soil, and both will have exactly the same PWT height.
Letís do some imagining for the purpose of illustration. Most peat or compost based soils retain in excess of 3 inches of perched water, so lets imagine a soil that retains 3 inches of perched water. Also, imagine a funnel that is 10 inches between the exit hole & the mouth and is filled with soil. Because we are imagining, the mouth is enclosed & has a drain hole in it. In your minds eye, picture the funnel filled with a soil that holds 3 inches of perched water, and the soil is saturated. If the funnel is placed so the large opening, the mouth, is down, you can see the largest possible volume of soil possible when using this container is saturated, the first 3 inches; but, turn the funnel over and what happens? We KNOW that the PWT level is constant at 3 inches, but there is a very large difference in the volume of soil in the lower 3 inches of the funnel after it is placed small end down. This means there is only a small fraction of the volume of perched water in the small-end-down application vs. the large-end-down. When you tip the funnel so the small end is down, all but a small fraction of the perched water runs out the bottom hole as the large water column seeks its 3 inch level in the small volume of soil. In a way, you have employed gravity to help you push the extra water out of the soil.
You havenít affected the DRAINAGE characteristics of the soil or its level of aeration, but you HAVE affected the o/a water retention of the container. This allows air to return to the soil much faster and greatly reduces any issues associated with excess water retention. OK - we can see that tapered containers will hold a reduced VOLUME of perched water, even when drainage characteristics, aeration, and the actual height of the PWT remain unchanged, but we donít and wonít all grow in funnels, so lets see how we can apply this information PRACTICALLY to other containers.
Drainage layers donít work. The soil rests on top of drainage layers, then the water Ďperchesí in the soil above - just as it would if the soil was resting on the container bottom. Drainage layers simply raises the LOCATION where the PWT resides. But what if we put a brick or several bricks on the bottom of the container? Letís look at that idea, using the soil with the 3inch PWT again. Letís say the brick is 4x8x3 inches tall, and the container is a rectangle 10x12x12 inches high. The volume of soil occupied by perched water is going to be 10x12x3, or 360 cubic inches. If we add the brick to the bottom of the container so the height of the brick is 3 inches, it reduces the volume of soil that can hold perched water, so for every brick you add (4x8x3=96) you reduce the volume of soil that can hold perched water by 96 cubic inches. If you add 3 bricks, the volume of soil that holds perched water would be 360-288, or only 72 cubic inches, so you have reduced the amount of perched water in the container by 80% Ö.. quite a feat for a brick.
Your job though, is to be sure that what you add to the bottom of the container to reduce the volume of soil that can hold perched water doesnít create stress later on when the planting has matured. Be sure the container has a large enough volume of soil to produce plants free from the stress of excessive root constriction. You donít want to trade one stress for another.
How else might we Ďtrickí the water in the container into leaving? Letís think about the following in 2 dimensions, because itís easier to visualize. If you look at the side view of a cylindrical or rectangular container, you see a rectangle, so imagine a cylinder or rectangle 10 inches wide or 10 inches in diameter and 8" deep. Both side views are rectangles. Now, draw a horizontal line 3 inches above the bottom to represent the level of the PWT. Remember, this line will always remain horizontal and 3 inches above the bottom. Now tip the container at a 45 degree angle and notice what happens. The profile is now a triangle with an apex pointing downward and the base is of course the line of the PWT 3 inches above the bottom. Can you see there is a much lower volume of soil in the bottom 3 inches of the triangle than in the bottom 3 inches of the rectangle? The PWT line is level at 3 inches above the apex, so by simply tilting your containers after you water, you can trick a large fraction of the unwanted perched water to exit the container. Sometimes it helps to have a drain hole on the bottom outside edge of the pot, but not always. Only when the location of the hole is above the natural level of the PWT when the pot has been tilted does it affect how much additional water might have been removed.
On the forums, Iíve often talked about wicks, so Iíll just touch on them lightly. If you push a wick through the drain hole and allow it to dangle several inches below the bottom of your container immediately after watering, the wick will ífoolí the perched water into behaving as though the container was deeper than it actually is. The water will move down the wick, seeking the bottom of the container and will then be pushed off the end of the wick by the additional water moving down behind it.
A variation of the wick, is the pot-in-pot technique, in which you place/nest one container inside another container with several inches of the same soil in the bottom and fill in around the sides. Leaving the drain hole of the top container open allows an unobstructed soil bridge between containers. Water will move downward through the soil bridge from the top container into the bottom container seeking its natural level; so all of the perched water the soil is capable of holding ends up in the bottom container, leaving you with much better aeration in your growing container.
The immediately above example employs the soil in the lower container as a wick, but you can achieve the same results by partially burying containers in the yard or garden, essentially employing the earth as a giant wick. These techniques change the physical dynamics of water movement and retention from the way water normally behaves in containers to the way water behaves in the earth. Essentially, you have turned your containers into mini raised beds, from the perspective of hydrology.
What I shared doesnít mean itís a good thing to use water retentive soils, simply because you have tricks to help you deal with them. For years, Iíve been using highly aerated soils and biting the Ďwater more oftení bullet because Iíve seen the considerable difference these durable and highly aerated soils make when it comes to plant growth and vitality. Many others have come to the same realization and are freely sharing their thoughts and encouragement all across the forums, so I wonít go into detail about soils here.
It should also be noted that roots are the heart of the plant, and it is impossible to maximize the health and vitality of above-ground parts without first maximizing the health and vitality of roots. Healthy roots also reduce the incidence of disease and insect predation by keeping metabolisms and vitality high so the plant can maximize the production of bio-compounds essential to defense.
The soil/medium is the foundation of every conventional container planting, and plantings are not unlike buildings in that you cannot build much on a weak foundation. A good soil is much easier to grow in, and offers a much wider margin for error for growers across the board, no matter their level of experience. But regardless of what soils you choose, I hope the outline here provides you with some useful strategies if you DO find yourself having to deal with a heavy soil.
Let us know if you have any questions. You have the ability to move ahead very quickly in your ability to produce healthy plants, but it does take some time to become familiar with the big picture and how all the things we usually think of as individual aspects of the growing experience work in concert to either compliment or frustrate the grower's efforts.
The bark...does it have to be anything specific...thick...small. (Like mulch comes double shredded or single shredded).
I am sorry to sound like an idiot, but for 6 plants do you think one bag of each is enough and how much should i mix together to ensure i have enough for the 6 plants? I know stupid question but I am really clueless when it comes to all this but I want to learn in the worst way.
3 of the plants are in 9 inch pots. The palm, lily and rubber tree. Thats not too big is it?
The umbrella is in an 8 i think. Arrowhead is in a 6 and ivy is in 4inch maybe?
I am setting ivy outside to maybe help dry it up and perk it up until i can repot next week. This is my last stitch effort for it. I dont know what else to do until then.
No need for thanks at all.. I'm just passing things on- when I joined GW, I had many questions, and almost immediately I got my answers.
Several months from now, you'll see someone who has a question, and although you may not have the answer for them, you'll be able to direct them to someone who does.. just like I did.
I Emailed Al for you, and within the Hour(!), he dropped whatever he was doing to do a favor for a guy he 'Barely' knew, to answer a question for a girl he 'Didn't' know. That's class.
The 5-1-1 recipe is simple.. and simply amazing..
I bought Repti-bark at Petsmart- which is the perfect size for your plants straight out of the bag.. there's No dust.. it's already been screened out.. You may want to rinse off the Perlite first. (I put mine in a colander).. It raises quite a cloud when you take it from the bag.. my own rookie mistake!
With the 5-1-1 mix, pot size doesn't matter.. "You could start a seed in a 55 gal. drum" (Al's quote)
There's No exact measurements.. I did mine in an unused Tupperware with a least favorite coffee cup!
Rough Measures.. 5 Bark.. 1 Perlite.. 1 cactus mix... (although when I made my 2nd batch, I misted the bark as I added, as it's very dry..)
Potting Up vs. Repotting..
I bare-rooted my plants when switching to the 5-1-1 from straight Miracle Gro.. as opposed to just taking the entire root ball and dumping into a new pot and filling in around it with the new mix.. and I suspect with your problems, you'll want to do the same..
If I were you, I'd make One batch for One plant.. just to go through the motions.. then make another..
You certainly Don't look like an idiot! We all start somewhere.. You're better off today than you were yesterday and the day before.. look at it that way..
Again, take a look at GW.. start a thread.. get to know the daily visitors.. ask questions!
Get to know people here.. something I'm still meaning to do...
Bare rooting. What does that mean? Wash off all the old soil completely?
When I mentioned pot size I was asking in reference to will I have enough of the 3 materials you mentioned to fill 6 pots with the sizes I mentioned.
Also, I am trying deperately to save the ivy. I took it out of the pot and the root system wasnt very strong to begin with. The roots were brown, I am assuming that is root rot. I emptied the old soil and added new soil...same MG stuff, just didnt water it. I dont know what else to do to save it.
And one last thing, If any of the other plants have root rot when I repot, what to I do. I assume roots are supposed to be white. So I would cut off any brown? What If I cut too much. I dont want to kill my babies...
Yep.. Bare rooting Does mean to wash off/remove all the old soil (You'll be transferring into something that is 85% non-organic), and removing any damaged roots.. You'll lose alot of roots in the process, I did. Use a skewer to pry off the soil stuck to the roots..
I have an English Ivy- they root well in water. His name is Phil, so names are Not dumb at all.. I just rooted a bunch of clippings because Phil was damaged by a relative pouring a shot of Vodka in him..(prior to this, Phil didn't drink!).. so it did some real damage to him which I've been dealing with for a year and a half.. So the newly rooted clippings have gone into the 5-1-1..( this one is known as Re-Phil!)
You'll be able to tell a good root from a bad one once you get into it.. With the soil you've been using, I'm guessing that you'll have roots that are very slimy, and possibly smelly. Get rid of these..
I just checked my bags of Mix... sizes as follows..
Cactus Mix 8qt.
Perlite 8 qt.
I still have Half of everything left, after having changed over a dozen plants..
You should be fine with a bag of each..
Well, thank you for that! It's appreciated! You still have your work cut out for you, but it will reward you in the end..
I wouldn't worry too too much about Felix.. Felix is a very Invasive plant.. He would probably root in a pot of Beef Stew if you let him! (But step Away from the spray bottle Tiff.. You may be tempted to spray it down with ketchup.. resist the temptation! Plants have been around alot longer than We have.. they find a way!) :-)
By clippings, I mean take a pair of scissors to some of the growth on Felix.. cut some off.. I just cut a couple of Feet off of Phil the Ivy.. Strip off enough leaves so that all you have is stem in the glass of water you put them in.. Wait.
Wait some more. Soon, you will see roots forming on the stems. Once you see some root growth, you can take them out of the water and plant them up in a pot. Some people just stick the cut stems back in a pot, but I wanted to see what I was working with, so maybe you will too..
Your Scheff (Elly the Umbrelly) is one of my favorites.. so much can be done with them.. they can take alot of abuse.. and can be grown in many shapes and forms.. At the very top of this thread, in the top right corner, you'll see a search box.. Type in Schefflera and you'll see how many different threads show up regarding their care..
Do Not type in Felix.. but if you type in English Ivy.. the same will happen.. Lots of info..
You're in for alot of fun Tiff.. with a little education and a little work ahead of you..
Rule #1... Don't worry.
Rule #2... Tell Felix I said hi!
Awesome! All of the leaves were drooping on Felix though. It will still root? Do i need to strip the stem of all the leaves and stick the stem in water? Wow! If I can save Felix that would be so cool! I am excited.
I can see this hobby turning to an addiction. HA! I already visit all of them every morning before the kids get up and check them out for new growth or dying leaves.
My biggest next adventure is raspberry and blueberry bushes. I want to have them so bad and take the kids to pick fruit off them and eat it. That was one of my favorite childhood memories...picking raspberries and eating them off the bush!
Leave maybe half the leaves on ... so if you have a 6" cutting, you could strip the bottom 3" of leaves off the stem while leaving the top 3" of leaves on for photosynthesis purposes.. take several to many cuttings.. and toss them in a glass jar, water glass etc..
I dont know what's leading your plants to fail, but I know you have a light problem there..me too.. it's all trial and error Tiff so if you lose one or two, this can be expected.
I'll still urge you to come over to Garden Web and start a thread like this, as we only have a couple of plants in common, and you'll notice very few people from this site have offered any type of help.. at GW, you'll see 6 people jump in (at least) to get to know you and offer solutions that I dont have for your other plants..
The first of course is the soil.. (I made the same mistake).. come say hi in my thread..'Autumn/Winter Preparations' because you're going to have different concerns as things change weather-wise..
Is there any way you can post photos? (I cant yet.. zero computer skills).. but in your case, it may make it easier to diagnose the problems you're having..
Blueberries? In PA? Not sure..
Homework assignment- Find out which directions your available windows are facing.. N..S...E..W..
Each plant may have different light requirements..
Ok.. That IS good news then.. maybe the white stuff is left over deposits as Al mentioned above..
Read up on fertilizers, as you'll be using a mostly Inorganic soil, so you'll have to replace the nutrients the
plants are not getting from the soil..
Remember the numbers 3-1-2.. deals with ratios..
I use Miracle Gro water soluble .. the blue powder..
The small side of the spoon.. level.. or less.. to a gallon of water..
Some people just use the fertilizer spikes, but I haven't had any luck with them..
Most houseplants, including succulents, all WANT the same thing - favorable temperatures and humidity levels, bright light, a quality soil that drains well and remains well-aerated at container capacity (when saturated), and a nutritional supplementation program that provides nutrients in roughly the same ratio as that which the plant actually uses and at a concentration high enough to prevent deficiencies but low enough that it doesn't make it difficult for the plant to take up water. If you get those basics covered, your plants should ALL grow well - if you don't, you'll be fighting an uphill battle.
Because some plants tolerate certain adversities better than some other plants, that idea has somehow been twisted to imply that they prefer certain conditions. For instance, the idea that succulents LIKE to be left to go dry before the next watering has come to be an oft repeated myth - they don't. That this or that plant PREFERS to be grown tight in the pot (root bound) is also a myth. No plant prefers root bound conditions, but being root bound is preferable to root rot when dealing with a plant that doesn't tolerate wet feet, so 'root bound' is actually the lesser of two evils.
There is a 'sweet spot' when it comes to growing that almost all houseplants will respond favorably to. You can grow almost all your plants in the same soil, with the same fertilizer, with the same watering habits, and with only some minor variation in light levels, and they will all respond very well to that treatment.
5 parts pine bark fines
1 part sphagnum peat
1-2 parts perlite
Yields the 5:1:1 mix. In that mix, any peat based soil can be substituted for the peat fraction. What is most essential isn't the recipe, rather, it's an understanding of the concept behind why these soils (the 5:1:1 mix and the gritty mix) are so productive and easy to grow in. The recipes are just guidelines, and represent the best way I've found to implement the concept.
In the first picture, center, you'll see what a well-made 5:1:1 mix looks like, according to the recipe.
In the second picture, you'll see what the gritty mix look like, also according to the recipe.
You'll find lots of information that will help you implement the concept so your soils work FOR you, instead of against you here: