Many plants grow well in a soil with specific acidity level. But some also don’t.. What about succulents? Well, the simple answer to this question is that succulents like slightly acidic soil. In fact, most of them grow well in soil with around pH6.
The exact level of desired acidity changes from one succulent family to another, depending mostly on their native area. Keep in mind that though we grow succulents commercially now, they have the same genetics like succulents in the wild, and those are always accustomed to certain habitat.
Some succulents grow well on limestone soil as an example–for example the Echeveria family. But most of succulent plants don’t like such a soil. And that’s exactly what you should keep on your mind–after reading this article (an important information to come), try to find some data for a particular succulent family that interests you. Let’s move to the facts and myths.
Acidity level in succulent soil is the most important factor
This i actually a myth. Personally, I don’t worry too much about the acidity level of the soil I am using for my succulents. What is important for me is the care that I am giving to my succulent plants. The truth is, for years of growing succulents, I found no accurate pH level perfect for succulent plants. While it is true that plants don’t grow well in extremely acidic soil, succulent soil mix will provide what they need, even if you do not care, or do not know what the exact pH level is.
I don’t make my own succulent mix anymore to be honest. I buy all of soil online (check my recommended succulent soil on Amazon), simply because it costs close to nothing and it is more convenient. But if you want, you can also make your own soil as long as you have the required ingredients.
Remember that succulents need soil that allows the excess water to drain freely. Good succulent soil allows the plants to breathe. Succulents won’t grow well in compact soil. It holds too much water and moisture, and succulents do not like to stay in such wet conditions. Keep this on your mind when making your soil mix.
Related Article: Do Succulents Need Special Soil?
You cannot grow succulents successfully in your own soil mix
This is another myth. People grew succulents with great success long before we knew Amazon and one could buy special soil for succulents commercially. I also tried making my own soil before, and the only problem I had was time. I am working on a regular job, and when you count to it other obligations, I just do not have time to make my own soil mixes.
Anyway, the beauty of making your own succulent soil mix is that you can decide and adjust all the ingredients. Sometimes you feel that the commercial soil mixes are not coarse enough. Making your own will allow you to make what is best for your plants. Just make sure it has all the ingredients I will share below–they also make for a correct acidity level.
Related Article: Can I Use Orchid Potting Mix for Succulents?
Three key ingredients for a succulent soil
1. Potting soil
One of the ingredients is the potting soil as a base. Any all-purpose soil will do. Just make sure that it is clean and fresh. You can buy it from the nearby garden store or order it online. When buying potting soil, make sure that it is light and porous. Remember that succulents need a fast-draining soil. A porous soil base will help achieve the perfect soil for your plants.
Never use a compact soil or any garden soil. Soil like this will absorb and hold too much water and moisture which will in turn cause root rot in your plants.
2. Coarse Sand
Another important ingredient is coarse sand. This will help make the soil mix breathable. But you shouldn’t use the sand from the beach, though it is obviously tempting to do so, especially if you live on the coast. It does not provide aeration. Another problem with beach sand is that it contains minerals that are harmful to the succulent plants.
3. Perlite or pumice
Perlite is a lightweight white organic material that looks like Styrofoam. It makes for an excellent addition to the soil mix, making it more porous. Another reason why perlite is a great addition to the mix is that it does not absorb and hold too much water and moisture. It will prevent compaction of the soil, making it fast-draining–and that’s exactly what succulents love. You can buy these materials in your nearby garden store. Or on Amazon: perlite on Amazon, pumice on Amazon.
You just mix the ingredients in the following quantity, for a perfect soil mix for succulents:
- Three parts of potting soil
- Two parts of coarse sand
- One part of perlite
Make sure to have a decent measuring unit–a cup for example. If you are using a cup, you just mix 3 cups of potting soil, two cups of coarse sand, and one cup of perlite. Mix them well in a mixing container, and there you have it–your own succulent mix, with acidity levels suitable for succulents.
Succulents need special soil. A fast-draining soil is one of the requirements. But the acidity level of the soil also matters. Succulents grow well in slightly acidic soil. Think about pH6 and similar levels. Keep on your mind though that right soil is not one-for-all solution. Different succulent varieties prefer different soils, and you should do some more research before planting your succulents.
What’s more, succulents can die even in the best soil, if you do not give them proper care. Make sure to check my complete guide on succulent growing, and learn how to grow the succulents in the way that they will thrive.