Do Succulents Need Special Soil?

Do Succulents Need Special Soil
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Do Succulents Need Special Soil

Do succulents need special soil? This is a common question I get from my readers. This post talks about whether or not succulents really need special soil.

Succulents are native to semi-native environments. They are accustomed to growing in sandy soil.

Considering their place of origin, succulents have certain soil needs.

Do succulents need special soil? The answer is obvious; succulents need special soil to grow healthily. Specifically, they need fast-draining soil.

Succulents originally grown in the semi-desert areas. So they are accustomed to sandy soil.

If you bring succulents to the new environment, a place where the climate is very different from the wild, then succulents may struggle to survive.

In order for them to successfully grow, you need to provide these plants a different type of soil.

Succulents hate compact soil- the type of soil that retains too much water.

It is important to remember that succulents already retain water in their leaves and stems.

This is the very reason why they can survive in the long drought.

Thus, giving them too much water will harm them. Overwatering causes rotting of the succulents.

To maintain their health, water should be regulated. The best way to do this is by using the fast-draining and breathable soil.

How to Make a Special Soil for Succulents?

If you are interested in making your own soil for your succulents, you can actually do it.

What you need are a few materials and extra time.

Making special soil for succulents require only three main ingredients.

The best part is that you can find these materials in your home and garden.

Here are the succulent potting soil ingredients:

  • Potting Soil
  • Poultry Grit or Coarse Sand
  • Pumice or Perlite

Potting Soil

Any potting soil can be used as the base in making the DIY special soil for succulents.

Any regular potting soil as long as it is fresh and safe from any pathogens will do. This may vary from one grower to another though.

However, what I like the most is the light and porous soil for the base. Avoid using the compact garden soil. The material like this will retain more water – more than what the succulents need.

As mentioned, succulents only need moisture but not too much of it.

Coarse Sand

As said earlier, succulents hate compact soil but love a fast-draining porous potting soil. If you have compact soil that retains too much water, you can amend it.

One of the best solutions is to add coarse sand. Not just any type of sand but the coarse one.

This should provide drainage and breathability to the succulents.

If you are living nearby the beach, you’ll be tempted to use the beach sand. But you should not do it.

The reason being is that beach sand comes with minerals and elements that could harm the plants.

Instead, you can use alternative materials such as turface or poultry grit.

Pumice or Perlite      

Another important ingredient in making special soil for succulents is pumice or perlite.

This material is very lightweight and does not absorb too much water or moisture. Not only that, but perlite also adds to the beauty of the mix and pot.

Its white color highlights not only the pot but also the plants planted in it.

But the real purpose of including this material is to prevent the soil from compacting. Doing so also increases the drainage system of the soil.

This will be extremely helpful for the succulents. Adding perlite to the mix ensures the healthy growth of the plants.

In other words, you don’t have to worry about overwatering even during cold seasons.

You can buy pumice or perlite from your nearby garden store. But in most cases, this material is unavailable.

I find it easier to buy from online stores. This is the reason why most of the time I order my garden materials from Amazon.

You can check the current price of pumice or perlite on Amazon.

Additional Tools Needed in Making Special Soil for Succulents

Now that you have all the basic ingredients needed to make a succulent mix, all you need is measuring and mixing tools.

Make sure to have the following before making your succulent mix:

  1. Measuring Container (or anything that can be used for measurement)
  2. Trowel (you can use a similar tool)
  3. Bucket or Mixing Container

The Perfect Recipe in Making Special Soil for Succulents

At this point, you can do some experiments. Find what works best for your succulents.

For me, here is the best proportion for best succulent soil mix:

  • 3 parts of potting soil (use a measuring tool)
  • 2 parts of turface or coarse sand
  • 1 part of pumice or perlite

As mentioned, you can always take time to experiment. Find the perfect special soil for your succulents.

But the most important thing to remember during this process is that use one tool for all measurements.

This is what a “part” means. The measuring tools are arbitrary. But make sure you only use one for all the measurements you do.

The reason for this is obvious; you want to come up with a correct proportion of your ingredients.

That said, one “part” means one measurement. So one part of pumice or perlite means one scoop. Two parts, two scoops, three parts two scoops, and so on.

Therefore, following this recipe, if you put one 1 part of pumice, you also need to put two parts of coarse sand, and three parts of potting soil.

After figuring the best proportion, you can now mix all the ingredients. And voila! You have the special soil that your succulents love.

Best Commercial Special Soil for Succulents

If you don’t have time to make your own succulent mix, you can buy it online.

This is perfect if you are a working person (this is actually what I do).

The good thing about buying garden supplies online is that it is super easy and comfortable.

You don’t have to spend time going to the shop.

However, the only challenge is how to find the best succulent soil mix for your succulents.

In this post, I will be sharing the best succulent soil mixes for your indoor and outdoor succulents.

But before diving into the different soil mixes, there is one thing you need to remember here.

When buying the best soil for succulents, you need to make sure that the soil is fast-draining. This is the key to successful succulent growing.

Succulents grow best in a soil that only stores just enough moisture and drains excess water fast.

Here are some of the best special soil mixes for succulents.

1. Succulent Planter Soil Kit Terrarium

This product is great if you are growing succulents in a terrarium. It is produced by the TerraGreen Creations whose mission is to give succulent growers great garden materials for their plants.

The product comes with everything you need to grow the succulents. Simple and easy to follow instructions are included to make sure that all customers are guided accordingly.

The company warrants superior quality on their products. In effect, the pea gravel, activated charcoal, organic soil, river rock, and bright sheet moss included in the kit were carefully picked to achieve a superior quality of succulent materials.

Each of the material included has a certain purpose. For instance, the pea gravel enhances the drainage system. The activated charcoal helps remove the toxins. Organic soil provides nutrients for the plants. River rock for additional aesthetic value. Lastly, the bright sheet moss to help lessen the moisture.

But the best part of buying the kit is that you will save a considerable amount of money than if you buy the materials individually. In just one purchase transaction, you’ll have everything you need for the succulents.

The product has three sizes that you can choose from: small, medium, and large. Each size includes the necessary materials for successful succulent growth.

The size depends on your preference available space in your house.

This product also great to give as a gift for people who love small plants.

Check this special soil for succulents on Amazon

2. Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix

There are hundreds of succulents and cacti soil mixes available online. But one of the mixes that I trust for many years is the mix produced by Superfly Bonsai.

This succulent soil mix is a perfect blend of several excellent fast-draining materials. It includes the Hard Japanese Akadama responsible for retaining just enough moisture.

Pumice to provide nutrients for the succulents both indoor and outdoor. New Zealand Pine Bark to retain a little bit of water and fertilizer. Lastly, is the USA Haydite to help drain the excess water.

This succulent mix is made to provide drainage and moist source to the plants. Not only that, the combination of materials also promotes better breathability. These characteristics of the soil are what succulents need to thrive.

Unlike other succulent mixes, this product is clean and only contains a minimal amount of dirt. This makes this product perfect for indoor succulent pots.

In terms of product safety, you can store and use the remaining materials without having them contaminated by any pathogens.

This is because the products come with a resealable bag that is easy to seal and open when needed. The bag keeps the mix fresh and healthy when stored.

The best part is that this product is perfect not only for succulents but also for cacti.

Check this special soil for succulents on Amazon

3. Cactus and Succulent Blend Potting Mix

If you want a special soil for your succulents that can resist pathogens and insects, the mix produced by rePotme is one of the best in this category.

This potting mix is made by hand to make sure that the succulents get what they deserve. Both quality and freshness are both maintained for successful healthy succulent growth.

What makes me convinced to try this mix is its excellent ability to drain excess water fast. It only retains an appropriate amount of moisture making the succulents always safe from rotting.

The excellent mix quality stems from the combination of great materials including perlite, pumice, sand, stalite, and coconut husks. These materials are what exactly the succulents need.

Check this special soil for succulents on Amazon

4. Bonsai Jack Succulent Cactus Soil Gritty Mix

Not all succulents are equal. Some love to be planted in a little bit acidic soil mix. If you are growing the latter type, you probably need a soil mix that corresponds to their needs.

The good news is that there is a succulent soil mix created solely to satisfy the acid-loving succulents. The soil mix from Bonsai Jack is one great example of this.

Unlike other succulent mixes, this one is lightweight and airy that provides excellent breathability feature to the plants.

In addition, this soil mix provides safety for the plants. Bonsai Jack ensures that the products are reliable and of high quality by testing them in the laboratory.

Experts and hobbyists come together to formulate this amazing succulent soil mix.

Unlike other succulent mixes you can see in the market, this one has ingredients of bigger sizes. The particles commonly have ¼ inch. The size of the ingredients provides better drainage and breathability.

This means that using this succulent soil mix saves you from getting worried about overwatering and root rotting.

Check this special soil for succulents on Amazon

5. Fat Plants San Diego Succulent Soil Gallon

Another recommended type of succulent soil is the Fat Plants San Diego Succulent Soil Gallon. This soil has a great mixture of materials that the succulents would surely love.

The materials include the perlite, sand, volcanic pumice, worm castings, and blood and bone meal. These ingredients are beneficial for succulent general growth.

What I like the most about this succulent mix is its fertility and quick-draining ability.

The medium-sized particles in the mix provide great drainage and breathability for the plants. As a grower, you don’t have to worry about overwatering.

Another special soil for succulents you might want to try.

Check this special soil for succulents on Amazon

6. Hoffman 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix

The last special soil for succulents that I would like to share in this post is the Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix. The balanced pH makes it safe and suitable for all types of succulents and cacti.

What I like the most about this soil mix is that it is ready to use. It is formulated with the right amount of nutrients, the ability to drain excess water fast and absorb just the right amount of moisture.

The materials included in this soil mix are the following: perlite, reed sedge peat, limestone, sand, and Canadian Sphagnum peat moss.

This special soil mix is perfect if you are in a hurry. You don’t have to add anything to it. You just grab the product, put it in the pot or container, and plant your succulents.

Check this special soil for succulents on Amazon

What is the Best Special Soil for Succulents?

All brands of succulent mixes I shared above all have great quality. But if you ask me what is the best and most special soil for succulents that I am using for my plants most of the time, it is the Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix (click here to check these on Amazon).

This amazing product is produced by the Superfly Bonsai. But of course, this is just my personal preference.

Every succulent and environment demands a different type of soil mix. This product is a ready-to-use pre-mixed that drains fast and retains only enough amount of moisture.

In most cases, soil like this is what the succulents like the most.

Because it comes with different sizes, you can choose the size of the bag you think enough for your plants.

Don’t worry if you buy the bigger size and did not able to use all the soil. The bag is resealable making the soil safe for future use.

But if you want something that gives you everything you need in growing beautiful and healthy succulents, you probably want to try the succulent Planter Soil Kit – Total DIY Terrarium Supplies -Terrarium Kit for Succulent or Catcus – Create Your own Terrarium with These Supplies – Great for Fairy Gardens

Having this succulent soil makes everything easy. It contains everything you need from planting to growing.

Final Thought

Although succulents are versatile and can thrive in some extreme environment, they have certain requirements for them to gain healthy growth.

Succulents do need special soil. They cannot survive with compact soil.

This is because compact soil retains too much moisture or water that could possibly cause rotting.

The best succulent soil mix is the one that has enough nutrients and drains fast.

Succulents only need moisture. Thus, when soaking in water, the rotting will highly likely to start in the roots.

Thus, it is very important to make or buy a succulent soil mix that drains the excess water fast.

If you want more information about growing succulents, you can read my free complete guide “How to Grow Succulents Successfully.”

Happy planting!


I am a university teacher by profession, researcher, blogger, and gardener.

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