What is the Best Soil Mix for Succulents?

What is the Best Soil Mix for Succulents
What is the Best Soil Mix for Succulents

What would be the best soil mix in planting your favorite succulents? Would it be best if you buy a succulent potting soil or a cactus soil mix in the market? or it will be better if you come up with your own soil mix recipe? In this article, I will provide you a better understanding and a sample on what would be the soil mix that will suit all your lovely succulents.

Succulent is a kind of plant that can retain water in their leaves and stems. But this does not mean that you will not water it for a long time.

Despite the ability of this plant to store water, it still needs a moderate to regular watering at least once a week. But it does not need a lot of water because it can cause its stem to rot, and you don’t want to look at your succulent with a black stem.

So it will be best for you to know what kind of soil mix does your succulent need to retain its health and beauty.

The first thing to consider in planting a succulent is the soil where it will be planted because not all soils are perfect for succulents.

In choosing the soil, you need to find a growing medium that does not hold water for too long. It needs soil that drains quickly and completely between watering schedules.

This type of soil helps to drain the excess water. So it is better if you know the perfect soil mix for your succulents.

The characteristics of the perfect soil for succulents

There are many succulent mixes you can choose from. But not all of them can give your succulents healthy growth. You need to find the one that can what your succulents need.

So, what is the best soil mix for succulents?

The key characteristics of a perfect soil mix for succulents are free-draining, non-compacting, and not too nutrient-rich soil.

The first characteristic is that it should be free-draining soil. The soil mix should not absorb water much. You need to remember that succulents don’t like too much moisture or water.

This means that you need to find a perfect free-draining soil that is not dense and heavy and absorb water much.

The second characteristic should be that the soil is not compacting. Succulents don’t like compact soil. It absorbs too much water thus does not promote healthy growth.

Always make sure that you choose a potting soil that is light and airy. Aside from water, succulents do need air to breathe so a soil that provides aeration is a perfect one for a succulent plant.

The third characteristic is that the soil must not be nutrient-rich. It may sound surprising but it’s true. Too much nutrient can, in fact, harm the succulents. Having too much nitrogen, for instance, can make succulents brittle. This is because nitrogen causes fast growth. But supper fast-growing forces the plant to extend the tissues prematurely.

A quick tip here, it is best for your soil to be slightly acidic with a high content of lime because succulents will love it. If you have overly alkaline soil, you can change its balance by adding 1 tbsp of white vinegar and 5 gallons of water.

In checking your soil, you need to see if it crumbles easily and if the water flows quickly if you put some water. If it does, it means that it has the right component.

The soil should fall apart easily if you put some water on it. This indicates that it is not compacting.

But if you pour some water on it and it creates a lump and becomes more compact, you need to mix more inorganic elements to balance your soil mix. It is better if you mix a garden soil, sand and peat moss, or potting soil and perlite with 1 part each.

Your succulent soil should be made of large and porous material that does not hold water.

The different kinds of soil, the must and must not have

It is not easy to find a potting soil for succulents. Some cheap potting soil is dense and heavy and does not work for succulents.

In this section, I will share with you the perfect ingredients of a perfect succulent soil mix.

1)    Coarse Sand

This kind of sand works as a good component of succulent soil mix. Just make sure that the sand you bought is not extremely fine, because it can cause to drowning your succulent. Superfine sand inhibits water flow.

2)    Poultry Grit

This product is made up of crushed granite and also affordable for your budget. Another perfect ingredient for a good succulent soil mix.

3)    Pumice or Perlite

This contains an organic element and also be very lightweight. It helps prevent soil to create a lump and improve its drainage.

And because you already know the perfect soil for your succulents, here is also the list of materials that you avoid using to make your own succulent soil mix.

1)    Construction Sand

This kind of sand contains substances that can cause skin irritation and potentially harm your succulent plants.

2)    Beach Sand

This sand is full of salt that is not good for your succulents.

3)    Sand from an existing sandbox

This could be full of materials that will not help in growing your succulents.

What soil mix is the best for your succulents?

You can choose from on-the-go soil or your DIY soil mix in planting your succulent. But even though it will be very easy for you to just buy an on the go soil mix, it will be cheaper and enjoyable to create your own soil mix.

You just need some different kind of soil that can be bought cheaper in the market and mix it. Here is the list of the ingredients you can use to make your own soil mix for your succulents.

1) Potting soil, coarse sand, perlite or pumice sand- your mixture should contain half of potting soil mix with 2/3 coarse sand and 1/3 of perlite or pumice.

2) You can also mix a quarter each of packaged soil, leaf mold or peat moss, sand, and gravel, pumice, perlite and a pint of bone meal per bushel of soil, depending on the amount.

3) A simple soil mix for starters is consist of 1 part of bagged soil and 2 parts of perlite.

These are the best materials you need to make perfect soil for succulents. Just make sure that the end result is a fast-draining soil. It will be also helpful if you place it in a pot with drainage holes.

These ingredients are available in your local garden center or market and can be bought in bulk if you are planning to plant a lot of your cute succulents.

Also, you can save more money if you buy each ingredient in a bulk. Plus, it will also be very convenient for you if you always have an extra succulent soil mix on hand before the growing season for you to be able to prepare it beforehand.

In planting your succulent, you should be flexible and patient. Your budget and also your location can restrict your soil mix preparation project.

All you need to do is to be more creative in using your resources. Don’t worry if you don’t get it in the first try. It will improve and be perfect over time. So don’t afraid to experiment.

To learn more about making succulent soil mix, visit my guide on how to grow succulents. It is a complete guide including how to make a perfect soil mix.


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

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