Potting soil for succulents supports the unique needs of these arid plants. The best Succulent soil mix in general has excellent drainage and low nutrients.
There are a LOT of succulents. Can they all thrive in the same soil? Yes, for the most part.
Succulents of all kinds (there are 25 family of succulents) need very little water. They have adaptations built into their leaves and rhizomes to store and reserve water for survival.
All succulents are designed by nature to eek out a living in very inhospitable growing conditions.
Thick fleshy leaves and water storing rhizomes protect the plant from a quick death by drought. Even when conditions are so severe the top growth dies, the rhizome can often survive underground and wait for rain..
When water is available once more, the plant regrows the top growth as it can. Amazing succulents.
Potting Soil for Succulents:
What is the best Kind of Soil for Succulents?
When purchasing a good soil mix your succulent and Cactus plants, look for a potting mix that specifies succulent on the label. Most cactus will do ok in these mixes.
There is a wide range of soil mixes that fit this description.
The nutrients are intentionally low in these soils.. Succulents are highly susceptible to root rot and over fertilizing.
Proper Succulent soil mixes have a light friable well draining soil. Amazon has a lot of them.
What is the best soil mix for your indoor cactus?
A succulent mix will usually work fine for both cactus and succulents. However….
Be sure to check the individual care needs of your plant to be sure it is not the exception to the rule.
overwatering succulents is a common problem. A well draining substrate is a must to help them survive our nurturing ways. 🙂
The single biggest reason succulents die from our care is due to overwatering. Incorrect soil is another contributor.
How To Make Succulent Soil Mix:
You can make your own soil mix for succulents with general potting soil and some amendments.
Can you use a general purpose potting soil for succulents?
Not By itself. 100% all purpose potting soil is not well suited to succulents.
Succulents are tough. They will survive extremely dry conditions. But soaking wet soils kill them quick. succulents SIP water rather than drink it like other plants. They store water and live on it for long periods of time.
General purpose potting soils delivers too much water to the plant roots. And the soil holds it much too long for good health in succulents.
so we need to add materials to lighten soil and help it drain better.
Succulents prefer chunky, rocky or sandy soil with a lighter nutrient load to the plant.
There must be a balance between too heavy rich soil and hydrophobic soils. Neither is good for succulents.
Hydrophobic soils cannot accept water. The soil is crusted and compact. This happens when too little organic matter is available to hold the soil together. Old soils often have this problem and need replenishing.
Water runs off the top soil and down the sides of the pot rather than absorbing into the roots as it should. You THINK you are watering your plant but the roots cannot access the water. The roots die and rot.
To avoid hydrophobic soil, add organic material. These materials provide resilience in the soil to roots can move through them.
These organics will improve the ability of the soil to accept water and nutrients. Friable soils have less compaction. Succulent roots have access to air and food in loose soils with organic materials.
Be sure to choose organics that partner well with your potting mix. organics that are too rich or hold too much water will cause trouble for the roots of your succulent.
- Peat moss doesn’t break down easily.
- bark chunks or fines hold up well and release organics to the soil over time.
- Coconut coir does hold water well so be careful if using it.
- Organic compost, worm castings and mulch should be used with care. They break down easily and can be very rich for some succulents.
The inorganic elements in the soil allow water to run through the soil. Inorganics help prevent compaction and soggy roots. Inorganic materials will allow the roots of your plants access to oxygen and to stay drier.
- Cat Litter (non soluble)
- Pea gravel
- Leca Clay balls– these can be mixed into soil for added aration and drainage.
Making Soil Mix:
Here is a general rule of thumb for how much of each material to use in your succulent soil mix.
- 3 parts soil mix
- 2 parts organic materials
- 1 part inorganic materials
- Choose your soil amendments and potting soil.
- You’ll need a mixing surface or bowl. I use an old baking sheet.
- Measure out the soil and amendments in the ratios listed.
- Mix them together by hand. Make sure the soil is well blended.
How do you know the mix is correct? Do this test:
- Wet the new soil mix thoroughly.
- Squeeze it in your hand.
- If it crumbles the mix is correct.
- If it holds together add more inorganic materials until you get a crumbly texture.
And that’s all there is to it.
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