Potting soil for succulents

You may think buying a succulent potting soil or cactus soil mix at your local garden center is the best way to get the right soil for planting succulents.

It certainly is the easiest and if you just have a few succulents to pot, this is probably true.

When planting the more forgiving types of Agaves, Aloes and succulent birds nest sansevieria a garden center soil mix may work fine.

However, if you’re like most succulent lovers, you’ll soon be rooting:

  • Cactus plants
  • Succulent echeveria types
  • Haworthia varieties
  • Stonecrop Sedums

… and others requiring the need for larger amounts of soil designed for succulents.

In this article, we provide a simple soil recipe for mixing up your own affordable succulent mix.

We’ll also share information to help you make wise decisions when choosing ingredients to suit your own situation and location. Read on to learn more.

Contents

#1 Requirement Of The Best Soil For Succulents

It’s very easy and inexpensive to mix up your own succulent soil.

Any type of soil used as a cactus mix or succulent soil mix you create – MUST be a fast draining soil.

The problem of roots rot with all types of succulents are caused by over watering.

This can be the result of too much water or the result of the soil mix retaining too much water.

A gritty mix, with good drainage, is the number one quality sought in soil used to grow succulent plants.

What Goes Into A Good Succulent Potting Soil Mixture?

Succulent potting soil should be composed mostly of larger, porous materials.

In any location, you can find the ingredients needed at your local garden center, home improvement center and/or local feed store.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Best Soil For Succulents In Pots

When choosing potting soils, don’t get the kind with ingredients or related products that help retain water (e.g. vermiculite or water retaining beads).

This is exactly what you don’t want. Most types of regular potting soil intended for indoor plant should be fine.

Most contain peat moss which causes the soil to hold too much water.

You’ll also find several cactus and succulent soils on the market which will work fine for potting a hardy jade plant.

They serve as a good starting base soil to build on.

Look for soil mixes from Hoffman, Espoma and Miracle-Gro.

But be sure the potting soil selected is light and airy. We are going to make the soil much more “succulent friendly.”

Some of the cheaper potting soil for succulents and even garden soil are dense and heavy and will not work for succulents.

Coarse Sand

The coarse sand sold for sandboxes available at home improvement stores works as a good soil amendment.

Don’t use construction sand it may contain skin irritating substances.

Check it to make sure the sand purchased is not extremely fine.

Very fine sand retains water rather than allowing it to drain freely.

Don’t gather up sand from the beach or in an existing sandbox.

Beach sand is full of salt, and a sandbox could be full of just about anything.

It’s important to note that if you’re not able to find coarse sand, you can substitute poultry grit, which is incredibly affordable.

You’ll find it in feed stores. This product is made up of crushed granite.

Another substance to help provide sharp drainage in your succulent dirt is turface.

This is a product made of calcium clay.

It is used on athletic fields to reduce soil compaction, and also used in landscaping to help improve drainage.

Pumice or Perlite

Pumice and perlite are very lightweight organic soil amendments.

Both of these help prevent soil compaction and improve drainage.

A Word On Pine Bark In Succulent Soil

There are always debates over what soil components to include in your perfect succulent soil, but factors to consider.

  • Are you growing succulents indoors or outdoors?
  • The growing location and conditions
  • The types of succulents plants you are growing?

The topic of using or adding pine bark to the soil can cause a heated exchange.

I don’t use any in my cactus or succulents mixes.

However, BonsaiJack’s makes a mix which features pine bark and gets rave reviews.

Pine bark:

  • Is an organic material which does hold some water
  • Takes time to break down into finer organic matter
  • Does help improve in draining soil

Many growers incorporate pine bark into their soil mix.

When adding pine bark to a succulent soil mix, look for products labeled as ‘pine bark fines” with 1/4″ sized pieces.

Remove a portion of the potting soil and replace with the pine bark fines.

DIY Succulent Soil: Tools

You’ll need containers large enough to hold the amount of succulent soil that you want to mix and give enough space to toss it around a bit.

A large tote with a lid makes an excellent container for succulents potting mix.

Mix your soil up with a trowel and a garden fork or just use your hands.

You’ll probably want to wear long rubber gloves to avoid irritation and drying your skin.

Mix It Up!

Once you’ve gathered together your ingredients mix them in these proportions.

  • 1/2 Potting Soil

The other half:

  • 2/3 coarse sand
  • 1/3 perlite or pumice

Your succulent soil mixture should consist of about half potting soil.

The remaining half should be about two thirds coarse sand, poultry grit or turface and one third part perlite or pumice.

It’s a good idea to mix up a large amount in advance to plant succulents.

Buying all of these ingredients in bulk will usually save you some money.

Plus, it’s always handy to have extra succulent potting mix on hand before the growing season starts or to make up that succulent plant garden for a friend.

Be Flexible – Soil Mixes Improve Over Time

Your location and budget may put constraints on your soil preparation project.

Don’t forget that recipes for soil mixes are like cooking recipes, they are an art that gardeners improve and perfect over time.

Here is another soil mix for cactus and succulents:

  • 1/4 packaged soil
  • 1/4 leaf mold or peat moss
  • 1/4 sand
  • 1/4 gravel, pumice, perlite or small pieces of broken pots.
  • Depending on the amount, add up to a pint of bone meal per bushel of soil.

Here is a simple “starter” soil mix to use when rooting or starting new succulent plants you’ll love:

  • 1 Part bagged soil (as mention above)
  • 2 Parts perlite

Make sure the succulent soil recipe you use is fast draining and retains little water.

Also, don’t forget to use pots with drainage holes!

Do you plant succulents and cacti on the regular like me? Have you ever wanted to make you own mix? I always have some kind of potting project going on and keep a variety of ingredients on hand. I’d like to share this recipe for succulent and cactus soil mix so you can make your own too.

I get asked 1 of these questions every month or 2 and wanted to answer them here. “What kind of soil should I use for my cactus and succulents?” “What soil is best for my succulents in a pot?” “Can I plant my succulents growing indoors in potting soil?”

Here’s what you want in a succulent and cactus mix.

This applies to whether you’re growing them indoors or outdoors. 1) The mix needs to have excellent drainage. 2) It important to be well aerated. 3) It needs to be soil-less. Regular garden soil is way too heavy. 4) Which leads us to: it needs to be light.

All set to get going on the mix. I used a metal bin but a pail, wastebasket or plastic bin works fine too.

The roots, stems and leaves of succulents and cacti all store water and can easily succumb to root rot. The roots need oxygen and a mix which is light, well aerated, drains well and is soilless helps to prevent overwatering.

You can make your own succulent and cactus mix, buy it online or at your local garden center. When I lived in Santa Barbara, I would usually buy my mix from the California Cactus Center as they formulated their own. Here in Tucson, I stated buying Tank’s which is also a local mix.

I was visiting my friends at Eco Gro (a place for we plant aficionados) a few weeks ago and was in need of succulent and cactus mix. They were out of Tank’s and sold me a bag of their own mix. The mix is formulated on sight but the original recipe comes from Mark A. Dimmitt who is local and well known in plant circles. That’s why it’s known as “MAD Mix”.

The ingredients I use for this mix.

Here’s the succulent & cactus soil mix recipe:

This mix is suitable whether you’re growing succulents & cacti indoors in pots or outdoors in pots.

I bought all my ingredients at Eco Gro & will list similar products but different brands which you can find online below.

6 scoops of coco chips n fiber. I bought all my ingredients at Eco Gro & will list similar products here. Similar.

1 scoop of coco peat. Similar.

4 scoops of pumice. Similar.

1/2 scoop vermiculite. Similar.

1/2 cup agricultural lime & elemite. Elemite is hard to find online – I buy it in store at Eco Gro. Azorite is similar in that it’s also a mineral rock dust & makes for a good substitute.

What you use for a scoop is up to you. At Eco Gro they use a good sized soil scoop which is approximately equal to a large yogurt container. I’m not sure if the 1/2 cup measurement is 1/2 a cup of each or 1/2 cup combined. I went on the side of caution and added in 1/4 cup of each. I’ll get the measurement next time I’m back at Eco Gro and clarify it here. * I checked & the measurement is 1/2 cup of each.*

Peat moss is often used in soil mixes but I prefer coco coir. It’s a much more environmentally friendly alternative and if you’re interested, can read more about that here and here.

The coco bricks just before adding water to expand.

The coco bricks need to be hydrated prior to using (usually a few times) and you can see that in the video. They expand after hydrating and you can use them damp or dry. There’s no need to hydrate them again when using in this or other mixes.

Cost to make the amount of mix I made:

I bought all the ingredients locally. The cost may vary for you depending on where you purchase everything. The only thing completely used up was the pumice – I have a good amount of everything else left over to make more batches.

Approximate cost: $9

This mix can be used for:

Indoor succulents, which includes cacti too. All cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti. We generally think of “succulents” as fleshy succulents like Burro’s Tail, String Of Pearls, Aeoniums, Aloe Vera & the like. Now that I live in Arizona, cacti are a big part of my horticultural life!

Outdoor succulents, including cacti.

Propagating succulents & other plants too. I have some Baby Rubber Plant stem cuttings rooting right now in water & I’ll plant them in this mix in a 4″ pot while they’re establishing. I could have also planted them directly in this mix. This works when propagating hoyas and snake plants too.

Mixing in with potting soil and other ingredients for hoyas, snake plants, bromeliads, peperomias & any other plants where I want to up the ante on the drainage & aeration

For all the repotting & planting I have to do this spring, I need to make at least 10 more batches of this mix!

You can get an idea of how much 1 batch of this recipe made for me here.

How I plant succulents:

I’ll water the plant a few days before & then plant it into this mix. I leave the rootball up a bit because it’ll eventually sink down into this light mix. I keep it dry for 3-10 days while it’s settling in & then water thoroughly. You want your succulents to dry between waterings, especially cacti. More on succulents here.

The mix & some fun succulents.

This mix is so easy to make and cost effective to boot. It’s very light unlike much heavier bags of potting soil and planting mix. If you live in a small space, it won’t take up much room to store. And, most important of all, succulents and cacti love it!

Happy gardening,

Learn More About Planting Succulents in Pots:

How To Make An Indoor Cactus Garden

What To Know About Planting Aloe Vera In Containers

Repotting Snake Plants: The Mix To Use & How To Do It

How to Plant & Water Succulents In Pots Without Drain Holes

What You Need To Know About Transplanting Succulents In Pots

Learn how to make the best potting mix for succulents with this easy DIY succulent soil recipe!

As I mentioned in my succulent plant care 101, I love succulents because they are easy to grow, simple to care for, and absolutely beautiful – both indoors and out. And there are so many types of succulents and cacti: spiky and dramatic, green and waxy, dusty blue, blush pink, light purple, and more. In that same post on how to pot succulents, I shared that I have begun mixing my own succulent soil. I’d say it has been serving me well, and I wanted to share that diy succulent potting mix recipe with you.s

This post contains affiliate links. .

DIY SUCCULENT SOIL

Well draining soil is the key to healthy succulents. Traditional potting soils are made to hold water, but a succulent holds moisture in its leaves. In fact, too much moisture in the soil and the cactus or succulent will develop root rot. So although I shared this previously, it bears repeating here that pots for succulents need holes in the bottom to act as drainage holes, and those holes should be protected from clogging (see the full post on how to pot succulents here for more details). The next step, of course, is to choose the right type of soil that will allow the water to drain.

I have purchased and used this palm and cactus mix (also available on Amazon, but a bit pricier), and it does seem to work well for succulents… but 8 qts can get used up pretty quickly! As a result, I’ve started creating my own succulent potting mix with three simple ingredients (get the printable version at the bottom of the post). Here is what you need to make the best soil for succulents in pots:

  • 3 parts potting soil
  • 2 parts coarse sand (such as playground sand or even crushed granite)
  • 1 part perlite (also available on Amazon)

How to make succulent potting mix

To make the succulent potting soil, simply combine the potting mix, coarse sand, and perlite in a large container (I use an old plastic pot bottom) and mix well by hand. If you make too much, no problem! Just store it in a bag or pot already combined, ready for your next use.

As you can see, this was a perfect project to involve my kids, too! And I’ll be sharing all about the planters we made, as well as tips for creating succulent container gardens soon.

Don’t forget to pin this for later!

5 from 1 vote

DIY Succulent Potting Mix

Use this well draining potting mix to keep your succulents healthy and happy!

Prep Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 parts traditional potting mix
  • 2 parts course sand or crushed granite
  • 1 part perlite

Instructions

  1. Combine any amount of ingredients in a large container (in the 3:2:1 ratio as listed above) and mix well by hand.

  2. Be sure to use a pot with a drain hole and put rocks, pebbles, or pottery shards at the bottom of the pot to allow water to drain.

  3. Use this potting mix for succulents or cacti, watering approximately once every week or two.

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Succulent soil is specially designed for growing succulent plants. Whether you have cacti, Aloe Vera, a jade plant, or other types of succulents, a succulent soil mix creates the perfect environment so your plants can flourish.

The 8 Best Succulent Soil Mixes

  1. Superfly Bonsai Succulent and Cactus (2.5 Dry Quarts) Soil Mix
  2. Hoffman 10404 4-Quarts Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix
  3. Espoma CA4 4-Quart Organic Cactus Mix
  4. Miracle-Gro 8-Quart Cactus, Palm, and Citrus Potting Mix
  5. Perfect Plants 4-Quart Succulent Soil Mix
  6. Bonsai Jack 111-2 Quarts Succulent and Cactus Soil Gritty Mix
  7. Bliss Gardens 4-Quarts Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil
  8. Fat Plants San Diego 1-Gallon Succulent Soil (Our Top Pick)

Our Top Pick for the Best Succulent Soil

Our top pick for the best succulent soil is the Fat Plants San Diego Succulent Soil Mix.

Growing unique succulent plants can be challenging but the Fat Plants San Diego Succulent Soil Mix makes it super easy.

This premium soil mix creates a well-drained and nutrient-rich eco-system that succulents require to grow and thrive. Your succulents will develop strong roots systems, healthy fleshy green stems and beautiful colorful blooms that you will be proud of.

Check the price on Amazon

Create the Perfect Succulent Ecosystem with Succulent Soil

Succulents are truly amazing plants. They have an exceptional ability to adapt to dry, harsh climates, or even colder environments by storing water in their thick, fleshy leaves and stems. Whether it is an arid desert, a tropical jungle, or a snow-prone wilderness, succulent plants can thrive.

Best of all, succulent plants are versatile plants. They love to grow outdoors and indoors, which is great for people who have limited or no outdoor gardening space. But these highly specialized plants can be a challenge to grow and maintain. Succulent plants need special tender, loving care. If they are planted in the wrong soil or are over-watered, they will shrivel up and die.

Plant food or fertilizer is essential for growing flowers, fruit and vegetables, but succulent soil is specially formulated for growing succulent plants. Succulent soil contains nutrient-rich ingredients that help to maintain the right amount of moisture so that your succulents will grow juicy green leaves and fabulous flowers.

How to Choose the Best Succulent Soil

Specially Formulated Succulent Soil Mixes

Succulents have smart DNA that has learned to adapt to dry environments with porous, sandy soil conditions. So when you bring your succulent home, you have to re-create that succulent-specific environment otherwise your prized plant will struggle to survive.

Soil Composition

Well Drained Succulent Soil

Over-watering is one of the primary causes of succulent death. If the plants are watered too much, the leaves can enlarge and burst. Succulent soil must not be dense or compacted or it will retain too much water which can cause root rot.

The ideal soil composition should contain crumbly or gritty soil that is well-aerated and drains properly. It should also contain varied particle size ingredients, about 1/4-inch so that air flow is maximized and moisture content is controlled.

PH balanced Succulent Soil

One of the main reasons for using pre-made soil is that the soil in our yards may not have the right pH balance. Succulent soil is designed to have a specific pH balance so that the soil is not too acidic. The best type of soil pH levels for succulents is slightly acidic at around pH 5.5 or 6.

Organic Versus Inorganic Matter

Organic Matter

Organic matter like peat moss, finely ground bark and finely ground coconut fibers help water to penetrate the soil quickly. One of the problems with organic matter that is not finely ground and comes in big pieces is that it can retain too much water. Succulent soil mixes, like Hoffman, Espoma, Miracle-Gro, or Perfect Plants contain peat moss. These products may suit hardy succulents, they may cause water-retention problems for more fragile succulents.

Inorganic Matter

Inorganic matter is well suited for succulents, like the Fat Plants Succulent Mix. Gritty-type inorganic ingredients like perlite or sand keep the soil well drained.

Succulent Soil Ingredients

Other essential succulent soil ingredients such as Japanese Akadama, pumice, pine bark and Haydite provide the best drainage, water retention, nutrient retention, and air circulation.

Haydite or expanded shale absorbs excess water and then releases it slowly back to the roots.

Japanese Hard Akadama is a volcanic byproduct that is mined exclusively in Japan. It retains nutrients and water very well but it also breaks down to allow roots to grow so that the water does not pool around the bottom of the roots.

Pumice is a volcanic by-product that is highly effective at retaining the right amount of water and nutrients.

New Zealand Pine Bark also helps to hold the right amount of water and nutrients that keep succulents and cacti happy.

Perlite is a form of amorphous volcanic glass which is white in color. It is a great ingredient for succulent soil as it helps to store nutrients and moisture that succulent plants need but drains excess water away.

Vermiculite is similar to perlite but it has superior water-retaining properties. Both perlite and vermiculite are pH neutral and will not affect the pH level of the succulent soil mix.

Potted Succulents

If you have potted succulents, make sure they are planted in a container that has drainage holes. The drainage holes will allow any excess water to drain out from the soil and roots. Your plants will thank you and you will be able to enjoy beautiful lush succulents for years to come.

Best Succulent Soil Reviews

1. Superfly Bonsai Succulent and Cactus (2.5 Dry Quarts) Soil Mix

For a simple approach to succulent care, the Superfly Bonsai Succulent and Cactus Soil mix is an excellent choice for succulent plants.

Superfly Bonsai soil mix is specially formulated for succulents and cacti. It is very easy to apply as it is pre-mixed, sifted and ready for you to use on all your indoor or outdoor plants.

The substrate premium 2.5-quart mix is made up of primarily non-organic components such as 1/4-inch hard Japanese Akadama, 1/4-inch USA pumice, 1/4-inch New Zealand pine bark and 1/4-inch USA Haydite; and there is no dirt. These components are proven to provide the best drainage, water retention, nutrient retention and air circulation to promote healthy succulents and cacti.

You do not have to worry about over-watering as the soil makes it easy to maintain your stunning succulents and cacti. In just a short time, your succulents will produce strong roots, fleshy stems, and beautiful, colorful blooms.

The succulent soil zip bag is resealable, which helps to prevent the mix from being contaminated by fungi or pests.

Superfly Bonsai offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you are not happy with their product. The succulent mix also comes in a 25-quart bag which is equal to 12 cups and there are 1.25, 6, and 12-quart bags available.

Pros

  • Excellent quality
  • Very good value for money
  • Highly effective
  • Pre-mixed, sifted and ready to use
  • Specifically formulated for succulent and cactus
  • Substrate non-organic mix of hard Japanese Akadama, USA pumice, New Zealand pine bark and USA Haydite
  • Contains no dirt
  • Provides optimal drainage, water retention, and nutrient uptake and air to the roots
  • Easy zip resealable bag
  • 100% Money back guarantee
  • Available in multi-sized bags

Cons

  • Expensive

Check the price on Amazon

2. Hoffman 10404 4-Quarts Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix

Watch your succulents bloom with the Hoffman 10404 4-Quart Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix.

Hoffman has specifically designed their professionally formulated soil mix for jungle and desert cacti, Aloe Vera and other types of succulents.

The soil mix contains a blend of Canadian sphagnum peat moss, reed sedge peat, limestone, perlite, and sand, which is a great soil mix for most succulents. It has already been pH balanced so it is ready to use right out of the bag and provides very good drainage for your plants.

There are complete directions on the pack and Hoffman also include useful growing information for succulent plants.

If you find that the succulent soil is not draining like you would like it too, just add some gravel to the bottom of the pot and pop the soil on top.

To make sure that the soil provides the right amount of moisture to your succulents, make sure you follow Hoffman’s instructions.

  • High-quality
  • Very good value for money
  • Organic cactus and succulent soil mix
  • Ideal for smaller cacti
  • Specifically designed for jungle and desert cacti and succulents
  • Ready-to-use
  • Professionally formulated soil mix
  • Provides the drainage cacti need to flourish
  • pH balanced
  • Complete package directions and useful growing information for succulents

Cons

  • Poor moisture absorption
  • Only a few packet sizes available
  • Not certified organic

Check the price on Amazon

3. Espoma CA4 4-Quart Organic Cactus Mix

If you are a newbie succulent gardener or your cacti need a nutrient boost, the Espoma CA4 Organic Potting Mix will create thriving succulents.

The 4-quart organic cactus all-natural mix contains 40-50% peat humus, sphagnum peat moss, sand, perlite, earthworm castings and dolomitic limestone. For an extra boost, the soil is enhanced with Espoma’s special ingredient, Myco-tone Mycorrhizae.

This superior blend has a close to neutral pH level to cater for succulents and has 30% less water which helps retain moisture in the soil. It also improves aeration and promotes root growth, so that your succulents, cactus, palm or citrus plants grow up strong and healthy. If you are using it for citrus plants, the soil helps to reduce drought stress.

The cactus mix is not an OMRI-listed product but it is approved for organic gardening by a USDA accredited certifying agent.

Espoma offers the succulent soil mix in a 4-quart bag or 2-pack.

  • Premium-quality
  • Good price
  • All natural mix
  • Effective
  • Enhanced with Myco-tone Mycorrhizae
  • Can be used for all cactus palm, citrus, and succulents
  • Helps retain moisture and improves aeration
  • Promotes root growth
  • All natural and organic
  • USDA approved for organic gardening
  • Easy to use
  • May not suit fragile plants
  • Soil tends to retain a lot of moisture
  • Not OMRI listed

Check the price on Amazon

4. Miracle-Gro 8-Quart Cactus, Palm, and Citrus Potting Mix

Bring your cacti, palms or citrus plants to life with the Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm, and Citrus Potting Mix.

Miracle-Gro has specially designed their potting mix for use with indoor cactus, palm, citrus and all types of succulents in pots. So once you use the soil, your succulents will grow into healthy plants that produce beautiful, colorful flowers.

To make sure that your plants have the right soil environment for 6 months, the soil’s fast-draining formula is enriched with Miracle-Gro Plant Food. The succulent soil mix also contains forest products like sphagnum peat moss, sand, and perlite to help prevent soil compaction and improve water drainage.

Miracle-Gro offers a 6-month money-back guarantee if you are not happy with their succulent mix.

The succulent soil mix is available in an 8-quart packet or a 2-pack.

  • High-quality
  • Very good value for money
  • Affordable price
  • Specially formulated for cactus, palm, citrus and other succulents in pots
  • Produces beautiful, colorful flowers
  • Very effective
  • Easy to use
  • Feeds up to 6 months
  • Enriched with Miracle-Gro plant food
  • Enhanced fast-draining formula
  • Prevents soil compaction and provides improved drainage
  • 6-month money-back guarantee
  • Available in an 8-quart packet or a 2-pack
  • Should only be used for plants in containers
  • Not for in-ground plants
  • Can hold a lot of water so you may need to add extra perlite

Check the price on Amazon

5. Perfect Plants 4-Quart Succulent Soil Mix

Grow perfect succulents and cacti with the Perfect Plants Succulent Soil Mix.

Specially formulated, the succulent soil mix provides the perfect balance of air and moisture while retaining nutrients so that your succulents get their best chance at life.

Succulent plants are very delicate and do not enjoy too much moisture in their soil. But you can trust this soil mix to care for your succulents as the professional growers at Perfect Plants have mixed the soil to ensure proper drainage. This mix is also perfectly balanced to enrich the roots while aerating the soil and providing room for the roots to expand.

The pH-balanced batch is mixed fresh using a combination of organic peat moss, composted pine bark, perlite, lime and other vital ingredients. Once you add the soil, your succulents or cactus plants will have an arid-type, well-drained home.

Perfect Plants offer their succulent soil mix in a heavy-duty, zip resealable bag that is perfect for storage and reuse.

  • High-quality
  • Good price
  • Very good value for money
  • pH balanced
  • Fresh, organic soil
  • Good blend of organic ingredients
  • Specially formulated succulent soil mix
  • Provides the perfect balance of air, moisture, and nutrients
  • Professionally mixed
  • Effective
  • Can be used on all succulent and cactus types
  • Heavy-duty zip resealable bag
  • The soil is a little bit heavy

Check the price on Amazon

6. Bonsai Jack 111-2 Quarts Succulent and Cactus Soil Gritty Mix

One of the fast-draining succulent soils available, the Bonsai-Jack 111-2 Succulent and Cactus Soil Gritty Mix is an excellent choice for succulent plant enthusiasts.

You can use the soil for succulents, cactus, and bonsai plants. There is no need to worry about how wet or dry the soil is, as this ultra-fast draining succulent soil helps prevent root rot that is caused by overwatering.

This quality gritty mix is pre-washed, pre-screened, ultralight, airy, and pathogen-free and has an optimized pH of 5.5. The soil contains average sized particles such as 33% ¼-inch pine bark, 33% ¼-inch Bonsai block (calcined clay) and 33% ¼-inch Monto clay and it has a consistent particle size.

As it contains no heavy potting soil ingredients such as sphagnum or peat moss, it mimics the natural dry environment that succulents crave. Your prized plants will have the perfect soil environment they need to flourish in.

Bonsai Jack has tailor-made their succulent mix to suit your gardening needs and offers their soil mix in bag sizes from 2 quarts to 28 gallons. If you have any questions about their soil mix, Bonsai Jack offer great phone support.

Pros

  • Great quality
  • Very good value for money
  • Highly effective
  • Fastest draining succulent/cactus soil available
  • Pre-washed and screened
  • Ultra lightweight and airy
  • Prevents root rot due to overwatering
  • Will not damage roots
  • Optimized pH of 5.5
  • Perfect for succulents, cactus, and bonsai
  • Pathogen-free with extended pathogen-control
  • Contains a good organic blend of ingredients
  • Consistent particle size
  • Available in bag sizes from 2 quarts to 28 gallons
  • Expensive

Check the price on Amazon

7. Bliss Gardens 4-Quarts Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil

If your succulents need tender loving care, the Bliss Gardens Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil will help your desert plants to flourish.

Made in Green Bay, Wisconsin, this premium hand-made soil mix is specially designed for succulents and cacti that need extra drainage.

The soil contains a unique ingredient mix: shale, expanded clay, perlite, worm castings, and horticultural charcoal, horticultural sand, glacial rock dust and dolomite lime. These organics help promote proper drainage and filtering, as well as balancing the pH levels of the soil. Bliss Gardens also use Mycorrhizae root inoculate which establishes a beneficial fungus that creates strong and healthy roots. Your succulents and cacti will grow quickly into healthy vibrant plants with stunning foliage.

The Bliss Gardens succulent soil mix is available in a 4-quart bag.

  • Great quality
  • Very good value for money
  • Good price
  • Premium handmade soil mix
  • Specially designed for succulents and cacti that need a high drainage mix
  • Unique organic ingredients
  • Made in Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Highly effective
  • pH balanced
  • Not a lot of soil if you want to plant a lot of succulents
  • Tends to retain a lot of water

Check the price on Amazon

8. Fat Plants San Diego 1-Gallon Succulent Soil

For healthy succulent growth, the Fat Plants San Diego Succulent Soil will create happy succulents that will grow and bloom to perfection.

Fat Plants San Diego is a California licensed grower and nursery and their succulent soil is crafted according to a home-made recipe that has been used to successfully grow cacti and succulents for years.

This superb succulent soil contains a well-drained mix of nutrient-rich ingredients: perlite, sand, volcanic pumice, worm castings, blood and bone meal, peat moss, and perlite.

One of the highlights of the Fat Plants succulent soil is its varied particle size which allows the plants to receive the right amount of moisture at the right time. The soil is very easy to use and will create the perfect desert-like environment that succulents crave.

The Fat Plants Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix comes in several sizes: 1-gallon, 2-gallon, and a ½-gallon bag.

  • Excellent quality
  • Great value for money
  • Highly effective
  • Made from a successful home-made recipe
  • Specially formulated for cacti and succulents by a licensed grower and nursery
  • Nutrient-rich ingredients mix
  • Varied particle size allow for quick draining
  • Available in different sizes
  • Expensive

Check the price on Amazon

Our top pick for the best succulent soil is the Fat Plants San Diego Succulent Soil Mix.

Growing unique succulent plants can be challenging but the Fat Plants San Diego Succulent Soil Mix makes it super easy.

This premium soil mix creates a well-drained and nutrient-rich eco-system that succulents require to grow and thrive. Your succulents will develop strong roots systems, healthy fleshy green stems and beautiful colorful blooms that you will be proud of.

Check the price on Amazon

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Succulent Potting Soil Recipes: How To Make A Soil Mix For Succulents

Making Potting Soil for Succulents

Online recipes abound. Most use a base of regular potting soil or the bagged succulent potting soil mix. If you choose to make your own mix, use regular potting media without additives. We’ll explain further ingredients to add to this when amending or making your own succulent potting soil.

Frequent additions to succulent growing medium include:

Coarse Sand – Coarse sand included at one half or one third improves soil drainage. Don’t use the finely textured type such as play sand. Cactus may benefit from a higher mix of sand, but it must be the coarse type.

Perlite – Perlite is commonly included in most mixes for succulents. This product adds aeration and increases drainage; however, it is lightweight and often floats to the top when watered. Use at 1/3 to ½ in a mix with potting soil.

Turface – Turface is a soil conditioner and calcine clay product that adds aeration to the soil, provides oxygen and monitors moisture. A pebble type substance, it does not compact. Turface is the brand name but a commonly used term when referring to this product. Used as both a succulent soil mix additive and as a top dressing.

Pumice – Pumice volcanic material holds moisture and nutrients. Pumice is used by some in large quantities. Some growers use pumice only and report good results in trials. However, the use of this type of media requires more frequent watering. Depending on your location, you may have to order this product.

Coconut Coir – Coconut coir, the shredded husks of the coconut, adds drainage capabilities and can be wet repeatedly, as opposed to other products which might not accept water well after the initial wetting. Until recently, nobody mentioned coir (pronounced core) to the average succulent grower. At least one well-known succulent distributor uses coir as part of their unusual mix. I use a mix of 1/3 plain potting soil (the cheap kind), 1/3 coarse sand, and 1/3 coir and have healthy plants in my nursery.

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Succulents don’t need the same things that other kinds of plants do.

The most important thing to consider when looking for the best soil for succulents is how well it both absorbs and drains water.

The balance of having just enough water, but not too much, is necessary for your succulents to thrive.

The 6 Best Soil for Succulents

Most succulent soils have components that help balance water retention and water drainage but they all do it a little differently. Here are some of the best blends available.

Picture Succulent Soil Ideal for Link
Succulent Planter Soil Kit Terrarium Succulents & Cactus
Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix Succulents & Cactus
Cactus and Succulent Blend Potting Mix Succulents & Cactus
Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil Gritty Mix Succulents, Cactus, Bonsai & other Acid-loving Plants
Fat Plants San Diego Succulent Soil Gallon Cactus & Succulents
Hoffman 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix Cactus & Succulents

1. Succulent Planter Soil Kit Terrarium

The great this about this product from TerraGreen Creations is that it’s an all-inclusive kit that comes with everything you need to set up a nice-looking terrarium, including easy to follow instructions. All you have to do is add your own succulent.

Included in this kit are washed pea gravel for drainage, activated charcoal to remove toxins, organic soil to provide nutrients, smooth river rock for decoration, and bright sheet moss to remove moisture and add a bright pop of color.

If you were to buy all of these things individually, you would normally have to buy them in bulk which could get quite costly. This kit is a great way to save a bit of money because it only gives you exactly what you need.

This kit is available in 3 different sizes: small, medium, and large. Each includes a generous amount of material so you can put together exactly the kind of terrarium you want. It makes a great gift for anyone interested in succulents or learning how to put together a terrarium.

2. Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix

Another great choice is this blend from Superfly Bonsai. This is a pre-mixed, ready-to-use blend of Hard Japanese Akadama for water retention, USA Pumice to provide nutrients, New Zealand Pine Bark to hold water and fertilizer, and USA Haydite to absorb and release excess water.

This soil was developed to promote drainage while also retaining enough water to keep your succulents healthy. Plus, it allows air to reach the roots, which succulents need to thrive. It’s more accurate to call this a substrate rather than a soil because it doesn’t actually contain a lot of dirt.

The resealable bag is really convenient because it keeps the unused portion fresh until you need it. It’s available in 4 different sizes that range from 1.25 to 12 dry quarts so you can get the amount you need. For reference, the 1.25-quart bag contains about 6 cups of soil.

This product works well for cactus, too, and it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

3. Cactus and Succulent Blend Potting Mix

This potting mix from rePotme is a superior blend that’s handcrafted in small batches to make sure it maintains the same level of quality and maintains freshness. It’s resistant to a lot of insects and pathogens and can help keep your succulents happy and healthy.

Another reason this is such an effective blend is how well it drains while still absorbing the right amount of water. It holds onto just what your succulents need without any risk of rotting.

Perlite, pumice, sand, and stalite are blended together. Note that there’s no peat moss included. Peat moss can attract fungus gnats which can be devastating to your plants. Instead, they use coir, or ground coconut husk, for a durable and effective replacement.

This product is available in 6 different sizes ranging from a mini-bag with 1.5 quarts to a large cube of 50 quarts. To give you an idea about volume, 1 quart fills a 6-inch wide pot or half of an 8-inch pot.

4. Bonsai Jack Succulent Cactus Soil Gritty Mix

This most impressive thing about this soil from Bonsai Jack is that it’s one of the fastest draining soils available so it helps prevent overwatering and root rot. It’s mixed by professionals and hobbyists alike to be the perfect blend for acid-loving succulents.

In addition to being ultra-lightweight and airy, this gritty soil is ideal for water absorption, evaporation, density, and particle size. It includes bonsai block, monitor clay, and pine bark plus it’s lab-tested to make sure there are no pathogens or insects that can harm your plants.

This soil is a little larger than some of the other products on the market. Rather than having a soil-like texture, it actually has a particle size of a ¼ inch which is one reason why it’s so effective at draining. This also lets air penetrate the soil more easily.

Another great thing about this product is the wide range of sizes it comes in, from 2 quarts to 28 gallons. It’s all pre-washed and screened so, no matter how large your project, Bonsai Jack is there for you.

5. Fat Plants San Diego Succulent Soil Gallon

Fat Plants soil is hand-mixed by a licensed grower and nursery in San Diego, California. It contains a mixture of perlite, sand, volcanic pumice, worm castings, blood and bone meal, and perlite and is generally very easy to work with.

This combination has been used by Fat Plants to grow their succulents for years. It’s quick draining, nourishing, and very fertile. There are no large chunks or powdery soils, just a nice medium particle-sized blend that allows roots to grow and air to circulate.

One of the nice things about this is it comes in small, manageable sized packages. This gallon size will fill about 4 empty 10-inch pots. There are ½ and 2-gallon bags available, too. Plus, every box comes with a hand-written thank you note.

6. Hoffman 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix

This organic mix from Hoffman is professionally formulated for use with a variety of succulents, including cacti. It’s pH balanced, ready to use, and provides the right amount of nutrients, absorption, and drainage.

The blend includes Canadian Sphagnum peat moss, reed sedge peat, perlite, sand, and limestone. While peat moss has a tendency to attract bugs, placing the whole bag in the freezer overnight kills them so you don’t have to worry.

This soil comes in packs that hold 4 quarts but can also be ordered in multi-packs of 2, 3, or 4 so you can get exactly the quantity you need for your project.

What Kind of Soil for Succulents?

One thing to remember about growing succulents is that most people swear by the soil that they use. A lot of people who have been doing it for a long time will have a blend that they swear by but they will all have some things in common.

Before we get into the particulars about soil, it helps to think about where succulents grow naturally. They’re adapted to environments that where it doesn’t rain and can get by and even thrive with just a little water.

That’s the key to good succulent soil. It has to hold on to just the right amount of water. Too little or too much isn’t the right environment.

What ingredients are used in succulent soil?

One of the main ingredients in any soil for succulents is organic matter. Peat moss is one of the most common sources but it dries out quickly and doesn’t absorb enough water. This is why you can’t just buy regular peat moss and call it a day.

Finely ground bark or fiber is usually added in with the peat moss. This helps water penetrate the plant roots more quickly and stops it from drying out too much.

Another component of this type of soil is some kind of inorganic substance that lets water soak into the soil quickly as well as drain adequately to keep the soil light and airy. This can be a variety of different materials, including perlite, pumice, crushed granite, or clay.

What is the Best Soil for Succulents?

The best soil for succulents is the Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix from Superfly Bonsai.

It’s pre-mixed, ready-to-use, and retains the right amount of water while also promoting adequate drainage. It also allows air to reach the roots, which succulents love.

This is a really convenient product because it comes it a lot of different sizes and each comes packaged in a resealable bag so you can keep the unused portion fresh until you need it.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one product, we recommend the TerraGreen Creations Succulent Planter Soil Kit Terrarium.

It includes everything you need for proper planting, including pea gravel, activated charcoal, organic soil, and sheet moss.

How to Plant a Succulent in a Pot?

Planting succulents is pretty simple but there are some things to keep in mind.

The Pot

First thing’s first, make sure the pot you choose has adequate drainage. Remember, succulents need adequate drainage to survive. If your pot doesn’t have adequate drainage, it won’t matter how good your soil is because all the water will collect inside anyway.

There is a way around this. If you have a pot or container that you really love and it doesn’t have holes, you can place a layer of pea gravel to the bottom. This essentially creates a gap between the bottom of the pot and the roots which keep your plant safe.

If you’re new to succulents, terra cotta pots are a great choice. They dry quickly, pull some water out of the soil, and they’re breathable. Basically, they really help prevent overwatering but providing a bit of a buffer.

Another thing to remember is that succulents typically grow to the size of their environment. If you want your plant to grow larger, you can place it in a larger pot. If not, you really only have to get one large enough for its current size.

Preparing the Pot

Although this might sound a bit counterintuitive, the first thing you need to do is cover the drainage holes. Use window screening or landscape fabric that will still allow the water to pass through. Otherwise, the soil will slowly wash away with the water as it drains.

If you don’t have drainage holes, this is the point where you would add pea gravel to the bottom of the pot. How much you should use depends on the pot and your succulent but be sure to add at least a few inches.

Adding the Soil

Add soil until it’s just about to the top of the pot. After you place the succulents, there should be able ½ to 1 inch of space below the top of the pot and the soil line so you have enough space to water the plant without overflowing the pot.

Arrange Your Plants

Create the design you’re looking for with your succulents. Some people use one small succulent in a small pot while others use larger pots and build intricate fairy gardens and succulent sculptures. It’s really up to you!

Plant the Succulents

Remove your succulents from the nursery pot carefully by holding the plant gently at the top by the stem. Rather than pulling it out, tap the side of the pot until the plant is free. Place the plant in the container and add additional soil around the plant.

The most important part about this step is to make sure that the roots are completely covered. If not, the succulent will quickly dry out.

Finishing Touches

A lot of people finish off the surface of the soil with either rocks or some kind of moss. These things add a different look but they can also help control water distribution.

How to Take Care of Succulents?

Succulents are pretty low maintenance but there are some things you should do to make sure they live as long as possible.

How much water do my succulents need?

Believe it or not, being overwatered is much worse for succulents than being under-watered. In pots with drainage holes, all you have to do is moisten the soil every few days and that’s enough. If the pot doesn’t have any drainage, you can get away with a tablespoon of water every few days.

Basically, you want the water to be only slightly moist and you should see it soak right in immediately. If the water doesn’t quickly get soaked in, you’ve probably overwatered. A good rule of thumb? Water when the soil is dry. If it’s the slightest bit damp, it doesn’t need it.

How do you know if you’re not watering them enough? You’ll be able to tell by looking at the plant. The leaves will start to look dry and will no longer have the lush look that succulents are known for.

Underwatering is easy to fix if caught in time. Just water as normal and they’ll perk up right away.

Also, remember that succulents are usually dormant in the winter so you don’t need to water them as much when the temperature drops.

Can I keep my succulents outside?

Succulents can be kept outside or on a windowsill in direct sunlight as long as the temperature doesn’t get too low. They should be brought inside during freezing temperatures or if there is a chance of morning frost.

On the other end of the spectrum, succulents also shouldn’t be kept outside in extremely high temperatures. Anything over 100 degrees F is too hot and will start to dry out the leaves. Make sure to bring them indoors when needed.

There are also some varieties that can actually get sunburned. If you notice black patches or the leaves start to look cloudy, there’s a good chance the plant is getting too much direct sunlight and it should be moved into the shade.

Keep in mind that succulents should have access to bright sunlight for at least 6 hours a day when they’re not dormant. You can keep them outside or make sure to get them close a window for most of the day.

Are there any bad signs to look out for?

Caring for succulents is pretty easy but there are some things that can indicate a problem. Sometimes, it’s easy to fix. Other times, there’s not much to be down.

Mushy leaves. If the leaves of your succulent are mushy, it means there’s too much water in them which means you’re watering them too often. Stop watering until they return to normal and let the soil completely dry out before watering again.

Rotting roots. If you smell or see root rot, there’s too much water in the soil. This could mean that you’re watering too often, that the drainage is inadequate, or the soil is packed too tightly and isn’t draining properly.

Fading color. Light-colored leaves on a plant that used to be bright and vibrant is usually a sign that the plant isn’t getting enough light.

Mold. Mold on the leaves is usually a sign of overwatering but can also mean that there’s too much humidity. Watering with a spray bottle can cause this because it gets water on the leaves as well as in the soil which can actually harm the plant.

Stretching or gapping. If you notice that the leaves of your succulent are thinning or you start to see gaps where there weren’t any before, it’s a sign that your succulent needs more sunlight. It’s basically stretching to reach out to find it.

Conclusion

Succulents are pretty easy to take care of. The most important things are to make sure that your plant is getting the right amount of water and sunlight. Finding the balance between too much and just enough is key.

Finding the best soil for succulents is the most important thing you can do to set your plant up for success. The soil needs to drain adequately while holding onto the right amount of water to nourish the plant.

If you notice that something is off, chances are it has to do with watering. Watering is the single most important thing about taking care of succulents so pay close attention to the soil and the state of your succulent leaves.

The best soil for succulents is the Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix from Superfly Bonsai. It’s a great balance of everything that will help your plant thrive and it comes in a few different sizes, each of which has a resealable bag so you can keep it fresh until you need it.

If you want something that’s an all-in-one kit, check out the TerraGreen Creations Succulent Planter Soil Kit Terrarium. It has a little bit of everything you need to create a healthy, gorgeous terrarium. Just add the succulent of your choice.

See also:

5 Best Soil for Raised Garden Beds – (Guide & Reviews 2020)

6 Best Soil for Tomatoes – (2020 Reviews & Guide)

A Guide On How To Plant Succulents

With their versatility, resilience, and timeless look, succulents are becoming an increasingly popular plant for both indoor accents and outdoor gardening. Succulents can be planted in individual pots for unique placement throughout your home and garden, or they can be planted directly into the ground for permanent placement.

At this point, you know how gorgeous succulents look, but you might still be wondering how to plant succulents. These plants are known for being tough guys that can resist drought and other curveballs, but luckily for you, succulents are not nearly as tough to plant.

From intricate succulent bowls to delicate individual rosettes, planting succulents is an easy task to conquer on your own, all you need are a few materials and simple instructions.

The Perfect Placement

Before you begin planting your succulents, you should consider where you want them to grow. If you live in a hot climate, you should look for an area that receives partial sun and shade.

Contrary to popular belief, if succulents are direct sunlight in hot temperatures all day, they often getspotty and sunburnt. However, if you live in a cold climate, you want to position your succulents in a space where they will receive the optimum amount of sunshine.

Gather the Materials

Once you know where you want to plant your succulent, the next step is ensuring you have the right materials to set your succulent up for success. One of the reasons that succulents have such a great reputation is because they are drought resistant.

However, this also means that they do not thrive in moisture like many other plants. Therefore, some special materials are needed when it comes to succulent soil mix.

To accommodate succulents’ unique soil needs, you can purchase potting soil that is specifically designed for succulents and cacti. If you like getting your hands dirty and doing things yourself, you can also make this soil at home with a few simple ingredients.

Combine one part Perlite, two parts coarse sand, and three parts peat moss. Pumice or grit can also be added into the mix if you are missing one of these items. The main goal is to create a combination will allow for water drainage through the soil, keeping your drought tolerant friends happy.

After you have created the soil, you must have a container or area designated to plant the succulent. If you select a pot or bowl, it is important that it has a hole in the bottom so that water can drain through. This is essential so that your succulents do not drown and experience root-rot.

If you are going to plant your succulents in the ground, make sure that you provide your succulents with at least six inches of this specialized soil. This can go on top of the existing soil, or you can mix it in while adding additional porous materials such as sand.

Last but definitely not least, you will need some succulents! If you are new to succulents or are looking to diversify your collection, we offer plenty of stunningsucculents to shop from. On the other hand, if you already have a healthy succulent garden, you can takesucculent cuttings from existing plants and use those as well.

Bowls and Beyond

Succulents can be planted in bowls, pots, and just about any other container imaginable. This is versatility is a wonderful attribute when using succulents to compliment your interior decor. We have all seen beautiful bowls of succulents, which lead most of us to wonderhow to replant succulents into those vibrant arrangements.

Fill your bowl or pot up about 75% of the way with soil. As you add succulents and decide that you like the placement, you can fill the soil in. After you have added the soil, select a succulent for your bowl’s centerpiece.

This is often a larger or unique succulent that will serve as a focal point. Next, plant around the border of your bowl. Succulents that drape over the side of the bowl look wonderful around the edges.

Finally, take the remainder of your succulents and fill in the middle areas. Once all of your succulents are in place, you can fill any empty spaces with soil. If desired, cover with gravel for a clean, finished look. Now that your pot is complete, you can water your succulents, but be very careful not to overwater.

Outdoor Oasis

If you want your succulents to grow outside, you can plant them directly in the ground, in planters, or in a combination of both. When planting your succulents in the ground, ensure that you provide them with six to eight inches of succulent specific soil.

This will allow the roots with plenty of space to grow without being bogged down by moisture. After you have spread the soil, create holes for the succulents before placing them in the ground and filling in the soil.

Finally, gently water the succulents to solidify their placement. Remember that your succulents will grow, so do not plant them too close together if you want them to spread out and grow larger.Succulents that are planted directly in the ground pair well with succulents that are in bowls or pots, creating levels and adding another element to your garden.

Now that you know how to plant a succulent, your outdoor oasis awaits! Whether you are looking to plant a single succulent or to create a lush garden, succulents are not only simple to plant, but also simple to care for. Check out ourultimate guide on how to care for succulents if you want to learn more!

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