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soil for succulents

How to Prepare Well Drained Soil for Succulents?

How to Prepare Well Drained Soil for Succulents?

Porous potting soil is the best soil for succulents. The gravel is essential as the first layer of the pot to drain the soil instantly. We should mix sandy soil with vermiculite. Succulents soil mix, the drainage hole is necessary. If it is not present, then we should pour alternate days.
After long research, the best soil for succulents is all types of soil mixtures like sandy soil and pebbles, suitable for good drainage. Instant drainage will lead to growing succulents and looks beautiful.

soil for succulents

Best Available Soil for Succulents

First, the layer we should use cactus, soil mix, and African violet mix. Soil mixture is available in the market and nursery centers as well. Anyhow well drainage after pouring water is essential.

A gardener will add some ingredients to make succulents healthy.

Drainage of water is essential to organic growth.

The main thing for succulent is an organic mix, peat moss because it is compulsory to grow succulents.

By mixing a ground bark, water will drain quickly into the homemade mixture. Peat Moss, fibrous, coconut husk, is just because it decomposes slowly.

The inorganic substance is the main ingredient that allows water to soak and drain out of the soil mix instant. It will keep the mix airy. We use many items like crushed granite, pumice, and chicken grit, calcined clay perlite to improve the drainage and soil aeration. Soil aeration is compulsory for succulents.

Succulent roots absorb water quickly. The stems, leaves are store in the water for a long time. It will store for a month in hill area succulents hold moisture and nutrients. It will not damage because the hill station covers with rocks. In the rainy season, water will drain instant in hill areas.

Best potting soil for succulents

  1. Espuma API Z organic potting mix
  2. Carty Hottman organic cactus
  3. The black gold organic potting soil
  4. Miracle-Gro, Peat moss, perlite, blends of fertilizers

The demand for potting soil mix is high in the market because we can grow succulents Indoor permanently.

Hoffman Organic Succulent & Cactus Soil Mix

Hoffman 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix

This succulent soil mix consists of peat moss, limestone, sand; peat moss is a must for succulents.

Espoma APZ Organic Potting Soil

Espoma Organic Potting Soil

It will use as a potting soil mixture. In The Myco-Tone formula, Plants will grow fast without any risk.

Black Gold

It is an organic soil mix used for potting soil. It has rich in organic fertilizers like Earthworm castings, perlite, and pumice. It is a well-known potting mix to grow for succulents both in indoor and outdoor plants and helps vegetables and flowers.


It is an excellent potting soil mix for succulent growth. This soil mix is a blend of fertilizers. Perlite, Peat moss, consists of 16% potash, 11% phosphate, which is useful for plants and succulents.

Understanding Succulent Soil

Succulent plants have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their unique appearance and low-maintenance requirements. These plants have adapted to survive in arid environments by storing water in their leaves, stems, and roots. However, they also require specific growing conditions, including well-draining soil that provides good aeration.

One of the unique characteristics of soil for succulents is its ability to provide excellent drainage. Succulent soil is typically a blend of materials that promote water movement, such as coarse sand, perlite, and pumice. These materials allow excess water to drain away quickly, preventing the roots from becoming waterlogged, which can lead to root rot.

In addition to good drainage, succulent soil also needs to provide adequate aeration. This is essential for the plant’s roots to receive the oxygen they need to survive. Soil for succulents should be loose and airy, allowing for oxygen to circulate through the soil and around the roots. This can be achieved by adding coarse sand, perlite, or pumice to the soil mix.

Succulent soil should also be nutrient-poor compared to regular potting soil. Succulent plants are adapted to survive in nutrient-poor environments and can actually be harmed by soil that is too rich in nutrients. Fertilizer should only be applied sparingly and only during the growing season.

Finally, it’s important to note that succulent soil should be replaced periodically. Over time, soil can become compacted, reducing its ability to drain and provide adequate aeration. When soil becomes compacted, it can also hold onto excess water, leading to root rot. Experts recommend repotting succulents every one to two years, depending on the plant’s growth rate and soil conditions.

Soil for Succulents

Role of soil in the growth & health of succulent plants

Soil plays a crucial role in the growth and health of succulent plants. It provides the plant with necessary nutrients, support, and moisture. The right soil can make a significant difference in the ability of a succulent to thrive, especially since succulents have unique requirements when it comes to soil.

One of the primary requirements of succulent soil is good drainage. Succulents are adapted to arid environments and are used to dry conditions, so they are sensitive to overwatering. If the soil does not drain well, the succulent’s roots can rot, which can quickly lead to the plant’s death. Good drainage allows excess water to flow through the soil, preventing water from pooling around the roots.

Aeration is another essential characteristic of succulent soil. The soil must allow air to circulate freely around the roots, providing oxygen that is essential for the plant’s survival. Succulents have shallow root systems that are easily damaged, so the soil must be loose and porous to avoid damaging the roots when watering or repotting.

The texture of succulent soil is also important. Succulent soil should be coarse and gritty, allowing water to pass through and drain quickly. The soil should also be well-draining, allowing air to circulate freely around the roots. The ideal soil for succulents is a mixture of organic and inorganic materials, such as sand, perlite, and peat moss. This combination provides the right balance of water retention, aeration, and nutrients.

Another crucial factor in the role of soil in the growth and health of succulent plants is pH levels. Succulents prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. Soil that is too alkaline or too acidic can affect the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients, leading to stunted growth or nutrient deficiencies.

String of hearts

Common misconceptions about soil for succulents

There are several common misconceptions when it comes to soil for succulents, and believing in these misconceptions can have negative consequences on the health and growth of these plants. One of the most common misconceptions is that regular potting soil is sufficient for succulents, when in reality, succulents require a specialized soil mix that meets their unique needs.

Regular potting soil is designed to hold moisture and retain nutrients for plants that require consistent moisture levels. However, succulents are adapted to arid environments and store water in their leaves and stems, making them susceptible to root rot if they are overwatered or if the soil doesn’t drain well. Succulent soil mixes are designed to be fast-draining and porous, allowing water to quickly pass through the soil and prevent the roots from sitting in stagnant water.

Another common misconception is that adding sand to regular potting soil will make it suitable for succulents. While sand can improve drainage in soil, it can also create a compacted soil that doesn’t allow for proper aeration. Instead, succulent soil mixes often include materials such as perlite, pumice, or crushed granite to create a porous soil that allows for both drainage and aeration.

Some gardeners also believe that adding fertilizer to succulent soil will help their plants grow faster or larger. However, succulents are adapted to nutrient-poor soils and often do not require frequent fertilization. In fact, adding too much fertilizer can cause succulents to grow too quickly and become weak and leggy, making them more susceptible to damage.

Finally, another misconception is that all succulent soil mixes are the same. While they may share some common characteristics, not all succulent soil mixes are created equal. Some mixes may be too heavy on organic matter and retain too much moisture, while others may not include enough organic matter and not provide enough nutrients for the plants to thrive. It is important to choose a high-quality succulent soil mix that is specifically designed for these plants, or to create a DIY mix that meets their unique needs.

soil for succulents

Type of Soil for Succulents & Cacti Plants

Succulent soils can be classified into organic and inorganic types. Organic succulent soil contains a mixture of organic materials, such as peat moss, coco coir, and compost, while inorganic succulent soil contains primarily inorganic materials, such as sand, perlite, and vermiculite.

Organic succulent soil is typically denser and retains moisture better than inorganic soil. It provides nutrients for the plants and promotes microbial activity, which can help maintain soil health. However, organic soil can also compact over time, leading to poor drainage and root rot.

In contrast, inorganic succulent soil is lightweight and provides excellent drainage and aeration. It is less likely to compact over time, reducing the risk of root rot. However, it does not provide nutrients for the plants, so fertilization may be necessary.

succulent Soil comparison

So, which types of soils are suitable for succulents?

When it comes to growing succulent plants, soil is an essential factor that can significantly impact their growth and health. Succulent plants have unique requirements when it comes to soil, and using the right type of soil is crucial for their success. Here is an overview of the different types of soil that are suitable for succulents:

Cactus Soil

Cactus soil is a popular option for growing succulent plants, and it is readily available at most garden centers. Cactus soil is made by mixing standard potting soil with sand, gravel, or perlite to increase drainage and aeration. This type of soil is ideal for succulents because it helps prevent overwatering and root rot. Cactus soil is also designed to have a lower nutrient content, which is beneficial for succulent plants that do not require as many nutrients as other plants.

Gritty Mix

A gritty mix is a specialized type of soil that is made up of coarse particles like pumice, perlite, and gritty sand. This type of soil is designed to mimic the natural soil composition of succulent plants’ natural habitat, which is often rocky, gritty, and dry. Gritty mix provides excellent drainage and aeration, which helps prevent overwatering and root rot. This soil type is suitable for succulent plants that are prone to root rot or that require more extensive root systems.

Perlite Mix

Perlite is a type of volcanic glass that has been heated and expanded to create lightweight, porous particles. Perlite mix is made by mixing regular potting soil with perlite to increase drainage and aeration. Perlite mix is a suitable option for succulent plants that require good drainage and aeration, but it may not provide enough nutrients on its own. Perlite mix is best used as a soil amendment, mixed with other soil types to create a suitable soil mixture for succulent plants.

It is important to note that succulent plants’ soil needs can vary depending on the species and individual plant’s requirements. Therefore, it is essential to research and understand the specific soil needs of the succulent plants you are growing to ensure they thrive.

succulent soil types

Pros & Cons of each type of soil used for Succulents

Cactus Soil:

Cactus soil is a popular choice for succulent growers because it is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of cacti and succulent plants. This type of soil is made up of a blend of organic and inorganic materials such as sand, perlite, and peat moss. The benefits of using cactus soil include its excellent drainage and ability to hold moisture while also allowing air to circulate through the soil. Additionally, cactus soil is typically high in nutrients, which can promote healthy growth. However, one downside to using cactus soil is that it can be expensive compared to other types of soil.

Gritty Mix:

Gritty mix soil is a blend of inorganic materials such as granite, turface, and chicken grit, which provides excellent drainage and aeration for succulent plants. This type of soil is highly recommended for growers who live in areas with high humidity or rainfall, as it prevents excess moisture from accumulating around the roots of the plant. Gritty mix soil is also known for its long-lasting quality, as it does not break down easily and can be reused for multiple plantings. However, one drawback of gritty mix soil is that it can be challenging to find the right balance of moisture and nutrients for optimal plant growth.

Perlite Mix:

Perlite mix soil is another popular choice for succulent growers due to its light, porous texture and ability to retain moisture. Perlite mix soil is made up of a blend of peat moss and perlite, which provides excellent drainage and aeration for the plant. Perlite mix soil is also easy to find and relatively inexpensive compared to other types of soil. However, one downside to using perlite mix soil is that it may need to be supplemented with additional nutrients over time to promote healthy plant growth.

Sand Mix:

Sand mix soil is a simple blend of sand and peat moss, which provides excellent drainage and aeration for succulent plants. This type of soil is relatively inexpensive and easy to find, making it a popular choice among growers. However, sand mix soil can be challenging to work with and may require frequent watering to prevent it from drying out completely. Additionally, sand mix soil may not provide enough nutrients to support healthy plant growth over the long term.

succulent soil mix ratio

How to Make Your Own DIY Succulent Soil Mix

Making your own succulent soil mix is a great way to customize the soil to your specific succulent’s needs while also saving money. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make your own succulent soil mix using various ingredients:

Choose your base ingredient:

The base ingredient is the primary component of your soil mix. There are several options for a base ingredient, such as coco coir, peat moss, and regular potting soil. However, it is important to note that regular potting soil is not recommended as a base ingredient as it is too moisture-retentive for succulents.

Add inorganic material for drainage and aeration:

Succulent soil needs to be well-draining and aerated, so it’s important to add inorganic material to your mix. This can include perlite, pumice, coarse sand, or gravel. Aim to add 30-50% inorganic material to your soil mix.

Mix in nutrients:

While succulents don’t require as many nutrients as other plants, it’s still important to provide them with some fertilizer. You can add slow-release fertilizer pellets, worm castings, or compost to your soil mix for added nutrients.

Adjust pH levels:

Succulents prefer a slightly acidic soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5. If your base ingredient has a high pH level, you may need to add acidic material like sulfur to lower the pH.

Mix all ingredients together:

Once you have all of your ingredients ready, mix them together thoroughly. It’s important to make sure that all of the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the soil mix.

Use the soil mix:

Your homemade succulent soil mix is now ready to use! When planting your succulent, make sure to loosen the roots and remove any excess soil before planting it in the new soil mix.

Overall, making your own succulent soil mix can be a fun and rewarding experience that can help ensure the health and longevity of your succulent plants. Just be sure to choose the right ingredients, adjust the pH levels as needed, and mix everything together thoroughly.

Choosing the Right Soil for Your Succulents

When it comes to choosing soil for your succulent plants, there are several factors to consider. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

Plant species:

Different types of succulents have different soil requirements. Some prefer sandy soil, while others prefer soil with more organic matter. It’s important to research the soil preferences of your specific succulent species to ensure you choose the right type of soil.

Pot size:

The size of your pot can also affect your soil choice. Smaller pots with less soil will dry out more quickly than larger pots, so you may want to choose a soil mix that retains more moisture if you have smaller pots.


The climate in which you live can also affect your soil choice. In humid environments, you may want to choose a soil mix that allows for better drainage to prevent your plants from sitting in water. In drier environments, you may want a soil mix that retains more moisture.

Personal preferences:

Finally, personal preferences should also be taken into account. Some gardeners may prefer to make their own soil mix, while others may prefer to purchase a pre-made mix for convenience.

Overall, the key is to choose a soil mix that provides good drainage and aeration, while also retaining enough moisture to keep your succulent plants healthy. By considering the factors above, you can choose the best soil for your specific succulent species and growing conditions.

Potting Soil vs Potting Mix

Succulent Potting Soil vs Succulent Potting Mix a Quick Overview

Succulent potting soil and succulent potting mix are both designed to provide the ideal growing environment for succulent plants. However, there are some differences between the two that may make one better suited for indoor or outdoor growing.

Succulent Potting Soil

Succulent potting soil is a mixture of ingredients specifically formulated for succulent plants. It typically contains a blend of sand, perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss. This combination provides excellent drainage and aeration, which is essential for the health of succulent plants.

The peat moss in succulent potting soil can help to retain some moisture, which is important in drier climates or for plants that require more water. However, too much moisture retention can be detrimental to succulent plants and lead to root rot.

Succulent Potting Mix

Succulent potting mix is similar to succulent potting soil, but it typically contains less peat moss or none at all. Instead, it may include ingredients such as coconut coir, pine bark, or crushed granite.

Succulent potting mix is designed to provide even better drainage and aeration than potting soil, making it a good choice for outdoor growing or for plants that require less water.

Which is best for Indoors and Outdoors Growing?

When it comes to choosing between succulent potting soil and succulent potting mix for indoor or outdoor growing, there are a few factors to consider.

Indoor Growing

For indoor growing, succulent potting soil may be the better choice as it can help to retain some moisture in the air-conditioned or heated environment. However, it’s important to be mindful of the watering frequency and to allow the soil to dry out completely between watering to prevent root rot.

Outdoor Growing

For outdoor growing, succulent potting mix may be the better choice as it provides better drainage and aeration, which is essential in wetter climates or for plants that require less water. Succulent potting mix also tends to dry out faster than potting soil, which is beneficial in outdoor environments where there is more exposure to the sun and wind.

Importance of Drainage & Moisture-retention properties

Assessing the drainage and moisture-retention properties of soil is essential before planting your succulents. Here are some guidelines to help you:

Water the Soil

Before planting, water the soil and observe how quickly the water is absorbed and how well it drains. If the water sits on top of the soil for an extended period, the soil may not have enough drainage, and you may need to add more perlite or sand to improve drainage.

Squeeze Test

Take a handful of soil and squeeze it tightly in your hand. If the soil remains compacted and does not crumble, it may retain too much moisture, and you may need to add more coarse sand or perlite to improve drainage.

Weight Test

Pick up the pot with your plant and feel the weight. If it is heavy, it may indicate that the soil is retaining too much water, and you may need to amend it with more coarse materials to improve drainage.

Check for Pests

Before planting, inspect the soil for any signs of pests, such as gnats or fungus. If you notice any pests, you may need to replace the soil or treat it with an appropriate insecticide or fungicide.

Consider the Climate

The climate in your area may also affect the soil’s drainage and moisture-retention properties. In humid environments, you may need a soil mix with more coarse materials to prevent water from pooling around the roots of your succulents.

How to transplant succulents into new soil and pots?

Transplanting succulents into new soil and pots is an important aspect of succulent care. It is recommended to transplant succulents every 2-3 years or when the pot becomes overcrowded with roots.

Transplanting can also help to refresh the soil and provide a fresh start for the plant. Here are some steps to follow when transplanting succulents into new soil and pots:

Choose the Right Pot

Select a pot that is slightly larger than the current pot and has a drainage hole. A pot that is too large can hold too much moisture, which can lead to root rot.

Prepare the New Soil

Choose a well-draining soil mix that is suitable for succulents. You can use a pre-made mix or make your own using materials like coarse sand, perlite, or pumice. Mix the soil with a small amount of water to moisten it.

Remove the Plant from its old Pot

Gently remove the succulent from its old pot by tapping the sides and bottom of the pot. If the plant is stubborn, you can gently loosen the soil around the roots with a fork or chopstick.

Remove old Soil and Dead Roots

Remove any old soil that is sticking to the roots. Take the opportunity to inspect the roots for any dead or rotting sections and trim them off.

Plant the Succulent in the New Pot

Place a layer of soil at the bottom of the new pot and position the succulent on top, ensuring that the plant is level and centered in the pot. Fill the remaining space with soil, gently packing it around the roots to eliminate air pockets.

Water the Succulent

Water the succulent lightly to help settle the soil around the roots. Avoid overwatering, as succulents are prone to root rot when they sit in soggy soil.

Tips to minimize stress on the plants during transplanting
  1. Transplant succulents during the spring or summer when they are actively growing.
  2. Avoid transplanting succulents during periods of drought or extreme heat.
  3. Handle the plant gently to avoid damaging the roots or leaves.
  4. Allow the plant to rest for a few days after transplanting and avoid direct sunlight during this time.
  5. Water the succulent sparingly for the first few weeks after transplanting to avoid overwatering.

By following these steps and tips, you can successfully transplant your succulents into new soil and pots, giving them a fresh start and promoting their growth and health.

Maintaining Succulent Soil

Regular soil maintenance is crucial for the long-term health and growth of succulent plants. Even with the best soil and watering practices, soil can become compacted, depleted of nutrients, and contaminated with debris. Here are some reasons why regular soil maintenance is important and how to do it:

Preventing Soil Compaction

Soil can become compacted over time, making it harder for roots to grow and absorb nutrients. This can lead to stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and root rot. To prevent soil compaction, you can loosen the top inch of soil with a fork or chopstick. This will help aerate the soil and allow water to penetrate deeper.

Removing Debris

Dead leaves, twigs, and other debris can accumulate in the soil and attract pests or diseases. It’s important to remove this debris regularly to keep the soil healthy and free of contaminants. You can use a pair of tweezers or small tongs to gently remove debris from the soil without disturbing the plant roots.

Replenishing Nutrients

Succulent plants need nutrients to grow and thrive, and over time, the soil can become depleted of these nutrients. To replenish nutrients, you can mix a slow-release fertilizer into the soil or use a liquid fertilizer diluted in water. Be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package and use it sparingly, as over-fertilization can burn the plant roots.

Replacing Soil

In some cases, soil may need to be completely replaced if it’s too compacted or contaminated with pests or diseases. When repotting your succulent, gently remove the plant from the old soil and clean the roots with water. Then, place the plant in fresh, well-draining soil and water lightly. It’s important not to water too heavily after repotting, as this can lead to overwatering and root rot.

By maintaining the soil of your succulent plants, you can help them thrive and grow for years to come. Be sure to monitor your plants regularly for signs of stress or disease and adjust your soil maintenance practices accordingly.

How do water succulent plants without overwatering or underwatering them?

Watering succulents is a crucial part of their care, as overwatering or underwatering can lead to plant stress and even death. Proper watering technique involves finding a balance between providing enough moisture for the plant’s needs while allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.

Adjusting Watering Frequency

One of the key factors to consider when watering succulents is the type of soil they are planted in. As discussed earlier, succulents require soil with good drainage to prevent water from accumulating in the root zone, which can cause rotting. The best way to water succulents is to thoroughly soak the soil and then let it dry out completely before watering again. This will ensure that the roots receive enough moisture while also preventing water from accumulating in the pot.

Soil Moisture Levels

To determine when to water your succulent, check the soil moisture level regularly. Insert a finger about an inch deep into the soil and feel for moisture. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water. If the soil feels moist, wait a few more days before checking again. Another method to check the moisture level is by using a moisture meter. These meters are available at garden centers and can give you an accurate reading of the soil moisture level.


It’s also important to consider the climate when determining how often to water your succulents. In hot and dry climates, succulents may need to be watered more frequently than in cooler, humid climates. However, regardless of the climate, it’s important to avoid overwatering, which can cause root rot.

When watering succulents, it’s best to use a watering can or a small stream of water rather than a spray bottle. Spraying the leaves and stem can cause water to collect in crevices, which can lead to rotting. It’s also important to avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can cause sunburn or scarring.

In addition to watering, it’s important to provide your succulents with proper light, nutrients, and soil conditions. Regular soil maintenance, such as removing debris and replenishing nutrients, can help keep your succulents healthy and thriving.

How to fertilize succulent plants using the right type of fertilizer and in the correct amounts?

Fertilizing succulent plants is an essential part of maintaining their health and promoting growth. However, it is important to use the right type of fertilizer and apply it in the correct amounts to avoid damaging the plants. Following, we will discuss how to fertilize succulent plants effectively.

Understand Your Succulent Requirements

First, it is important to understand the nutrient requirements of succulent plants. Succulents typically require lower amounts of nitrogen and higher amounts of phosphorus and potassium compared to other plants. This is because they store water in their leaves and stems, rather than in their roots.

Nitrogen is important for plant growth, but too much of it can lead to excessive leaf growth and weaken the plant. On the other hand, phosphorus, and potassium are important for root development, flower production, and overall plant health.

Why use specially formulated fertilizer for succulents?

When choosing a fertilizer for your succulent plants, look for one that is specifically formulated for cacti and succulents. These fertilizers typically contain lower amounts of nitrogen and higher amounts of phosphorus and potassium. Alternatively, you can use a balanced fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 or 5-10-5.

Maintain the Amount of fertilizer

To apply the fertilizer, mix it with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It is important not to use too much fertilizer, as this can burn the roots of the plant. A good rule of thumb is to use half the recommended amount of fertilizer and apply it every two to four weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). During the dormant season (fall and winter), reduce fertilization or stop altogether.

When applying the fertilizer, make sure to water the soil thoroughly beforehand. This will help prevent the fertilizer from burning the roots. Pour the fertilizer mixture directly onto the soil around the base of the plant, rather than onto the leaves or stem. After applying the fertilizer, water the soil again to help distribute it evenly.

In addition to using fertilizer, you can also add organic matter to the soil to improve its nutrient content. Composted organic matter such as worm castings, composted leaves, and aged manure can be added to the soil mix. Alternatively, you can use a slow-release fertilizer that gradually releases nutrients over


By understanding the importance of soil for succulents and choosing the right type for your plants, you can help ensure their long-term growth and health.

We mentioned some top-selling potting “soil for succulents”; you can also use them if you did not want any headache to making your potting mix;

With the tips and guidance provided in this article, you’ll be well on your way to succulent success.

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Pradeep works as a gardener since 2015; currently, he worked as a blogger at He loves to write about succulents and many other unusual plant care and propagation tips.