It is essential that the soil used for succulents is able to drain properly.
In this article, you will be provided with the ingredients for a great succulent soil mixture, as well as instructions for where to purchase the items needed.
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Instead of planting my succulents directly in the ground, I mostly grow them in containers both inside and outside.
Choosing the right soil for these pots can be difficult.
Through the years, I have conducted extensive studies on the most effective kind of soil for growing succulents in containers. After carrying out a variety of experiments, I discovered that some techniques are much more successful than others.
It turns out that, contrary to popular belief, the right kind of soil is actually more important than the amount of water when it comes to keeping succulents alive. Although it is essential to water succulents properly (here’s a helpful guide), having the right soil is the key factor in the health and longevity of these plants.
If you need more assistance, I have a free cheat sheet available for you to download. It will give you an overview of how much water your succulents need. Click the link to get it—it’ll be a big help.
Table of Contents
Criteria for “Good” Succulent Soil
Let’s begin by discussing the qualities you should consider when selecting a soil for your succulents.
The ideal soil for potted succulents should retain enough water for the plants to draw from, yet still be able to dry out quickly to avoid root rot.
Succulents absorb moisture from humidity in their environment, not through direct absorption.
Continuously being in waterlogged soil can lead to the decay of the plant’s roots, as an excessive amount of water disrupts the cells in the roots and leaves, leading to the demise of the plant.
It was an unpleasant scene.
Reworded: Different soils will be most advantageous for various cultivation sites due to a range of environmental conditions that can lead to dehydration of the soil.
The type of soil your succulents need will be affected by where you live and where you keep them.
The Perfect Indoor Succulent Soil
I have previously discussed the fact that I have numerous succulents growing indoors. Due to the lack of air flow around indoor pots, it is essential to use the correct soil to ensure the succulents remain in good health.
I strongly suggest utilizing a soil mix with a large particle size, such as 1/4″ or 6mm. I was able to gain knowledge about particle size, and its significance for proper drainage in soils, by reading the Garden Web Forum. This post by Al is especially helpful and definitely worth a look.
Al’s recipe for soil combines equal parts of potting soil, coarse sand, and pumice or perlite to create an ideal environment for indoor succulents. This mixture allows for proper drainage and aeration, while providing your plants with the nutrients they need to thrive.
- One portion of pine bark fines, one portion of Turface (a porous rock), and one portion of crushed granite.
Why it works
I would suggest using this soil for your succulents due to its ability to promote plant growth. It contains the necessary nutrients and minerals to allow your succulents to thrive, as well as providing a well-draining environment that prevents them from becoming waterlogged. By using this soil, you can be sure that your succulent plants will be getting the best possible care and have the best chance of growing healthily.
The pine bark gives a natural touch to the soil and can retain moisture, yet it also features air pockets for ventilation. Further, it has a long lifespan before breaking down. Additionally, the Turface absorbs some of the liquid and releases it at a slower rate.
Crushed granite provides a potting mix with excellent drainage and aeration properties; water is able to freely flow through all of the particles, while there is plenty of air available for the roots. This ensures that the roots are not left to sit in overly wet soil or pooled water as is common with traditional potting soil.
The most important step of the recipe is ensuring that the particles are all about 1/4 inch in size. It takes a lot of effort to sort through gallons of dirt to make sure the particles are all consistent in size.
Jack is an authority on soil, particularly on this special blend that is ideal for growing succulents. I have been collaborating with him since 2015 to refine and enhance the soil mixture, and we have had tremendous success with it, evidenced by our many satisfied customers.
The Bonsai Jack mix is perfectly suited for indoor succulents due to its precise particle size and consistency. Jack has gone the extra mile and sourced 1/4″ particles, as opposed to the usual 1/8″ particles of Turface, to create this specialized mix.
I urge you to get your hands on some Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil for your indoor plants. Perfect if you tend to overwater your succulents, this soil will help them grow and flourish. Click the link to obtain this product.
An alternative way to get the “gritty mix” is to make it yourself, which can be done with ingredients found at most nurseries.
Oil-dri, a product available at most auto parts stores, is used by mechanics to clean up oil spills and is also known as Turface.
If you cannot find the exact materials, you can use alternative ingredients, but be sure to maintain the ratio of organic and inorganic components.
For example, if you choose a different kind of bark, combine it with a different type of rock, like pumice, to create a particle size of 1/4″ or 6mm. It is essential to maintain this size for optimal results.
Soil for Outdoor, Potted Succulents
If you’re cultivating succulents outside, the Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil may not be the most suitable option for you.
Since the majority of my succulent tending has taken place in the usually arid and scorching summers of Utah, I found that utilizing the Bonsai Jack mix worked fairly well outdoors, however I had to water my succulents every two days.
I found it too difficult to maintain the watering schedule for the mix I was using, so I switched to a combination of Coconut Coir and either pumice, Turface, or crushed granite depending on what I had access to.
- Mix together one part coconut coir and one part pumice.
Mountain Crest Gardens have been very pleased with the outcome of using coconut coir for planting their succulents. This type of soil has the advantage of absorbing water quickly yet still allowing for adequate drainage. Additionally, it is lightweight which can make the pots with succulents more manageable.
I found that coir is not suitable for indoor use, as it does not dry quickly enough for many succulents. However, it works well outdoors in warmer, drier regions.
The addition of lightweight pumice helps the soil to retain its moisture while still draining more quickly.
What about the bagged succulent mixes at big box stores?
If you are unable to locate any of the soil components specified in the recipes, the most suitable alternative is purchasing a bag of “succulent and cactus mix” from Lowes, Home Depot, or Wal-Mart.
This soil is suitable for succulents, but it does not drain properly and resists water absorption when it is very dry. I suggest supplementing it with a rock material like pumice, crushed granite, or perlite for better moisture retention.
Do I need to repot my succulents right now?
If your succulents are thriving in their current soil, there is no need to repot them right away. Remember, the soil that is best for your succulents is dependent on where you live, as well as where you keep your plants.
Put differently, don’t fix what isn’t broken.
In contrast, if you’re having difficulty keeping your succulents alive and aren’t sure what the issue is, start by examining the soil as a potential cause.
Changing the soil mix in your succulents’ pot is beneficial, as it helps ensure adequate drainage and air flow around the roots, which will make them much more content.
Repot new succulents in new succulent soil
Once you get your new succulent, it is important to transfer it to a fresh potting mix right away. Get rid of most of the soil it came in and replace it with new soil. This will help prevent any issues that could arise from leaving it in the same soil it came with.
The second issue is that store-bought soil may not be appropriate for succulents, as it can contain too much fertilizer and water retention.
Buying succulents from the store can present two major issues. Firstly, because succulents are often root bound in the store pots, they may struggle to spread their roots when transferred to a new container. Secondly, the soil in which they are sold may be unsuitable for succulent plant care, as it is often too rich in fertilizer or retains too much moisture.
Second, many nurseries provide succulents in soil that is not suitable for long-term cultivation outside of a greenhouse.
In other words, large nurseries and growers typically use a soil mix that is suitable for various plants, such as a dense soil like regular potting soil, which is ideal for small succulents as they require more water.
Using different words, the statement could read: Prolonged exposure of succulents to this soil can lead to decay or a lack of water, both of which can be detrimental to the plant.
Peat moss, which is a major component of most potting soils, can become hydrophobic when it dries out completely, causing it to repel water.
If you don’t allow the water to sink into the soil and penetrate the peat, the succulent will not be able to benefit from it. The water will just run off the sides of the pot and out the bottom.
Replant your succulents as soon as you buy them for their wellbeing. They will benefit from the nourishing new soil and extra space for their roots to grow.
Do you believe it?
The type of soil you select for your succulent is just as essential as how often you water it.
Take a second to inspect the soil you’re using for your succulent and think about if you need to switch it up. Additionally, grab my free guide to understand when to give your succulents more or less water – click here to access it.
What is good soil for repotting succulents?
Do succulents like soil or rocks?
Succulents require soil with excellent drainage. When planting them in the garden, select an area that is not prone to staying wet; if the land is low, use soil to elevate it. When planting in a container, you can combine cactus soil with sand, gravel, or volcanic rock to facilitate drainage.
Can you mix rocks with soil for succulents?
Ideally, succulents and cacti should be planted in soil that is well-draining and/or sandy, and then topped off with small rocks for a decorative touch. While these plants can’t survive on rocks alone, creating a rock-like planting environment is possible, both indoors and outdoors.
Should succulents be in soil or rocks?
Ideally, a succulent or cactus should be planted in soil that is well-draining and sandy, and then covered with small rocks for aesthetic purposes. While succulents cannot technically grow in rocks alone, it is possible to create the illusion of growing them in rock by combining the rocks with the soil. This method of planting succulents can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Can succulents grow in just rocks?
It is possible to use rocks as a planting material for succulents in the short-term, such as for an event like succulent bonbonniere or wedding favours. However, these plants will not last long-term when planted in rocks, and will likely die after a few weeks.