Not everyone can have a green thumb. That's why people often buy plants that can survive in dry indoor environments. Succulents are one of those plants that are easy to nurture if you know how to properly take care of them. With succulents, it all starts with finding the best soil mix.
Your succulents' soil is one of the first things you need to check for it to thrive. However, buying the best soil mix can be difficult. This is why we have created a buying guide that you can consult to help you out. We've also prepared a top 10 list of our best soil mix recommendations to point you in the right direction. Check it out below!
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The products and services listed are ranked independently by the editorial team based on the points mentioned in our thoroughly researched buying guide (as of 01-16-2023).
Table of Contents
Soil preparation is important to grow plants successfully. If you skimp on this process, you'll have a hard time taking care of your plants. Any plant needs to have a mimic of its natural environment to survive. This applies to succulent plants as well.
Succulents are plants that thrive in dry, sandy areas with gritty soil that drains water quickly. This is why using regular plant soil is not advised. Instead, soil mixes for succulents are created and formulated to copy their natural habitat.
Now that you understand how important the right soil mix is for your succulents, it's time to learn more about what type you should buy. Check out the guide below to find out.
The soil should contain organic components, which are things or materials that were once alive. These may include microorganisms, but usually, these are made up of things like tree bark and other plant debris. Organic matter provides extra nutrients and helps make the soil rich. It also increases water infiltration and retains the moisture that the plant needs.
The shredded bark from pine trees is great for a succulent soil mix. The bark is used as the soil's mulch, a material used to enrich the soil and protect it from harsh temperature changes. Pine bark can also keep the soil moist and prevent soil diseases from spreading. It also makes the soil crumbly as it decomposes, which is essential for water to drain well.
Contrary to its name, potting soil isn't actually soil. Made for planting in containers, it's a mixture of organic materials like peat moss and composted sawdust. Aside from this, there are also things like cocopeat, vermicast, and carbonized rice hulls. Potting soils are airy and light, which gives the root room to breathe. They allow water to drain quickly to prevent root rot.
Minerals are natural and inorganic substances. These are things like gravel, sand, or granite. Adding minerals to succulent soil mix improves drainage. Succulents thrive better in a soil mix that can drain water fast. Minerals don't retain moisture and provide structure to give a better environment for roots.
Pumice is a mined volcanic product that is used as a soil amendment. It is often mixed with organic materials to create a light and airy soil mix. Pumice can regulate moisture in the soil to prevent root rot. It also loosens up heavy soil to enhance drainage. The pH of pumice is also neutral, which can help balance out acidic organic materials to reach the slightly acidic pH level that succulents need.
The tiny white specks that look like styrofoam balls in soil mixes are perlite soil. Perlite is a volcanic glass that is superheated, which results in an incredibly lightweight material. It's good for moisturizing roots because perlite is covered in tiny cells that keep moisture on the exterior. Having this in a soil mix allows for well-draining soil.
Coarse sand can be made from crushed granite or sandstone. Also known as horticultural sand, it is added to improve soil drainage and to prevent mold from forming in the roots when overwatered. Coarse sand is commonly used in soil mixes for container-growing to keep roots from suffocating.
Crushed granite is sandy textured soil. It dries out easily because water drains out of it quickly. For normal plants, this might not be good; but for a succulent soil mix, this is great! Crushed granite makes the mix more porous and allows water to flow easily among all the particles in the soil. It also aerates the mix and prevents soggy roots.
Soil porosity refers to the amount of space between each particle of soil. A healthy soil would have big pores to retain enough amount of water, oxygen, and nutrients for healthy plants. For succulents, a mineral with a large grit size or texture is needed to have porous soil.
You can do a simple test to check your soil's porosity. Place the soil mix on your hands and add a little water. Knead the soil and try to form a ball. If it crumbles and the soil isn't dry, that's the perfect consistency for your succulents. You can check the chart for the simple feel test here.
To help your succulents live long, you should avoid soil mixes with too many nutrients. These are soils or fertilizers with too much nitrogen. Nitrogen makes the soil too acidic, which isn't the optimal pH level for succulents. Succulents prefer slightly acidic soil of around 6 pH.
You should also avoid sticky and lumpy soil. These are soil mixes that are compact and can retain moisture for a long period. These mixes aren't suitable for succulents because it makes breathing difficult for the plant. This can also lead to rotting roots because of too much moisture. Remember that light and airy soil mixes are the best for succulents.
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The Urban Gardening Shop
Cactus and Succulents Soil-Less Potting Mix
Infused With Neem to Keep Pests Away
Soil-less Cactus Mix
An Enriched Soil Mix From a Trusted Brand
Aditha's Farm Supply
Soilless Potting Mix with Pumice
The Perfect pH-Balanced Soil
My Gardening Shop
Loam Soil for Cactus and Succulents Plants
Loam Soil for Optimum Nutrition
Plant Culture PH
Cultured Soil Plus for Cactus and Succulents
Contains Premium Soil Amendments
DNA Garden Supplies
Cactus and Succulents Soil Mix
Lava Rocks for Better Drainage and Moisture Absorption
Pot Daddy Ph
5-in-1 Cactus & Succulent Soil-less Potting Mix
A Basic and Fail-Proof Soil Mix
Cactus and Succulent Soil-Less Mix
Keep Root Rot Away With 70% Minerals
Cactus and Succulent Mix
Great for Both Urban Gardening and Large-Scale Farming
Cactus & Succulent Soil Mix
An Airy and Fast-Draining Mixture
The Urban Gardening Shop's Cactus and Succulents Soil-Less Potting Mix is an ideal soil mix for better draining. It contains all-organic materials with added pumice stones for better drainage. It is also mixed and infused with neem cake powder to repel root pests and fungi. This mix is also free from any bacteria or disease.
This mix is a great buy for those who want their succulents to get the best nutrition possible. The mix is also light and fluffy, giving roots more space to breathe. With organic matter components like vermicast, neem, cocopeat, and rice hull, your succulent and its roots will receive lots of love and moisture to keep it growing for a long time.
Cactus and succulents are great indoor plants, and Ramgo's Soil-less Cactus Mix caters to this. It is an enriched soil mix that can be used for your growing cactus and succulents. This medium is a great choice because it has a nice combination of organic and mineral components.
The product enhances drainage for healthier roots. It also promotes evaporation to prevent roots from rotting. Aside from this, the soil mix provides dry conditions that mimic a succulent's natural habitat. This product is highly recommended for indoor use. Since Ramgo is a leading brand for all things plant-related, you can be sure of a premium quality product.
Aditha's Farm Supply has a soil-less potting mix that contains everything your succulent needs, from germination to maturity. It's a ready-to-use mixture that also comes in a 500g pack if you want to test it out before buying a bigger one. This product is a blend of pumice, vermicast, cocopeat, and agrilime. However, its main hero is the agrilime.
Agricultural lime or agrilime is used as a soil amendment to condition the soil's pH levels. It also contains calcium carbonate that can help neutralize the soil's acidity while supplying calcium for your plant's nutrition. This results in a slightly acidic and nutrient-filled soil mix perfect for your succulent.
Will all these soil-less options, you might want to take a look at one that has the benefits of loam soil. My Gardening Shop's potting mix is a blend of loam soil and pumice stones. The soil provides the nutrients and the moisture the roots need to help your succulent grow, while the pumice gives it better drainage and prevents water clogging.
This is the best option for you if you prefer actual soil for your succulents. Loam soil is the ideal soil for plants because it can retain moisture while still giving the roots sufficient air to breathe.
It's also full of organic nutrients since it is a natural habitat for beneficial microorganisms. This pack doesn't need to be mixed with any other type of soil.; just make sure not to overwater so that the beneficial organisms in the soil will continue to thrive.
With Cultured Soil Plus for Cactus and Succulents, Plant Culture has created a premium soil mix filled with nutrient-rich ingredients. This blend contains materials like akadama and kanuma. Akadama is a mineral that has the ability to retain moisture while still providing porosity. Kanuma is a slightly acidic mineral that helps your succulents thrive.
This mix is pH-balanced to provide your succulents with the best environment they need to survive. The akadama is also a helpful indicator of when you need to water the plant, since its color is darkened when still moist, and lighter when it's dry. This soil mix is a must for first-time succulent owners who are unsure of how often they should water their plants.
DNA Garden Supplies understands that the most important thing in a soil mix for succulents is its ability to drain well. This product takes it a step further by including lava rocks. Yes, lava rocks are great minerals to include in a succulent soil mix as a mulch to retain moisture and to help with your plant's drainage. Lava rocks protect your soil from drying out too fast.
In addition, organic matters like carbonized rice hulls make a great fertilizer that can also help absorb extra moisture the plant doesn't need. This is a product you need if you tend to be heavy-handed when watering your succulents. It also protects your soil from drying out too fast if you like leaving your plant in a sunny area.
Potdaddy's 5-in-1 Cactus & Succulent Soil-less Potting Mix combines the most basic and necessary components of a great succulent soil mix. Cocopeat, vermicast, rice hull, carbonized rice hull, and pumice in one mix is a fail-proof blend. You can be assured that your plants will grow wonderfully in this potting mix.
This is a great product for the no-fuss people who just want a straightforward succulent soil mix. There are no additives, just a tried and tested formula that works. The rice hull and carbonized rice hull are enough to give your plants the aeration and nutrients they need. This product also boasts loads of pumice to ensure proper drainage and air circulation.
The Masitera Cactus and Succulent Soil-less Mix is a ready-to-use mix for your succulents. It provides the needed drainage for your cacti to flourish while retaining sufficient moisture for the roots to develop. This soil mix is at the optimized pH level and has 28 vital trace elements and minerals.
The blend is composed of 70% minerals and 30% organic matter. It uses pumice for the minerals to ensure proper drainage, while the organic matter is made from Masitera's potting mix. This is a product recommended for first-time succulent parents because it is easy and convenient to use.
The usual cause of death for succulents is overwatering, and one way to avoid this is to keep the plant in the right soil. Maharlika Farms' blend for their Cactus and Succulent soil mix offers just the right level of nutrients and proper drainage. The mix is created with all-natural and organic ingredients. It can be used for both small-scale urban planting or large-scale farming.
This soil mix gets its nutrients from worm castings or vermicast. The carbonized rice hull and pumice help with the aeration and drainage. Best of all, you can use this mix not just for your succulents but also for a range of other plants. This is a great choice for those who love urban gardening.
Home Blooms's approach to soil mix is to make a simple, airy, fast-draining, and nutrient-filled mixture. With only 3 ingredients, they certainly made this minimalist succulent soil mix work. It contains 60% pumice, 30% carbonized rice hull, and 10% loam soil. The mixture of these 3 components results in a soil mix that will help your succulents thrive for a long time.
The loam soil and the carbonized rice hull give the plants the nutrients they need. They also make the mixture fluffy and light to allow air to reach the roots. The pumice is mixed in to help retain moisture and help with the drainage. This is a highly recommended soil mix if you want to use actual soil but still have enough aeration to meet your succulent's needs.
Now that you have chosen the best soil mix for your succulents, it's time to dive into the world of plantitos and plantitas. You might want to check out our selection of succulents, or branch out to other kinds of plants now that you're armed with some knowledge about plant care. Don't worry, we got you! Browse through the links below for more choices!
Author: Angelica Sy
No. 1：The Urban Gardening Shop｜Cactus and Succulents Soil-Less Potting Mix
No. 2：Ramgo｜Soil-less Cactus Mix
No. 3：Aditha's Farm Supply｜Soilless Potting Mix with Pumice
No. 4：My Gardening Shop｜Loam Soil for Cactus and Succulents Plants
No. 5：Plant Culture PH｜Cultured Soil Plus for Cactus and Succulents
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