Growing cacti is pretty easy, so even a beginner can do it with great success. These plants are low-maintenance, they don’t require frequent watering, and they thrive when placed in containers, whether planted indoors or outdoors.
That said, cacti do best when they’re fed healthy potting soil as this is an essential ingredient they need to grow.
What’s cactus potting soil? This type of potting soil gives cacti the drainage and aeration they require to grow healthy roots. It’s specially formulated to accommodate cacti shallow root systems.
While you might think you can use regular potting soil for your cacti, this doesn’t meet all the requirements that cactus potting soil does. In this guide, we feature five of the best cactus potting soils on the market.
Read on to find out more about them and which one you should purchase for your cacti.
Best Cactus Potting Soil – Reviews & Buying guide for 2022
Best Overall: Miracle-Gro Potting Mix
If you’re growing cacti in a container, this Miracle-Grow potting mix will help your plants to flourish. It’s filled with nourishing Miracle-Gro Plant Food that gives your plants all the essential nutrients they need to thrive.
This plant food provides houseplants, shrubs, and vegetables with the essential nutrients they require so that they can grow beautifully and become bigger in size.
This food is recommended for use every one or two weeks and it’s safe because it doesn’t cause plant burn.
Since this potting mix contains that plant food to encourage healthier cacti, it’s an all-around cacti potting mix. It’s a fast-draining formula to ensure that your cacti won’t be flooded with too much water.
Made with forest products, sand, perlite, and sphagnum peat moss, this cacti potting mix prevents the soil from compacting and enhances soil drainage for healthier plants.
It’s been specially designed for use on cactus, succulents, palm, and citrus plants. Some people who have purchased this cacti potting mix have reported that it rejuvenated their plants within just two weeks, so it works quickly and is ideal for cacti that look like they’re struggling to survive.
It provides enough potting soil to fill two eight-inch large pots, so it’s a value-for-money product.
But best of all, this is a user-friendly potting mix as it prevents you from having to buy individual ingredients that you have to mix together yourself before applying them to your plants. You can use it straight out of the bag.
This Miracle-Gro cactus potting soil is also said to boost the color of your cacti, so it’s especially useful if you’re trying to grow pretty flowering plants, such as those in the Parodia and mammillaria families.
They’ll get a new lease on life and look stunning!
- Size: 8 Qt
- Best For: Containers
- This potting soil for cactus feeds plants for up to six months.
- Since it’s already moist in the bag, it’s ideal for repotting cacti and succulents.
- It’s an affordable potting mix that won’t break your budget.
- It’s lightweight and contains peat, which retains plant moisture.
- It’s lightly sandy in texture to enhance soil drainage.
- This cacti potting soil isn’t recommended for in-ground cacti.
- Some people who purchased this cactus potting soil reported bug infestations.
- Others have noted that they had to amend the potting mix to prevent it from having too much moisture.
Runner Up: Espoma Organic Cactus Mix
If you love organic gardening, this Espoma Organic Cactus Potting Soil mix is the best one to buy. It’s filled with natural ingredients and avoids all chemicals or synthetic plant foods so you can ensure your cacti only get the healthiest ingredients.
This potting soil mix contains ingredients such as sphagnum peat moss, to encourage greater hydration in the soil; perlite, which boosts soil drainage and encourages aeration; and humus, which preserves the correct amount of water and nutrients for your plants.
This potting soil is focused on encouraging greater soil aeration and drainage, two things that are essential for your cactus to thrive.
It also has a proprietary mix of ecto and endo mycorrhizae, which are vital for your plants as they are two types of fungi that have symbiotic relationships with plants.
You can use this potting soil on cacti, succulents, citrus, and palm plants. It’s also ideal for use whenever you’re starting new plants or transplanting them into larger containers, which you should do with your cacti every few years to give them enough room to grow.
This best cactus potting soil can also be used in containers both indoors and outdoors, which makes it a versatile product to own.
Unlike some other soil potting mixes on the market, this one doesn’t contain infestations of bugs, which makes it easier (and nicer) to use.
- Size: 4 Qt
- Best For: Containers
- This best organic cactus potting soil promotes root growth in your plants.
- It drains quickly, preventing waterlogged plant roots.
- It’s thick like regular potting soil so that roots can gain stability.
- It comes in a resealable bag for increased convenience.
- It has a loose, airy texture that promotes soil drainage.
- You might have to mix perlite with this potting mix to prevent it from holding too much water.
- It’s a bit pricey as compared to other cactus mix potting soils on the market.
- Some people have reported it’s a bit too thick for succulents and requires amendments.
Alternative: Harris Succulent and Cactus Mix
This best cactus potting soil contains a blend of pumice, forest humus, perlite, compost, fish bone meal, limestone, and peat moss, all of which ensure a balanced, healthy soil for your cactus plants.
It provides quick drainage, therefore preventing root compaction so your cacti and succulents get enough nutrients, oxygen, and water from the soil.
Fish bone meal is a fertilizer ingredient that benefits cacti because it encourages stronger root development in plants. This prevents waterlogged roots that can die.
As for limestone, this benefits the soil because of how it neutralizes acidity while also aerating the soil and giving cacti plants nutrients so that their growth can be encouraged.
Both of these ingredients, when combined with the other ingredients in this soil potting mix, provide cacti with comprehensive care.
You can use this potting soil mix on indoor and outdoor plants, such as cacti, succulents, and drought-tolerant plants, with examples including Houseleek and Burro’s Tail.
You can also use it on cacti that you’ve planted in a variety of containers, such as hanging baskets and flower boxes.
It provides well-draining soil for your cacti, which is essential if you consider that these succulents don’t want too much moisture.
What you’ll love about this cacti soil mix is that it’s odor- and pest-free.
- Size: 4 Qt
- Best For: Containers
- This best cactus potting soil mix provides pH balance for cacti to give them essential nutrients.
- It comes in an easy-zip resealable bag.
- This potting soil is dark as it’s rich in essential nutrients for your plants.
- It comes with detailed, user-friendly instructions, so it’s great for beginners.
- This cactus potting soil is ready to use straight out of the bag.
- It only provides enough potting soil for a few small containers.
- Some people reported finding chips of wood and plastic in this soil potting mix.
- It is a bit more expensive than other potting mixes on the market.
Alternative: Soil Sunrise Christmas Cactus Mix
This is another natural cactus potting soil mix that doesn’t contain any chemicals or toxic ingredients in it. It’s been hand-blended to provide a customized, healthy balance of nutrients for your cactus plants.
However, it’s specifically formulated for the Christmas cactus. This type of cactus requires more water than other types, as it’s native to tropical rainforests.
It blooms in beautiful, colorful flowers so it’s a popular type of cacti that you’ll want to care for properly to ensure it continues to thrive.
This soil potting mix can be used when planting Christmas cacti for the first time or repotting the plants, and you can use it in both indoor and outdoor containers, so it’s versatile.
It provides the correct soil pH to ensure your plants thrive, and it drains well as it contains an aerated formula.
This best cactus potting soil contains ingredients such as lime, perlite, worm castings, pumice, peat moss, and fir bark.
- Peat moss enhances soil aeration and water as well as nutrient retention.
- Perlite is porous to ensure water retention and drainage.
- Lime enhances the pH balance in the soil.
- Worm castings are a natural type of fertilizing ingredient that gives your Christmas cacti enough of the essential nutrients they require.
- Pumice, an organic material, prevents root rot and encourages drainage.
- Fir bark provides the soil with aeration.
Although it’s formulated for the Christmas cactus, you can go ahead and use this potting mix on other types of cacti.
- Size: 4 Qt
- Best For: Containers
- This Christmas cacti potting soil drains water effectively to prevent root rot.
- It provides enough potting soil for three six-inch pots.
- It’s nutrient-rich, as it contains concentrated nitrates, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium.
- It doesn’t have unpleasant odors like some other potting mixes on the market.
- This potting soil for Christmas cactus is light and earthy, preventing soil compaction.
- For best results, you will have to mix this product with other potting soil.
- Some people who have purchased this soil potting mix have reported that it’s a bit dry.
- This potting soil’s bag could be improved with a better seal.
Alternative: The Valley Garden Organic Potting Soil
This potting soil that hails from Canada contains 100 percent organic ingredients to prevent chemicals in your soil. It provides cacti with a pH balance of 5.5 to encourage healthy growth.
This is ideal, bearing in mind that cacti require a soil pH of between 5 and 6.5.
This organic potting soil is breathable, well-draining, and lightweight so it can be used for other plants, too. It has 75 percent natural substrate and 25 percent perlite, a balanced formula that prevents root rot from killing your plants.
It’s also lighter than regular soil. It’s been professionally formulated to contain a high nutrient content that helps to promote healthy root growth.
Since you can use this potting soil mix on a variety of plants, such as succulents, cacti, vegetables, aloes, and flowers, this makes it versatile to keep in your garden shed. You can also use it on seedlings.
Since this potting soil is pre-mixed, it’s ready to use straight out of the bag without any other ingredients or amendments required. It comes in a resealable bag for increased usage convenience and to keep its contents fresh over long periods of time.
- Size: 4 Qt
- Best For: Containers
- This potting soil mix prevents stagnant water that can damage cacti plants.
- Its formula contains perlite to enhance soil drainage and aeration.
- The company’s customer service is friendly and responsive should you have problems.
- It’s user-friendly and affordable, so it’s ideal for beginner and advanced gardeners alike.
- This cactus potting soil works well on all types of cacti.
- Some people have reported unpleasant odors in the bag.
- It’s more expensive than regular potting soil and some other types of cactus potting soil.
- Other people have reported receiving bags that looked half-full.
Cactus Potting Soil FAQ
Buying a balanced, specially formulated potting soil for cacti plants is essential to encourage their healthy growth.
Now that you’re read our reviews of the best potting soil mixes on the market, you probably have a good idea of the best one to purchase for your plants.
However, if you still have some questions about cactus potting soil and how to use it, read our FAQs.
Can I use regular potting soil for cactus?
To ensure that your cacti can grow healthy, you might wonder if you can plant them in regular potting soil. While this is possible, it’s not enough on its own to allow your cacti to thrive.
This is because potting mixes contain too much organic matter that maintains moisture. Too much moisture can kill your cactus plants. In addition to the above, regular potting soil usually contains fertilizer additives that are not conducive to cacti species which tend to grow slowly.
Therefore, a cactus potting soil is more suited to cacti as a result of how it’s been specially formulated to drain water quickly so that your plants don’t get waterlogged.
This also encourages healthier roots for your plants to grow and promote its healthy blooms. Most cacti potting soil on the market makes use of inorganic matter, such as perlite and pumice.
This varies from regular potting soil that contains organic matter like pine bark and peat moss. Inorganic matter helps to prevent soil compaction that can suffocate your cactus plants and it encourages increased airflow for your plants to get the oxygen they require from the soil.
Is cactus potting soil the same as succulent soil?
You might have seen cactus potting soil and succulent soil and wondered about how they differ, especially since a cactus is a type of succulent but just in a separate category.
While these potting soils are similar, they have some important differences of which you should be aware. These include the following:
- Cacti potting soil doesn’t contain as much organic matter as succulent soil. This matter maintains water, which can cause your cacti plants to end up waterlogged or with root rot from too much moisture.
- Cacti potting soil needs to be more aerated for water to escape the soil. By comparison, succulent soil is more compact. This can cause cacti roots to battle to survive because they are shallow.
However, there are some soil potting mixes that are suitable for both cacti and succulent plants, providing both of them with the correct soil requirements.
An example is the Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix that we featured in our soil potting mix reviews. It’s ideal for succulents, cacti, and other types of plants.
When should I repot my cactus?
Cacti need to be repotted when they grow too large for their containers. Generally, you should repot your cactus every two to four years when you can see its roots through its drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
This is a sign that it’s grown too much and needs to be accommodated with a larger container. For slower-growing cacti types, aim to repot them every three or four years.
You should also ensure that you repot your cactus during the spring. This is when the plant is in its active growth phase. Make sure you water your plant two days before you repot it so that its roots will be moist.
When repotting your cactus, give it fresh soil and refrain from watering the plant right away after it’s been transplanted.
You should allow it to adjust to its new soil and only water it after a few weeks when it requires water – check its soil and make sure it’s dry before topping up on its moisture content.
How often should cactus be watered?
It’s a well-known fact that cacti require less frequent watering than many other plants. When you should water your cactus depends on its growing season.
During this season, which occurs over spring and summer, your cactus should be watered once every one to two weeks.
When it’s in its inactive season, which is during winter when it becomes dormant, you should water it even more sparingly – aim for every three or four weeks. This is the same guideline you should follow if you own a Christmas cactus.
The amount of water to give your cacti should be around ½ to ¼ of a cup. That said, it’s always best practice to check the moisture in the soil before watering your cactus.
This is because different types of cacti will require different amounts of water.
Finally, check for any signs that your cactus is being watered too much or too little. Signs that you’re overwatering your cactus include if the plant looks limp.
By comparison, signs you’re not giving your cactus enough water include if it looks shriveled or its color has become less striking. These are both signs of dehydration in the plant, so make sure you top up on its water.
If you own a cactus plant, you’ll want to ensure you give it everything it needs to grow healthy and look beautiful. That’s why you need to buy the best cactus potting soil.
This ensures soil aeration, effective drainage, and nutrients for healthy growth. In this article, we’ve featured five of the best cactus potting soils on the market, looking at their pros and cons.
We’ve also answered some common questions you might have about how to grow healthy cacti plants to ensure they thrive, such as how regularly to water your cactus and when you should purchase a new container for your growing cactus to prevent stunting its growth.