Succulents are the perfect indoor or outdoor plant. These drought-tolerant plants are easy to grow and self-sufficient. Succulents don’t use much water since they store it in their roots, stems, and leaves.
Succulents, on the other hand, need a different type of soil to flourish than other plants. Succulents thrive in the right soil, but the wrong soil can cause a slew of problems. If you’ve ever struggled with succulents and couldn’t figure out what was wrong, chances are it is the soil.
In this article, we’ll look at the best succulent potting soil on the market. We go over the factors to consider when selecting the best soil for your plants and the minerals and organic materials that are best for them. We also respond to any questions you may have.
If you are in a rush, here is a quick look at our top picks (these are affiliate links):
- Espoma Cactus Soil Mix, Natural & Organic For Succulents – Best Overall
- Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Cactus, Palm & Citrus – Best for Indoor Succulents and Cacti
- Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix – Best for Top Growth
- Fat Plants San Diego Premium Cacti and Succulent Soil – Best for Propagating Succulents
- Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil – Best for Root Growth
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Succulent Soil
Hardy succulents will become stressed, waterlogged, and eventually die if you pot them in the wrong soil. While some succulents are more resilient than others, any succulent plant will benefit from the right potting soil. Because most succulents and cacti are native to dry climates with little rainfall, they don’t respond well to heavy watering or ultra-wet soil.
Species of Succulents
Some succulent species are far more tolerant of excessive moisture than others. Use a substrate with greater drainage and porosity for succulent species that are especially sensitive to humidity and can die from too much water.
Indoor or Outdoor
Outdoor and indoor conditions are vastly different. Keep in mind that the substrate reacts differently depending on whether the plant is indoors or outdoors. Outdoors, it dries faster than indoors.
If you have succulents in indoor and outdoor environments, an indoor succulent potting mix requires a well draining soil than outdoor succulent soils.
At the same time, if you live in a hot climate and have succulents outside, you should use substrate materials that retain moisture for a more extended period. As a result, your succulents will be able to make efficient use of the irrigation water.
Organic vs. Non-organic Soil
If you are worried about exposure to chemicals, an organic soil mix might be the way to go. Organic soils, however, are far more expensive than non-organic soils. On the other hand, succulents are not edible, so chemical exposure isn’t as severe as growing food. Non-organic soil is a good option for this plant if cost is a concern.
Soil vs. Mineral Ratio
Organic and mineral substances are found in all soils. Succulent soil contains more minerals than soil used for other purposes. Coarse grit minerals aid drainage while organic materials hold on to water and deliver nutrients to plant roots.
Depending on the variety of succulents, the mineral to organic content ratio will vary. Most succulents will benefit from the soil with a sandy texture, as it will improve drainage.
Container or Ground and the Importance of Drainage
Potted succulents grown in containers and pots need drainage holes. To encourage soil drainage, you can add rocks or fine gravel to the bottoms of pots, but drainage holes are a huge help in preventing root rot.
Water escapes from containers and pots through drainage holes, whereas water expands across the entire surface of the ground. Succulents in containers, as opposed to those planted in the ground, require more drainage.
When using a plant pot with a drainage hole and a saucer, it’s easy to see when you’re watering too much. You can also keep succulents in nursery pots and place them in cachepots, but remember to check the bottom of the pot after watering for water accumulation.
Succulent Soil Mineral Materials
There are three factors to consider when it comes to choosing the best minerals for the perfect soil blend. Price, mineral accessibility, and the purpose of that mineral in the combination are all factors to consider. A mixture of coarse sand or sandy soils with gravel mulch or a gritty mix and a scoop of perlite makes for an excellent succulent mineral blend.
Let’s take a look at some of the most prevalent minerals.
Gravel aids in moisture retention while watering. The top dressing will help hold everything in place, especially using organic soils with tiny particles. Second, it can help to bring out or complement the colors in your succulents.
Horticultural Grit is the name given to a small grouping of rocks, mineral debris, and large grains of sand. In terms of size and performance, you could say it falls somewhere between gravelly soil and coarse sand.
Sand creates a more compacted potting mix, allowing roots to dig deeper and establish a strong foundation. Gravel or grit will not hold moisture as well. However, to create aerated soil around your plant’s roots, you’ll need coarser mineral-like gritty soils.
Anyone who wants to grow potted plants successfully should have plenty of perlite on hand. Perlite is made up of small white pieces of volcanic glass that can be incorporated into various potting mixes. The ability of this mineral to support good drainage and hold air around your plant’s roots is its main benefit.
Do’s and Don’ts for Caring for Succulents
There are some fundamental succulent care tips or Dos and Donts to keep your plants happy and healthy.
Dressings for the Top
For potting succulents, do not use peat moss. It may appear attractive, but it traps moisture, creating soggy soil and promoting the growth of fungi and bacteria.
Non-porous rocks, such as pea gravel, river rocks, fish rocks, sand, and glass marbles, should also be avoided. The soil needs plenty of air to breathe; maybe some rocks here and there can be added as decoration.
Do use top dressings that also serve as drainage. Pumice, shale, and Turface are among our favorites.
Don’t use containers without drainage holes unless you’re only going to use them for a short time. Terrariums, jars, bowls, and mugs are all examples of this. Not even if you fill it with your own potting soil first and then put rocks on the bottom. It creates the ideal environment for rot-causing bacteria.
Any container or pot that doesn’t have a hole in the bottom should be drilled. Drainage holes in containers allow the soil to dry quickly, especially if the container is non-porous or glazed. For larger holes, use a piece of burlap, garlic net, or anything else that will keep the dirt in a while, allowing it to drain completely.
Do not expose your succulents to full sun unless they are used to it. The majority of succulents prefer bright indirect sun to part-sun. Moving a succulent from part to full sun can cause it to become burnt and die.
Give your succulents as much light as they can handle, but do so gradually. Place your indoor plants in a spot that receives a little more sun than usual, then slowly relocate it to a brighter location over a week or more.
Here’s a quick guide to light for plants in windows or gardens.
- North-facing will receive the least light.
- West-facing will receive the most light.
- East-facing get morning sun.
- South-facing brings a nice mix of east and west sun.
Watering frequency should not be determined by a schedule but rather by how dry the soil around the roots is. If the soil does not dry within a week, repot in a different container with a better succulent mix.
Consider using a smaller pot that will dry out faster. It is best to use unglazed clay with drainage holes.
Don’t water on a schedule; instead, pay attention to how dry the soil around the roots is. If the soil dries within a week, repot in a different container with better drainage soil.
Consider using a smaller pot, as it will dry out faster. It is best to use unglazed clay with drainage holes. Adjust your soil so that drainage materials outnumber organic matter.
Buying New Plants
Do not assume that the potting mix in which you bought your succulent is suitable for that succulent. Before bringing any plants home, inspect them for pests and fungus.
If necessary, plant succulents in porous soil, especially if the succulent potting mix was wet when you bought it.
Don’t expose them to more sunlight than they’re used to. Begin with part-sun exposure and gradually increase light exposure over a week or more.
Review of the Best Potting Soil for Succulents (2022)
Here are our top recommendations for the best soil for succulents currently available on the market. (Affliate links below)
1 Espoma Cactus Soil Mix, Natural & Organic For Succulents – Best Overall
Our top recommendation for the best succulent and cactus potting soil is the Espoma Cactus Soil Mix. Succulents and cacti that demand adequate drainage and aeration would thrive from this potting mix.
The ingredients, including sphagnum moss, forest product, humus, perlite, and limestone, provide a superb organic and mineral combination. Mycotone, a specialized chemical from Espoma, is added to the soil to boost it.
This product encourages healthy root development while also minimizing drought stress.
- Ensures adequate drainage and aeration
- Promotes root growth
- USDA approved
- The sole drawback is that it is not OMRI-listed.
2 Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Cactus, Palm & Citrus – Best for Indoor Succulents and Cacti
Miracle-potting Gro’s mix is intended primarily for indoor cactus, palm, citrus, and succulents grown in pots. Your succulents will develop into healthy plants that produce striking, vibrant blooms after you use the soil.
The soil’s fast-draining composition is enhanced with Miracle-Gro Plant Food to ensure that your plants have the optimum soil environment for six months. Forest materials, including sphagnum peat moss, sand, and perlite, are also used in the mix to reduce soil compaction while promoting perfectly draining soil.
- Optimized fast-draining formula
- Miracle-Gro plant food is added.
- Feeds for a period of up to 6 months
- It can store a lot of water; you may need to add more perlite.
3 Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix – Best for Top Growth
Hoffman’s Organic Cactus & Succulent Soil Mix is a very versatile product. We appreciate that it is ready to use straight out of the bag, not only for your indoor succulents but also for landscape succulents, cacti of all kinds – jungle and desert.
The soil mix comprises Canadian sphagnum peat moss, reed sedge peat, limestone, perlite, and sand, and it’s ideal for most succulents. It is pH adjusted and ready to use straight out of the bag, and it provides excellent drainage for your plants.
The only drawback is that the soil draws too much moisture for most succulents on their own. It is critical to incorporate gritty sand, perlite, or pumice into the soil mixture.
- There is no need for supplementary minerals with this ready-to-use solution.
- Unlike most succulent potting soils, this one is a tad drier.
- On its own, it might be too wet for succulents.
4 Fat Plants San Diego Premium Cacti and Succulent Soil – Best for Propagating Succulents
Fat Plants San Diego is a licensed grower and nursery in California. Its succulent soil is prepared from scratch using a handmade mix used to grow cacti and succulents for years successfully.
Perlite, sand, volcanic pumice, worm castings, blood and bone meal, peat moss, and perlite are among the nutrient-rich elements in this fantastic soil structure.
The varying particle size of the Fat Plants succulent soil is one of its best features, allowing the plants to get the proper quantity of moisture at the right moment. The dirt is simple to work with and will provide succulents with the ideal desert-like habitat.
- Ingredients that are high in nutrients are combined.
- Quick drainage is made possible by a variety of particle sizes.
- A licensed grower and nursery created a unique succulent soil recipe for cactus and succulents.
- There are a variety of sizes available.
5 Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil – Best for Root Growth
When choosing a succulent soil mix, look for one that has a robust root system, is nutrient-rich, and is easy to manage moisture content to avoid over-watering. This product concentrates primarily on root growth to provide optimal outcomes for the plants.
The blend’s premium elements of pine coir, calcined clay, and Monto clay assist plants in growing up with fresh green color and awesome blossoms.
As a soil builder, pine coir is light and airy, allowing succulents to breathe. The roots are fast-aerated and can absorb the proper amount of water. Two types of clay soils help the plant drain water while also promoting root development.
- Exceptional ingredients that makeup this good potting mix
- Prevents root rot
- pH-balanced soil
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should I Water My Succulents?
Succulent plants should only be watered once the earth has entirely dried up. There is no one-size-fits-all watering regimen for all succulents in all climates. Many indoor succulent gardeners find that twice-weekly watering is sufficient to keep their plants alive.
Is It Possible for Succulents To Recover From Root Rot?
Sadly, succulents can’t be fixed once it’s mushy. Although it is possible to catch a succulent’s stem going yellow and reverse root rot, it is challenging. The leaves of some succulents hide the stem’s base. It is doubtful that the rot will be repaired after it has progressed into the stem.
Is It Possible To Grow Succulents in the Sand?
While it is technically feasible, it is not recommended. Sand lacks the nutrients that succulent plants require to grow. Though certain succulents may thrive in their natural environment, sand lacks nutrients and does not retain water effectively.
Is It Possible To Grow Succulents Just on Rocks?
Succulent soil mixtures benefit from the inclusion of rocks since they promote drainage. Water readily passes through stones. On the other hand, Succulents require soil to exist; otherwise, they would be deprived of nutrients.
The Best Succulent Soil MIX – In Our Opinion
Espoma Cactus Soil Mix, Natural & Organic For Succulents, is our recommendation as to the best soil for succulents since it provides proper drainage and aeration for your succulents and cacti to grow and blossom.
Succulents and cactus plants vary from other plants in that they need the right soil compared to regular potting soil. They also need very little water to survive and require well-draining soil.
When growing succulents and cacti, the potting mix you are using must be rich in the nutrients and minerals essential for their growth and contain perlite, coarse sand, organic materials, and other minerals that will further improve drainage.
This article has five of the most incredible succulent soil mixes that can help your indoor and outdoor plants develop faster while absorbing the least amount of water possible.