Succulent soil is one of the most important factors in succulent care and it’s one of the best ways to provide an ideal environment for your succulents.
If you’re new to succulent care, you should know that succulents require well-draining soil to survive.
The roots of succulents are so sensitive to over-watering that they can actually rot if they sit in soggy soil for an extended period of time!
This is why over-watering is one of the fastest way to kill a succulent. Add slow-draining soil on top of that and you’ve got a recipe for disaster!
Overwatering is a tough habit to break, especially when you’re just getting started with succulent care, so starting with the right soil and using a pot with a drainage hole really does make a difference.
In fact, fast-draining soil is so important to succulent survival that plenty of companies produce a special type of soil just for succulent and cacti.
This soil is usually labeled as “Cactus Mix” and it’s easy to find at garden centers, chain hardware stores, and even online on Amazon or through online succulent retailers.
As you get more comfortable with growing succulents, you’ll find yourself gravitating to a particular brand of cactus mix.
I definitely prefer some mixes over others.
Sometimes, however, some brands are more widely-available than others which is one of the reasons I like this DIY succulent soil recipe.
I can whip up my own soil mix at home in no time as long as I stay stocked-up on the necessary ingredients.
Why You Should Make Your Own DIY Succulent Soil
Making your own succulent soil allows you to build a soil you’re happy with and it’s also good for experimentation: it allows you to see how your succulents respond to different soil mixes.
The biggest reason to make your own: you can control the drainage. You have the power to make the soil as well-draining as you wish!
Plus, if you’re building a large succulent garden in your yard, making your own succulent soil might be more convenient, especially if your local garden center doesn’t offer large bags of cactus mix.
Having a DIY succulent soil recipe handy can be beneficial if you’ve already planted succulents into regular potting soil.
You can simply amend your regular potting soil by mixing in a few handfuls of your homemade succulent soil.
Below we’ll talk about everything you need in order to make your own DIY mix and I’ll also give you my incredibly easy and inexpensive succulent soil recipe.
UNDERSTAND WHAT MAKES A GOOD SUCCULENT SOIL AKA CACTUS MIX
So you’ve decided to jump in and make your own succulent soil because you’re the DIY type or you simply want to try something new.
So what do you need and why? Let’s break it down!
Succulent soil needs to consist of organic material + minerals.
Organic material aka materials that were once alive, is what provides drainage while the minerals provide the nutrients that succulents need to thrive.
There are many different materials you can use for your organic material and they are:
- Potting soil
- Coconut Coir
- Pine Bark
For the mineral material, you can use any of the below:
- Coarse Sand (NOT beach sand, which is bad for succulents because of the salt it contains)
Now that we’ve covered what types of materials you can use, it’s time to talk about ratio because it’s an important piece of this puzzle!
Here it goes:
You want to mix 1/3 organic material to ⅔ mineral material.
I told you this was a super-simple recipe and I meant it. The reason I think it’s easy is that the materials I use are so easy to find and widely available.
I use regular potting soil (any brand as long as it does NOT contain vermiculite) and either coarse sand or perlite.
Aside from potting soil and sand or perlite, you should have these materials handy for this DIY succulent soil recipe:
- Container or bucket with lid
- A garden fork or trowel to mix the materials together
For this post, I’m using a storage bin I picked up from Lowe’s because it has a lid and is just large enough to hold the amount of soil I want to make for my smaller potted succulents.
If you plan to use all of your succulent soil in one sitting, then you don’t even need a container and lid, just mix the materials in a large pot or bucket.
Below is a step-by-step picture guide to walk you through the recipe.
Keep in mind that when I say “part”, I’m referring to a generic unit of measure, whether it’s a cup, a small container, or the depth of a garden trowel.
It can be anything you use to measure your materials, as long as you use it consistently throughout the measuring process.
I personally use my small hand trowel because it’s deep enough that I can hold a good amount of material in it.
Once you have your measuring vessel and other materials you can follow this process – it’ll only take a few minutes to do!
Mix Together the Ingredients for your DIY Succulent Soil Recipe
1 part regular potting soil, which serves as the organic material
2 parts of either coarse sand or perlite, which serve as the mineral material
Thoroughly mix them together until combined
Store it in an air-tight bin or container for future use!
That’s it – I told you it was super-simple!
But because I love making my own soil, I wanted you to know that you don’t just have to use two ingredients – you can actually go a step further and use three ingredients to make it even more fast-draining. Here’s my next recipe:
Even faster-draining succulent soil recipe:
1 part potting soil
1 part coarse sand
1 part perlite or pumice
Mix together and start planting!
I hope you’ll try this DIY succulent soil soon and maybe even adapt it to your liking and mix in different materials.