Succulents are known for being beautiful houseplants that require little care and can be kept alive by anyone. The truth is that if you don’t give your succulents the right conditions, they may be easy to kill.
This is because most succulents are used to desert environments, which are very different from your typical home environment.
Because of this, you need to make sure you care for them in the right way. People often make the mistake of giving their succulents the wrong kind of soil (hint: regular houseplant soil won’t work!).
You can find and buy pre-made succulent soil mixes online or at your local nursery or garden shop. But it is easy and cheap to make succulent soil at home.
Knowing how succulent soil is different from other indoor potting mixes can help you come up with (or find) the best mix for your indoor succulents.
What is a Succulent?
Succulents are plants with thick leaves and/or stems that store water. This allows them to thrive in dry areas or soil.They can survive in dry conditions and take in a lot of water.
Succulent Soil Characteristics
All soil mixes have both organic and mineral materials in them.
Succulents can survive in dry conditions and don’t need to be watered all the time, so their potting soil should be porous and drain well.
It should also have less organic matter than most indoor soil mixes. The best soil has a lot of sand, perlite, or pumice and is loose and grainy.
Potting Soil for Succulents
Sand, potting soil, and perlite or pumice are the three most important parts of any soil mix for succulents. The exact amounts of these three things will depend on the type of succulent you have and your own taste.
Two parts sand, two parts potting soil, and one part perlite or pumice is a good place to start for most succulents. You can try different things with this ratio as you learn more about your succulent and what it needs.
Even though you won’t need as much potting soil as you would for other houseplants, potting soil is still an important part of the soil for succulents because it gives the plant the nutrients and organic matter it needs. You should use potting soil that drains well for your succulents.
Since you’ll be adding more sand and perlite or pumice, you can use regular houseplant mixes. Just don’t use any thick, black soils or dirt that has been specially made to hold water (any soil with vermiculite added is a no-go).
Perlite or Pumice
Perlite and pumice are porous stones that are added to succulent soil to help it breathe and drain better. You can use either one as soil for your succulents, but some people like pumice better than perlite because it is heavier and less likely to float when it gets wet.
Perlite, on the other hand, is usually easier to get and can be found in almost all nurseries, garden shops, and superstores. Pumice, on the other hand, may be harder to find.
Common Succulent Soil Problems
As long as the soil is properly prepared, it shouldn’t be too hard to work with. If any of these things happen, it may mean that your succulent soil mix needs to be changed.
If you try to water your succulent and the water runs right through the pot without being absorbed by the soil, you may have compacted soil.
In this case, it’s usually best to put your succulent in a new pot with fresh soil. To keep the soil from getting even more compacted, add more perlite, pumice, or sand to the mix and water your plant right away after repotting it.
Too High in Nutrients
If your succulent is growing too tall and unevenly, this could be a sign that your soil has too many nutrients.
This may seem like an odd problem, but succulents don’t need a lot of nutrients in their soil (remember, they do not require much organic matter). The main cause is an excess of nitrogen.
If you have this problem, you might want to add more sand and perlite to the soil to help lower the amount of organic matter in the mix.