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How to Make Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix

Lyn is a horticulturist and YouTuber with over 35 years of experience growing succulents and cacti.

The Best Soil for Desert Cacti and Succulents

Today I'm going to show you how you can make your own cactus and succulent soil mix. This soil mix is for the majority of the cacti and succulents—the desert types—not for rainforest cacti since they require a completely different soil mix. This is just for the majority of the desert cacti and succulents.

Use equal parts soil, grit, and horticultural sand to create the perfect cactus and succulent potting mix.

Use equal parts soil, grit, and horticultural sand to create the perfect cactus and succulent potting mix.

3 Ingredient Cactus and Succulent Potting Mix

Making your own cactus and succulent soil blend is simple. Grab a mixing bowl, and you'll need just three ingredients to get started:

  1. Soil
  2. Grit
  3. Horticultural Sand

How to Find the Right Ratio

This part is easy—you need to use equal parts of each ingredient. The amount you need is dependent on what you are potting. So, if you only need to pot one cactus, you can use one small cup of each, as long as the parts are in equal measure—one small cup of soil, one small cup of grit, and one small cup of sand. If you are planting several, you may need to use a bucket of each ingredient. It all depends on how many cacti and succulents you plan to pot.

Which Type of Soil Works Best for Cacti and Succulents?

Use loam-based soil. I use a John Innes loam-based soil, which is very low in peat and much higher in loam. You can use any good quality loam-based soil as long as it's high in loam.

What Is Horticultural Sand?

Next is horticultural sand. It's important to use horticultural sand and not beach sand because it's a different thing entirely. So make sure it's sand specially made for gardening use. You'll then need some grit as well. Small particles are better rather than big particles, obviously.

Why Is Cactus and Succulent Soil Different From Regular Potting Soil?

Cactus and succulent soil needs to be very well-draining, which is why it's important to use plenty of grit and sand. Regular soil is not suitable for cacti and succulents because it retains too much water. The reason it's so important that you use a cactus and succulent soil that is very well-draining is so it dries out quickly in between waterings.

The end result should be very well-mixed to ensure proper drainage.

The end result should be very well-mixed to ensure proper drainage.

Cactus and Succulent Soil Step-by-Step

Let's get mixing!

  1. Firstly, you want a mixing bowl large enough to put the whole mixture into.
  2. Then, just measure equal parts of each ingredient (soil, grit, horticultural sand) and dump them into the bowl.
  3. You want to give it a really good mix around. That's it! You are ready to plant.
This batch of cactus and succulent soil is ready for potting.

This batch of cactus and succulent soil is ready for potting.

Save Money by Making Your Own Potting Mix

It's far more economical to make your own cactus and succulent soil. You can save a lot of money, especially when you have a lot of cacti and succulents, which is easy to do over time with a collection. Now you know how to make cactus and succulent soil! As you've learned, it's very easy to do. Have a fantastic plant-powered day!

How to Grow Cacti and Succulents

© 2021 Lyn Kimberley

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