Despite being specially formulated for African violets, African violet soil is actually quite similar in characteristics to what ideal succulent soil would be.
African violet soil has relatively similar drainage and consistency as succulent soil.
It contains vermiculite, peat moss and perlite to make it well-draining, and slow-release nutrients which help prolong growth.
Succulents are native to some of the driest regions on earth and they can survive on very little water, so they get overwatered quite easily. The African violet soil has sufficient aeration and drainage to support this characteristic of succulents.
In this article, we will dive further into why you can use African violet soil for your succulents in a pinch. So, if you are considering doing this and wish to learn more, just keep reading.
What are the characteristics of succulent soil and African violet soil?
Succulent soil has a slightly to moderately acidic pH of about 4 to 6.5. It is light and fluffy with lots of air. Succulent soil also drains very well to allow the plant’s roots to dry out completely between waterings.
African violet soil has a pH of 6 to 6.5, and is also quite loose and porous. Water also drains well from this soil, since African violets are also prone to root rot.
What are the differences between African violet soil and regular potting soil?
Regular potting soil contains a lot of actual soil, which makes it retain water a little too well for either African violets or succulents.
African violet soil is usually a combination of 50 percent peat moss and 50 percent vermiculite and perlite. These additives reduce water retention and promote good air flow to the roots.
Regular potting soil contains a lot of nutrients, but it still needs to be replenished often.
The vermiculite in African violet soil improves the soil greatly, and the soil retains nutrients well. This is because nutrients are slow-released into African violet soil so that the plant always has a constant feed.
Vermiculite also helps anchor new roots, which is why African violet soil is a good choice to use for baby succulents.
How to repot succulents in African violet soil
Now that we know that succulents can grow in African violet soil, you can transplant your succulents.
First, you need to carefully remove the succulent from its old pot or container. You do this by tipping the container to one side while also holding the plant at its base.
Slowly turn the plant until it is pointing downwards and start tapping the bottom of the container.
If the plant does not dislodge from the container easily, you can use an old knife or a stick to help loosen the soil from the sides of the container.
You can also tug on it gently to help ease the plant out, but if you are having a really hard time getting it out, you may need to break the pot rather than risk damaging the plant’s roots.
When you have removed the plant from its pot, there will probably be clumps of dirt remaining on the root ball of the succulent which you will need to remove before you can replant it. You can do this by gently tapping on the roots, or you can brush it off.
Once you have removed as much dirt from the roots as you can, inspect them closely.
Look for any root segments that have turned brown or black; these sections are rotten and you will need to remove them. Use a sterile pair of scissors to prune away the rotten roots.
After the roots have been completely cleaned, lay the plant down on a paper towel and let the roots air-dry for several hours.
You do not need to place it under the sun; just let it dry out on a table.
When the plant’s roots have completely dried out, prepare a new pot that is one size bigger than the previous pot and fill it about two-thirds with African violet soil.
Place the succulent in the center and fill the pot all the way up with more soil so that all the roots are covered.
Only the roots should be buried and none of the leaves, because burying the leaves can cause them to rot.
Water the soil around the base of the succulent until it feels moist. Make sure not to overwater it because this can stress out the newly-transplanted succulent.
The next time you plan to water the soil, check it first by touching it. If the soil is dry to the touch, water the plant, but if it is still a bit damp, wait one or two days before checking it again.
What is a succulent’s ideal soil?
The best way to care for any plant is to simulate its natural habitat as best as you can. In nature, succulents grow in gritty soil that gets saturated when there is rainfall but will also dry out quickly when the sun comes back out.
Thus, the main characteristic of any ideal succulent soil is that it is well-draining. The succulent’s ability to absorb and store water in case of drought makes it very susceptible to root rot if kept in constantly wet soil.
There are several factors that dictate how long soil in a succulent’s pot remains wet. These include the amount of water you give, the amount of sunlight the plant gets, the airflow around the roots, and the structure of the soil.
This means that not all tips for succulent soil will work for all gardeners. If you are growing your succulents outdoors in a hot, windy climate, you may need soil that is denser than normal so that you do not have to water so frequently.
Indoor succulents will have less exposure to wind, so they will do better in grittier soil.
Make sure the pot you are using for your succulent has drainage holes at the bottom. If it does not, you can always drill some holes. These holes are so that any excess water that reaches the soil can simply flow out again, thus reducing the likelihood of overwatering and root rot.
Can I make my own succulent soil?
Yes, you can make your own succulent soil mix at home, which you can customize to your own plants’ needs.
To make a balanced succulent soil, mix one part organic materials to two parts mineral materials.
Organic materials you can choose from include coconut coir, compost, pine bark or regular potting soil.
Mineral materials include gravel, pumice, perlite or coarse sand.
You can mix and match any one from each group as long as you do not forget the one-to-two ratio.
Yes, you can use African violet soil for succulents, because it has most of the characteristics that succulents look for in a growing medium.
African violet soil is also loose and airy and it drains water well. It also contains additives that slow the release of nutrients so that you will not have to constantly fertilize your plant.
If you find yourself in a dilemma where the only option is to use African violet soil for your succulents, then you are in luck because it should work just fine.
When you transplant your succulent into the African violet soil, make sure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom so that even if you accidentally pour too much water into the pot, the excess will simply flow out through the bottom of the pot.
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