Can I Use Regular Potting Soil For Succulents?

Succulents are hardy plants that can survive even harsh weather conditions. However, they also have certain requirements when it comes to soil, the amount of sunlight and water for them to survive.  If you are wondering if any kind of soil is suitable for succulents, read on about the ideal soil for these plants. 

Can I use regular potting soil for succulents?

You can only use regular potting soil for succulents if you make some adjustments to it.  Regular soil tends to hold too much water and moisture, which leads to root rot among succulents. The ideal soil for these plants is fast-draining soil that only holds necessary moisture. It should also allow the plants to breathe which is not achievable with regular soil, since it is too compact and it takes some time to dry out. 

To make regular soil suitable for succulents, add some materials such as mineral grit so it becomes fast-draining. The ideal ratio would be one part of regular soil and one to two parts mineral grit. This mixture will allow the resulting soil to become a fast-draining one.

What are the ingredients of regular potting mix and succulent soil mix?

The regular potting mix usually contains coco coir, pine bark, peat moss and perlite.  These materials easily retain water, especially peat moss which is used as a mix base material.  Regular potting soil also tends to drain well compared to garden soil and works for most potted plants. 

Succulent potting mix aims to have even faster water drainage and the materials are similar to regular potting mix which are peat moss, coco coir, perlite and pine bark. However, coarse sand is added in large portions to achieve a high water drainage quality, which succulents need to thrive. 

How to make a DIY succulent potting mix?

These are the ingredients that you will need for your DIY succulent potting mix:

  • Regular potting soil 
  • Coarse sand 
  • Perlite 
  • Measuring container 
  • Mixing container 

Here is the process of making your DIY succulent potting mix:

First, put two parts of a regular potting mix and place it in the mixing container. Next, add two parts of coarse sand, but do not use beach sand as they have high salt levels, or even ordinary sand from the garden since you are unaware exactly what is in it. Be sure to use clean and sterilized materials. Finally, add one part of perlite and mix all the materials.  

Recommended commercial soil mix for succulents 

These are our recommended commercial soil mix for your succulents:

Succulent Planter Soil Kit 

Succulent Planter Soil Kit is ideal for succulents, especially if you are planning to use terrariums. It has instructions that are easy to follow and you can grow your succulents without any hassle or mess. It comes with clean pea gravel for good drainage and activated charcoal to remove toxins. It also has organic soil that is nutrient-rich, river rock for decorative purposes and bright moss as a moisture neutralizer. 

The kit comes in small, medium and large sizes and is cost-effective, as opposed to buying all of the materials separately. 

Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix 

Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix is a pre-mixed kit and ready for succulent use. The ingredients include Hard Japanese Akadama or Japanese bonsai soil that retain enough amounts of water, USA pumice as a source of nutrients, USA Haydite to drain excess water and New Zealand Pine Bark for fertilizer retention. You do not have to worry whether your plants are overwatered, since it only retains the required amount of water. It is also breathable and allows good aeration and air circulation in containers. 

It comes in 1.25 and 12-quart sizes and packed in resealable bags. You can choose the suitable size according to the soil amount needed. 

An important tip for beginners is to make sure that your pots and containers have drainage holes. If there is none, excess water is stored at the bottom of the pot and it could cause root rot. Drainage holes drain the excess water each time you water the plants. It is also essential to have fast-draining soil that only retains the right amount of moisture for the plants. 

Conclusion 

Succulents grow well in a fast-draining succulent soil where water does not become stagnant or accumulates.  However, if you do not have this kind of soil you may use regular potting soil provided that you make some adjustments to it.  In addition to a regular potting mix, you need to add one to two parts of mineral grit so that it becomes a fast-draining soil, which is ideal for succulents. 

 Image: istockphoto.com / Stanislav Ostranitsa