Can You Use Cactus Soil for Other Plants

Can You Use Cactus Soil for Other Plants

Succulents and cactus are popular houseplants because they do not require too much attention and care. Most of them only need to be watered once a week or when the soil is already dried up.  Cactus soil is the ideal mix for these plants to prevent water from being stagnant to avoid root rot. However, you may be wondering if cactus soil can still be used for other plants like vegetables or fruits. 

Can you use cactus soil for other plants?

Yes, you can use cactus soil for other plants but make sure that the soil is modified and adjusted according to the plant’s needs. It must be slightly adjusted to provide nutrition and enhanced moisture. Indoor plants, in particular, prefer a soil mix that has good drainage and aeration to prevent fungal infection and pest infestation.

Most plant owners use cactus soil as their potting mix base. Cactus soil is usually placed on the bottom of the pot with the rest mostly peat moss and perlite. Ultimately, the exact soil mix will depend on the plants you will use it on as each plant has different demands. For instance, orchids prefer dry soil while ferns thrive best in moist soil that does not dry out. 

What is cactus soil made of?

These are the components of cactus soil:

  • Pumice or perlite 

This is the most essential component or element of the most succulent-friendly soil mix. It holds  the soil structure well and promotes good drainage.  It absorbs excess moisture in the soil. Pumice does not decompose unlike other organic soil components and it is rich in trace minerals that promote microbe growth and air circulation. 

  • Coarse sand – It aids in drainage and is considered an important component of drainage-friendly soil.  It also provides weight to the potting mix. 
  • Volcanic rocks –  It lessens water retention time and promotes drainage.
  • Pebbles –  It helps with aeration or air circulation as well as with drainage. 
  • Compost –  It is full of nutrients, supports vital microbe growth and promotes better plant growth. 
  • Peat or coir – It provides shape to the mixture and helps retain water for a certain period so the roots can absorb the water that they need. 

Cactus soil mix is made to order that provides succulents and other xerophytes and the soil condition is similar to their natural habitat. Cactus grows in drought-prone areas where the soil contains mostly inorganic materials such as granules, sand and pebbles.

Cactus soil has a high amount of inorganic components that facilitate less water retention and better drainage. It also provides better circulation of air since it is lighter compared to potting soil that is full of organic materials which makes it dense and heavy.

Why is cactus soil beneficial?

Cactus soil is beneficial especially for cacti since it replicates the native environment of which these plants are accustomed to growing. Cacti have delicate and shallow root systems that won’t thrive in potting soil that is overly dense. These plants are drought-tolerant and easily susceptible to root rot so they won’t grow well in soil that holds excess moisture and high organic matter. Cactus soil is formulated to help cacti do well when grown indoors. 

What kind of soil do regular plants like? 

The kind of soil that regular plants like will generally depend on their specific needs. Soil texture plays a vital role in deciding what kind of soil you will need for the plants. It is the sum of the drainage efficiency and nutritional content of the soil. Soil texture is determined by the presence of silt, sand and clay along with their particular proportions. 

These are the three main parts of soil composition:

  1. Sand –  It does not contain nutrients but it helps with drainage and air circulation as well as oxygen absorption.
  2. Clay –  It is not nutrient-heavy but it holds water for a long period resulting in a waterlogged condition. 
  3. Silt – It is rich in nutrients but it remains damp for a long period.

For growing regular plants aside from succulents,  you can use cactus mix but you must also add a considerable amount of potting soil. Most regular plants love a bit of moisture in the soil and it has to be rich in nutrients. To make the soil more dense and nutritious, add potting soil or add coconut coir or peat moss, shredded leaves or compost. Nevertheless, add lime or compost to the succulent cactus mix if your plants love alkaline soil and you have to decrease the acidity of the cactus mix.

Indoor plants prefer soil that has good drainage and improved aeration so it is ideal to use cactus soil as the base and make modifications according to the needs of the plants. 


Cactus soil mix is ideal for cacti and succulents since it facilitates less water retention and has good drainage. It is also ideal to use for other plants but it must be modified and slightly adjusted to be able to provide enhanced moisture and nutrition. 

Image: / MichelleLWilson