Can You Use Regular Potting Soil For Succulents

The most important thing you can do to secure the survival of your succulent container gardens is to use the proper soil. Unfortunately, with so many soil varieties on the market, it isn’t easy to know where to start. Are you wondering if you can use standard potting soil for succulents and cacti?

We will discuss whether an all-purpose potting mix or regular soil can be used for succulents and cactus. You will also see the difference between standard potting soil and DIY succulent soil?

The quick answer to whether succulents and cacti can be grown in normal potting soil is that succulents can’t thrive in standard potting soil without supplements. Since regular soil has a high water-retention capacity, succulents need a potting soil low in water retention with good drainage.

Potting Soil Mix For Succulents

In our guide, you can learn all there is about using fast-draining soil for your succulents to grow to their max; by the end, you’ll see which is the correct soil you need for healthy succulents to grow.

Regular Potting Mix vs. Succulents Potting Mix

It is a standard potting mix that can be used for most houseplants, although plants such as succulents and others have unique mixtures they need as they require specific soil characteristics.

Peat moss, coco coir, pine bark, and perlite are all included in the standard or succulent potting soil mix, which has water retention in mind.

The capacity to hold water was because of the use of peat moss as the mix’s primary element. The standard potting mix has a high water retention property, although it drains quickly compared to garden soil.

A succulents potting mix is made with the water drainage as the key factor. While manufacturers use the same components such as peat moss, coconut coir, pine bark, perlite, and other similar items, they also include large amounts of coarse sand.

Thanks to the sand, any mix made for succulents comprises fast-draining soil, so roots never stand in too much water. (Read Do Succulents Need Drainage)

How To Prepare Succulent and Cactus Soil

Overwatering is the most common cause of death when growing succulents in pots. You can buy a pre-mixed succulent potting mix or make your own DIY succulent soil container gardens.

Here’s how you can make your own succulent and cactus soil:

Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix

What You Need

  • Regular potting soil.
  • Coarse sand or chicken grit.
  • Perlite.
  • Measuring jug.
  • Mixing container.


  1. Use materials that are clean and sterilized.
  2. Fill the mixing container with two parts of regular potting mix. 2 parts coarse sand to 1 part fine sand.
  3. Add 1 part perlite to the mix. Combine all three ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Don’t use sand from the beach or sand from your yard because beach sand has high salt content, and you do not know what is in garden sand.

What Makes A Perfect Succulent Soil?

There are many competing beliefs concerning soil for a succulent mix, but fast-draining soil is crucial for growing succulents. Succulents can withstand dryness. If they are kept in damp soil, they will decay.

You can find many succulents growing in narrow rocky fissures or on cliff faces where heavy rain saturates their natural, rough soils, but they quickly dry.

Succulent Soil Drainage

The key drainage considerations are the right soil type, watering frequency, container choice, sun, and ventilation.

The amount of water added to sunlight, ventilation, and soil structure are all factors that determine how long soil stays wet. Therefore, while searching for the ideal soil, keep in mind that drying time is a function of these variables.

Because of these variables, what works for one gardener may not work for another. Indoor farmers, for example, who have less airflow, may prefer grittier soil to keep pests at bay. On the other hand, in a hot, windy region, an outside gardener could use less permeable soil to avoid water as frequently. However, all pots in use will need sufficient drainage holes for long-term growth. (Find the Best Weed Killer For Flower Beds)

Succulent Soil Mix Guide

Organic Vs. Mineral

Organic and mineral components make up soil. Organic refers to objects that were formerly alive in this context. Minerals are inorganic yet natural but not derived from living organisms.

Tree bark and other plant waste, for example, are organic components, whereas gravel is mineral. In soil, both sorts are required. Mineral elements assist drainage while organic materials give nutrients and store water.

Growth and rot are both supported by the correct organic to mineral material ratio. You’ll be able to water your succulents deeply yet infrequently as well. Depending on the environmental circumstances and the kinds cultivated, the mineral content might range from 40% to 80% by volume.

Texture and Porous

Soil is classified into “texture types” based on the grit size. Sand, silt, and clay are the three categories. Soil water retention and drying time are affected by the quantities of each. Regular potting soils with big particles and pores dry faster than clay soils, which are ideal for succulents.

When planting in the ground, choose a sandy loam with 50% to 80% coarse sand, fine gravel, or chicken grit with a size of 1/8″ to 1/4″ inch diameter to promote efficient drainage and prevent succulents from rotting in soggy soil.

Perlite for Succulents

Making your succulent soil mix lighter and better draining by including perlite can help it be more resilient to drought. However, one potential disadvantage of perlite is that it crushes easily when used in construction. As a result, over time, the perlite degrades into a powder.

Mostly, you’ll be refreshing your soil every couple of years, and you may refill the perlite at the same time as you do that.

Pumice for Succulents

Adding pumice to your soil is highly recommended if you’re working with more organic soil, as it’s considerably more durable than perlite. You may also use only pumice to plant your succulents; however, you’ll want to be careful about how often you water them at first.

Pumice is highly porous, allowing water to be trapped in dozens of pores in each particle. Because pumice does not “feel” wet like typical potting soil and allows for more airflow around the particles, comparable to the gritty mix, this can be a good choice for succulent plants.

However, because it collects a lot of water, you’ll want to wait until it’s totally dry before watering your potted plants again. (Learn How To Tell If Succulent Leaf Is Calloused)

Sand in Succulent Soil

When you make your own succulent soil mix, they benefit from adding coarse sand that has particles of 1/4″ or larger. However, if you try to use fine sand, it can hinder your soil from draining, as the particle spaces are much smaller.

Outdoor Potted Succulents Soil

If you’re growing succulents outdoors, the Bonsai Jack mix may not be the right potting soil for you. You may need to water your own succulent mix in dry climates every other day. However, you can mix up the ingredients to compensate.

You can opt for a mix of coconut coir and pumice with crushed granite, depending on what you can find easily and what can retain water a little better than pine bark.

Can I Use Bagged Succulent Mixes?

If none of the soil components stated in the recipes above are available, the next best option is to purchase a bag of “succulent and cactus mix” from your local Lowes, Home Depot, or Wal-Mart.

This material is suitable for succulents. However, it does not drain properly at the other extreme and repels water even when entirely dry. Therefore, it is advisable to use these as a base and convert them into well-draining soil by adding pumice, crushed granite, or perlite to improve drainage.

Repotting Succulents

Don’t repot your succulents if they grow well in your current succulent potting soil. The best cactus mix for succulents is determined by climate and the place where you keep your plants.

If you notice your succulents dying and you’re unsure what’s wrong, your succulent soils are an excellent place to start.

While changing succulent soils with your own succulent soil mix may not address all of your issues, your succulents will thrive in succulent soil that drains well and allows plenty of air to circulate their roots.

When you get a new succulent home, repot it as soon as possible in new soil, removing as much of the soil from the retail container as possible. Keeping succulents in their original store-bought succulent soil causes a lot of frequent difficulties.

The succulent soil from the store causes two major issues. To begin with, any indoor plants such as succulents purchased locally are often root-bound, where roots fill most of the pot. Therefore, the roots will have a hard time spreading if you remove the succulent and place it in a new pot.

Second, most nurseries don’t sell succulents in the best soil for long-term growth.

This is because most large nurseries and farmers use the same soil to plant succulents for all their outdoor and indoor plants. They desire a soil mix that can be used for a variety of purposes. When succulents are young, they require more water, thus dense soil such as regular potting soil.

However, putting succulents in this soil for an extended period might cause root rot from excess water or prevent them from getting the water they require.

In most potting soils, peat moss is the major element. However, when the moss is completely dry, it has a tendency to reject water.

The succulents will not receive any water if the water does not seep into the soil and soak into the peat. Water runs down the sides and out of the drainage hole without nourishing your plants.

DIY Succulent Soil Mix

Make DIY Succulent Soil Mix

You may assume that purchasing a cactus or succulent soil mix from your local garden center is the best method to get the right soil for succulent growing.

Perlite is an organic soil supplement that is very light. Unfortunately, in many commercial potting mixes, it’s the white granules that resemble Styrofoam.

Perlite holds extremely little moisture, avoids soil compaction, and aids with succulent drainage. It aids in the soil’s drainage, which is ideal for succulent potting soil.

You’ll need a few more tools to help you measure and mix your succulent potting mix ingredients, besides the ingredients themselves for planting succulents.

DIY Succulent Soil Recipe 1

You can find the best soil for succulents that won’t hold excess water and has very little moisture as it lets water pass through the drainage hole after nourishing the succulent potting soil and your succulent plants:

  • 3 parts potting soil
  • 2 parts coarse sand or poultry grit (can use mineral grit as an alternative)
  • 1 part perlite (or pumice)

DIY Succulent Soil Recipe 2

  • 1 Part Pine Bark
  • 1 Part Turface or perlite
  • 1 Part Crushed Granite or poultry grit

The pine bark is organic and stores water, including air pockets for respiration. It also takes a long time to decompose. Perlite or Turface absorbs water and releases it slowly rather than having wet soil all the time.

Crushed granite allows water to flow freely amid the particles. As a result, water quickly drains from the porous mix. Plus, the roots aren’t left in wet dirt or pools of water like in regular potting soil.

The essential component of the DIY succulent gritty mix recipe is to make sure all the particles are roughly 1/4′′. You can discover this is very similar to the Bonsai Jack succulent soil mix you can purchase from your local garden center.

If you can’t find pine bark, you must remember that any organic material needs to stay the same as the other parts to make the best succulent soil mix, which is your own succulent soil for succulents.

Can You Use Regular Potting Soil For Succulents

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