What Soil To Use For Succulent Potting?[DIY Succulent Soil Mix Guide]

What Soil To Use For Succulent Potting?

Are you wondering what soil should you be using for your potted succulent plants?

Choosing ideal soil to be used for potting your succulents plays a huge role in emulating the natural habitat in which succulents are known to do well. And, if you are looking at what soil you need, you should know that Succulent plants are adaptive plants commonly known for being great houseplants. 

Which means soil types they do well in the wild, can easily be adapted to suit their needs when potting them in your backyard. 

While normal orchid potting soil isn’t perfect for succulents, by mixing sterlile regular potting soil with course and porus material, you can turn your ordinary soil into the best home made soil to plant succulents using regular potting soil as your base.

Succulent plants have large, bulky leaves which are said to store water, which means the succulents can go on for a longer time without needing daily watering like tomatoes would need. Hence they can thrive under hot, dry weather most household plants would dare to survive. However, this is when you should water them even more since they grow rapidly in such seasons. Another factor that leads to the successful growth of succulent plants is the type of soil that has been used. Succulents don’t just work well with any type of soil. 

What soil is ideal for succulent plants?

The best potting soil for a succulent plant is a potting mix, particularly the one that is well-drained. This potting mix is ideal because besides holding the plant firmly, it helps in preventing overwatering. 

Pretty much like tomato rot, Succulent plants suffer from over-watering which can be resolved by choosing the right potting soil for planting your succulents in pots. So, it is very important that if you are buying regular potting soil, you must make it porus by mixing it with course soil type or grit to make it drain water effectively. 

Most succulent plant owners often find their succulent turning yellow. This is a classic sign of overwatering, and in many cases it is the number one cause of succulent plant death, especially for beginner succulent plant owners.

How To Know If Your Soil Is Not Holding Too Much Water?

Typically, when watering your succelent in between a few days, you must use your index finger into the soil and feel for moisture content levels. If it’s still wet and overly moist, you must consider adding grit to make the soil drain the water sufficiently so the roots do not begin to rot.

As much as ready potting soli mix for Succulent plants can be ordered from Amazon and in a wide range of local stores around the country, there is no reason to not make your own soil mix at home. Seriously, not many gardening ethusiasts actuall know that you can make the best succulent potting soil mix at home. So, lets break it down and see how you too can turn regular orchid potting soil into ideal succulent soil mix.

Sounds far fetched how anyone can make succulent soil by themself, but I can tell you that succulent soil can be made right at home, and there is actually a faily popular special succulent potting mix recipe that you can follow. 

I have included it here as I took time to pool together detailed step by step guide below. But, why bother making your own succulent potting soil mix? There are plenty benefits to making your own mix of soil as I have found out.

Benefits of making your own Succulent Soil 

Quick And Affordable: While I have the option to buy the soil, making it myself at home means Iam able to rastle together what I already have from previous projects and turn regular orchid potting soil into succulent potting soil mix. 

This in return will be much cheaper and something I have often used as a fun family activity to do with my kids. Whats not to like when you can make your own experimental soil mix and avoid driving to the store for a commercial cactus and succulent potting mix?

 Measured And Controlled Succulent Potting Mix:  Making your own succulent potting mix at home offers a sense of measured control as it makes the difference if that potted plant is on your window seal or in your greenery room. 

So, if you are doing it yourself, you have control over both the ingredients and location of the succulent plant, and since you have this control, you can easily modify this succulent soil recipe to your own liking until you get the perfect soil mix that your succulent plants will most likely love.

A lot of gardeners say that the commercial soil mix for succulents and cacti tend to be light on sand, which means they can hold a little more water than you would expect. Plus making your own succulent soil is actually super easy to do.

Now for the part, you have been waiting for… 

How to Make Succulent Soil (ingredients included)

As we said before, commercial cactus and succulent potting soil mixes can have less or too much of one ingredient, which can be very problematic on the succulent plant. 

Succulent Potting Soil mix Ingredient List

To get started making your own succulent soil mix, you only need exactly three ingredients. These are: 

  • Potting soil 
  • Coarse sand 
  • Perlite

As an alternative, you can also use poultry grit instead of the coarse sand. These ingredients can be found at almost any garden center or a home improvement store.

All-purpose potting soil

There are so many types of all-purpose potting soils out there. Luckily, any type of all-purpose potting soil for indoor plants will work for succulent plants. 

All-purpose potting is best used as the base to make your own succulent soil. But you can pretty much use whatever you have on hand (as long as it’s fresh, sterile potting soil).

Generally, when making potting soil mix for succulent plants, it’s always important and best to use a light, porous soil as your base soil. The goal for potting soil mix is to achieve a well-draining soil mix for your planters. 

Still, make sure that you stay away from using the heavier soil types. Also, don’t attempt to use potting soil mixes that contain vermiculite, or any type of moisture control potting mix that says it retains water. 

Remember these are Succulents, so they need a well-draining potting soil mix, and anything else that holds moisture should be off the table. 

Coarse Sand

Succulent plants grow best in porous sandy potting soil, so it can be of great significance to amend your potting soil with sand. 

As we all know, there are so many types of sand options, and with succulents, you could use any type of sand, just as long as you are sure that the sand will provide fast drainage for your succulent plants. I would recommend buying coarse sand rather than other finer type of sand. .

And by all means, never attempt to use sand from the garden, the beach, or a sandbox. You never know what kind of nasty things will be in that sand. The last thing you want to do is to select a sand that will only give your plant problems, such as pests.

If you are still having trouble finding the perfect sand to use, simply go for the best alternatives there are; surface or poultry grit. Either of those makes excellent alternatives to sand in this entire recipe. Your succulent absolutely needs sand that will offer a god drainage. 

Perlite (or Pumice)

Perlite is simply the white piece that look like Styrofoam that are commonly seen in many commercial potting mixes. While perlite might seem heavy, it is actually a very lightweight organic soil amendment

Why use perlite?

There are a couple of benefits that are associated with this lightweight soil. First of all, perlite helps in adding better drainage for the succulent plants, it prevents the compassion of soil (since it is loosely packed) and it retains very little moisture. These are the 3 most important factors that will enable your succulent plants to grow better. 

While it can be harder to find, you can usually buy perlite at any garden center or home improvement store. Here, you are likely to find it in the same section as you would find potting soil for sale. Ideally, you can also buy the soil online. 

Now that we have everything ready, it’s time to get mixing. 

What supplies will you need?

Besides your succulent potting mix ingredients, there are a few other things that you will need before you can continue, and these should be the supplies that will help you measure and mix the ingredients in the right proportions. 

Here are the items that you will need:

  • Measuring container 
  • Trowel 
  • Container for mixing (you can either use a bucket or a table top potting tray) 

What is the ideal potting soil mix recipe?

According to gardeners, the most recommended proportion is:

  • 3 parts potting soil 
  • 2 parts coarse sand (turface or poultry grit) 
  • 1 part perlite (or pumice) 

The recipe for cactus soil mix is much more similar to that of the succulent plants, and it goes without saying, this system is much easy to modify in order to make potting soil for cactus plants. 

For the perfect cactus potting soil mix, however, you are required to add about 1/2 – 1 part more sand and perlite in the succulent potting soil for that extra drainage feature.

So, its easy to let minute metrics get in the way as you make your own potting mix for succulent, personally i use logical measure in parts. But, what is the “part” in this recipe anyway, and what does it stand for?

A “part” is simply where you are going to use your ideal generic unit of measure for your potting soil mix ratio. The part is just a yard-stick used in the DIY soil mix ratios, so do not get confused here! It’s just a word we use. 

It means you can use anything you want in order to measure your ingredients, just as long as you use the same type of measure for every other “part”.

For instance, if you plan on using a scoop measure for 1 part, then it means you should use the same scoop twice for 2 parts, and three times for 3 parts.

The idea here is that you should use the same measurement for each part. If you are using a spoon or a drum, be consistent with the measuring item.

How to Mix Potting Soil for Succulent Plants

Now that you have poured every “part”, the next step is to mix the proportions. Mixing potting soil for succulent plants is very easy. 

Here, all you need to do is to dump everything into your mixing container (whether it is a bucket or pouring tray- anything that you can mix your soil into, so the options are endless). The mixture should then be stirred all together.

You can mix the soil with your hand or you can use a trowel. Whichever way you use, just make sure the ingredients are evenly mixed at the end.

What about the leftover soil? (Storing mixed Succulent Soil)

It’s very common to have leftovers after using the soil. After all, succulent plant pots aren’t usually that big, so there is a greater chance that you might have leftovers after planting. 

The good thing is that the succulent soil can be stored. You can store it on a shelf in your basement, garage or even your garden shed.

One important factor you have to consider when storing your leftover succulent soil is that it must be kept in an air-tight container. This prevents any pests from turning the soil into their home. 


Potting soil mix is the ideal potting soil, especially when it comes to succulent plants. This soil has to be well-drained in order to prevent overwatering and the accumulation of water within the soil.  

While you can always buy the readily-mixed soil from the store, it will be much cheaper to mix the potting soil yourself at home using the three main ingredients; Potting soil, Coarse sand and Perlite in the recommended proportions.  

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