Plant succulents in a combination of organic and inorganic materials and adjust the medium to get the correct constituency for your climate, the plant, and the planting position.
Most succulents despise excess moisture which will result in root rot and very unhappy plants.
Requirements For Succulent Soil
Succulents in their natural environment will grow in sandy soil or even gravel. This type of soil allows the water to drain through and never leave the succulent with wet feet.
- Succulents need well-drained soil; therefore, adding crushed stones or coarse sand will be crucial if you only have potting soil on hand.
- Succulent soil needs to hold moisture and nutrients and release it when the plant needs it.
- The soil needs air channels to allow the roots to breathe and penetrate the soil mix easily.
- A good soil should support the succulent plant, promote root growth and anchor the roots.
- An excellent succulent mix should not contain too much nitrogen as this will lead to large, leggy leaves.
Homemade Soil For Growing Succulents
Making your soil for succulents is cheaper than commercialized soil mix. I also like to know what is going into my soil mix and have more control over the soil. Adjust according to which succulent you are planting and the placement - succulents planted on a balcony will need a lightweight mix.
This soil can be used for outdoor succulents. When potting up indoor succulents, leave out the coco peat as this increases the water retention or just water less frequently.
Adjust the mixture according to your climate. A dry climate may need more organic material, and a moist climate may need less.
Other variables to consider when making your homemade compost is whether you are planting in the ground or a small or large pot, as well as what materials you can source in your area and the costs of these materials.
More on succulents: Succulent Garden Ideas for Small Spaces
Start with a mix of 50 percent organic and 50 percent inorganic materials.
When you try to compress the moist soil into a ball in your hand, it should not form a ball or clump, and it should fall apart easily.
If it clumps or forms a ball, add some more of the inorganic substances.
If it falls apart too quickly, add more organic substances.
Succulent Soil Ingredients
Organic Materials For Succulent Soil
- Coco peat mix. The coir mix will improve the soil structure and water holding capacity without leaving the soil too soggy. It also provides anti-fungal benefits.
- Potting -mix without added fertilizer.
- Vermicast - improves the soil structure and ensures that the plants receive all the nutrients they need to grow successfully.
Inorganic Materials For Succulent Soil
- Perlite and or vermiculite - offers good water retention and drainage capabilities
- Pumice - is lightweight and airy and provides good airation and drainage
- Crushed stone or granite or coarse sand to aid in drainage and allows the roots to move freely.
Mix 50 percent organic and 50 percent inorganic materials until they are equally distributed. Adjust according to your requirements.
Testing The pH Of Succulent Soil
If you wish to test the soil, the pH should be 6.0 to 6.5, which is slightly acidic.
If the pH is lower than 6.0, add a small amount of baking soda. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 1 gallon (4 liters) of water to increase the pH.
If the soil pH is higher than 6.5, add one cup of vinegar to 1 gallon (4 liters) of water in a watering can to lower the pH.
Test the soil the next day and occasionally test to monitor the levels.
Planting Succulents In Pots
- Pot with a drainage hole or holes
- Homemade succulent soil
- Pebbles or stones as mulch/decoration
Succulents aren't fussy about their pots, but I found unglazed terracotta pots to be the best as succulents prefer a drier soil. And I love the look of the terracotta.
Terracotta pots are "breathable," meaning that water evaporates through the clay, so the soil will never remain wet and soggy as long as there are drainage holes.
- Put some stones at the bottom of a pot.
- Add some of your homemade soil.
- Place your plant into the pot at the correct level, add soil around the plant, and firm it down.
- Place some crushed stones or pebbles on top of the soil.
- Water well then don't water again until the soil has dried out.
- How fast the soil dries will depend on the pot's size and position, whether full sun, part sun, wind, etc.
- Succulents despise wet feet.
- Homemade soil for succulents is cheaper than commercialized soil mix.
- Start with a mix of 50 percent organic and 50 percent inorganic materials.