I love succulents like jade plants and aloes; I write about them and share photos all the time. Lately, it seems like every time I post something about succulents, someone asks me what type of soil I use. Great question!
I don’t buy succulent potting soil, I make my own. It’s much cheaper than buying commercial succulent and cactus potting soil. Plus, I think the commercial succulent potting soil (at least the stuff I’ve purchased in the past) is light on sand, so it holds more water than I like. Making your own succulent potting soil is not only cheaper than buying the commercial stuff, it’s super easy.
DIY Succulent Potting Soil Ingredients
To make your own succulent potting soil, you only need three ingredients, and you can find them at any garden center or home improvement store:
Potting Soil/Peat Moss
Any type of general potting soil will work as the base for making your own succulent soil. Use whatever you have on hand. The brand of potting soil I use varies depending what’s on sale at the time I need to buy potting soil. If peat moss is on sale, I’ll buy peat moss instead of potting soil. But for making your own succulent potting soil, make sure to use a light potting soil as your base. Don’t use heavy potting soils, and don’t use potting soil that contains vermiculite, or the kind that says it retains water longer than other potting soils. Succulents need fast draining soil, not soil that holds moisture.
The type of sand I buy is just the stuff they sell for use in a sandbox (I buy it at either Home Depot or Lowes). You could use any type of sand, but to ensure fast drainage of your succulent potting soil, I recommend buying a coarse sand rather than the really fine stuff. Just don’t use sand from the garden, the beach or a sandbox (you never know what nasties will be in that sand).
Perlite is a very lightweight soil amendment. It’s the white pieces that look like Styrofoam that you see in many commercial potting soils. It retains very little moisture and prevents soil compaction. In other words, it helps the soil drain faster which is exactly what we want for succulent potting soil. You can buy perlite at any garden center or home improvement store in the same section as you would find the potting soil.
DIY Succulent Potting Soil Recipe
The recipe I use for succulent potting soil is 3 parts potting soil, 2 parts sand and 1 part perlite. If I’m potting up a cactus, I use a little more sand and perlite in my succulent potting soil for extra drainage.
Making the succulent potting soil is easy. Simply dump all the ingredients into a bucket and stir until they are well mixed.
That’s it. Told you it was easy to make your own succulent potting soil. You could mix a bunch ahead of time and store it for later use, or just mix it as you need it. I like to mix up a big batch, and then I store it in a plastic bucket in the garage so I always have succulent potting soil on hand when I need it. Make sure to store your succulent potting soil in an air tight container. You don’t want pesky bugs getting in there.
This DIY succulent potting soil can also be used for propagating succulent cuttings. My succulents and cactus plants grow very well in my homemade succulent potting soil, and making my own saves me tons of money (I repot a lot of succulent and cactus plants).
Click here to read more about the basics of how to care for a houseplant… Houseplant Care
Do you make any of your own potting soil mixes? Share your potting soil recipes in the comments section below.
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