Make Your Own Succulent Potting Soil

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I love succulents, 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!

Various succulents

I don’t buy succulent potting soil, I make my own. It’s much cheaper than buying commercial succulent/cacti soil. Plus, I think the commercial stuff (at least the stuff I’ve purchased in the past) is light on sand, so it holds more water than I like.

Here’s how I make my own succulent/cacti potting soil. I use three ingredients:

1. Potting soil or peat moss
2. Sand
3. Perlite

Ingredients for succulent potting soil

The type of potting soil I use varies depending what’s on sale at the time I need to buy potting soil. But for succulents, make sure to get a light potting soil. 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 hold moisture.

Potting soil

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 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 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.


The recipe I use for succulent 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.

Put all ingredients in a bucket

Making the potting soil is easy. Dump all the ingredients into a bucket and stir until they are well mixed.

Mix ingredients to make succulent potting soil

That’s it. Told you it was easy to make. You could mix a bunch ahead of time and store it for later use, or just mix it as you need it.

Succulent potting soil

My succulents and cacti grow very well in my home made potting soil.

Succulent container garden

Do you make any of your own potting mixes?




  1. says

    Very good advice. I just repotted a bunch of succulents this weekend and I just use a imprecise +/- 1/2 sand, 1/2 potting soil (with perlite). It's one of the reasons I love succulents, as long as the soil drains well, they'll be fine.

  2. says

    Hello!! I read your post and it was very helpfull..I used to use vermiculite when i lived in Portugal (very dry weather) now I'm living in Ireland (very humid, wet) and I'm still using, for the first time i lost a succulent with root rotten..Now I know why. Thank you very much.!!
    I'd like to ask permission to make a post at my blog based in yours? but in Portuguese I'll give

    • says

      Hi Sheila,
      I'm glad you like the post. Thanks for asking permission to use my content. I think it would be great if you translated this into Portuguese. As long as you credit my site, link to my site, and make it clear that the content originated here, I'm fine with it. I would love it if you would come back here and share the link to your post too so I can see it and share it with

  3. says

    I should make my own too, maybe when we go to Lowe's again I will get all of the above. I guess you have to bring in your succulents for the winter? The only one I bring in is the aloe…and that just comes inside the storage room door…to be forgotten until about January. :-)

    • says

      Yah, they all come in for the winter. It's a huge task to wash them all and move them inside. Every fall I wonder why I keep doing it, but they do so much better outside. You're lucky! :-)


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