When preparing a well-draining soil for succulents make sure that the mixing ratio is correct. The best well-draining soil mixture for succulents is 3 cups of well-draining soil, 3 cups sand, 1.5 cups perlite (althernativly pumice, this is to help with the aeration and drainage of the soil). Using this type of well draining soil will help your plants live longer and grow stronger.
Before we continue further, did you know that well draining soil for succulent plays a big role in succulents health. Most growers know that it can be challenging to grow and maintain succulents, especially when you don’t know what type of soil to use. Even if the main enemy of your succulents is incorrect watering, the effect of soil choice on their health is undeniable.
Succulents do not like moist or nutrient rich compost-based soil, so it is significant to have well-draining soil for your succulents.
If you need the right soil for your succulents, this guide is perfect for you! I will explain to you the root of the problem which comes with wrong soil usage. Then, I will give some recipes of the soil mixtures. Either you are new in the succulent world or not, the good soil mixture is the best place to start. This guide will help you through the basics of well-draining soil for indoor and outdoor succulent plants.
For both indoor and outdoor plantation, I prefer to use containers rather than the ground. However, it has been a big challenge to select the perfect soil for the containers. Especially if they grow in containers, moisture retention will be the death of succulents as it causes root rot.
If you have potted succulents as I have, it is better to plant them in a container with drainage holes. The excess water will drain out of these holes. Your plant’s roots will be healthier. If the pot does not have drainage holes, you should be very careful with the amount of water usage to avoid root rots.
I have tried many approaches over the years, and I would like to share what worked best for me.
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Which Type of Soil is the Perfect Choice for Your Succulents?
To begin with, the best succulent soil supposes to capture enough water for their need and excess water should dry out for protecting the roots from rotting. If they expose to wet soil for a long time, their roots will develop black stem rot due to the excess water. Basically, giving your succulent too much water will cause your plant to die.
Succulents grow best in poor soil with full of inorganic elements. Although well-draining soil is crucial for a healthy succulent, they still need some nutrients from organic elements. The best solution is to mix different soil types. With this way, succulent will have good soil to dry out with the nutrients.
Making your soil mixture is cheaper than premade commercial soils and it gives you more room to control the ingredients.
Indoor Succulent Soil Recipe
The environment around your succulents plays an important role to specify the soil types in your mixture. Correct soil selection for indoor plants is significant for their health because of the lack of air circulation around the plants.
After doing a lot of research and trying them all, I found the perfect mixture for my indoor succulents and I would love to share it with you! The indoor succulent plant’s well-drained soil recipe includes:
- Pine Bark Fines/Potting Soil
- Crushed Granite
Of course, this is not the only recipe for indoor succulents. There are many varieties you can use to grow your succulent plant. Throughout the years, I have tried many different combinations. Some of them didn’t allow succulents to have enough water. Some of them caused root rots. After many trials, this mixture saved my indoor succulents. I like to use this recipe and I want to share with you why it works the best for my succulent plants.
The first ingredient contains an organic element your succulent needs. Besides, it has enough space for air circulation. Pine bark fines can hold the right amount of water which is important for your plant’s life. As an alternative, you can use all-purpose potting soil in any type. It will work as a base to make your own succulent soil. Make sure it is sterile and fresh. When you prepare the soil mixture for succulent pots, it is better to use light and porous soil. Try to avoid heavy garden soils.
The Turface, absorbs some of the water and slowly releases it. It is a good choice in terms of its water retention ability.
In my opinion, Crushed Granite is the most crucial ingredient allowing water to flow through the empty paths. The soil mixture is very porous, so water flows fast and fills all the dry spots. As long as the particle sizes of all the ingredients are large enough, this soil recipe will do a great job! For my indoor succulents, I use soil with a particle size around 6 mm (1/4 inch) for the well-draining process. When you prepare your mixture, you should focus on similar particle sizes. 1/4 inch particle size allows maximum airflow and controls the moisture content.
You can find these ingredients in nurseries and start to prepare your well-draining soil. If you do not want to go over kilos of soil to find the best particle size, you should try to buy premixed options!
If you cannot find the exact ingredients you are looking for, you can try similar types. The important point is to have the correct organic and inorganic material ratio in your soil mixture.
While planting, make sure that there is not too much space above the soil surface. Space should be enough for watering your plant and it should not cause any air circulation problems.
Outdoor Succulent Soil Recipe
For my outdoor succulent plants, I could not get the same results if I use the same recipe as indoor succulent soil. When I use the indoor succulent soil mixture, I experienced that my plants needed more water and more maintenance. If you are not good at taking care of your plants daily, I would recommend another mixture for outdoor succulents.
Here is an outdoor succulent plant’s well-drained soil mixture:
- Coconut Coir
Volcanic by-product Pumice is very effective at keeping the required amount of water and nutrients. Pumice helps the soil to dry in the correct speed. The Coconut Coir allows succulents to drain well while absorbing water easily. I find it very efficient to use coir for outdoor plants, especially in a warm environment. Some climates are quite wet in the winter, which requires an extremely well-drained soil mixture. Succulents can adapt to dry, cold climates by storing water in their body. They are excellent plants with the ability to live in an arid desert, tropical weather, or snowy environment.
This mixture is very easy including only two ingredients. It is possible to find pumice at any garden store but sometimes you might have difficulties finding it. In this case, I prefer to buy it online. If you are having trouble to find the exact ingredients, you can buy succulent and cactus soil mixtures. Even if it is more common to find, it is not the most convenient option. For your outdoor succulents, succulent and cactus soil might create some issues like inefficient draining. You can avoid this problem by adding rocky materials.
When all the ingredients are ready, you will need a few other supplies to measure them.
- Measuring container
- Container/bucket for mixing
Preparing your potting soil mixture for succulents is very easy. You need to put them all together in a container or bucket and stir it.
You can either use a trowel or your hands to mix it. Make sure you mix the ingredients homogenously. Once they are evenly mixed, you are done!
One of the benefits of homemade soil succulent soil mixture is that you can mix up a big stack and store the rest for later. An air-tight container is the best option to store your leftover succulent soil mixture. Basement, garage, or garden shed are some safe locations for storing your succulent soil.
How to Test Your Mixture
After wetting the soil and squeezing, if it comes apart, the mixture is ready to use. If not, you should add more inorganic elements to the mix.
Repotting Your New Succulents
When you buy a new plant, repotting in new soil will reduce the soil-related problems. This step is crucial because most of the succulent problems come from sellers’ soil. For example, new purchased succulent roots fill the container, so it is better to change the container to avoid root spreading. Another issue is that most of the soil types come with your new succulent is not for long term usage. Keeping succulents in this soil for a long term may intercept the water absorption. Generally, the sellers use the same type of soil for all their plants, and they sell different type of soil mixtures separately. When you buy a new plant, it is better to change the soil for a fresh start.
Do not forget that your succulents will be much healthier with well-drained soil and good air circulation!
Repot the succulents right after your purchase to keep them happy! Your plant will adapt itself to the new soil and it will find enough space for its roots.
The amount of water you give to the succulent is very crucial. On the other hand, the soil mixture of succulent is the main source of future problems. Hence, choosing the right soil mixture will give your succulent a happy life!
You should keep in mind that each succulent species needs slightly different care. Some of the species might be easier for you to take care. If you are a beginner in the succulent world, I recommend you do some research about succulent species before buying your very first plant!