DIY Succulent Soil Potting Mix
Learn how to make the best potting mix for succulents with this easy DIY succulent soil recipe!
As I mentioned in my succulent plant care 101, I love succulents because they are easy to grow, simple to care for, and absolutely beautiful – both indoors and out. And there are so many types of succulents and cacti: spiky and dramatic, green and waxy, dusty blue, blush pink, light purple, and more. In that same post on how to pot succulents, I shared that I have begun mixing my own succulent soil. I’d say it has been serving me well, and I wanted to share that diy succulent potting mix recipe with you.s
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DIY SUCCULENT SOIL
Well draining soil is the key to healthy succulents. Traditional potting soils are made to hold water, but a succulent holds moisture in its leaves. In fact, too much moisture in the soil and the cactus or succulent will develop root rot. So although I shared this previously, it bears repeating here that pots for succulents need holes in the bottom to act as drainage holes, and those holes should be protected from clogging (see the full post on how to pot succulents here for more details). The next step, of course, is to choose the right type of soil that will allow the water to drain.
I have purchased and used this palm and cactus mix (also available on Amazon, but a bit pricier), and it does seem to work well for succulents… but 8 qts can get used up pretty quickly! As a result, I’ve started creating my own succulent potting mix with three simple ingredients (get the printable version at the bottom of the post). Here is what you need to make the best soil for succulents in pots:
- 3 parts potting soil
- 2 parts coarse sand (such as playground sand or even crushed granite)
- 1 part perlite (also available on Amazon)
How to make succulent potting mix
To make the succulent potting soil, simply combine the potting mix, coarse sand, and perlite in a large container (I use an old plastic pot bottom) and mix well by hand. If you make too much, no problem! Just store it in a bag or pot already combined, ready for your next use.
As you can see, this was a perfect project to involve my kids, too! And I’ll be sharing all about the planters we made, as well as tips for creating succulent container gardens soon.
Don’t forget to pin this for later!
DIY Succulent Potting Mix
Use this well draining potting mix to keep your succulents healthy and happy!
- 3 parts traditional potting mix
- 2 parts course sand or crushed granite
- 1 part perlite
Combine any amount of ingredients in a large container (in the 3:2:1 ratio as listed above) and mix well by hand.
Be sure to use a pot with a drain hole and put rocks, pebbles, or pottery shards at the bottom of the pot to allow water to drain.
Use this potting mix for succulents or cacti, watering approximately once every week or two.
I am really looking forward to trying this and planting a succulent garden. I have an old concrete birdbath top, small, whose base has broken and I was looking for a new use for the top. I think it will make a perfect succulent garden. It already has a hole in the bottom where my birdbath used to have a water line for a small fountain.
I wanted to compliment you on Letting your readers have the ability to “ jump to recipe”! I did that and read the ingredients before going back and reading the entire post. I find with food recipes you have to slog through so much writing before you can see if It’s something you’re interested in or not. ( usually for me it depends on if there are a lot of ingredients, or ones I don’t have on hand) I wish everyone would have that feature, and I compliment you for using it!
Again I think a succulent garden is in my future- I just wish I had a little one around to help me mix it like you 🙂
Shelley, thank you for your kind comments and I am SO glad that the post was helpful! I hope that you can enjoy a beautiful succulent garden this year!
Thanks, seems easy enough, now if i had two good helpers like you!!lol!
Haha! Glad they make it look easy. 😉
Thanks so much for sharing this. Just what I’ve been looking for! You’re right that those premise mixes go way too fast.
Looking forward to your next post on how you potted them.
So glad you found it helpful. Happy planting, Kathy!
is perlite something I could improvise with?
I’ve heard that rice or nut hulls are a greener alternative to perlite, though I haven’t tried that myself. Ultimately, it’s a lightweight additive that helps the soil to mix and drain well… You could potentially just use a bit more sand and some rocks (which could help with drainage), but it will only make the soil heavier, rather than lighter.
I bought potting mix which already has some perlite in it. So do I need to add more perlite or just sand?
Likely sand in that case to give the succulent’s soil good drainage!
I decided to figure it out myself. I took a couple of handfuls of the potting mix and tried to separate out the perlite. The amount I got out compared to the amount of potting mix left was probably only 1% or 5% at the most. Since the ratio I’m looking for is at least 17%, I decided to buy some perlite to add to the potting mix and sand.
I’m so glad you figured that out! I’ve found that it is a bit of an experimentation process for each plant… I hope this ratio works well for yours!
I do not have Perlite at the moment. and was wondering if I could substitute pea gravel in the recipe? A plant shop owner told me I could make a mix of potting soil with sand and pea gravel but did not give me specific ratios.
Pea gravel would probably work for drainage purposes (since a fast-draining soil is ideal for succulents), but it will be heavier than perlite. So if you are worried about the pot being heavy, I would look for perlite, but if it is a small pot then pea gravel is probably fine. I hope this helps!
Is builders sand okay?
That should work fine. Hope this helps!
Would I moisten the soil be for I plant my succulents?
That depends on the condition of your succulents. If you are working with clippings of any kind, then no. Wait 3-5 days after clipping succulents before you moisten the soil (as getting them wet can encourage root rot). If you are simply transplanting from another pot, then you can moisten the soil before you plant. I hope this helps!