Best Soil For Succulent Plants

Newly repotted succulents in container pots.

The most common cause of death for succulent plants is overwatering due to the wrong type of soil.

Succulents soil is a little bit different from your traditional garden soil. The soil has to hold little moisture and nutrients, but needs to drain excess water, or the roots will rot.

As you can see, many succulent growers wonder why such happens when they try to take extra care of their lovely succulents.

The Best Soil For Succulents in Pots

 Succulents in different sizes of container pots.

Succulents prefer the soil entirely different than other plants do. The soil should have the right amount of moisture to thrive. Too little or too much can shrink or cause them death.

Buying a succulent potting mix is the easiest way to get the right soil for planting succulents. However, other succulents require an ample amount of soil, which you need to provide for your plant to flourish.

If you prefer to make your potting mix, it is also essential to make wise decisions when choosing ingredients.

Your Top Ingredients for Succulent Mix:

  • Begin with basic succulent soil mix available at most garden centers.
  • Look for some extra ingredients to make watering easier.
  • Find materials that can improve soil drainage.
  • Look for an inorganic substance that makes the water absorb into the soil and drain out of instantly.

Peat Moss

Peat moss is found to be the main ingredient in almost all potting mixes. It is tough to wet but dries out fast.

Coarse Sand

Coarse sand work as excellent soil amendments and sand available at home improvement stores is a great choice.

Avoid using this type of sand:

  • Sand commonly used in building construction is not advisable to use as it may contain substances irritable to your plants.
  • Don’t use sand gathered from the beach. It is full of salt that could be harmful to your succulents.
  • The fine sand from rivers retain water rather than drain freely. It can cause the roots to rot.


Perlite for succulents potting mix.

Perlite is a volcanic glass that is incredibly lightweight, comprised of tiny air compartments, which makes it particularly useful in promoting aeration to plant roots.

It is commonly included in most mixes for succulents for its ability to add soil aeration and increase drainage.


Pumice for succulents potting mix.

Pumice is a volcanic material that holds nutrients and is commonly used to help prevent soil compaction and improve drainage.

Coconut Coir

Coir is a shredded coconut husk that is easy to wet when it dries out, yet is very slow to decompose. This fibrous material can be an excellent replacement for peat when on a garden budget for mixes.

Crushed Granite

Crushed granite is a great addition for succulents potting mix.

Crushed granite lets the water flow out quickly, preventing the roots from sitting in saturated soil and avoid roots rot. It also provides enough soil aeration that is beneficial for your succulents.

The potting mix for succulents in containers

  • You may start by mixing with half of an organic potting mix and half of the inorganic substances.
  • Add less amount of draining ingredients for smaller succulents like Aloe, Crassula, Sansevieria, Sedum, and Sempervivum.
  • Add a little more draining ingredients for Agaves, Yuccas, and pure cacti like Opuntia.
  • Next, wet the ingredients thoroughly after mixing them.
  • Try to squeeze the mixed ingredients to form a ball in your hand, and if it sticks together, it won’t drain well as your plants need.
  • Try to add a little more draining ingredients, and keep experimenting until the wet potting mix would crumble fast as you form it into a ball.

Soil Needs for Outdoors Succulents

Healthy outdoor succulents garden.

Succulents are easy to grow, and because they look interesting by featuring fat leaves and unique shapes, it doesn’t mean they are difficult to plant and care.

The success of succulent gardens lies in correct temperatures, the right amount of water, and the best kind of soil. If you master the basic needs of growing, all you need is to just help your succulents thrive.

The soil needs for outdoor succulents vary from place to place, but still, its best performance comes from amended soil.

Knowing how much moisture the soil of your outdoor garden gets sometimes matters on the climate, and keeping the roots dry is your primary goal to a successful succulent garden.

Prepare the garden bed

Healthy succulent in a garden bed.

  1. You can use the soil you’ve dug from your garden as a base for your outdoor succulents. (Succulents don’t like fertile soil but prefer plain soil instead.)
  2. Add amendments (substances used in the succulents potting mix is the exact amendments you can use for your outdoor garden.)
  3. Remove any debris, rocks, and sticks in the garden bed
  4. You can also mix purchased topsoil.
  5. You also need to consider the layout of your garden when preparing to plant succulents. Adding a generous amount of soil is beneficial for your outdoor plants.

Soil for outdoor succulents

  1. The right soil composition for your succulents should be ¾ for amendments and one-fourth for potting mix.
  2. In the Philippines, using pumice alone brings good results, though it requires frequent watering.
  3. Those in less warm climates may need to experiment.

The soil you use for hardy landscape succulents can vary a lot from the potting mix you use in your plant containers.

The mix is slightly modified to better suit different varieties of the plants, as succulents have a different requirement for water, weather conditions, and even the size of a garden bed or container.

What Is Too Hot For Succulents?

Succulent suffering from sunburn.

When you start to notice pale patches on the leaves and in some cases, the leaves turn black and also dries, this is a sign your succulents are suffering from sunburn due to intense heat, and this damage is irreversible. 

So, the only remedy you can do is to trim off the leaves and move the plants into a slightly cooler area until it fully recovers.

While most succulents prefer warm temperature that ranges from 60 up to 90 degrees, other species need less, and some need a little bit more intense.

Overgrown succulents that have established roots are likely to survive scorching sun but it is still possible to suffer from sunburn if moved directly from shade into full sun. 

It is essential to sit newly transplanted succulents under the shade until the roots are fully established.

Succulents that are in the ground tolerate higher temperatures compared to those in container pots, as the ground doesn’t heat up quickly as pottery. 

8 Ways To Avoid Killing Your Succulents

1) Use loose soil

Always remember that succulents won’t survive in sand and rocks alone, and in soil that retains so much moisture. They need soil that drains well.

2) Place under the right temperature

Succulents in white ceramic planters.

All plants need sunshine, and no matter how flexible succulents are, they won’t do well in darkness or the scorching sun.

Moving your succulents at reasonable temperatures will help them thrive. 

3) Don’t overwater

Watering the succulents.
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The soil will dry out at varying speeds, depending on your climate, and it means you have to monitor it yourself.

Succulents won’t die fast for lack of water, but they do in the long run, so they need good water supply.

Always do the soil finger test to check your succulents. Water the plants if the soil has drained fully from your previous watering.

4) Plant food is no joke

Since your succulents or cactus aren’t growing in their natural habitat, they somewhat can’t absorb nutrients like calcium that they too need.

Succulent food is affordable and can last a long time. A drop is enough for a gallon of water.

5) Provide them air

Succulents won’t thrive in closed containers – they too need fresh air and ventilation.

6) Give them room to grow

Newly repotted succulents.

Smaller cactus are cute and affordable, but they won’t grow unless you repot them frequently. Other succulents can grow up to 10 feet tall, while others only grow a foot or two. Frequent repotting helps them thrive.

7) Water before repotting

Give the succulents a little water before repotting, unless the dirt is damp. The fresh potting mix will be extra-dry, and a small amount of water can be a good help.

8) Get rid of bugs

Succulent attacked by bugs.

Overwatering causes mealybugs, a type of pest that is attracted to your succulents planted in soil that is always damp for not having proper drainage.

Spraying the soil with 70% isopropyl alcohol or an effective homemade solution eradicates its eggs and larvae.

Final Thoughts on Proper Succulent Soil Mix

The most important thing to remember in taking care of your succulents is the right amount of water, soil, and sunlight. The only key to a successful succulent garden is to find the perfect balance between too much and just enough.

Pay close attention to the soil and the leaves’ status of your succulents. When you notice any indications of bugs and pests, chances are it has to do with how you water the plants, as watering is the most significant factor in taking care of your succulents.

We hope you enjoyed our tips for the best soil for succulents, and now can make your garden successful and more stunning. Did we miss anything? We want to hear your thoughts so we can add it here!

About Benita Abucejo

Hi there! My name is Benita Abucejo. What can I say? I truly love spending my days in the outdoors, specifically in the garden. Gardening has always been a strong passion of mine since I was a little girl. It has brought me so much joy and happiness that it is definitely safe to say that I will be a gardener for life. For a period of time, I was able to work with people who are into home gardening and I found it to be quite beneficial to my physical health, as well as my mental well-being. Here at Seasonal Preferences, I am going to share with you my experience and ideas so that you can fulfill yourself with the same satisfaction and happiness. Of course, if you have ideas, I would love to hear those as well! Being creative in the garden can really be quite fascinating so let's share our experiences and be the best gardeners we can be. With that being said, thank you for dropping by and please leave me a comment on one of my posts if you would like to get in touch!

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