4 Best DIY Cactus Potting Soil Recipes

A bunch of cactuses in their respective pots on the ground.

Proper cactus soil is just as important as any other maintenance like improving the drainage in your pots. Not only will the right soil secure your cactus, but will also give it the best conditions to thrive in.

There are tons of benefits cactus potting soil brings including an increase in evaporation and enhanced drainage, but these are just a few out of many.

As we go through these 4 Cactus Potting Soil Recipes, we will go into detail of the other major benefits and fundamentals and inform you how to give your cactus the best care it deserves.

A single cactus sitting in a pot.

What Is Cactus Soil?

Cactus soil or cactus mix, in general, is soil that is specifically made or mixed to meet the cactus’ natural environment and at the same time provide its delicate root system the best soil to flourish as these roots do not thrive in overly dense soil.

A specific mix of organic materials is what makes a cactus soil perfect. However, using soil that is in high organic matter will only hold excess moisture that will result in root rot.

The mix of these organic matters offers much more advantages compared to non-organic soil, which is why it is highly recommended to use cactus mix rather than using pure regular organic or non-organic soil.

Is Cactus Soil Necessary?

Chances are, you might be thinking if it is really necessary to transfer your already healthy cactus to a cactus soil setting. Depending on what growing conditions your cactus is in, it may be doing well for now.

But as it further grows and develops, a risk for its health follows as well.

There is no certainty that cactuses will live a long life in a soil that is not suited for them, whereas if you use cactus Soil, this gives them superb living conditions.

How Is Cactus Soil Beneficial?

Basically, cactus soil mimics the native environment in which these desert plants are accustomed to growing in. In addition to that, these mixes give the cactus the upper hand of utilizing the soil for its delicate roots.

Furthermore, cactus soil improves the drainage which keeps the roots from rotting.

The right cactus soil will address the unique needs of the cactus, which makes them do well in their pots. These conditions need to be met in order for the cactus to thrive.

Cactus Soil vs Potting Mix

To put it into perspective, cactus soil is specifically mixed with matters that are fit for the cactus’ living conditions from drainage, moisture removal, to aeration.

Potting mix is simply not reliable as it can delay the drainage, and create excess moisture which is critical for the cactus’ health.

In terms of aeration, it is possible that the cactus’ roots might encounter problems as their roots require a specific amount of air for their roots to grow at a healthy pace.

5 Benefits of Cactus Mixing

Many cactus plants in pots on an indoor table.

Below are the major benefits of cactus mixing, and these emphasize the good of what it does to the welfare of your cactus and to yourself too.

1) Saves You Money

Yes, mixing your own cactus soil saves you money because buying cactus soil at Plant Nurseries and Garden Centers actually costs more than regular potting soil.

Without going to spend the extra dollar, you can simply make or mix one of your own by following one of the 4 Cactus Potting Soil Recipes in this article.

2) Prevents Rot

As aforementioned, cactus soil helps the cactus to form a better basis for its roots, unlike regular soil that will only do harm than good.

The inappropriate soil that is high in organic matter will again, only hold unnecessary moisture that can cause your roots to rot.

3) Fast Drainage

Cactus soil is also known for having excellent drainage which both involves quick evaporation and quick drying. These two elements help your cactus maintain that soil condition it wants to be in.

4) Better Moisture Retention

Cactuses are known to be very different from other plants when it comes to watering. Cactuses do not require the same amount of water normal plants do, which is why it is important to keep the moisture retention just right.

This can be achieved with cactus soil because its function is to eliminate moisture, not retain it.

So, a little amount of water from your hand sprinkler will be sufficient. You will not have to worry about moisture retention because the cactus soil will do its job effectively.

5) Enhanced Aeration

With organic potting soil, cactuses will have difficulty getting the proper amount of air for their roots as this type of soil is not for its roots. On the other hand, cactus soil is less dense, which allows the cactus’ roots to get the air it requires.

Best DIY Cactus Potting Soil Recipes

1) The Trio Cactus Soil


  • Coarse Sand
  • Perlites
  • Potting Soil

This recipe involves three ingredients and three parts of each are required for the mix. This recipe requires three parts of coarse sand, three parts of perlites, and three parts of potting soil. This mix is ideal for an indoor set-up with exposure to sunlight since it has potting soil.

In case there is no coarse sand, you can use gravel as an alternative. If perlites are unavailable, you can use pumice as a substitute for this mix.

2) Inorganic Materials


  • Gravel
  • Pumice
  • Perlite
  • Grit
  • Sand

As you have already known from the information above, inorganic materials are suitable for cactuses because they dry quickly and do not hold excess moisture.

The ingredients for this recipe are two parts of gravel, two parts of pumice, two parts perlite, two parts grit, and two parts of sand. These ingredients are great for the health of the cactus’ roots since they prevent moisture from occurring.

3) Desert Setup


  • Grit
  • Soil
  • Sand

If the cactus you have is a desert species, you can use three parts of grit, three parts of soil, and three parts of clean fine sand for this setup. This cactus mix may be simple, but it is very effective and much better than regular potting soil.

With this setup, the cactus will have its natural environment adaptation, which makes it grow to healthy development.

4) Pre-Made Cactus Soil


  • Perlite
  • Gravel
  • Pumice
  • Sand

You can follow what pre-made cactus soil contains. These pre-made cactus soils usually contain the similar recipes from above, which are perlite, gravel, pumice, and sand. Some garden centers might even add a little organic material such as peat moss.

You can easily mix these ingredients just the same way you mix it with the other recipes above between the 1-5 parts mix of each ingredient, as long as it is in the proper ratio.

What To Avoid:

A vibrant close-up picture of a cactus fitting its pot.

Using Potting Soil Mix That Has Fertilizer(s)

This is one of the common mistakes that beginners make, which is using potting soil mix that contains fertilizers. Fertilizers can greatly damage your cactus’ roots and disrupt its growth which is why it is best to avoid it at all cost.

Unequal Ratio

You must make sure that every part of the ingredients you are including is the right one so that your cactus will not go through complications. Give the accurate amount of ingredients and properly mix them to achieve the best cactus soil for your plant.

Final Thoughts

I hope you thoroughly enjoyed this article and found it informative. These DIY cactus potting soil recipes are very popular and will allow you to grow healthy, beautiful cactuses.

The benefits and other important information will help you understand cactus potting soil more efficiently and why it is so much more effective than regular potting soil.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to comment down below.

About Ador Flores

Greetings! My name is Ador Flores, and I have been in love with nature ever since I was young. I bet you can agree when I say that mother nature tends to astonish you as well. While I may not be able to create mountains, waterfalls, and other majestic landscapes in my backyard, one thing is that I can for sure mimic nature by having a beautiful garden at home. Just from this simple mindset, it did not take long for me to turn gardening into a passion - a passion that changed my life forever. With the experiences I have had with gardening throughout all these years, I can definitely assure you that gardening is for everyone and I would love to share with all of you guys how fulfilling it really is! With the help of Seasonal Preferences, let us all become better gardeners and continue to promote a green and clean environment!

View all posts by Ador Flores →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *