How To Mix Cactus Potting Soil

Although nurseries and garden centers provide pre-made cactus soil mixture, you may manufacture your own at home using a basic cactus soil formula.

  • 1. Find out what kind of plant you are. Choose the right soil mixture for your cactus by identifying its species. Plants with differing demands, such as desert cactus or tropical succulents, may require a different proportion of the ingredients in your homemade potting mix.
  • 2. Compile your resources. Gather the required organic and inorganic ingredients according to the needs of your particular cactus. Coarse sand, perlite, coconut coir, pumice, crushed granite, gravel, chicken grit, and common garden soil are all popular ingredients for cactus soil.
  • 3. Thoroughly combine the soil. Depending on the needs of your particular plant, there are numerous soil combination alternatives to think about. Three parts potting soil, three parts sand, gravel, or grit, and two parts perlite or pumice make up a typical cactus soil recipe. Before using it to plant your cacti, fully combine the components in this ratio in a big container.

Can I combine potting soil and cactus dirt?

I’ll address some of the most popular inquiries concerning cactus soil in this section. Ask your question in the comments section if you can’t find it here.

Is there special potting soil for cactus?

For cactus plants, there is indeed a particular potting soil. In order for oxygen to reach the roots, it must have efficient drainage, dry out rapidly, and offer aeration. By using the guidelines above, you can either buy it or make your own.

Can you use regular potting soil for cactus plants?

No, I do not advise growing cacti in normal potting soil. It retains an excessive amount of moisture, which can rot the plant and suffocate the roots. You should either modify it or use a sandier mix in its place.

Is cactus potting soil the same as succulent potting soil?

If produced appropriately, cactus potting soil differs from succulent potting soil. Cacti require a mix with more sand and quicker drainage. Despite the fact that many individuals use the same kind for both, I don’t advise it, especially for novices.

Can you use cactus soil for all plants?

No, not all plants should be grown in cactus soil. It won’t retain enough moisture and doesn’t have the correct proportion of organic materials and nutrients for most other plants because it is specifically made for desert plants.

For success, using a high-quality cactus soil blend is crucial. You may therefore find the ideal mixture that is suited for both you and your plants, whether you decide to buy it or make your own using my method.

How do you produce potting soil for succulents and cacti?

My recipe for succulent potting soil is as follows:

  • 3 components of potting soil
  • coarse sand in two pieces (turface or poultry grit)
  • Perlite, one part (or pumice)

Should I amend the cactus soil with sand?

There are a few ingredients listed below that you’ll need to build your own cactus soil. The majority of these ingredients are available at your neighborhood hardware or garden center.

Regular potting soil

Any standard potting soil will do just fine as the foundation for your own cactus mix. Use anything you have available as long as it is clean, fresh potting soil.

It would be ideal if you could find some light, porous soil to utilize as the foundation because that would make your work a lot simpler. Avoid using heavy potting or garden soils that contain vermiculite or other moisture-regulating ingredients to assist the soil maintain moisture for extended periods of time.

Remember that your cacti plants need soil that drains quickly, not one that holds onto moisture for an extended period of time. Because the outcome depends on the sort of potting soil you choose as the base, you must be attentive.

Coarse sand

Sandy, permeable potting soil is ideal for growing cacti. Therefore, it’s crucial to mix some gritty sand into your ordinary potting soil. Use any kind of sand you like as long as the final product has good drainage. Instead of using the fine sand you could find in your compound, think about buying some coarse sand.

Use only sand from your yard, the beach, or a modern sandbox. That kind of sand is inadequate, and it won’t assist you in getting higher outcomes.

Sand can be substituted with turface or poultry grit at your discretion. In this recipe, each of those works just as well in place of coarse sand.


A light organic soil amendment is perlite. You can find these white, Styrofoam-like bits in most commercial potting soils. Perlite is primarily used to improve aeration and reduce soil compaction. Additionally, it helps your cactus soil drain better.

In other words, perlite facilitates faster soil drainage, which is exactly what you want from good soil. Pumice and perlite are available at your neighborhood hardware or garden center. It is typically located beside the commercial potting mix for sale section.


You must make sure the pH of your soil is appropriate. When you prepare your cactus soil, you could occasionally find that the pH level is quite high. Add a small amount of peat to your recipe to reduce the pH. However, you need to be aware that this element can make it challenging to re-wet the soil.

Charcoal & coir

One of the best air conditioners for your homemade cactus soil recipe is charcoal. By absorbing pollutants and preventing hazardous microbes from attacking your plants’ roots, it aids in disease prevention.

Coir offers a non-compact structure and aids in the retention of trace amounts of moisture in the soil. Some individuals substitute coir for peat moss.

To manufacture your own potting soil, in addition to the materials, you will also need other supplies. They consist of:

  • measuring cup or container.
  • a vessel for blending (you can use a bucket or tabletop potting tray for this purpose).

Can I plant cacti in normal potting soil?

Yes, you can give your cactus plants either standard potting soil or African violet dirt. However, once more, avoid using these on their own as they contain an excessive amount of organic matter that retains moisture and can contain fertilizer additives that are not designed for slow-growing cacti. Instead, incorporate them as one component of your homemade cactus potting soil.

What distinguishes cactus potting soil from ordinary potting soil?

  • 1.Drainage: Cactus soil loses moisture more quickly than potting soil. All plants are susceptible to root rot caused by too much moisture, but cacti need special fast-draining soil to imitate their natural habitat. Your cacti’s root systems stay healthy thanks to the speedy water drainage provided by cactus soil.
  • 2. Composition: Organic matter including peat moss, pine bark, and vermiculite are used in typical potting soil. Cactus soil, on the other hand, is primarily composed of inorganic materials like pumice, poultry grit, gravel, or perlite. A tiny amount of organic material, such as coco coir (produced from coconut husks) and sphagnum peat moss, is also used in cactus soil mixes.
  • 3.Density: Cactus soil has a lower density than potting soil. Perlite is an example of an inorganic compound that prevents soil compaction and improves ventilation for cactus roots. Growth of cacti depends on proper aeration.

What is a decent soil mixture for cacti?

With little effort on your side, buying pre-made cactus soil guarantees that it includes everything the cactus needs. Perlite, pumice, sand, and gravel, in the proper proportions, are included in pre-made cactus soil, along with a negligible amount of peat moss or coco coir.

However, you also have the option and it’s simple to make your own cactus soil mix! Combine two parts perlite or pumice, three parts coarse sand or gravel, and three parts potting soil. Use caution when using fertilizer-containing potting soil blends because they can scorch cacti roots and promote lanky growth.

Is dirt for cacti and succulents the same thing?

There is nothing more frustrating than planting a cactus only to discover that the soil you are using to grow it is inappropriate. Understanding the distinction between cactus soil and succulent soil before you buy will help you prevent mistakes that could take your cactus years to recover from.

What distinguishes succulent soil from cactus soil? Cacti plants may survive in arid conditions, but other succulent plants need constant watering to be alive. Cacti require a coarse, porous soil with minimal organic matter, whereas succulents require a well-draining potting mixture with a lot of organic material, such as peat moss or composted manure.

The contrasts between cactus soil and succulent soil are covered in this blog post, along with what each type of soil requires in terms of nutrients and environmental conditions. So let’s get going.

Which soil combination is ideal for succulents?

You’ll need containers that can accommodate the quantity of succulent soil you intend to mix and have room for it to be tossed around a bit.

  • The potting mix for succulents works well in a sizable tote with a top.
  • Use your hands, a trowel, and a garden fork to mash up the soil.
  • Long rubber gloves are usually what you should wear to prevent skin irritability and dryness.

Mix It Up!

half a pot of soil

The opposite half:

  • 1/3 fine sand
  • 1/3 pumice or perlite

The remainder should consist of roughly two thirds coarse sand, one third perlite or pumice, and one third poultry grit or turface.

Should I amend the cactus soil with perlite?

There are a ton of recipes online. Most people start with either standard potting soil or the soil mix sold in bags for succulent plants. If you decide to create your own blend, use ordinary potting soil free of additives. We’ll go over additional components to include when amending or creating your own succulent potting soil.

Succulent growth medium frequently gets the following additions:

Fine Sand

Improved soil drainage results from using coarse sand in amounts of 50 to 30 percent. Avoid using materials with fine textures, such as play sand. A higher sand content may be advantageous for cacti, but it must be coarse sand.

PerlitePerlite is frequently used in succulent-growing mixtures. This product improves drainage and promotes aeration, although it is light and frequently floats to the top when watered. Use between 1/3 and 50% when mixing with potting soil.


Turface is a calcine clay product and soil conditioner that delivers aeration, oxygen, and moisture monitoring to the soil. It has the consistency of pebbles and does not compact. Although it goes by the brand name Turface, the phrase “product” is also frequently used to describe it. used as a top dressing as well as an ingredient in succulent soil mixes.

PumicePumice is a volcanic substance that may store nutrients and moisture. Some people utilize significant amounts of pumice. Some growers report successful trials when using only pumice. But using this kind of material necessitates more regular watering. Depending on where you live, you might need to order this item.

Coconut CoirUnlike other goods that might not absorb water well after the initial soaking, coconut coir, which is made from the shredded husks of the coconut, offers drainage qualities and can be repeatedly wet. Coir, which is pronounced “core,” was never brought up before to the typical succulent grower. Coir is a component of at least one well-known distributor of succulents’ peculiar mix. I have healthy plants in my nursery and use a mixture of 1/3 normal potting soil (the inexpensive variety), 1/3 coarse sand, and 1/3 coir.

What kind of soil is ideal for cacti and succulents?

Every soil mixture contains both organic and mineral components. Mineral matter, such as clay, silt, and sand, support soil drainage, whereas organic matter, such as humus and decomposing plant tissue, serves to retain moisture in the soil and give nutrients to the plant.

Because succulents can withstand drought and don’t require constant watering, their potting soil should be permeable, well-draining, and contain less organic matter than typical indoor soil mixtures. Ideal soil is a loose, granular mixture with a good amount of sand and perlite or pumice.

Can I grow cacti in beach sand?

It is true that creating your own succulent soil requires a little more work. However, it’s an excellent approach to achieve the ideal soil mix for your specific variety and growing circumstances while also saving money. Consider this to be an all-purpose, universal recipe. It may be modified depending on your environment and the materials available and will function both inside and outside, in containers or in the ground.

Mix one part organic ingredients from the left column with two parts mineral components from the right to create a balanced succulent soil. You can choose from either side, or you can combine other elements. Make sure the volume is made up of 2/3 mineral materials and 1/3 organic matter.

Observations regarding a few of the stated soil options:

Potting Soil

On the market, potting soil comes in what seems like countless variations. Check the components to ensure that you are getting exactly what you ordered and to determine whether it aids in drainage or moisture retention. Do not use peat-based potting mixtures (more on that below).


Look for particles with a diameter of between 1/8″ and 1/4″. Fine dust particles that might clog soil pores and hinder drainage are removed by rinsing. Instead of layering gravel at the bottom of a non-draining pot where it can cause rot, you should incorporate it into your soil.

Other Mineral Possibilities

You can use equal amounts of diotamaceous earth, chicken grit, decomposed granite, non-soluble cat litter, and oil dry (both of which are made of calcined molasses clay).

Which sand kind is ideal for cacti?

The ideal cactus soil mix should drain properly and contain roughly two-thirds inorganic stuff.

Porous and airy soil mixtures are ideal for cacti. Combine gravel, grit, or other suitable materials with normal potting soil to create the perfect growing medium for cacti. One-third organic matter (or potting soil, which contains largely organic matter) and two-thirds inorganic matter is the ideal ratio for making a potting mix for cacti or succulents.

You can create your own well-draining cactus soil using small gravel chips, crushed granite, poultry grit, or aquarium gravel as soil additives. Because it is light and porous and works well for improving drainage in cactus potting soil, you can also use pumice or perlite.

Naturally, cactus plants—as with other plants—need water to survive. Watering a cactus is best done by soaking the soil and then letting it air dry. In a day or two, the ideal cactus potting mixture need to dry out. Therefore, the ideal potting mixture should resemble the dry, arid environment of cactus plants’ natural habitat.

Avoid adding soil supplements like vermiculite to a handmade cactus soil mixture. Although vermiculite aids in soil loosening, it holds too much moisture, making it unsuitable for cactus plant cultivation in containers.

Sand shouldn’t be added to a cactus potting mix, despite the fact that cacti naturally thrive in sandy deserts. For potting soil, sand that is too fine can prevent adequate drainage. Only extremely coarse horticultural sand should be used. For cactus soil, however, grit, gravel, perlite, or crushed stones are preferable.