Soil for Succulents – Complete Guide with Easy DIY Tips

Succulents are desert plants and can grow anywhere but that shouldn’t stop you from using the right soil for your succulents. Succulents come in various shapes, colors and sizes. Being attractive and framed as a low-maintenance indoor plant, without proper conditions they are easy to kill. Succulents need different soil than plants to thrive. The garden soil is not best for your succulents instead they kill your plant. 

Aloe is a succulent. It is no surprise that it is succulent as they love the dry climate.

Soils from commercials are easy to find but succulent soil is cheaper to make on your own. After many experiments, I came up with the best DIY soil mix for succulents.

This article will thoroughly explain everything about the soil for succulents. Let us find out all about succulents and soil for them and some other important information about succulent plants.

What Are Succulents?

Succulents or succulent plants are plants that have thick fleshy leaves that retain water in dry areas. Most succulents have more than 90% of water in them. The word succulent is derived from the Latin “sucus” meaning juice. Succulents are grown as decorative plants at home because of their unusual yet beautiful shape and color with low maintenance. 

Types of Succulents

Succulents are seen everywhere from hanging planters to home decor. Let us know about some common succulents and the best soil for them.

  1. Jade plant– This succulent is similar to the bonsai plant. It has a thick trunk and looks like a mini tree. The Jade plant has leaves that grow into thick, green petals in an oval shape. Matured jade plants will have a pink or red shade at the tip of the leaf. It is the longest-living plant among succulents.
  2. Aloe vera– Aloe vera is mostly known for its medicinal benefits. They are found in ointments, lotions, and creams for healing. They are also used for decorative purposes.
  3. Burro’s tail– This succulent is easy to care for and propagate. This succulent is a cactus type. They resemble a tail and grow more than 4 inches. They are best for decoration with minimum care.
  4. Snake plant– The snake plant has an appearance like a snake and has shades of green. They grow easily and are easy to cultivate. They have a great air purifying capacity.
  5. Bunny ears cactus– This cactus has the shape of bunny ears and is fully covered with prickly thorns. The thorns have different colors like white and red. Propagating is easy as they break off on their own. This cactus with the right sunlight and water can multiply fast and grow into groups.

What are the Components of the Best Succulent Soil?

What are the Components of the Best Succulent Soil?

Soil is made up of organic and mineral matter, and Succulent soil too.

The best soil for succulents should have four main components, 

  1. Good drainage– The best soil for succulents should have water drainage capacity. Damp soil is the biggest enemy of succulents. The soil with high mineral particles helps for better drainage capacity.
  2. Better aeration– With the right mix of soil, there will be good aeration. As important as the drainage is the aeration of soil as they are both basic for succulent growth.
  3. The right amount of nutrients- Having the right amount of nutrients is the first importance of succulent soil. Most succulents don’t need nutrients so adding more could kill them. Keeping a check on the soil for nutrients is a must when planting a succulent.
  4. Soil composition– The composition or contents in soil states the most about the soil. Unlike other garden soil, succulent soil doesn’t need more organic matter. They need more mineral matter such as rocks and clay to grow well.

What is the Soil pH for Succulents?

What is the Soil pH for Succulents?

The ideal soil pH for succulents ranges from 4 to 6.5 on which the ideal is 5.5. The soil for succulents like slightly acidic soil and some grow even better with limestone in it. The alkaline soil kills the succulents. Any soil which is higher than 7 is alkaline and less than 7 is acidic. You can opt for a pH test with the soil test. Finishing the pH and amending the soil according to it will help the succulents. 

What is a Natural Soil Mix for Succulents?   

The natural soil mix for succulents is ⅓ organic matter and ⅔ mineral matter soil. 

Organic matter includes potting soil, compost, bark, coir, moss, and plant waste such as lawn clipping, leaves, stems, and branches. 

Mineral matters are rocks, sand, gravel, marble, and charcoal.

Soil is made up of organic and mineral matter. Succulent soil is also made of a combination of organic and mineral matter in a certain ratio. Adding one part of organic matter and two parts of mineral matter from the above-mentioned content makes the best natural soil mix for succulents.

Organic matter such as potting mix and compost helps in the selection of soil texture and nutrients for plants. Mineral matters such as perlite and gravel help the soil with drainage. With this, the soil will have a loose texture and a breathable place for the plants.

Succulent soil should have a loose grainy texture for water drainage. Adding more mineral matter helps succulent plants to thrive. They should have less organic matter. 

DIY Tips to make Succulent Soil at Home (Complete guide)

DIY Tips to make Succulent Soil at Home (Complete guide)

The satisfaction of making DIY soil for succulents will make you feel so connected with the plants. Making your mix takes time and involvement but it gives the plant a tint of nature. This all-purpose recipe is used for both indoor and outdoor succulents. Start making the DIY with the below-given ingredients and follow up,


  • Gear up with gloves to avoid the dirt from the soil
  • Measuring cup or instrument to measure the ingredients.
  • Bucket or vessel to make space to mix the soil
  • A small shovel/ Trowel to mix the soil


Mineral matters

  • Coarse sand– The sand is added to give a loose texture to the soil. The coarse sand is added to reduce the clay content in the soil.
  • Volcanic rocks– These are rocks from volcanic lava. The rock contains many minerals which help in plant growth.
  • Gravel– Gravel is rock fragments that are formed from the breakdown of rock. They are used in decorative and to provide aeration to the soil.
  • Coal– charcoal is added to soil to improve drainage. They also have antifungal property which helps the succulents.

Organic matters

  • Potting soil– The potting mix with the soil makes the potting soil. Potting mix has peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and many others. 
  • Perlite– Perlite is formed from volcanic emission. They make the best aeration for the succulent soil.
  • Pumice– Formed from volcanoes when they erupted explosively. The liquid explosion is formed to pumice rock making the aeration for the soil.
  • Coconut Coir– The coconut fiber is an all-rounder made from coconut husk used for many purposes. They are used in soil to improve soil texture, drainage, and aeration.


My recipes  for the best succulent soil,

1 part Organic matter 

2 Part mineral matters


After collecting all the required ingredients and tools add the measured organic matter or potting soil to the bucket with the help of a trowel and add two part minerals such as sand first and mix it well so both are mixed. Add the perlite or any other mineral of your choice to the soil and mix it well to make the best soil for your succulent.  If you are using gardening soil then add an equal amount of sand to it as they have more clay content in the soil. 

How to Prepare Potting Soil for Succulents?

To prepare the potting soil for succulents, add two or more parts of minerals to one part of the potting soil. Depending on the clay in potting soil, add one or two parts of coarse or playground sand to it. This sand will help to make better aeration. The next part is adding perlite (volcanic rock) or gravel or marbles to increase the drainage of the soil.

The preparation of potting soil for succulents is easy and not pricey. Succulent soils are quite opposite to potting soil. Potting soil loves to hold moisture but having that for succulents might be a wrong idea. Adding potting soil directly for succulents makes the root of succulents rot. But adding the minerals and mending the soil to improve drainage and aeration will make the potting soil doable. 

How to Layer Soil and Top Soil for Succulents?

To layer, the soil for succulents, start from the bottom and add rocks or stones to this layer. So it gives good aeration to the oil. The next layer is sand, mainly loose sand as they give better drainage to the soil. The topmost layer or topsoil for the succulent is the potting mix or soil for succulents as above said. After that add the succulent to the topsoil and fit it. 

You can add more pebbles or marbles on the top layer to make it more decorative. The layering can be done in many different ways with the alternative layers as the contents should be present and can be shuffled in filling. In the case of using a glass pot, adding more colorful top dressing and layers will make them look more beautiful.

Did you know? 

There are more than 10000 types of succulents around the world and cacti is the best known succulent.

Most succulents have a lifespan of 20+ years, jade plants have more than 50 years lifespan being the highest.

Where to Buy Soil for Succulents?

Where to Buy Soil for Succulents?

Soil for succulents can be bought in a nearby commercial store or online. In stores, there will be people to explain and give soil according to the succulents. Whereas online, you can make your choice based on your research with the review, rating, and the right mix mentioned in the label. With whatever way of buying the soil, adding some soil conditioner like pumice will help for the betterment of the plant as well the soil.

In case you don’t know what is a soil conditioner, you can read here.

3 Best Commercial Brands to Buy Succulent Soil

Scotts Miracle-Gro

Scotts Miracle-Gro

The miracle-gro succulent potting mix is best for indoor plants such as cacti and succulents. They are very light and drain fast. The mix contains peat moss, fertilizers, and other products. The product is certified by the mulch and soil council for the standard. Adding perlite and decoratives to the pot with this mix is required to grow the succulents. Miracle-gro gives value-for-money products at a reasonable rate with premium quality. They also provide various other types of potting mixes, all-purpose oil, and fertilizers at affordable prices.



Westland Cacti and succulent potting mix help to grow strong and healthy plants. This mix is an instant succulent soil mix and can be used directly for succulent plants. The potting mix from Westland also contains grit and sand for optimum drainage. It also has the ceramic for root development of plants. The label also provides details on when and how to use the product and potting and watering techniques. They also provide another potting mix, perlite, vermiculite, and feed for the soil.

The Valley Garden

The Valley garden

The valley garden potting mix for succulents and cacti is an organic and natural mix that is used for both indoor and outdoor container plants. They are specially made for containers and potted succulents/cacti with a fast-draining formula. They are made of organic matter and 25% perlite. This professionally formulated mix has low fertilizer. This rready-to-usesoil has an extended warranty and money-back guarantee. 

No Name of the product Quantity




1 Miracle-gro succulent potting mix  14
2 Westland Cacti and succulent potting mix 4 6.5
3 The valley garden Potting mix for succulent and cactus  4 14.99

Reasons to Use Natural Soil Mix for Succulents

There are a few reasons why one should use natural soil mix for succulents.

  • The first reason is to avoid diseases of plants from using any other store-bought soil.
  • The natural soil mix is well known and can be adjusted to the need of succulents.
  • Natural soil mixes are free from pests.
  • It helps maintain the soil texture, nutrients, and minerals.

What are some Common Succulent Soil Problems?  

Though succulent soil is easy to make on your own and maintain. Some soil mix mistakes are unavoidable. Some of the points below might be a bonus to solving your problem in succulent soil.

  • The soil becomes packed and doesn’t absorb the water. The texture of the soil changes with the organic matter in it. The mix might be slightly higher in organics than in mineral matter. 
  • The soil can become like that if it is not watered or if too much water drains out its mineral matter. It is good to report the succulent in this condition and add more minerals like perlite or coarse sand or gravel to it to avoid compaction.
  • If the succulents lack growth and dare disrupted growth, it may be because of the high organic and nutrients in succulent soil.
  • Succulents don’t need many nutrients as they love dry and humid areas. Adding too much of them will only destroy the plant rather than add more mineral matter for them to thrive.

How do make Well Drained Soil for Succulents?

Adding the right amount of minerals into the soil will make a well-drained soil for succulents. They thrive on perlite so adding a part of it gives the drainage capacity to the oil. Adding any rock, coal, gravel, or marble as another part of the mix will be a boost to the oil for drainage. As most soil needs wet peat moss to have drainage in the ease of succulent soil perlite or coarse sand will do the best.

How often do you Change Soil for Succulents?

How often  do you Change Soil for Succulents?

It is ideal to change the soil for succulent plants every two years once. The soil mix can last with no alteration for two years. It is better to change before it loses its mix ratio. If the plant outgrows the pot, it is good to repot the plant with soil. The best time to change the soil is the same time as the growing season for the plants.

Tips and tricks for Succulent Plants

  • Succulents love sunlight. Keeping them in direct sunlight near a window is the best spot for succulents.
  • Topping the succulent soil with decorative rock helps in water drainage for the oil.
  • Dried leaves on top of plants indicate water problems. Make sure the soil is dried out before watering.
  • Pest is inevitable for plants. To control pests in succulents follow the above tips and add natural pest-control neem oil to the oil.

How much Soil is needed for Small Succulents?

Succulents need soil depending on their location and the size of the plants. For the garden bed minimum of three inches of succulent soil as topsoil to plant. In the case of pots, containers, or hangings for iteration equal mix as mentioned above in the recipe. As succulents love to grow with rock, adding more of them will be fancy and helps the succulent. It is not about the measurement but majorly about the texture of the soil.

If you have excess potting soil, keep it in an airtight container and use it for repotting.

What kind of Potting Mix is used for Succulents?

What kind of Potting Mix is used for Succulents?

The kind of potting mix used for succulents depends on the indoor or outdoor succulent. In the case of indoor succulents, the potting mix should have better drainage. Perlite in the potting mix will help indoor plants to have drainage. For outdoor plants, the oil should have more water retention than indoor plants. As outdoor succulents are exposed more to sunlight and weather. If the weather is high, then succulents in such an area should have coconut coir as it works best for succulents to retain moisture. The soil mix in succulents contains organic and inorganic components.  Add less drainage material for plants like aloe, crassula, and sedum. Add more for opuntia, and agaves. 

Can we use Cactus Soil mix and Regular Potting Soil for Succulents?

Yes, cactus soil mix can be used for succulents. Keeping a check on the soil will only make the difference. Cactus plants need more sandy soil than succulents. Often the term cactus and succulent are used indifferently. You may find labels in soil bags stating cactus and succulent soil. As the characteristics and needs of both cacti and succulents are common, they can be used for one another.

Yes, regular potting soil can be used for succulents. The fertilizer amount in it can rot your plant root. But with proper checking and adjustment in texture, you can make the potting soil good for succulents.

Final words

Succulents can survive in a hot place with no or less water. There is no perfect or specific soil for them as they adapt to various conditions and grow. But there are fa ew differences between common soil types to succulent soil. As garden soil for gardening and potting soil for potted plants, succulent soil is the next best choice to grow succulent plants in your house. 

Happy gardening!


How much perlite do you add to potting soil for succulents?

The potting soil for succulents is ⅓ part of 1 part potting soil.

What kind of soil is used for outdoors and home depot succulents?

Sandy loam soil is the best kind of soil for outdoor and home depot succulents.

What is the succulent soil mix ratio?

The succulent soil mix ratio is 1 organic matter to two mineral matter mixes. (1:2).

Should succulent soil be compact?

No, succulent soil should be loose and grained which helps soil for airflow and water drainage.