Succulents don’t need the same things that other kinds of plants do.
The most important thing to consider when looking for the best soil for succulents is how well it both absorbs and drains water.
The balance of having just enough water, but not too much, is necessary for your succulents to thrive.
Table of Contents
The Best Soil For Succulents in Pots & Containers
Most succulent soils have components that help balance water retention and water drainage but they all do it a little differently. Here are some of the best blends available.
|TerraGreen Creations Succulent Planter Kit||Small, Medium|
|Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix||1.25, 2.5, 12 Quarts|
|Cactus and Succulent Blend Potting Mix||2, 4, 12 Quarts|
|Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil Gritty Mix||2, 4, 8 Quarts|
|Fat Plants San Diego Succulent Soil Gallon||2, 8 Quarts|
|Hoffman 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix||4 Quarts|
|Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix||2, 4 Quarts|
|Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm and Citrus Potting Mix||8 Quarts|
|Espoma CA4 Organic Cactus Mix||4 Quarts|
|Bonsai Pumice Professional American Additive||1.25, 6, 12 Quarts|
Succulent Soil Reviewed
1. TerraGreen Creations Succulent Planter Kit
The great this about this product from TerraGreen Creations is that it’s an all-inclusive kit that comes with everything you need to set up a nice-looking terrarium, including easy-to-follow instructions. All you have to do is add your own succulent.
Included in this kit are washed pea gravel for drainage, activated charcoal to remove toxins, organic soil to provide nutrients, smooth river rock for decoration, and bright sheet moss to remove moisture and add a bright pop of color.
If you were to buy all of these things individually, you would normally have to buy them in bulk which could get quite costly. This kit is a great way to save a bit of money because it only gives you exactly what you need.
This kit is available in 2 different sizes: small and medium. Each includes a generous amount of material so you can put together exactly the kind of terrarium you want. It makes a great gift for anyone interested in succulents or learning how to put together a terrarium.
2. Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix
Another great choice is this blend from Superfly Bonsai. This is a pre-mixed, ready-to-use blend of Hard Japanese Akadama for water retention, USA Pumice to provide nutrients, New Zealand Pine Bark to hold water and fertilizer, and USA Haydite to absorb and release excess water.
This soil was developed to promote drainage while also retaining enough water to keep your succulents healthy. Plus, it allows air to reach the roots, which succulents need to thrive. It’s more accurate to call this a substrate rather than a soil because it doesn’t actually contain a lot of dirt.
The resealable bag is really convenient because it keeps the unused portion fresh until you need it. It’s available in 3 different sizes that range from 1.25 to 12 dry quarts so you can get the amount you need. For reference, the 1.25-quart bag contains about 6 cups of soil.
This product works well for cactus, too, and it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
3. Cactus and Succulent Blend Potting Mix
This potting mix from rePotme is a superior blend that’s handcrafted in small batches to make sure it maintains the same level of quality and maintains freshness. It’s resistant to a lot of insects and pathogens and can help keep your succulents happy and healthy.
Another reason this is such an effective blend is how well it drains while still absorbing the right amount of water. It holds onto just what your succulents need without any risk of rotting.
Perlite, pumice, sand, and stalite are blended together. Note that there’s no peat moss included. Peat moss can attract fungus gnats which can be devastating to your plants. Instead, they use coir, or ground coconut husk, for a durable and effective replacement.
This product is available in 6 different sizes ranging from a mini-bag with 1.5 quarts to a large cube of 50 quarts. To give you an idea about volume, 1 quart fills a 6-inch wide pot or half of an 8-inch pot.
4. Bonsai Jack Succulent Cactus Soil Gritty Mix
The most impressive thing about this soil from Bonsai Jack is that it’s one of the fastest draining soils available so it helps prevent overwatering and root rot. It’s mixed by professionals and hobbyists alike to be the perfect blend for acid-loving succulents.
In addition to being ultra-lightweight and airy, this gritty soil is ideal for water absorption, evaporation, density, and particle size. It includes bonsai block, monitor clay, and pine bark plus it’s lab-tested to make sure there are no pathogens or insects that can harm your plants.
This soil is a little larger than some of the other products on the market. Rather than having a soil-like texture, it actually has a particle size of a ¼ inch which is one reason why it’s so effective at draining. This also lets air penetrate the soil more easily.
Another great thing about this product is the wide range of sizes it comes in, from 2 quarts to 8 quarts. It’s all pre-washed and screened so, no matter how large your project, Bonsai Jack is there for you.
5. Fat Plants San Diego Premium Cacti and Succulent Soil
Fat Plants soil is hand-mixed by a licensed grower and nursery in San Diego, California. It contains a mixture of perlite, sand, volcanic pumice, worm castings, blood and bone meal, and perlite and is generally very easy to work with.
This combination has been used by Fat Plants to grow their succulents for years. It’s quick draining, nourishing, and very fertile. There are no large chunks or powdery soils, just a nice medium particle-sized blend that allows roots to grow and air to circulate.
One of the nice things about this is it comes in small, manageable-sized packages. This gallon size will fill about 4 empty 10-inch pots. There are ½ and 2-gallon bags available, too. Plus, every box comes with a hand-written thank you note.
6. Hoffman 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix
This organic mix from Hoffman is professionally formulated for use with a variety of succulents, including cacti. It’s pH balanced, ready to use, and provides the right amount of nutrients, absorption, and drainage.
The blend includes Canadian Sphagnum peat moss, reed sedge peat, perlite, sand, and limestone. While peat moss has a tendency to attract bugs, placing the whole bag in the freezer overnight kills them so you don’t have to worry.
This soil comes in packs that hold 4 quarts but can also be ordered in multi-packs of 2, 3, or 4 so you can get exactly the quantity you need for your project.
7. Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix
This organic succulent mix is formulated especially for cacti, bonsai, and other succulents, including donkey’s tail and crassula ovata jade. Not only does it provide support to the plant but it’s also lightweight and well-draining to help prevent overwatering and root rot.
Next Gardener imports this potting mix from professional plant growers in USA. It’s made up of organic double-sifted compost, vermiculite, calcined clay, and contains more than 28 trace elements to keep your bonsai and other succulents growing strong.
The pH of this soil is 5.5, an ideal balance between neutral and acidic. The texture is a little different than most potting soils but this is a really effective mix. Plus, it’s 100% organic and available in two different sizes: two and four quarts.
8. Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm and Citrus Potting Mix
Miracle-Gro is a well-known brand when it comes to soil and this formula for cactus, palm, citrus, and other succulents lives up to the name. It’s enriched with Miracle-Gro plant food which feeds your plants for up to six months.
One of the great things about this mix is that it contains sand and perlite to prevent the soil from getting too compact. This makes it fast-draining which helps prevents overwatering and root rot.
This soil comes in an eight-quart package and is also available in two, three, and four packs which makes it a great choice if you want to buy in bulk. Note that this is a potting mix and should only be used with plants in containers.
9. Espoma CA4 Organic Cactus Mix
Espoma’s organic cactus mix is not only ideal for cacti but it’s also a good pick for citrus and succulents. It’s enhanced with Myco-Tone, a water-saving blend that retains moisture and improves aeration to enhance root growth.
Other ingredients in this blend include peat humus, sand, perlite, and sphagnum peat moss, an ideal mix to provide the perfect texture for your succulents. It also helps to reduce drought stress in the event that things get a little too dry.
This organic potting soil comes in a four-quart bag and is available in two packs if you prefer to buy in bulk. The bag is also resealable so you can use what you need and save the rest for later.
10. Bonsai Pumice Professional American Additive
Superfly Bonsai created this ready-to-use soil sourced from the USA. It contains white pumice that’s been pre-sieved so it’s a uniform size. It’s available in three sizes 1.25, 6, and 12-quart. Each comes in a bag that’s easy to reseal so you can use what you need and safely store the rest for later.
Pumice is a great choice for succulents because it dries out the soil. Succulents do not require a lot of water and this helps prevent root rot and over-watering. It allows for easy drainage and lets the air get through the soil to the roots.
This product is also covered by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t like your results, contact the company for your money back.
What Kind of Soil for Succulents?
One thing to remember about growing succulents is that most people swear by the soil that they use. A lot of people who have been doing it for a long time will have a blend that they swear by but they will all have some things in common.
Before we get into the particulars about soil, it helps to think about where succulents grow naturally. They’re adapted to environments that where it doesn’t rain and can get by and even thrive with just a little water.
That’s the key to good succulent soil. It has to hold on to just the right amount of water. Too little or too much isn’t the right environment.
What ingredients are used in succulent soil?
One of the main ingredients in any soil for succulents is organic matter. Peat moss is one of the most common sources but it dries out quickly and doesn’t absorb enough water. This is why you can’t just buy regular peat moss and call it a day.
Finely ground bark or fiber is usually added in with the peat moss. This helps water penetrate the plant roots more quickly and stops it from drying out too much.
Another component of this type of soil is some kind of inorganic substance that lets water soak into the soil quickly as well as drain adequately to keep the soil light and airy. This can be a variety of different materials, including perlite, pumice, crushed granite, or clay.
What is the Best Soil for Succulents?
The best soil for succulents is the Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix from Superfly Bonsai.
It’s pre-mixed, ready-to-use, and retains the right amount of water while also promoting adequate drainage. It also allows air to reach the roots, which succulents love.
This is a really convenient product because it comes in a lot of different sizes and each comes packaged in a resealable bag so you can keep the unused portion fresh until you need it.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one product, we recommend the TerraGreen Creations Succulent Planter Soil Kit Terrarium.
It includes everything you need for proper planting, including pea gravel, activated charcoal, organic soil, and sheet moss.
How to Plant a Succulent in a Pot?
Planting succulents is pretty simple but there are some things to keep in mind.
First thing’s first, make sure the pot you choose has adequate drainage. Remember, succulents need adequate drainage to survive. If your pot doesn’t have adequate drainage, it won’t matter how good your soil is because all the water will collect inside anyway. (Choose the best pots for succulents here)
There is a way around this. If you have a pot or container that you really love and it doesn’t have holes, you can place a layer of pea gravel to the bottom. This essentially creates a gap between the bottom of the pot and the roots which keep your plant safe.
If you’re new to succulents, terra cotta pots are a great choice. They dry quickly, pull some water out of the soil, and they’re breathable. Basically, they really help prevent overwatering but providing a bit of a buffer.
Another thing to remember is that succulents typically grow to the size of their environment. If you want your plant to grow larger, you can place it in a larger pot. If not, you really only have to get one large enough for its current size.
Preparing the Pot
Although this might sound a bit counterintuitive, the first thing you need to do is cover the drainage holes. Use window screening or landscape fabric that will still allow the water to pass through. Otherwise, the soil will slowly wash away with the water as it drains.
If you don’t have drainage holes, this is the point where you would add pea gravel to the bottom of the pot. How much you should use depends on the pot and your succulent but be sure to add at least a few inches.
Adding the Soil
Add soil until it’s just about to the top of the pot. After you place the succulents, there should be able ½ to 1 inch of space below the top of the pot and the soil line so you have enough space to water the plant without overflowing the pot.
Arrange Your Plants
Create the design you’re looking for with your succulents. Some people use one small succulent in a small pot while others use larger pots and build intricate fairy gardens and succulent sculptures. It’s really up to you!
Plant the Succulents
Remove your succulents from the nursery pot carefully by holding the plant gently at the top by the stem. Rather than pulling it out, tap the side of the pot until the plant is free. Place the plant in the container and add additional soil around the plant.
The most important part of this step is to make sure that the roots are completely covered. If not, the succulent will quickly dry out.
A lot of people finish off the surface of the soil with either rocks or some kind of moss. These things add a different look but they can also help control water distribution.
How to Take Care of Succulents?
Succulents are pretty low maintenance but there are some things you should do to make sure they live as long as possible.
How much water do my succulents need?
Believe it or not, being overwatered is much worse for succulents than being under-watered. In pots with drainage holes, all you have to do is moisten the soil every few days and that’s enough. If the pot doesn’t have any drainage, you can get away with a tablespoon of water every few days.
Basically, you want the water to be only slightly moist and you should see it soak right in immediately. If the water doesn’t quickly get soaked in, you’ve probably overwatered. A good rule of thumb? Water when the soil is dry. If it’s the slightest bit damp, it doesn’t need it.
How do you know if you’re not watering them enough? You’ll be able to tell by looking at the plant. The leaves will start to look dry and will no longer have the lush look that succulents are known for.
Underwatering is easy to fix if caught in time. Just water as normal and they’ll perk up right away.
Also, remember that succulents are usually dormant in the winter so you don’t need to water them as much when the temperature drops.
Can I keep my succulents outside?
Succulents can be kept outside or on a windowsill in direct sunlight as long as the temperature doesn’t get too low. They should be brought inside during freezing temperatures or if there is a chance of morning frost.
On the other end of the spectrum, succulents also shouldn’t be kept outside in extremely high temperatures. Anything over 100 degrees F is too hot and will start to dry out the leaves. Make sure to bring them indoors when needed.
There are also some varieties that can actually get sunburned. If you notice black patches or the leaves start to look cloudy, there’s a good chance the plant is getting too much direct sunlight and it should be moved into the shade.
Keep in mind that succulents should have access to bright sunlight for at least 6 hours a day when they’re not dormant. You can keep them outside or make sure to get them close a window for most of the day.
Are there any bad signs to look out for?
Caring for succulents is pretty easy but there are some things that can indicate a problem. Sometimes, it’s easy to fix. Other times, there’s not much to be down.
Mushy leaves. If the leaves of your succulent are mushy, it means there’s too much water in them which means you’re watering them too often. Stop watering until they return to normal and let the soil completely dry out before watering again.
Rotting roots. If you smell or see root rot, there’s too much water in the soil. This could mean that you’re watering too often, that the drainage is inadequate, or the soil is packed too tightly and isn’t draining properly.
Fading color. Light-colored leaves on a plant that used to be bright and vibrant is usually a sign that the plant isn’t getting enough light.
Mold. Mold on the leaves is usually a sign of overwatering but can also mean that there’s too much humidity. Watering with a spray bottle can cause this because it gets water on the leaves as well as in the soil which can actually harm the plant.
Stretching or gapping. If you notice that the leaves of your succulent are thinning or you start to see gaps where there weren’t any before, it’s a sign that your succulent needs more sunlight. It’s basically stretching to reach out to find it.
Succulents are pretty easy to take care of. The most important things are to make sure that your plant is getting the right amount of water and sunlight. Finding the balance between too much and just enough is key.
Finding the best soil for succulents is the most important thing you can do to set your plant up for success. The soil needs to drain adequately while holding onto the right amount of water to nourish the plant.
If you notice that something is off, chances are it has to do with watering. Watering is the single most important thing about taking care of succulents so pay close attention to the soil and the state of your succulent leaves.
The best soil for succulents is the Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix from Superfly Bonsai. It’s a great balance of everything that will help your plant thrive and it comes in a few different sizes, each of which has a resealable bag so you can keep it fresh until you need it.
If you want something that’s an all-in-one kit, check out the TerraGreen Creations Succulent Planter Soil Kit Terrarium. It has a little bit of everything you need to create a healthy, gorgeous terrarium. Just add the succulent of your choice.