The soil plays an important role in the optimized growth of all kinds of plants and having the right kind of soil can save you from loads of headaches in the coming days. So,
Is Cactus Soil OK for Succulents? Cactus soil is one of the best soil you can use for growing succulents. They support faster drainage which is an important trait as succulents hate sitting on moist soil conditions. Cactus soil is tailor-made to support the growth of cactuses which by itself is a variety of succulents.
What Makes the Cactus Soil Okay For Succulents?
Plants always survive best when they are provided with conditions that mimic or resemble their native habitat. Succulents are xerophytes that are accustomed to growing in drought-prone conditions.
- Succulents have strikingly different needs for their survival in comparison with tropical or subtropical plants. Succulents have adapted themselves over the decades to sustain extremely harsh conditions of water scarcity.
So all succulents including cactuses can only be grown in soil conditions that resemble the soil of those desert or semi-desert areas. Cactus soil serves this purpose well and this is why they are just perfect for growing succulents.
Benefits of Using Cactus Soil for Growing succulents
- Cactus soil is highly drainage friendly. Succulent roots are not habituated to sit in wet soil conditions for days as the desert soil is rich in sand and rocks which drain water quickly.
Hence succulent roots can easily catch root rot when kept sitting in damp soil conditions frequently. Cactus soil is also rich in inorganic components rather than organic components which help in not retaining water for too long.
- Cactus soil is highly porous and aeration friendly. This means the oxygen flow in the soil will be optimum enough and the root ball will receive more oxygen. Lighter soil texture also helps the roots to breathe which further promotes better and stronger root development underground.
- The chances of Pest manifestation decreases when you use a light and drainage friendly soil mix. This is important for growing succulents especially indoors whereas the plant gets limited resources, pest manifestation can be a serious concern if the soil remains wet for a long time.
- The succulent can take things hereon in most cases. Succulents are highly adaptive plants. So when their basic needs of soil and sunlight are fulfilled, with the input of occasional watering they can take care of themselves pretty well without needing much attention. So providing them with the right soil mix is the key to provide them with a solid foundation that will support their growth.
Can You Make Your Very Own Cactus Mix Soil at Home?
Making your cactus mix is probably the best as you will be in full control of the ingredients and their composition. Also, know that there is no one magic recipe for preparing soil mix for succulents. You can use a variety of components however the end goal is to prepare a soil mix that has top-class drainage and is light.
To achieve that, you need to make sure the inorganic component of the soil is greater than the organic content.
So try mixing roughly 25% of organic content with 50% of Coarse sand and Pumice or Perlite. Fill up the rest with pebbles, gravels, and granite. This variation of various kinds of inorganic component size will improve the aeration.
For more information on preparing soil mix for succulents refer:
- How to Prepare Soil for Succulents(Indoors & Outdoors)
- Can You Use Bonsai Soil for Succulents? (Ultimate Guide)
- Can You Use Garden soil for Succulents & Cactus?
What is the difference between cactus soil mix & normal potting soil?
The composition of both the soil mixes varies a lot as the cactus mix soil is made to fullfil the needs of plants growing in drought-prone areas whereas the potting soil is suited to better support the growth of plants loving moisture in the soil. The key differences include:
- The Organic to inorganic content ratio will vary a lot: As cactus mix soil tries mimicking the desert prone soil, the inorganic content of the soil is much more in comparison with the potting soil which is rich in organic materials.
- The drainage facility of the cactus soil is top-notch in comparison with the potting soil: As the cactus mix soil is rich in inorganic content, it drains water faster whereas the organic components of the potting soil hold onto water for a long time.
- A lighter soil mix will promote better aeration in the soil especially in indoor conditions. This further will promote better root formation and reduce the chances of fungal or pest manifestation in the soil. In this regard, cactus soil is miles ahead of the potting soil because of its superior water drainage abilities.
Is cactus soil and succulent soil the same?
Cactus soil mix and succulent soil mix basically are the same thing as cactuses themselves belong within succulents! So all succulents more or less have similar soil requirements as all of them are adapted to sustain water scarcity and grow in harsh soil conditions devoid of high organic content.
So in the end, any soil mix that has a suitable amount of organic content in it and encourages incredible drainage cause of the presence of huge inorganic content can be used for growing succulents and cactuses.
Succulents can grow in extreme soil conditions where most other plants can find it hard to survive. However, they find it really hard to survive in highly nutritious soil rich in organic content as that leads to more water retention that causes root rot.
So choosing the right soil mix is the most important task I feel while growing succulent. Once this is done right and the plant has a proper base it can manage to withstand hardships in the future.