using succulent soil for regular plants

Can You Use Succulent Cactus Soil for Regular Plants?

Succulent cactus mix soil is a very popular potting mix used for growing indoor succulents. They help in fast drainage, is slightly acidic in nature, and are sufficiently rich in nutrients.

Can you use succulent cactus soil for regular plants? Succulent cactus mix soil can be used for growing regular indoor plants provided the soil is modified & adjusted as per the need of the plant. Indoor plants prefer a soil mix with better drainage and aeration otherwise the chances of pest manifestation or fungal infection increase by many folds.

Different plants have different needs. So you should use the kind of soil that suits the need of that particular plant.

For example, Aloe vera, orchids, Jade plant all of these love cactus mix soil that has superior drainage. They hate to be kept in moist soil.

However other tropical plants including ferns love soil that retains water for a long time. So what kind of soil you need to use depends entirely upon the plant’s need.

What is a Succulent Cactus mix made of?

Cactus mix is a potting mix that is made in order to provide the succulents and other xerophytes with a soil condition that is identical to their natural habitat. These plants generally grow in drought-prone areas where the soil has high proportions of inorganic materials like sand, pebbles, granules, etc.
A breakdown of Succulent Cactus soil mix:
  • Perlite or Pumice: Most vital element of any succulent friendly soil mix. Holds the soil structure together.  Promotes better drainage, absorbs the excess moisture present in the soil even after the passage of excess water. Along with this, Pumice does not decompose over time like other organic components of the soil. It is also rich in trace minerals and promotes air circulation as well as microbe growth.
  • Coarse sand: Most important component of plants that love drainage friendly soil. Tremendously aids in drainage and provides a weight to the potting mix.
  • Other Volcanic Rocks: Promotes drainage and lessen the water retention time of the soil.
  • Pebbles: Helps in drainage as well as aeration.
  • Compost: Promotes all over better growth of the plant, is stuffed with nutrients, and supports beneficial microbe growth.
  • Peat or coir: Helps in providing shape to the whole mixture. Their optimized presence helps in retaining water for a limited period of time within which the roots absorb the water they need.

succulent soil

What Is So Special about the Cactus Mix Soil?

The presence of a high amount of inorganic components facilitates better drainage and less water retention. The soil also promotes better air circulation as the soil is much lighter in comparison with a potting soil which is rich in organic materials and hence is quite heavy and dense.
This ability of the cactus mix soil to facilitate better drainage and to promote better air circulation in the soil makes them special.

What kind of Soil do Regular Plants like?

There is no “one fit it all” kind of soil. The kind of soil you need to grow your newly brought plants depends on the needs of the plant itself. The soil texture plays a big role in deciding what kind of soil you need. The soil texture is basically the sum of the drainage efficiency and the nutritional content of the soil. It is determined by the presence of sand, clay, slit in the soil, and their particular proportions as well.

Soil composure can be divided into three main parts:

  • Sand: They do not contain any kind of nutrition however they aid in drainage and air circulation in the soil, helping the roots to absorb oxygen. They are extremely light and plants that love sandy soil include
  • Clay: These soils are not that much nutrient heavy but they hold water for a long time. As a result, a waterlogged condition is being created.
  • Slits: They are highly nutrient-rich but remains damp for a long time as the water retention is quite severe.

For some plants, drainage is the main aspect as these plants are sensitive to root rot. Then there come other plants for whom the soil nutrition is everything, drainage not that big of an issue.

  • However, the place where you are considering growing the plant also plays a role in this. Generally, you cannot use the same kind of soil you use for growing a plant outdoors and indoors. Indoor plants need better drainage otherwise it can invite pest manifestations.

Key Differences between Succulent Cactus mix and Regular Potting soil

Drainage Ability

  • Succulents are adapted to grow in drought-prone sandy areas where the soil does not retain water for a long time. The cactus mix soil by default provides the succulents with the same conditions.
  • Succulents hate moisture in the soil as that can cause root rot which is one of the most common reasons behind their death indoors. However, even succulents need their soil to be nutrition-rich at least to some extent and hence the cactus mix has a little touch of organic components in them which helps them to retain moisture but for a short time.

Other tropical plants on the contrary like the soil to remain wet at least to some extent. In their normal habitat, they grow on highly fertile & nutritious soil that retains moisture for a long time. So superior drainage is not the main need in their native places.

However, when grown indoor these plants are a little susceptible to soil dampness as pest manifestations can occur very easily.

  • So it is best to balance things out as per the need of the plant and make the soil light, less dense, and drainage friendly at least to some degree for all plants.

Presence of Organic Matters

Succulents do not require the soil to be stuffed with highly nutritious content. They can survive in extreme conditions with poor nutrition. The presence of organic components can also increase the water retention rate of the soil which is a big no-no for the succulents.

So they do well with only a little touch of organic matter in the soil. Most other varieties of plants love to grow on highly fertile and nutrition-rich soil. So they prefer having higher contents of organic matter in the soil. Along with this as they also prefer moisture in the soil so mediocre drainage ability of the soil never becomes an issue.


The presence of elements that supports superior drainage directly correlates with improving the air circulation within the soil.

  • Better aeration means higher availability of oxygen for the succulent roots which then help in better growth and flowering of the plant.
  • The higher amounts of rocks, sand in the soil, and lower amounts of organic material is the key behind better aeration.

As the soil of other plants remains densely packed with organic components, the scope of superior aeration in the soil is pretty low. This can become problematic especially when these plants are grown indoors. using succulent soil for other indoor plants

So Can a Succulent Cactus Mix be used for Growing Regular plants or not?

A cactus mix soil can help in improving the soil drainage and aeration which is extremely vital for all potted plants.

  • Better drainage will help in lowering the chances of fungal infections and pest manifestations.
  • Aeration in the soil will promote better oxygen absorption through the roots which will in turn make the roots stronger and promote better plant growth.

Aside from all these, cactus soil is sufficiently rich in vital nutrients. So for growing regular plants other than succulents you can use cactus mix however you must add a considerable amount of potting soil along with it as most plants love having a little bit of moisture in the soil and the soil needs to be nutritionally richer.

If the plant likes a little bit more dense and nutritious soil, make it loamier by adding potting soil or by directly adding coconut coir/peat moss, compost, shredded leaves, etc. If your plants love alkaline soil and you need to decrease the acidity of the cactus mix, consider adding lime or compost to the succulent cactus mix.

  • Most indoor plants love having superior drainage and improved aeration. So it is a great idea to have the cactus mix as the base and then to go ahead and tweak it as per the need of the individual plant.

Can you use Garden soil for Growing Indoor plants as Potting Soil?

You should always avoid using garden soil for growing indoor plants. Growing plants on the garden soil in the outdoor environment are totally different than growing them inside in small pots. Every resource is limited indoors. So you need to take extra precautions in place while growing plants indoors.

  • The garden soil can be stuffed with bacteria, fungi, and a variety of pests and their larvas. You have no control over the quality of the soil in terms of its hygiene. Yes, you can sterilize the soil by putting them in an oven and baking them, however, personally, I feel it’s beneficial to buy a sterilized optimized potting soil from the store rather than all these hassles.
  • The garden soil is of heavy stature and often times they can end up suffocating the potted plants. Almost all potted indoor plants prefer the soil to have a mediocre to a superior degree of drainage and air circulation. This can only be achieved when you use proper potting soil mixed with cactus mix soil or other inorganic components. The end product will be much lighter in weight.
  • The nutrition content of the soil in most cases is not optimized. On the other hand in the case of the potting soil, you will have a proper idea regarding the nutrition richness of the soil. The potting soil is made keeping in mind the well being of growing plants indoors. So it is always safer to go for this option.


What can you do if you have an excess succulent mix? Should you store a cactus mix?

You should store the excess succulent mix. However, you need to be cautious that the mixture remains sterile. Pour down the mixture in a plastic airtight bag and completely zip the plastic. Now keep it stuffed in within an airtight container.

Excess succulent soil always comes handy from time to time as you can easily propagate your succulents and multiply their number whenever you need. Having a premade fresh potting mix is always a great thing to do for that purpose.


Cactus mix is a handy soil to have as you can always blend them with potting soil or other organic components as per the need of the plant.
The most common reason indoor potted plants die is because of fungal root infection or due to pest manifestations.
Both of these are related to the soil content to some extent. Better aeration, drainage, light texture of the soil helps in keeping things safer.
Cactus soil mix is a great option in that regard. However, the need for every plant varies from one another and the needs of that particular variety must always be prioritized before preparing their soil.
So what plants are thinking about growing using succulent cactus mix soil?
  • Do you have extra tips you wanna share on this topic? Feel free to comment below and let me know!

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2 thoughts on “Can You Use Succulent Cactus Soil for Regular Plants?”

    1. You Should Only Water the Succulent when the soil becomes completely dry. As mentioned in the article, these plants has the capability of storing water so instead of having a fixed watering schedule keep an eye over the soil moisture and water accordingly. As its inside and not getting much Sun you need to be extra careful to not over water the plant. All the best.

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