Choosing the right soil is essential when growing succulents.
If it holds too much water the roots will rot.
So you need a soil that’s built to drain quickly. While still absorbing enough moisture for your plants to grow.
In our opinion, the best potting soil for succulents is Superfly Bonsai Succulent Mix. The expert blend of high-quality materials provides the ideal conditions. With fast-drainage, great aeration for roots to breathe, and excellent structure for stable growth.
Our recommended products at a glance:
- Superfly Bonsai Succulent Soil Mix
- Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil
- Bliss Gardens Organic Succulent Soil
- Fat Plants San Diego Succulent Soil
- The Next Gardener Succulent Soil Mix
- Kenzoplants Organic Succulents Mix
- Hoffman Organic Succulent Soil Mix
- Super Moss HeirBloom Succulent Soil with Fertilizer
- Dr. Earth Exotic Cactus & Succulent Soil
- Miracle-Gro Cactus Palm and Citrus Potting Mix
All links lead to Amazon, where you can find more information & customer reviews.
The Best Potting Soil For Succulents: Reviews
Superfly Bonsai Succulent & Cactus Soil Mix
This high-quality potting soil for succulents and cactus comes premixed and ready for you to use.
Succulents love soil that drains fast and provides good aeration. And superfly has created a dirt-free blend of ingredients that fits these criteria superbly and helps your plants to grow and thrive.
Consisting of 25% pumice, 25% New Zealand pine bark, 25% hard Japanese Akadama, and 25% haydite, it expertly combines water retention with fast-drainage of excess water. While also providing a good structure for roots to grow and anchor. And with enough space between the particles for the transfer of oxygen to your plant’s roots to take place.
Compared to Bonsai Jack, which we review below, customers find that this mix provides better stability for succulents as they grow. It’s also a bit more water-retentive, so you don’t need to water as often.
You can use this potting mix to grow succulents and cacti both indoors and outdoors.
It comes in 4 different sizes: 1.25, 2.5, 6, and 12 dry quarts.
The company is so convinced that you’ll enjoy using their product that they offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you’re unhappy for any reason with its performance.
Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil – Jacks Gritty Mix
Bonsai Jack’s fast-draining succulent potting soil is a good choice for professionals and hobbyists alike.
The blend of 33% monto clay, 33% bonsai block (calcined clay), and 33% pine bark fines comes with a particle size of around ¼ inch. Making it a very fast-draining mix which means you don’t have to worry about overwatering or root rot. But it can require you to water often.
The pH of 5.5 provides optimum conditions for a wide variety of succulents to grow. Including Aloe, Echeveria, Crassula, Lithops, Haworthia, and many more. And you can also use it for growing cacti, and any other plants that like slightly acidic and quick-drying soil.
Another mark of quality is that federally recognized labs have tested it to make sure it’s free of pathogens or anything else that could harm your plants.
It’s available in many different sized bags to suit your need. Ranging from 2 quarts all the way up to 112 quarts.
Bliss Gardens Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil
This hand-made potting soil mix is designed for fast drainage while still containing ingredients that can hold moisture and make it available to your plants.
Perlite, horticultural sand, expanded clay pieces, and shale rocks help with drainage and aeration of the soil.
But it’s the addition of coco coir, peat moss, and horticultural charcoal that makes it quite different from the options above and give it its ability to provide more moisture.
Coco coir is made from the fibers on the outside of coconut husks. And it’s used in potting soil for its ability to absorb water but also let excess easily drain from the mix.
The porosity of the horticultural charcoal allows for further absorption and retention of water and fertilizer. Making it slowly available to your plants over time and increasing the nutritional holding capacity of the mix.
Also included is bat guano, and worm castings. Providing a small amount of nutrients for plant growth.
And mycorrhizal fungi that help to increase the uptake of nutrients by your succulent’s roots. Leading to stronger and healthier growth.
It comes in a bag containing 4 dry quarts.
Fat Plants San Diego Premium Cacti and Succulent Soil
Handmade and mixed in their San Diego specialty warehouse, Fat Plants succulent mix is formulated to be a growing medium that provides the structure and support needed for growth. With a good supply of nutrients added that can feed your plants for up to 6 months.
Which is convenient if you’re forgetful about adding fertilizer or want to take the regular responsibility off your plate.
The pH balanced mix is light and has excellent drainage. It contains coco coir, perlite, worm castings, and 18-6-12 NPK fertilizer.
Customers report that it’s great for growing cuttings and succulent seeds. And it works well when transplanting.
As well as most types of succulents, you can also use this soil for planting flowers, cacti, vegetables, and bonsai.
You can buy it in 3 different sizes: 2,4, and 8 quarts. With the mix coming in a resealable package.
The Next Gardener Professional Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix
This professionally formulated succulent soil mix provides the ideal conditions for optimum and healthy growth.
It’s a light soil that mostly consists of sphagnum peat moss and perlite. It drains well but still holds plenty of moisture between the soil particles for root uptake.
And it has a pH of 5.5, providing the slightly acidic soil that the majority of succulents thrive in.
To get your plants growing it contains a small amount of fertilizer. But you’ll have to start adding it yourself after a few weeks.
And this does lead to a drawback, as some people dislike the natural fertilizer smell.
Some people also complain that it holds water too easily due to the amount of peat moss it contains.
You can use it for growing cacti and other acid-loving plants including fruits, flowers, and vegetables.
It comes in a bag containing 8 quarts. And you can also buy it in 2 and 4 quarts bags.
Kenzoplants Organic Succulents & Cactus Mix
A good choice for both amateur gardeners and professional growers, this soil is designed for succulent container gardens both indoors and outdoors.
It consists of 75% sphagnum peat moss and 25% perlite. With a pH of 5.7. Also added to the mix is a small amount of organic fertilizer.
The peat moss helps with moisture retention. But it may be a bit too much for some succulents. In which case adding extra perlite or sand might be necessary to create the ideal growing conditions.
The majority of customers report good results with this soil. It’s great for growing seedlings and cuttings. And helps struggling succulents to come to life when they’re repotted in this mix.
You can also use it to grow other acid-loving container plants like flowers, vegetables, herbs, and fruits.
It comes in a 4 quarts bag with an easy to reseal zip-lock design. You can also buy it in a smaller 2 quarts package.
Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix
This organic succulent soil can be used to grow a wide variety of succulents and cacti.
The lightweight mix includes Canadian sphagnum peat moss, perlite, reed sedge peat, and sand. With a small amount of limestone to adjust the pH to around 6.
The texture of the soil is nice and fluffy, and most customers report good drainage and successful results. It’s excellent for starting seeds and propagating succulents from leaves and cuttings.
However, it does contain a lot of peat moss and peat. And as a general rule of thumb, most succulents do best in soil consisting of larger, grittier particles, and less organic matter.
This is reflected in some customer complaints about it holding too much water. So it may need some amending with perlite to get the ideal mixture for your succulent plant.
It comes in a quick zip resealable bag containing 10 quarts.
Super Moss HeirBloom Succulent Soil with Fertilizer
Heirbloom is a coconut soil, that contains coco coir as its main ingredient.
Its ability to hold water and make it available to your plants while letting excess water drain quickly from the mix works well with most succulent varieties.
But for those that need even better drainage, it’s a good idea to have some perlite or pumice on hand to mix in.
The product also contains enough fertilizer to feed your plants for 8 months.
It comes in a 2.33 cubic feet bale that goes a long way as the coco coir expands as it absorbs water. And it keeps for years without turning bad.
Dr. Earth Exotic Cactus & Succulent Soil
This organic potting soil is OMRI listed (Organic Materials Review Institute) as a product that’s suitable for organic gardening.
The mix is made up of fir bark, peat moss, and perlite. Giving it structure, drainage, and aeration.
Also included are composted green waste, feather meal, bone meal, sawdust alfalfa meal, kelp meal, and fishbone meal. This breakdown over time providing your plants with a slow and steady supply of nutrients.
And although it contains natural fertilizer, it doesn’t have an offensive odor as it contains no manure.
Beneficial soil microbes and both endo and ectomycorrhizal fungi make a nice addition that improves nutrient availability and uptake. Making this a great mix for promoting the healthy growth of your plants.
So, why isn’t it higher on our list?
Well, some customers aren’t happy with how well it drains. So this is another soil mix that may require you to add some extra perlite to grow some plants successfully.
But if you’re happy to make amendments to your soil until you get the right balance, then you won’t find many similar potting soils of better quality.
As well as succulents and cacti, it’s also suitable for growing palm and citrus trees in containers. And any other drought-loving plants.
It comes in a bag containing 8 quarts of soil.
Miracle-Gro Cactus Palm and Citrus Potting Mix
Everyone knows Miracle-Gro, it’s a household name because of its popular range of plant care products.
This potting mix is labeled as being for cactus, palm, and citrus, but it also provides good conditions for growing most succulents.
It’s a light and airy soil that soaks up water easily but also drains quickly. It contains sphagnum peat moss, forest products, perlite, and sand.
Customers report the fast growth of their succulents. But occasionally the soil holds too much water.
As you would expect from a company with a well-known range of fertilizer products, this soil also contains synthetic fertilizer, with enough to continuously feed your succulents for up to 3 months.
Choosing The Best Succulent Soil
Colorful succulents growing in pots
One of the most important tips for successfully growing succulents is getting the right soil.
The best soil for succulents should be able to provide the following 4 things for your plants:
- Nutrients to help your plant grow – plants need the primary nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in the greatest quantities. They also require a smaller amount of the secondary nutrients calcium, sulfur, and magnesium. And trace amounts of a number of other elements.
- Anchorage for the roots – without a solid enough structure for the roots to grip into your succulents will have stability issues.
- Access to water – different materials in soils have a different ability to retain moisture.
- Aeration – there needs to be enough space between soil particles for plant roots to access oxygen.
What makes A Good Soil For Succulents?
Firstly, don’t be tempted to use the topsoil from your garden. It’s a poor choice for succulent plants grown in containers because it’s too heavy. It compacts easily, retaining too much water, and preventing access to oxygen.
And the big thing about growing succulents is that they need soil that drains really well.
You see, wild succulents come from arid regions and grow best in gritty soils. The sort that dry out rapidly after rainfall. And succulents have evolved to be resistant to drought-like conditions.
But this also means they are susceptible to root rot if they’re left in soil that retains water too easily.
So you need to try and mimic the natural conditions they like as close as you can.
There are a number of factors that affect the length of time that soil stays wet:
- Exposure to sunlight
- Amount of airflow
- Volume of water absorbed
- The structure of the soil
When buying a soil to use, and when making your own adjustments to create the ideal conditions, remember that the time it takes for soil to dry is a balance of these 4 things.
So, what works well for one gardener in a specific location, might not work as well for someone else in slightly different conditions.
For example, if you’re growing your succulents outside where it’s hot and windy then the soil may dry out very quickly. Using a less porous soil mix might be preferable so you don’t have to water them too frequently.
Whereas if you’re growing inside with limited airflow you might prefer a more sandy and gritty mix that’s faster draining.
Don’t forget when growing your succulents in containers or a succulent planter to make sure they have good drainage holes in the bottom for the water to escape from. It won’t matter if you have the best succulent potting mix if the water can’t exit the container efficiently.
For this reason, we don’t really recommend making a succulent terrarium. The drainage problems after watering make it hard for the plants to thrive.
Getting The Right Soil Composition
To look at it in a simple way, your soil is made up of 2 types of ingredients: organic and inorganic.
The organic part of the soil consists of things that were once living but are now dead. Sometimes, they are in a state of decomposition as bacteria begin to break them down, eventually releasing the nutrients they contain into the soil.
The inorganic part consists of minerals, such as sand, gravel, bits of rock, etc
In order to create good succulent soil recipe the ratio of organic to inorganic materials is important.
The organic part of the soil will hold and absorb water. Whereas the greater the amount of minerals in the soil the better it will drain. Finding the perfect balance will enable fast-drainage, preventing root rot. While still holding enough moisture for healthy growth.
For growing succulents, the quantity of minerals in the mix can range between 40-80%. Depending on the type of succulent and the conditions you’re growing in.
Whether you’re buying a ready-made mix or looking to make your own DIY succulent soil, these are some of the ingredients to look out for:
Some commercial potting soils don’t use organic materials at all, because they can hold too much water. But these are often used:
Sphagnum Peat Moss
This is a common ingredient used to build potting soils and give them structure and aeration.
But it also holds water. And while that’s good for many types of plants, it can be a problem for succulents if it’s used in too great a quantity in the mix.
It’s also hydrophobic when dry, and needs to be slowly soaked to become fully saturated. Making it difficult to quickly drench succulent roots.
It’s acidic, which is a good thing, as most succulents like growing in a slightly acidic pH around 5.5-6.
This consists of the fibers found on the outside of coconut husks. It absorbs water well, but is better than peat moss at allowing excess water to quickly drain from the soil so many people prefer it.
There are many different types of minerals you can use to make the best potting mix for succulents. Good choices for well-draining soil include coarse sand, pumice, and perlite.
If you come across them, it’s best to avoid non-calcined clays and vermiculite. These are sometimes used in potting soil, but they are too water-retentive for ideal use.
Sand is simple and effective for increasing drainage. But it’s important that you use coarse grain sand and not play sand or beach sand.
This is a lightweight volcanic glass that’s very common to find in good potting soil. Mixes containing part perlite have improved drainage and aeration because it can prevent soil from compacting.
Pumice is a volcanic rock that provides many of the same properties to potting soil as perlite. But it’s a bit heavier, and less likely to spill over the edge of the pot when you water, or blow away in windy conditions.
Formed by heating clay to a high temperature, calcined clay is very good at absorbing water while preventing saturation of the soil mix by letting the excess drain. It then slowly releases the water to your plants as needed.
Getting the right soil for your succulent garden is the most important thing you can do to help them grow and thrive. Because they’re used to dry conditions, soils that retain too much water will lead to rot. So you need a soil mix with excellent drainage.
So, what’s the best potting soil for succulents?
Our top choice is Superfly Bonsai Succulent & Cactus Soil Mix. It’s a fast-draining mix with excellent aeration. With enough water retention for healthy growth of your succulents. It also has a good structure, providing stability for your plants.