6 Best Soil for Succulents in Pots [2021 Edition]

Succulent gardening begins with choosing the right growing medium. The most crucial thing to look out for when choosing the best soil for succulents in pots is how well it both absorbs and drains water. As important as the frequency of your watering, choosing the right soil for succulents can make or break them.

The main problem often associated with choosing the wrong soil for succulents is over-watering. Soils that are not suitable for succulents are those that hold too much water for long periods of time. This essentially results in root rot, which is the main cause of death for succulents.

There are many factors that determine the best soil for succulents in pots – mostly environmental conditions – that cause the soil to dry out at different rates. Therefore, different types of succulent potting mix will be ideal for different growing areas.

The 6 Best Soil for Succulents in Pots

We have experimented with various brands of succulent potting mix and have narrowed down to what we consider the few best soil choices for succulents.

Besides soils, planting your succulent in the right pot is equally important. If you're looking for the right pot for your succulent, be sure to check out the best drainage pots for succulents.

Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111-1 Gallon – Fast Draining – Fight Root Rot – Optimized pH
Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix, Fast Draining Pre-Mixed Coarse Blend, 4 Quarts
Succulent & Cactus Soil Mix - Premium Pre-Mixed Fast Draining Blend (6 Dry Quarts)
Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil - 1 Gallon (4 Dry Quarts)
Fat Plants San Diego Premium Organic Cacti and Succulent Soil with 8 Months of Time-Released Nutrients
Cactus Succulent Mix | Transplant Kit | Potting Soil for Growing Cacti | Aeration & Balanced Nutrition Expands to 4 Quarts Bonus Transplant Scoop
Soil Type
Gritty Mix
Soil Mix
Gritty Mix
Soil Mix
Soil Mix
Soil Mix
Drainage
5.0
4.7
5.0
4.7
4.8
4.5
Value for Money
4.5
4.1
4.3
3.9
4.0
4.3
Rating
Reviews
3,731 Reviews
11,229 Reviews
2,279 Reviews
1,166 Reviews
1,496 Reviews
179 Reviews
Prime Status
-
-
Price
$21.95
$14.95
$31.95
$11.50
$13.95
Price not available
Best Choice
Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111-1 Gallon – Fast Draining – Fight Root Rot – Optimized pH
Soil Type
Gritty Mix
Drainage
5.0
Value for Money
4.5
Rating
Reviews
3,731 Reviews
Prime Status
-
Price
$21.95
Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix, Fast Draining Pre-Mixed Coarse Blend, 4 Quarts
Soil Type
Soil Mix
Drainage
4.7
Value for Money
4.1
Rating
Reviews
11,229 Reviews
Prime Status
Price
$14.95
Succulent & Cactus Soil Mix - Premium Pre-Mixed Fast Draining Blend (6 Dry Quarts)
Soil Type
Gritty Mix
Drainage
5.0
Value for Money
4.3
Rating
Reviews
2,279 Reviews
Prime Status
Price
$31.95
Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil - 1 Gallon (4 Dry Quarts)
Soil Type
Soil Mix
Drainage
4.7
Value for Money
3.9
Rating
Reviews
1,166 Reviews
Prime Status
Price
$11.50
Fat Plants San Diego Premium Organic Cacti and Succulent Soil with 8 Months of Time-Released Nutrients
Soil Type
Soil Mix
Drainage
4.8
Value for Money
4.0
Rating
Reviews
1,496 Reviews
Prime Status
Price
$13.95
Cactus Succulent Mix | Transplant Kit | Potting Soil for Growing Cacti | Aeration & Balanced Nutrition Expands to 4 Quarts Bonus Transplant Scoop
Soil Type
Soil Mix
Drainage
4.5
Value for Money
4.3
Rating
Reviews
179 Reviews
Prime Status
-
Price
Price not available
See our review below

Last update on 2020-12-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This page contains affiliate links, and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases which means we receive a small commission when you make a purchase, at zero cost to you.


Best Succulent Soil Reviews

best soil for succulents in pots

Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil Gritty Mix #111

succulent potting mix

The Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil Gritty Mix #111 is a fast-draining soil that can help prevent root rot and over-watering. It is highly recommended and widely used by succulent gardening experts and hobbyists alike.

This soil has a pH of 5.5, which is ideal for acid-loving plants like succulents, cactus, bonsai, and others. It’s ultra-lightweight and airy succulent plant soil is optimized for water absorption, evaporation, bulk density, and particle size. It is also pathogen free with extended pathogen control.

This succulent soil mix consists of the following ingredients:

  • 33% : ¼-inch Pine Bark Fines
  • 33% : ¼-inch Bonsai Block (calcined clay)
  • 33% : Monto Clay (¼-inch Turface)

What makes Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil Gritty Mix #111 stand out is that it is lab-tested and manufactured to spec, unlike other brands that use ingredients derived from reclaimed organic matter containing pathogens that can damage or kill plants. They do that in order to comply with multi-state regulations and to maintain six nursery stamps that allow them to ship to all 50 states.

Our Review:

You really get what pay for the Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil Gritty Mix #111. Being a premium potting mix, the soil is understandably pricier than other competitors in the market. This gritty mix is well-loved by many succulent experts and hobbyists for its amazing drainage and airiness. It also has a pleasing earthy aroma and best of all, is without peat and free of insects. It is also great alternative to sand mix for succulents.

The Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil Gritty Mix #111 wins our vote for the best soil for succulents. We love that it can be used as a stand-alone soil. There is no need to blend with other soil, which saves us a lot of hassle. With this gritty mix soil, you can really have a peace of mind when it comes to overwatering.

Buyer's Guide: You get more bang for your buck when you purchase the 2-Gallon (8-quart) bags and above.

Verdict: Best fast-draining soil; over-watering is never a problem

Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil Gritty Mix #111
3,731 Reviews
Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil Gritty Mix #111
• Fast-draining and nurturing
• Optimized for pH of 5.5, ideal for acid-loving plants
• Pathogen free with extended pathogen control
• Contains Bonsai Block, Monto Clay and Pine Coir (pine fines), it is a potting mix optimized for plants that require drier feet between watering
• All Bonsai Jack soil products are lab-tested and manufactured to spec versus other brands who use ingredients derived from reclaimed organic matter containing pathogens such as nematodes and insects that can damage or kill container garden plants

Last update on 2020-12-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


The Next Gardener Organic Soil for Succulents

best soil for succulents

The Next Gardener Organic Soil for Succulents is professionally formulated and imported from Denmark. It is a 100% original, light-weight, and well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH of 5.5, perfectly suited for most succulent and cacti varieties.

Our Review:

This organic soil for succulents feels very light and airy in comparison to the dirt you would find beneath your front lawn. It drains very fast, and dries out very fast as well. Overwatering is greatly reduced in this potting soil, which is a great choice for the ‘over-waterers’ out there.

This soil holds a great deal of water, yet never feels wet. It is mixed super well and smells the way organic, natural soil smells like – no moldy smell like some soils have. It also has a really nice consistency, and very lightweight. Our succulents also love the slight acidic pH this soil offers.

Verdict: Great potting soil mix to use on its own

The Next Gardener Organic Soil for Succulents
11,229 Reviews
The Next Gardener Organic Soil for Succulents
• Professionally formulated, imported from Denmark
• 100% organic and all natural soil for succulent garden
• Perfectly blended for most succulent and cacti varieties
• Well draining
• Optimized for pH of 5.5, ideal for acid-loving plants

Last update on 2020-12-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Superfly Bonsai Succulent Potting Soils Mix

gritty mix soil

The Superfly Bonsai Succulent Potting Soils Mix is a gritty mix medium made up of the following ingredients:

  • 25%: Hard Japanese Akadama
  • 25%: USA Pumice
  • 25%: New Zealand Pine Bark
  • 25%: Haydite

This pre-mixed soil is made up of primarily non-organic components, and no peat or dirt. It is really substrate and has been found to provide optimal drainage, water retention, nutrient uptake and air to the roots that succulents need.

Our Review:

The Superfly Bonsai Succulent Potting Soils Mix is a good choice for most succulents and cacti because of its fast-draining nature. Even though it is made of mostly non-organic components, it is able to retain some water for the plants to absorb. The top of the soil dries out quickly while further down, it remains damp.

This soil can be used on its own or mixed with some soil that contains organic materials. When used alone, this soil ensures you won’t overwater your succulents.

Verdict: Great potting soil mix, albeit on the pricier side

Superfly Bonsai Succulent Potting Soils Mix
2,279 Reviews
Superfly Bonsai Succulent Potting Soils Mix
•1/4 Hard Japanese Akadama, 1/4 USA Pumice, 1/4 New Zealand Pine Bark & 1/4 Haydite
• Promotes excellent water retention & drainage
• Non-organic blend - made up of primarily non-organic components (no dirt)

Last update on 2020-12-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Bliss Garden Organic Succulent Soil

succulent soil mix

The Bliss Garden Organic Succulent Soil is a premium hand-made succulents and cacti soil that need high drainage.

The ingredients consist of:

  • Coconut coir
  • Peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Worm castings
  • Expanded clay/shale rocks
  • Horticultural charcoal
  • Mycorrhizae root inoculate

It comes in a one-gallon bag, which is measured by volume and not weight.

Our Review:

This soil is best for succulents that are grown in hot and dry areas where gritty mix succulent soil isn’t suitable, as it still is able to retain some moisture due to its peat content. For succulents grown in more humid areas, it is recommended to add a bit more pumice, sand, or perlite into the blend for faster draining.

Unlike most cactus and succulent soil in the market which is typically very heavy or full of wood chips, this hand-made succulent soil mix is both lightweight and moderately well-draining.

Overall, it is a good succulent soil, and cheaper than many popular brands.

Verdict: Best soil for succulents grown in hot and dry areas

Bliss Garden Organic Succulent Soil
1,166 Reviews
Bliss Garden Organic Succulent Soil
• Premium hand made soil mix for succulents and cacti that need a high drainage mix
• Ingredients include: coconut coir, peat moss, perlite, worm castings, expanded clay/shale rocks,horticultural charcoal, Mycorrhizae root inoculate
• Made In Green Bay Wisconsin
• Premium super soil at a great price!
• Fast shipping

Last update on 2020-12-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Fat Plants San Diego Premium Succulent Soil

best soil mix for succulents

The Fat Plants San Diego Premium Succulent Soil is a nutrient-enriched, professionally blended soil with a pH balanced for cacti and succulent plants. The soil offers optimal drainage for succulents, while still retaining some moisture for plants to absorb.

Our Review:

The Fat Plants San Diego Premium Succulent Soil is one of the best soils for succulent gardening success – it is quick-draining and fertile. When completely dry, the soil is light, fluffy and clean. It holds a lot of water because of its peat content, yet never feels wet, clumps, or compacts. It has a soft consistency and texture, and doesn’t contain stones or wood chips like other larger brands in the market.

This soil is especially great for propagating succulents, where moisture retention is necessary. It has good drainage but doesn’t dry out too quickly.

Verdict: Optimal drainage for succulents; combination of moisture retention and quick drainage

Sale
Fat Plants San Diego Premium Succulent Soil
1,496 Reviews
Fat Plants San Diego Premium Succulent Soil
• NUTRIENT ENRICHED professionally blended cactus and succulent soil
• PREMIUM QUALITY growing medium is mixed and packaged in our San Diego, California licensed nursery
• PH BALANCED for all cacti and succulent plants
• OPTIMAL DRAINAGE for succulents, helps prevent root rot

Last update on 2020-12-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Daniel's Plants Potted Succulents Soil

best dirt for succulents

Daniel's Plants Potted Succulents Soil is a premium quality potting soil that will instantly expand to give 4 quarts of nutritious soil for growing succulents that are healthy and vibrant. It is professionally formulated with all the necessary nutrients for a balanced nutrition that succulents need.

Rich in coconut coir (a great alternative to peat), pumice and perlite, this nutritious succulent potting soil provides proper aeration and allows water to flow through quickly, while still retaining the necessary moisture for plants to grow.

Our Review:

Daniel's Plants Potted Succulents Soil works really well and is easy to use. The soil expands very quickly when water is added. One bag can easily fill (16) 4″ pots or (8) X 6″ pots. It is well-draining and does not compact when wet. It is a great soil especially for starting and propagating succulents.

They also provide convenient shipping and storage – important for someone living in a small apartment.

Verdict: Best soil for propagating succulents

Daniel’s Plants Potted Succulents Soil
179 Reviews
Daniel’s Plants Potted Succulents Soil
• Professionally formulated with all the necessary nutrients for a balanced nutrition
• Rich in coco coir, pumice and perlite, this nutritious cactus potting soil provides proper aeration and allows the water to flow quickly through, while still retaining the necessary moisture for your plants to grow
• Easily fills (16) 4-inch pots or (8) X 6-inch pots. Just add warm water, stir lightly and you’re ready to go!

Last update on 2020-12-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


FAQ's

What is the best soil for succulents?

Based on our experience, the best soil for succulents is Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil Gritty Mix #111. It ranks number one for drainage and has the best value for money. We never had to worry about root rot when using the Bonsai Jack succulent soil. Besides, we're not the only ones to rave about this product – many succulent growers swear by this brand as well.

Do succulents need special soil?

Struggled with growing succulents and not known what the problem was? The answer could be in the soil.

To cultivate any plant, it helps to mimic the natural environment from which it came. Wild succulents tend to grow in sandy, gravelly soil. Many even thrive in small, rocky crevices or cliffsides. Their native, gritty soils get saturated by heavy rains but dry out rapidly.

The biggest cause of death for succulents is over-watering, and the biggest threat to succulent survival is root rot.

When the roots – the main channel for water and nutrient uptake rots, the entire plant will become weak and eventually die. Needless to say, soil drainage plays a huge role in keeping a succulent alive and thriving.

Therefore, planting succulents in the right soil cannot be stressed enough. A good succulent soil should fulfil the following criteria.

What kind of soil do succulents need?

1. Succulent soil needs to be well-draining

Of course this tops the list. Succulents and damp soil just don’t get along together.

well draining soil for succulents

Many variables influence how long soil stays wet, e.g. quantity of water added, sunlight, airflow, and soil structure. While looking for the right soil, be aware that drying time is a balance of all these factors.

For succulent soil to be well-draining, the secret lies in the ratio of organic to mineral material. The organic materials provide nutrients and store water while mineral constituents improve drainage.

The right ratio will support growth and prevent rot. It will also allow you to water your succulents deeply, but infrequently.

Soil texture and porosity also affects how much water it can hold and how long it will take to completely dry. Sandy soils have large particles and pores, allowing them to dry out faster compared to clay soils. This is ideal for succulents.

When planting succulents outdoors in the ground, aim for a sandy loam that is 50% to 80% coarse sand or fine gravel. For potted plants, use coarse grit minerals about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch wide. This will ensure rapid drainage and keep your succulents from rotting in damp soil.

Soil requirements for succulents planted in the ground are less strict than those planted in containers. Ideally, even landscape succulents would be in a gritty, sandy loam with a gravel mulch. The nature of outdoor conditions eg. sunlight and airflow, however, means you can get away with a less than perfectly draining soil.

2. Succulent soil needs to have good aeration

Succulent roots do not like compact and heavy soil. Light and airy soil provides room for the roots to breathe and grow, thus making your succulent plants happy. To add lightness to the soil, consider adding perlite into the mix.

3. Succulent soil must not have excessive nutrients

This may seem odd to you but it’s true.

Soil that contain too much nutrients, especially nitrogen, may cause your succulents to be lanky, brittle, and unpleasant.

4. Succulent soil must not contain too much peat moss

Why is that?

Peat becomes hydrophobic when dry, meaning that it repels water. It takes gradual soaking to rehydrate dry peat and fully saturate the soil. Since succulents need to completely dry between each watering, it is difficult to quickly drench the roots of a succulent grown in peat.

peat soil is bad for succulents
Too much peat in soil is bad for succulents

How to make your own succulent soil?

If you choose to make your own succulent soil, you need to consider the following factors:

1. Costs

Let's face it, this is an important factor for many. If money is not an issue for you, you can move on to the next point.

You can always buy a ready mix substrate for succulents and cacti, but that is more expensive than at home. Especially if you have a large collection or an outdoor succulent garden.

On the other hand, some of the recommended components for substrates may be scarce in your area and it is better to replace it with another. Or there may be an abundance of materials in your area that you can use to make the substrate and that is inexpensive. It is always going to be cheaper to use local materials.

2. Weather

As you already know, the succulent soil must be wet enough so that the plant can absorb and feed on the moisture, but it must also dry quickly so that the roots are not wet for too long and rot.

Logically, the substrate dries faster in dry and warm environments than in cold and humid environments. So if your climate is cold you will need more drainage.

3. Indoor vs Outdoor

You must bear in mind that the substrate responds differently if the plant is indoors or outdoors. Generally dries faster outdoors than indoors. If you have succulents in both environments, it is convenient to make a substrate with greater drainage for indoor succulents than for outdoor ones. And, at the same time, if you live in a warm climate and have succulents outdoors, you should use materials in your substrate that retain moisture for a little longer. This way you give your succulents the opportunity to efficiently use the irrigation water.

In this article we explain the best way to water succulents.

4. Container, Pot or Ground

In containers or pots, the escape route for water is through the drainage holes, while in the ground the water expands over the entire surface. Thus, succulents in containers need more drainage than those that are planted in the ground.

In the same way, the material of the containers influences the retention or release of moisture and, therefore, you should take this into account when making the soil mix to guarantee adequate drainage. For example, plastic and metal pots retain moisture longer than terracotta or ceramic ones.

5. Succulent Species

Some species tolerate excess moisture better than others. For those that are especially sensitive to humidity and prone to dying from excess love in the form of water, you should use a substrate with greater drainage and porosity. For example, you shouldn't use the same substrate for a Sedum morganianum as for a Lithop.

6. Weight

The weight of the substrate may be an important factor for you. In the event that you want to make shipments for gifts, sales, arrangements of succulents, transport for removals or simply move your succulents from one place to another, you should have a light substrate. Therefore, you should choose lightweight components that do not add extra weight.

Succulent Soil Recipe

The substrate for succulents is made by mixing organic and inorganic components. In simple terms the organic components will provide nutrients and the inorganic ones are richer in porosity and drainage (although some organic ones also contribute porosity). Here is a list of the most common components used in soil mixes for succulents and cacti.

Inorganic components

  • Coarse sand
  • Vermiculite
  • Perlite
  • Gravel
  • Expanded clay
  • Pumice
  • Volcanic rock

Organic components

  • Peat moss
  • Pine bark
  • Coconut coir
  • Rice husk
  • Wood chips
  • Compost
  • Earthworm humus

It is advisable to use a higher proportion of inorganic than organic components. This guarantees the three characteristics that the substrate must have for your succulents: drainage, porosity and low composition in nutrients.

You can study each component, see if there is one in your area and at what cost, what characteristics each one provides and thus make your own succulent soil recipe. Remember, again, that there are also ready-made options.

Or, if you're adventurous enough, check out our article on 7 succulent soil recipes.

Is Miracle Gro potting mix good for succulents in containers?

We have experimented planting succulents and aloe veras with the Miracle Gro Potting Soil for Succulents and Cacti. We found that this blend is not much different than plain regular potting soil and that it was staying moist for days, even though it says fast drying on the label.

Therefore, to those who ask “Is Miracle Gro good for succulents?”, we do not recommend Miracle Gro Potting Soil (both the regular and cactus potting soil) as a standalone succulent potting soil, but to be mixed with coarse sand, pumice, perlite, and the like.

Can you plant succulents in regular potting soil?

The ideal succulent soil should first and foremost be slightly acidic, permeable, and poor. Since regular potting soil does not meet these criteria, specialist retailers offer special succulent or cactus soil. In order to use regular potting soil for succulents, you need to mix with soil amendments. Check out our article on the succulent soil recipes you can use with regular potting soil.