Despite having many similarities, cacti soil may not be an ideal option for succulents. Though all cacti are succulents, not all succulents are cacti. They need different soil for their unique needs. Cactus soil has a mix of soil, sand, and large particles for aeration. On the other hand, succulent soil is well-draining with more organic matter. A succulent can survive in cactus soil, but it may struggle.
Cactus Soil And Its Characteristics
Cactus soil is a special potting blend designed for cacti and other similar plants. The key ingredients of the soil include potting soil, coarse and gravel/grit, perlite/pumice, and pine bark (optional). You can prepare the soil at home by mixing these ingredients in the recommended ratio. Many prefer buying pre-mixed to avoid hassles.
The characteristics of cactus soil are:
- The soil is quick-draining.
- It has an airy and loose texture for fantastic aeration.
- The soil includes low organic matter to prevent moisture.
- In contrast, it contains inorganic ingredients for fast drainage.
- Its ideal pH level is between 5 and 6.5.
Can You Use Cactus Soil For Succulents?
We receive many questions from Menifee succulent lovers regarding whether cactus soil is appropriate for succulents. In general, you can use cactus soil for succulents. But it may not be ideal for some succulent species. Both plants require quick-draining soil. However, the other ingredients and characteristics of their standard soil have subtle differences.
The two main reasons cactus soil can create complications for succulents are below:
- Cactus soil has a fast drainage capacity. It can be too fast for succulents as their roots may not get sufficient time to absorb water from the soil.
- Cacti soil is similar to a desert-like environment. They contain very poor nutrition. Since succulents need more nutrition than cacti, a nutrient deficiency can happen, and they can struggle.
Differences Between Cacti And Succulents Soils
Cactus and succulents have different nutritional and water drainage requirements. So, their ideal soils have very subtle differences we do not even notice. Check the comparison chart below to comprehend both soils.
It carries less water.
It holds more water than cactus soil.
Mostly inorganic, including perlite, sand, and gravel.
Mostly organic, including compost, coco coir, and peat.
It provides poor nutrition.
It provides moderate nutrition.
Loose and coarser
Loose and airy.
5 to 6.5 on average.
Cacti and other similar plants.
Can You Modify Cactus Soil For Succulents?
Fortunately, you can prepare cactus soil for succulents with a few modifications. Some careful steps can make cactus soil usable for succulent species, requiring slow drainage, sufficient nutrition, and proper aeration. Remember that the modification can take time and research if you expect satisfactory results.
Here are the steps to apply for proper modification:
- Add more organic matter to cactus soil to make the drainage slower. To prepare the soil for succulents, 50% organic and 50% inorganic matter seems the best ratio. For example, the blend should have half of compost and coco coir and half of sand and perlite.
- Add slow-release fertilizer to the cactus soil so the succulent gradually gets sufficient nutrition.
- You can consider adding perlite, a type of volcanic rock. It will ensure accurate aeration and prevent root rot.
Precautions When Using Cactus Soil For Succulents
Using cactus soil for succulents can be harmful for some species. To prevent root rot and ensure better growth, you need to be cautious about the following factors.
It is a common and big risk in this case. Frequent watering is harmful to succulents that can cause root rot. They need watering when the soil is dried completely. On the other hand, cacti generally need watering once a week. They require different watering schedules, which you need to maintain carefully. Being confused can influence overwatering and lead succulent to death.
Some species of succulents can struggle with nutrition deficiency due to the poor nutritional characteristics of cacti soils. You may need to prepare the cactus soil for succulents by adding fertilizers and other organic matter to prevent nutrient deficiency.
Soil compaction is another issue that is harmful to succulents. It can cause poor water drainage, a common reason for rotting the succulents’ roots. You should loosen the root and re-pot the soil when the compaction appears. Besides, avoid using pots that are too big or small for re-potting.
Though succulents and cacti have many similarities, both have different environmental requirements. If you want to use cactus soil for succulents, first learn about the species very well. You should adjust the cactus soil for particular succulents to ensure their better growth and health.
Stay connected with Asucca4u for such tips and tricks to keep your succulents smiling. We craft the best succulent gift box set in Menifee, CA for any event and theme. Contact us for any need of a succulent with unforgettable personalization from any corner of the United States.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What potting soil is best for succulents?
Sandy soil with a well-draining potting mix is the ideal option for the survival and growth of succulents.
2. What plants do well in cactus soil?
Cactus soil is the best match for cacti, other desert plants, and some succulent species with very similar nature.
3. How often should you water a succulent and cactus?
For succulents, watering once every two weeks is a good schedule. Cacti require watering once every ten days in summer and once a month in winter.
4. What does good cactus soil look like?
It will look coarse, and a rich presence of inorganic materials like sand, gravel and perlite will be visible.
5. Does cactus soil have to be dry?
Yes. they should seem and feel dry between watering.