Best Soil For Succulents

Succulent plants are among the few plants that do not need a nutrient-rich substrate. 

Although succulents do not need a nutrient-rich substrate, they do need a substrate that has good irrigation and is suitable for plants to grow healthy and develop well.

Similarly, the care of succulents can be even easier if a substrate with appropriate nutrients and particles is used.

We regularly acquire a substrate that we easily buy in a store, however, we must look at its composition to avoid gradually killing our succulent.

Something very important is that you cannot use a potting substrate (any substrate).

These substrates are made to retain some moisture (which can cause rot in the roots of the plant), also, most of these substrates have too much nitrogen. That will cause rapid and weak growth.

Therefore, if you decide to buy the substrate, make sure it is for cacti and succulents. 

Otherwise, it will retain too much water and your succulents will rot.

The substrate is something fundamental for the care of your plant.

A good substrate can help your succulent grow in a healthy way and make the plant lasts.

But, nevertheless, a bad substrate can help the production of fungi, or even the death of the plant.

Why can’t you use any substrate?

General substrates or potting substrates remains moist for a long time, which is bad for succulents. 

Succulents are plants that do not need much watering and are very susceptible to moisture and excess water. 

Therefore, these types of plants need a substrate that removes excess water and does not keep the plant moist for long.

What you can do is use the potting substrate as the basis to make your own succulent substrate, according to the needs of your plant.

When you make your substrate, you should use a base, a light that is light and porous.

Keep in mind that you cannot use very heavy substrates, do not use a potting substrate that for example holds water longer.

But the elements the substrate should have are: organic matter (which can be a well-ground universal substrate) or earthworm humus, river sand (not beach because it has saltpeter), coarse sand or Very fine gravel that allows the substrate to be ventilated and, you can also add perlite that retains some water and facilitates rooting.

Keep in mind that any substrate that has an excess of clay will cause the plant to remain wet for too long, which in turn can suffocate or rot the roots of the plant.

If you do not want to complicate yourself and do not want to make your substrate, you can use a horticultural mixture, since the horticultural for cacti and crasas is formed by 1/3 of coarse sand, 1/3 of peat and 1/3 of garden soil. 

You can add charcoal so that mushrooms do not appear on the substrate.

Ingredients for the substrate.


Our substrate mix needs an inorganic matter that allows water to penetrate and then drain from the ground quickly, keeping the soil dry, brittle and airy. 

You can choose from a wide variety of options perlite, pumice stone, calcined clay, crushed granite, aquarium or gravel stones, and non-soluble cat litter. 

Any of these options will help to significantly increase water drainage for your succulents.


The main ingredient in most soil mixtures is peat, a light substance that does not break down easily. 

It is usually difficult to moisten and can dry quickly. 

Coconut fiber, a natural fiber that comes from grated coconut shells, can also be substituted for peat.

Coconut is easier to wet, but it does not break down quickly. 

Composting is another good alternative for peat, although keep in mind that compost can break down very easily. 

On top of that, mix some thin pieces of bark into your home substrate to allow water and air to penetrate more quickly for better drainage.

Gross Sand

Succulents grow best on a substrate that contains sandy and porous soil, so it is important to add this ingredient to the substrate that you prepare, (or that the substrate that it contains). 

You can use any type of sand (except beach sand), but to help the plant more with drainage, use coarse sand and not fine sand.

Perlite or Pumice Stone

This ingredient is an excellent organic soil option. 

Pearl beads are white pieces that look like styrofoam which are perceived in many commercial mixtures for plants. 

Perlite retains some moisture, helps compaction of the substrate and helps improve the drainage of succulents, that is, to be faster, which is what we want, to avoid any problem in our plant, caused by moisture.

Coconut Peat

Peat is a thick fiber, which is obtained from the coconut shell. 

Peat retains moisture while releasing it easily and drains well. 

The most important thing is that once it is dry, it accepts the water well.

Peat Moss

The benefit of peat moss is that it dries quickly. 

But on the other hand, moss is more difficult to wet once it is dry. 

For this reason between coconut peat and moss, the best option is peat. 

But if it does not get the peat, you can use the moss, but to a lesser extent than the other ingredients that you add to your substrate.


When you use soil in the homemade mix, fertilizers are not an immediate necessity because your succulents can still get nutrients from the soil. 

But they will benefit from being fertilized once or twice a year. 

The best time to fertilize is in the spring when succulents are actively approaching their growing season and are ready to receive some additional nutrients. 

But if your plants are of those that grow in winter, fertilization in the fall would be more effective.

If you can not find “fertilizers for succulents”, you can use a standard fertilizer, the only thing is that you must dilute it in at least 50% water. 

What you should avoid is to use highly potent fertilizers, because they can burn your succulents instead of providing nutrients.

Certain types of homemade fertilizers have always worked well, for example banana peels, coffee beans or finely crushed eggshells. 

You can mix one or all of these ingredients with water and place the mixture on the ground. 

But you must remove the pot fertilizer a few days before it becomes moldy and spoils the plants.

Remember to leave the succulents in a place with lots of sunlight if you decide to fertilize it.

Increasing nutrients will help them grow rapidly, but it could lead to a lot of stretching if they lack sunlight. 

If you keep your succulents indoors where they don’t get enough sun, consider buying a spot of ultraviolet light to keep them happy and thriving.

Ideal substrate.

If you are going to prepare your substrate you must take into account the following proportions: 3: 2: 1.

3 parts of substitute (soil) for plants

2 parts of sand, peat, coconut fiber (or the ingredient of your choice)

1 part perlite or pumice stone.

This is a guide for those people who are starting in the world of succulents. 

Obviously, you can customize your substrate, according to the need of your plant.

To measure the parts to make your substrate, you can use anything (measuring cup, glass, etc.) as long as you use the same base plate for all the ingredients that you are going to add to your substrate. 

For example; you add 3 cups of soil for plants, 2 cups of sand or other ingredients and 1 cup of perlite. You can do the same with the tools you have on hand.

Substrate for propagation

  • Propagation by seeds: when you are going to propagate your succulents using seeds, use a mixture that contains sand and peat in equal parts.
  • Propagation by cuttings: if you propagate your succulents by cuttings, use a mixture containing 1/3 of peat and 2/3 of fine sand.

You may like Sempervivum Succulents

Best soil for succulents

Recipe # 1

    50% potting soil

    50% pumice – pumice stone

    This mixture is ideal for dry places

Recipe # 2

  2/3 potting soil

  1/3 pumice

Recipe #3

1 part pine bark

1 part coarse sand

1 part perlite

Recipe # 4

 3 parts potting soil

 2 parts pumice

 1 part coconut peat

Recipe #5

1 part peat

1 part of universal substrate or garden soil

2 parts of coarse sand

Recipe # 6

3 parts of potting soil

2 parts of coarse sand

1 part perlite (or pumice stone)

Recipe # 7

2 parts universal ground

1 part of gravel or coarse sand

1 part vermiculite

The vermiculite has a mineral that retains water

and provides aeration to the substrate. 

It is an ingredient that retains moisture and then slowly releases it.

Only use this ingredient if the weather where you live is very hot and you need to retain moisture for longer.

Recipe # 8

1 part coconut fiber

1 part hummus

2 parts of river sand, coarse sand or gravel

Recipe # 9

1 part hummus

2 parts of soil or universal substrate

1 part perlite

2 parts of coarse sand or gravel

Recipe # 10

2 parts potting soil

1 part volcanic pumice stone or coarse sand

1 part worm humus

Recipe # 11

     1 part garden soil

     1 part coarse sand

     1 part moss peat

Recipe # 12

     2 parts garden ground

     2 parts of coarse sand

     1 part perlite

Tools for making your substrate mix

– Measuring container

– Shovel or spoon

– Container to mix or the pot where you are going to plant your succulent

These utensils will help you make the substrate mix more easily, and be able to distribute all the ingredients evenly.

In short words, the ideal substrate for your succulents should be a substrate that has good drainage, a substrate that does not hold moisture for a long time and that dries relatively quickly.

You can use a purchased substrate that is specific for succulents, or you can make your substrate for your plants, using some of the aforementioned recipes or you can create your own mixtures, you should only use the appropriate ingredients, according to the need of your succulent.