What is the right soil to grow succulent plants? A well-draining one. Well, that is short and precise. Yes. Succulents tolerate drought for long and generally cannot withstand wet soil. Therefore, they need soil that will drain water fast rather than retain as this water retention will rot their roots. We went out a bit and looked at a few factors you might need to consider settling for the right soil for your succulents to grow well and beautify your space. Read on.
Key factors to consider when choosing succulent soil
- Organic vs mineral matter
Organic matter is made up of things that were once alive. For example, plant and animal remains, tree barks, etc. These will provide nutrients to your plants and store water. Mineral matter, on the other hand, is made up of natural inorganic substances like volcanic rock and fine gravel. On their part, they improve the soil’s drainage.
When kept at the right ratio, they will support growth and prevent rot. You also have water your plants infrequently, but they will stay green and healthy nonetheless. When picking organic matter to add to your soil, we recommend pine bark, compost, or any good animal manure as well as fine gravel, perlite, or coarse sand for the mineral matter. Try to avoid minerals like vermiculite as they store water and will kill your plant.
- Texture and porosity
There are three soil types– all based on pebbles size: sand, silt, and clay. All these hold water for different lengths of time. Sandy soil has larger pores and particles than the other two and will therefore dry faster than them. This makes it ideal for growing succulents.
You can perform feel tests or jar tests at home to estimate the texture of your soil. If you are planting your succulents outdoor, use sandy loam soil with 50-80% coarse sand/fine gravel. For potted plants, we recommend coarse pebbles mineral with a diameter of 1/8”-1/4”.
Ensure you follow the two factors, and your succulents will grow healthy and will be protected from rot caused by wet soil.
Making your soil at home
You can alternatively mix your soil and create the best conditions for your succulents to thrive in. Here is how to do it;
- Potting soil. Avoid peat-based mixes and check on the ingredients to ensure they contribute to drainage rather than retention.
- Gravel. Keep particle sizes 1/8” to ¼” in diameter.
- Perlite (mineral) a volcanic glass that makes soil light and airy.
- Minerals – chicken grit, oil dry, non-soluble cat litter, etc.
Mix one part of organic materials with two parts of mineral materials, then mix and match the other ingredients. Ensure that you maintain a volume of 1/3 organic matter and 2/3 mineral matter to get a perfect mix.
Except for the case of air succulents, you will need soil for your plants growing. It matters less whether they are indoors or outdoors; the real magic lies in what soil you grow them in. So, ascertain that you have chosen the right soil for the case of potted plants or the right spot when you are growing a garden. If you have more tips you would d want us to know about, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Happy gardening!