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What Is The Best Soil For Succulents?

by Sofia Lara

Succulents are easy to grow and care for as long as you provide the plants exactly what they need. Soil is an essential component in growing plants because this is where they get their nutrients. 

Water allows the roots to extract the nutrients from the soil. However, having the roots immersed in a moist environment will cause them to rot. Once the roots begin to rot, an infection can develop and this can spread rapidly throughout the plant.

If your type of soil does not allow water to drain freely, it will keep the roots submerged and exposed to the risk of rotting. 

Before planting or re-potting your succulent plant, take a few minutes to read our informative guide on the best soil for succulents.

Qualities To Look For In The Best Soil For Succulents

Overwatering is the number one cause of death for succulents. It is not just giving the succulent too much water that results in root rot but having it sitting in water for a long period of time that can lead to its demise. 

You want a type of soil that will hold water long enough for the plant to get all the nutrients it needs before completely drying out. 

The first quality to look for is drainage. The best soil for your succulent is one that allows the effective draining of water. 

What qualities should you look out for when choosing the best soil for your succulent?


Of course, the temperature of the region you live in is a factor that can affect the ability of the soil to expel water. In drier regions, it takes seven to 10 days for the soil to dry out completely. 

In colder regions, it may take up to two weeks – or longer – before the soil needs its next watering session. 

The type of pot you use for the succulent also plays a factor in the soil’s ability to release moisture. 

The best type of pot for your succulent must be made of terra cotta which supports the proper evaporation of water from the soil. Another good option is ceramic that has not undergone the glazing process. 

In either case, make sure the pot has a good-sized drain hole to allow excess water to flow out completely.

You should also consider the environment from which the variety of succulent plants came from.

For example, succulents that originate from the gravelly regions of Mexico such as the Echeveria genus would thrive in sandy and gritty soil. During the rainy season, this type of soil gets thoroughly drenched but it has the ability to dry out rapidly.

The Ratio of Organic to Mineral Components

Organic and mineral components can be found in soil. Organics are materials that used to be alive. Minerals are the inorganic substances that are naturally found in the soil.

The ideal soil should have the proper ratio of organic to mineral ingredients. The succulent can get its nutrients from the organic component while the natural minerals improve the level of drainage.

Depending on the temperature of the region and other environmental factors such as dryness and soil texture, your ratio of organic to mineral could range from 60% to 20%.

What are the best examples of organic materials?

  • Pine Bark
  • Coconut Coir
  • Potting Soil
  • Compost

For mineral ingredients, you can choose among the following:

  • Volcanic Rock
  • Perlite
  • Coarse Sand
  • Chicken Grit
  • Fine Gravel

Do not use minerals that absorb water such as non-calcined clay and vermiculite. 

Texture Feel and Level of Porosity

The soil’s minerals are further characterized by their texture which is determined by grit size – sand (largest), silt, and clay (smallest).

The composition of the soil’s textures will have an effect on the soil’s level of drainage. Sandy soils that have larger pores and particles will dry out faster than clay.

For outdoor planting, we recommend using sandy loam mixed with 50% to 80% fine gravel or coarse sand. 

If you want to keep your succulent in a pot, add coarse grit components that have a diameter of one-half to a quarter of an inch. You can also use a blend of 1 part Coconut Coir and 1 part Pumice or Volcanic Rock. 

If you plan to grow your succulent indoors, we recommend choosing a soil particle that is larger – around ¼” or 6mm. To improve drainage while keeping the roots well-aerated, you can add the following ingredients:

  • Crushed Granite
  • Pine Bark Fines
  • Turface

Add these ingredients to the soil at a 1:1 ratio. 

Is It Possible To Create An Effective Blend Of Soil For Succulents?


You can create your own blend of soil for succulents by simply combining ⅓ organic component to ⅔ mineral component.

If you’re not sure of which type of organic and mineral component you should use, check out our lists below:

Best Types of Organic Component for Succulent Soil

  1. Organic
  • Potting Soil
  • Pine Bark
  • Compost
  • Coconut Coir
  1. Mineral
  • Coarse Sand
  • Perlite
  • Volcanic Rock
  • Gravel

Frequently Asked Questions

What is my best option if I can’t find any of the soil components listed in this article?

Visit your local neighborhood gardening and plant supplies store and ask if they have “Succulent and Cactus Mix” products in the inventory. To improve drainage, add perlite, pumice, or crushed granite.

When should I re-pot my succulent?

We recommend re-potting your succulent every 2 years to ensure the quality of the soil. If you notice that the succulent is showing signs of root rot despite following the correct watering schedule, you may want to consider re-potting the plant in case the soil is the cause of the problem.

I just bought a succulent from the gardening store near our house. Should I keep it in its original pot or should I re-pot it?

Unless you can confirm with certainty that the pot used for the succulent is made or either terracotta or ceramic and the soil is of good quality, re-pot it when you get home. 

Usually, garden stores and nurseries use plastic pots that don’t have a drainage hole. Likewise, the soil that store-bought succulents are planted in are not intended for long-term use.

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