Succulent is the umbrella term for a plant that stores water in their leaves. They have evolved to survive periods of droughts by storing water in their leaves since they are found in warm, dry places that get very little rain. Their ideal environment would provide them with lots of light, just a little water periodically, and some warmth.
While it seems simple enough to care for them, many people are using soil that retains too much water which can lead to big problems. It’s not your fault – I promise! The soils sold by big companies are labeled “fast draining”, “designed for succulents”, or “perfect for cacti” when they are NONE of those things. They retain way too much water which begins to cause root rot and eventual death in your succulents. In fact, root rot from too much water is the #1 cause of death for succulents. This is why you need a very gritty and well draining soil.
In this ultimate succulent soil, overwatering should be nearly impossible because it won’t retain all that extra water. Instead, the water will drain right out of the drainage hole. Then, the soil will only hold onto what little water it needs. I will warn you now – it needs to be a lot grittier than you’d imagine. In fact, the term soil is a bit misleading because it hardly looks like soil at all. The gritty texture is what allows it to drain well! Without further ado, let’s get mixing!
(If you’re not one for a DIY project, we’ll have our succulent soil available for once our greenhouses open. If you’re interested in what else we have to offer click here)
Our ultimate succulent soil recipe
1 part pumice (or perlite)
1 part insoluble granite (chicken grit)
1 part calcined clay
1 part coco coir
Mix well until combined taking extra care to break up any clumps of coco coir as it can clump together into little balls.
The pumice and granite provide adequate drainage and the clay and coco coir provide a little water retention, but not too much.
1. It is my understanding that pumice is not readily available in all regions. It is readily available in the pacific northwest, so if you have access to it I recommend it over perlite. Perlite is very light and has a tendency to float to the top of the soil instead of staying mixed like pumice.
2. This recipe is easily adaptable to your needs. If your soil is drying out super quickly, then add a little more coco coir. If your soil isn’t drying out much at all, you’ll want to decrease the amount of coco coir.
3. Some ingredients can be hard to track down. If you’re unable to track down something but still want to make a big improvement I recommend using a ratio of 2 part gritty materials to 1 part soil or coco coir. This could be 2 parts of pumice to 1 part of soil or coco coir, or 1 part pumice and 1 part chicken grit to 1 part of soil or coco coir. This isn’t going to be quite as good but you will notice a big difference and your plants will thank you!
You are now equipped with the knowledge to stop the enemy of succulents – too much water. If you use our ultimate succulent soil recipe , we’d love to hear how it goes!
Thanks for taking the time to learn how to nurture your succulents! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
P.S – We’ll be posting some more information about how to care for your succulents soon. Sign up for our newsletter if you’d like to be notified!