Succulents like Chicks and Hens and cacti are different from your traditional plants. They have different care needs, including having a specialized succulent soil. In their natural habitat, these plants typically face drought, and this means that they store moisture in their leaves or stems. The soil in which they grow is also very different, and the perfect succulent soil is usually very well-draining and porous.
So, if you want your succulents to thrive when you plant them, you’ll have to get a succulent soil that is very nutrient-rich and well-draining. You should never leave your succulents sitting in wet soil for a long period of time because they can easily absorb more water than they need. This can lead to root rot, and it’ll kill your plant. Usually, if this plant sits in water for just a day or two days, root rot can take hold and quickly kill it.
Cacti and succulent soil is structured so that it’ll absorb water very quickly while allows the excess to rush through a drain. It’s porous too to allow for root aeration, but the nutrient level stays high at the same time. To make it easy for you to get the right soil, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best succulent soils available on the current market. So, you’ll get a top-quality soil that your succulents will thrive in, and you can use the attached buying guide to help narrow down the best selection for your needs below.
Picking out a top-quality succulent soil is one way to ensure that your plants do well when you repot them or start them out. There are many options available, and knowing what to look for when you shop can ensure that your plants do well, both indoors and out. Succulents by ciaranj75 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
1. Purple Cow Organic Living Soil – Top Pick
This succulent soil contains everything you need to encourage healthy growth in your succulents when you propagate them. It’s a very popular blend with professional growers for nurseries, and hobby growers or plant enthusiasts at home can use it just as easily. You’ll get a plant-based compost in this soil mix, and it comes packed with essential nutrients and organic matter that can increase the plant’s water uptake without it being too much to overwhelm the plant. The nutrient-dense formula will give you succulent enough support for them to take off and thrive.
This succulent soil came from a Michigan-based grower who worked closely with the company for many years to fine tune the soil’s exact recipe while keeping your needs in mind. This company also supports cultivating cleanly grown flowers and various extracted compounds for human consumption, and this makes it healthy to use and be around. You get 15 pounds per order, and this is more than enough to pot and repot several succulents inside or give your outdoor ones a needed boost.
- Nutrient-packed formula
- Ready to go without any additives
- Safe to use
- Increases water retention capabilities
- 15-pounds per order
- Made by a grower for growers
- Works indoors and outdoors
- Lots of twigs and sticks mixed in
2. Succulent & Cactus Soil Mix – Step-up Pick
This succulent soil comes to you pre-mixed and ready to use. Every order gets sifted before it goes into the bag, and they all feature ¼ USA pumice, ¼ hard Japanese akadama, ¼ haydite, and ¼ New Zealand pine bark to make a very light and nutrient-dense soil option for your succulents. This soil helps to promote excellent drainage and water retention for cacti or succulents, and this means that more water will drain through without overwhelming the plant if you accidentally overwater it once or twice. The bag is reusable, and this can help to keep the soil fresh between uses, especially if you only need a little bit for your smaller terrariums or succulent pots.
You’ll get a non-organic mix with this succulent soil that has no dirt in it. Instead, you get a substrate that provides an improved nutrient uptake, good water retention, and excellent drainage. It also allows plenty of air to get into your plant’s roots to prevent root rot or other issues. If you’re not 100% happy with this product, the company will allow you to return it for a full refund. So, you can try it out and see how it works with your plants without worrying about it being too dry.
- Substrate instead of soil
- Premium ingredients
- Encourage excellent drainage
- Allows air to get to the roots
- Resealable bag
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Comes sifted and pre-mixed
- Have to buy soft soil to mix in
3. Miracle-Gro Succulent Potting Mix – Mid-end Budget Pick
This succulent soil from Miracle-Gro is a premium mix that you can get without spending too much. It comes with fast-draining technology in the soil with a mix of fertilizer, forest products, and sphagnum peat moss to help the soil retain a little water while giving it a necessary nutrient boost to help encourage fast and healthy growth with all of your Haworthia Cooperi and other succulents. It comes certified by the Mulch and Soil Council for upholding industry guidelines and using top-quality ingredients to meet your plant’s needs, and you get the choice of succulent-specific or houseplant mixes when you purchase it.
There are easy-to-use instructions attached to this succulent soil that ensures you get the correct amount for your plant to thrive. You get a four-quart bag when you order this product, and this is enough soil to fill an eight-inch container. You can also add in Miracle-Gro plant food around a month after you use this mix to encourage healthy growth. It works for ornamental plants in containers and pots, but you can also use it if you’re considering starting your succulents from seeds. You shouldn’t use it outside as it comes not recommended for in-ground use.
- Fast-draining technology
- Moss mixed in
- Mulch and Soil Council certified
- Easy-to-use instructions
- Four-quarts per order
- Works on several succulents
- Very light and loose
- Not recommended for in-ground use
4. Professional Grower Potting Soil Mix – Bargain Budget Pick
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The Next Gardener’s succulent soil comes professionally formulated and imported from Denmark. It is specially formulated to encourage optimum growth for cacti, indoor houseplants, and succulents. So, you can use it on almost any indoor plant you have without running into a problem. This is an organic mix that is very well-draining and lightweight, and this means that it’ll shed most of the water you pour into it to avoid overwhelming your succulent and causing root rot. This soil is also pH balanced at 5.5, and this gives your plants the support they need to grow and thrive.
This all-natural and organic succulent soil has a neutral pH that the succulents prefer, and it also works well for bonsai, cactus, and acid-loving plants. You can choose from 2, 4, 8, or 12-quarts when you order this product, and this allows you to customize your order based on how much soil you need for your plants. It contains 75% substrate with 25% perlite, and it has a very low amount of fertilizer in it to give your plants a nice nutrient boost. The perlite allows air to get to your plant’s roots, and this can prevent them from getting or staying too wet after you water them.
- Professional-grade mix
- Works for succulents and cactus
- pH balanced at 5.5
- Lightweight and organic
- Four sizes available
- 25% perlite and 75% substrate
- Imported from Denmark
- Not enough nutrients
5. Hand Blended Succulent Soil Mix – Best for Medium or Large Succulents
This is a hand-blended succulent soil that has a good amount of perlite, peat moss, and lime to help it be pH balanced for your succulents. The perlite with sand and moss allows the soil to drain very quickly when you water it, and this is very important for the health of your low-light succulents because the dirt can stay moist much longer than it would if they got regular sunlight. You get a full two gallons of soil each time you order, and it comes in a resealable bag that makes it easy to store and keep fresh between uses or if you only have a few succulents to tend to. You have enough soil to repot or plant a few dozen smaller specimens.
There are no added fertilizers in this succulent soil because it’s an all-natural product. It has a high drainage environment that helps to eliminate root rot with your succulents, and it also ensures that your plant has the best conditions for healthy growth. This mix is good for propagating new cuttings, and it’ll give them a supportive environment to root. You can use it on a range of succulents without a problem, and it’s free of pests to help keep your plants healthy.
- Perlite and peat moss included
- Lime makes it pH balanced
- Two gallons per order
- All-natural with no fertilizer
- Helps prevent root rot
- Bag doesn’t seal again
6. Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil – Best for Preventing Root Rot
If you’re trying to prevent root rot with your succulents or you’re brand new to growing them, this succulent soil is a solid choice. It’s light enough that it won’t damage your plant’s roots while allowing for quick and efficient drainage, and both professionals and hobbyists like to use this soil to improve their plant’s chances of survival. It works well for crassula, haworthia, aloe, jade, lithops, and echeveria. It also comes with an optimized pH of 5.5, and this is great for acid-loving plants like succulents and some cactus. It also gets formulated for optimal evaporation, water absorption, particle size, and bulk density.
This succulent soil is ready to use straight out of the bag without having to mix it with anything else or add any fertilizers. It contains a healthy mix of Monto Clay, Bonsai Block, and Pine Coir to match plants that need drier roots between watering, and it’s made in the United States to strict quality control guidelines. You can get sizes ranging from two quarts up to 28-gallons to match your needs, and all of the soil gets screened and pre-washed prior to packaging. Every order comes with phone support and a 100% satisfaction guarantee or they’ll refund you the purchase price.
- Light enough to keep roots healthy
- pH balanced
- Each batch gets pre-washed and screened
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Contains Pine Coir, Bonsai Block, and Monto Clay
- Made in the United States
- Several sizes available
- Have to water more because it drains incredibly fast
7. All Natural Succulent and Cactus Soil – Best for a Plant Nursery
Perfect Plants offers a succulent soil that is both organic and fresh. You’ll get an excellent balance of moisture and air while helping your plants retain nutrients, and this can lead to healthy plant growth. It comes professionally mixed from the growers at the nursery, and this ensures that you’ll get a balanced soil that is excellent for a range of succulents and cactus plants, no matter if you’re planting them for the first time or repotting them to keep them healthy. It has components that encourage good water drainage while ensuring that the plants retain enough water to stay healthy, and this means that you may have to water slightly more than you traditionally would.
This succulent soil comes with a mix of composted pine bark, garden coir, sand, and perlite to make it light enough to not damage the soil. The bag has a zip closure on it that ensures the soil stays fresh and ready to use any time you need it. It will aerate the soil while nourishing your plants’ root systems, and it encourages healthy root expansion. You can choose from four or eight-quart sizes when you purchase this mix, and this allows you to tailor it to how many succulents you need to tend.
- Helps retain nutrients
- Contains garden coir, sand, perlite, and composted pine bark
- Works on all succulents
- Aerates the soil
- Encourages quick drainage
- Resealable bag
- Composted pine bark pieces can be too large
8. Fat Plants San Diego Succulent Soil – Best for Long-Term Fertilization
This succulent soil from Fat Plants San Diego comes specially formulated to strengthen your plant’s root system, enrich the plants, automatically feed your succulents for up to six months, and prevent root rot. It’s a hand-mixed selection that gets made and bagged in San Diego, California, and it only uses the best ingredients available. It works well for long-term fertilization due to the ingredients, and you don’t have to add anything extra to feed them. It works both indoors in pots and outdoors in flower beds without a problem, and it’s a great growing medium for vegetables, seedlings, bonsai, and other plants.
This is a soft succulent soil mix that works well for propagating new plants as cuttings, leaves, or seeds. You can choose from seven sizes ranging from small up to eight gallons. It has a resealable package that ensures the soil stays fresh and pest-free between uses, and each package comes with time-released nutrients and fertilizer pellets that are yellow rounded balls that are easy to spot when you open the bag. There is zero peat moss in the mix because it can cause the soil to retain too much moisture, and this isn’t good for your succulents. The macro-nutrient list for this product are phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. It’s also pH balanced and 100% organic.
- Feeds plants for six months
- 100% organic
- Seven sizes choices
- Works indoors and outdoors
- Made in California
- Soft soil mix
- No peat moss
- Concerns about formula changes
9. Organic Succulent & Cactus Soil Mix – Best for Indoor/Outdoor Use
You’ll get excellent drainage and water retention with this succulent soil that makes it a great choice for indoor use for plants out outdoor use with you succulents or different types of cactus. It helps to prevent root rot caused by watering them too much, and it allows indoor plants to drain very quickly after watering so they don’t have to sit in moist soil too long. You can propagate succulents and cactus in this mix without having an issue, and you should see sprouts in one to two weeks after planting seeds if they’re fresh. The leaves will take a few weeks to sprout new roots with this soil, and it comes pre-mixed and ready to go out of the bag.
You won’t have to worry about adding anything to this soil to get it ready for your succulents. It also works well with house plants and herbs and vegetables. The bag comes with a ziplock resealable top that allows you to securely close it between uses to keep it fresh and ready to use. You can use it on all-sized plants, and it has a loose and airy composition that is easy on your plant’s root system.
- Works inside and outside
- Succulents, herbs, cactus, vegetables, and houseplants can use it
- Ziplock resealable bag
- Don’t need to add anything
- Two sizes available
- Drains very quickly
- No moss
- Can have a smell when you first open the bag
10. Kenzoplants Succulents & Cactus Soil – Best for Ornamental Plants
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The final succulent soil on the list comes from Kenzoplants, and is available in three different sizes ranging from two quarts up to eight quarts that allow you to customize your choice based on your needs. You’ll get carefully screened blonde peat moss with a very low amount of fertilizer in this mix, and it works well for specialized indoor and outdoor succulents and plants. Both amateur gardeners and professional growers can use it to encourage healthy growth on ornamental plants. It’s very fast-draining and lightweight, and this is good for the more fragile root systems on these plants.
This succulent soil comes pre-mixed and ready to use out of the bag, and you won’t have to worry about mixing fertilizer or additives in before you use it. One application of this soil will feed your plants for several months without input from you. It works well for spider plants, ZZ plants, snake plants, Aloes, flowers, vegetables, and herbs too. The bags all come with a resealable design that keeps pests out between uses, and it makes storage quick and easy.
- Pre-mixed soil
- Indoor and outdoor use
- Three sizes
- Feeds plants for several months
- Bag reseals between uses
- Minimal moisture retention
- Slightly expensive for what you get
Succulent Soil Buying Guide
When you start shopping for your succulent soil, there are a few key components to consider. Knowing what important factors go into this soil will help you decide which succulent soil will work best for your specific needs and encourage your plants to thrive.
There are a few big components that you want to look for when you start comparing various succulent soil types. This short buying guide will highlight them for you, and it’ll help you narrow down your choices to find the best one quicker. Succulents! By Kimberly McKinnis / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
One of the biggest problems with succulents is that they’re very prone to root rot if they have too much water retention in the soil, and this can quickly kill your plant. Overwatering is one big problem with these plants, but the right succulent soil can help save you. Get a soil that is very well-draining, but it should also absorb water quickly so the plant has enough to drink. Some companies add a small amount of garden coir or peat moss into the soil, and this helps it retain water while allowing it to drain quickly.
If you have porous succulent soil, this means that it has gaps between the particles. The gaps allow for air to slip through and circulate around your plant’s roots. If the soil is too heavy or non-porous and blocks the air circulation, the roots can rot. So, this is why many people put a layer of soil with a layer of rocks over it and another small layer of soil when they plant their succulents. They also add sand to the mix.
If your plant doesn’t have enough nutrients, they won’t grow well. The soil has to give your plant enough nutrients so they can flourish, and this is especially important with new cuttings. If you’re growing your succulents in containers, add a little more nutrients to the soil since they’re not pulling it from the ground like they would if they were outside.
You can get soil test kits to see what your soil’s pH is. Most succulents prefer to have a soil that is slightly more acidic, and the pH should be between 5.5 and 6 for optimal levels. However, some succulents can do just fine in soil that is less acidic. However, alkaline soil is very likely to kill your plants. If the pH levels are too high and dangerous for your plants, you can add some horticultural lime in to help correct the pH levels and make the soil more alkaline or less acidic.
Ideally, your succulent soil will have varying particle sizes in it. You want to get ones with slightly bigger particles, and they should range from ¼ to ⅛ inches. This solves the problem with not being able to aerate your plant’s roots, and it can help solve the drainage problem. So, always try to get slightly larger particles with your soil instead of smaller ones.
The particle size is so important when you’re considering a new soil. If you get too small particles, the soil won’t be able to drain properly. Larger particles ensure that air can get to your plant’s root system will allowing for good drainage. Succulents by Antony*** / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Always pick a soil that has both inorganic and organic compounds in the mix if you can. This composition gives your plants the necessary nutrients they need. It’ll also balance the pH levels in the soil, allow it to quickly absorb water, and drain well between sessions. There is usually a very small amount of fertilizer in the soil too, and this can feed your plants for a few months.
We’ve rounded up 10 excellent succulent soil choices for you to review, and we highlighted everything that set them apart. You can use the reviews with the short buyer’s guide to help you make your final decision, and the correct soil will encourage your succulents to thrive from the day you plant them until it’s time to repot them and start again.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.