Why You Should DIY Your Own Succulent Soil For Thriving Plants

Succulents, in addition to being adorable, are also famously easy to care for. Largely thriving on neglect, the plants flourish in drier conditions, unlike many other popular home and garden plants. As they are particularly susceptible to root rot, it is essential that succulents have a well-draining growing medium. While potting soils for cacti can be used for succulents and are available at most garden centers, making your own is a fun and easy project that not only often results in a better mix for your plants but may even save you money in the long run, especially if you grow a lot of succulents or already have many of the ingredients.

Even though a variety of store-bought potting mixes are available for succulents and cacti, many of them still benefit from amending. Commercially available mixes don't tend to have as much drainage as succulents need, so additional perlite or sand may be necessary to give your plants ideal growing conditions. If you're already purchasing perlite and sand to improve your store-bought mix, it may be cheaper — and just as easy — to make a succulent potting mix yourself. Since many of the most common ingredients for DIY succulent mixes are garden staples, you likely already have most of what you need in your garage or shed.

How to make your own potting mix for succulents

While the term 'succulent' is extremely broad and used to describe a wide variety of plants, the things these disparate plants have in common are their fleshy leaves that store water and their ability to thrive in dry conditions. Many, like Echeveria, are primarily known as succulents that thrive indoors due to their lack of frost tolerance, but others, like many types of Sedum, can succeed in USDA zones as low as 3. Whether you're caring for your succulents inside or outside your house, it can sometimes be challenging to prevent them from suffering from over- or under-watering. Fortunately, a good growing medium can go a long way toward keeping your potted succulents healthy and thriving.

Succulent mixes are generally made from a combination of minerals and organic material. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach advises using 1 part organic material like coco coir, peat moss, or compost to 2 parts minerals like sand or perlite, but this is far from the only recipe available. The University of Florida Extension suggests creating a mix of 2 parts topsoil, 1 part peat moss, 1 part sand, and 1 part perlite. Regardless of the exact recipe you use, make sure your ingredients are well mixed and keep track of what you used and how your plants react so you can make adjustments as necessary.