Soil Preparation for Succulents

Do you want to grow incredible cacti and other succulents?  One of the most important things you can do is to pay special attention to the soil preparation for succulents.  With the right succulent soil ingredients in the right proportions your succulents and cactus will be healthier and they will look much better.

Hi, it’s Nell and today I’m going to answer a question from YouTube viewer fan 48 who asks “can you do a video about how you did the soil prep for your succulent garden?”   Of course I’d be happy to.

I’m also going to talk about the mix I use when I plant succulents in pots.  So the first thing that I did is I made sure that the pH of the soil was right for growing succulents.  And here in Santa Barbara my soil is neutral to slightly acidic and that is perfect for the majority of most succulents.  So that was no problem at all.

Soil Preparation For Succulents

Now this is very important.  What you need to know is any mix you use needs to be really light and it also needs to drain well because succulents don’t do well in something like a heavy clay soil.  They need to get wet and then they need to have the water drain out because they store so much water in their leaves and stems.  Too much water in their roots is going to rot them out.  I removed to the existing plants that I didn’t want and then I loosened the native soil.  And then I had four cubic yards of a topsoil mix that was 20% compost and 80% screened sandy loam delivered to add in to mix in with the native soil.

And a sandy loam is really light so it’s going to drain and you make sure to mix it into the native soil because you don’t want the layers on top.  And to plant the plant and have it be nice and easy and they’re growing and then all of a sudden they hit the soil and it’s a little bit of a shock for them.  So be sure and incorporate that in. And then I also had three cubic yards of an organic compost delivered because the topsoil mix is only 20 percent compost and I wanted more  compost in the mix.  So I spread a layer of that on probably about an inch or so and I worked that in to that topsoil that I had delivered and the native soil.

We also saved a bit of it aside because I put in handful or two into each planting hole when I was planting the succulents and I also put in some worm castings too because that is my favorite amendment.  I will leave a link to a video below that I’ve done on web casting so you can find out all about the great properties of that.

If you’re doing a larger landscaping job it’s much more economical to have your amendments, your mixes, your soils, your rock, delivered in bulk.  And also too your local landscape supply company will probably have a mix that is more specific to your area.  Like there’s someone here in Santa Barbara who has a succulent mix.  Up north where I used to live up in the Bay Area there was a company that has a rhododendron mix for a more acidic type of plant.  So be sure to check there because that’s always a great source.  I also do a lot of succulent container gardening and the same applies for succulents in pots as in the ground. The drain of the um soil mix needs to be very well-drained so the water it needs to come right out of the pot after you water it.

So I don’t make my own mix.  I buy a bag mixed because there’s plenty of them on the market that are great.  My favorite mix is from the California Cactus Center down in Pasadena. They do their own secret blend that they don’t tell you the formula but I don’t make it down there all the time.  So this is a mix I applaud at my local garden center and it’s for palms cactus and citrus and this one works just fine.  And in containers I use my worm castings in there and if I have some compost I will throw it in.  And every spring I do a top dressing of my succulent container pots with worm castings and compost and that provides the nutrients they need.

Here’s that succulent planting mix I use.  As you can see it’s nice and little and light there’s a lot of perlite there’s some wood chips really ground up very fine in there.  If you only have one or two succulents you can just use a potting soil you have just be sure and keep the pot as dry as possible because potting soil does hold water more than a succulent and cactus mix will.

So I hope you have found this video about succulent planting mixes to be helpful please subscribe because I have a lot more videos coming your way.

So now let’s get out in the garden and make the world a more beautiful place.  As always thank you so much for watching and be sure to send your questions in.  I would love to answer them.


Our Summary:  A good potting soil mix for succulents will make all the difference in growing beautiful plants.  The best soil for succulents in pots and gardens will help your plants stay healthy for a very long time.  It is easy to make your own soil mix for cactus and succulents so why not start right away!  If you would prefer purchasing a great premixed succulent soil we recommend Dr. Earth Exotic Cactus & Succulent Soil.

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