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Is Cactus Soil Acidic or Alkaline?

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Last updated on September 26th, 2022 at 12:28 pm

What makes cactus soil rich and suitable? Many things, ranging from nutrient content, pH levels, drainage and so on. In this article, we will focus on pH levels in cactus soil.

As a desert soil, cactus soil is sometimes classified as alkaline soil but is that trustworthy?

Cactus soil is not alkaline but acidic. Cactus soil is acidic with a pH value of between 5.0 and 6.5. Cactus soil may lose its acidity when neglected or improperly cared for, becoming neutral or slightly alkaline.

However, this is not the ideal pH level of cactus soil. Cactus Soil is only slightly acidic and not strongly acidic.

Is Cactus and Succulent Soil Acidic?

Yes, cactus and succulent soils are acidic. It is so because they work with rainwater and are already adapted to acid-based soils, and if subjected to any pH other than this, it will not support their growth. So, always ensure your soil pH level for cactus and succulents remains acidic even if you plan to pot them.

Cactus soil does not use alkaline-based water for its activities. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere mixes with rainwater, making it acidic.

As mentioned earlier, it is the best kind of moisture for cactus and succulent soil. Some gardeners mostly falter in this aspect because they feel since it’s water, the only thing they should avoid is dirty water.

Let me open your eyes to how destructive ignoring the pH need of the soil can be.

The alkalinity of cactus soil makes it very difficult for a plant to absorb water and some highly important nutrients needed by the plant. Neglecting pH is a serious threat to plant life.

The alkalinity of cactus soil makes it almost impossible for cactus and succulents to absorb water and the nutrients needed for growth. Alkalinity also makes cacti and succulent soils dry out faster than ordinary soils.

The reason why your cacti and succulent soils are most susceptible to alkalinity is that they grow for a long time, making it easy for your soil structure to turn alkaline.

They may not show signs of increased pH level at the initial stage but will surely do later on, after which the effect will be fast. The low-storing water cactus is always the first to succumb to alkaline conditions and die off.

It would help if you always endeavored to keep the pH level of your soil low, regardless since it is the natural condition of cactus and succulent soils.

The lower the pH level of your soil, the higher the acidity of that soil, but the higher the pH level, the higher the alkalinity.

Do Cacti Like Coffee Grounds?

Coffee grounds are acidic, so cacti should like it. That would be the response of a novice in gardening because he will not consider the other sides of the coin.

For a fact, cacti do not like coffee ground as it alters the structure of your soil. A well-structured cacti soil should be porous and well-drained.

The coffee ground makes your soil retain much water, and cacti do not welcome waterlogged soil at all. Another thing that needs to be considered is the compound contained in coffee called caffeine.

Caffeine is a highly competitive compound structured to shove off and kill any plant hanging around the territory of the coffee plant.

So. there is no doubt coffee ground will cause harm to your cactus and retard its growth. The coffee ground contains phosphorus and nitrogen; these are elements in fertilizers that improve the fertility of your soil but are not too good for your cacti plant.

It also has a limitation when applying it on the soil in the pot as pots do not have the necessary microbes involved in the breakdown of coffee grounds.

Asides from coffee grounds, there are other acidic mediums you can use to improve your cactus soil. You can add sulfur powder or vinegar to your soil to acidify it, or better still, you can treat it with rainwater till it reaches an acidic state.

I would highly recommend you have a pH meter in testing your soil. The indicator helps you keep a close eye on your pH level, especially when treating alkalinity.

You can also use dye as a pH indicator, it changes colour at different pH levels, but your pH meter is preferable.

When you get the equipment needed to lower your soil’s pH level, add some volume of either vinegar or sulfur powder into a bucket of water. Then add the mixture to your soil and mix evenly. Take some soil from the mixture and test the pH level.

If it does not reach the desired pH, add more vinegar or sulfur powder to your soil. Do this till you get your desired pH level.

Using this method, make sure you do not use any form of moisture other than rainwater. There are many other ways you can lower the pH of your soil, but this simple method should be okay and do the job for you.

So, please do not go for coffee ground in pursuit of lowering the pH level of your soil, else, you may end up causing the soil more problems than it already has.


The level of acidity or alkalinity of your soil has a great effect on your soil. If the pH of your soil is too high or too low, it causes nutrient imbalance and can also affect the functioning of certain microbes in the soil.

Cactus soil watered by rainfall is acidic. Succulent soil is prepared to make desert plants grow well, and cactus is a desert plant. Making the preferred pH of succulent soil also acidic.

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