Last updated on September 26th, 2022 at 12:19 pm
Do you wish to plant succulents? Well, with my wealth of experience in gardening, I can assure you that while gardening succulents can be an exciting process, it can also be terrifying if you don’t know how to go about it.
And one important aspect of gardening any plant is the soil you plant it on. So, you may wonder whether regular potting soil will suffice for succulents.
Potting soil can be used for growing succulents but may not be that much effective for every succulent. This variability is because succulents need well-draining soil and not moisture-retaining soil like potting soil.
So, the composition of the soil matters a lot. Also, if you intend on making succulent soil for yourself, potting soil can play a pivotal role as a base for establishing the soil.
What is the Difference Between Potting Soil and Succulent Soil?
There is not much difference between potting soil and succulent soil, but a remarkable factor that sets both of them apart is their composition. Because this factor, if well-considered, influences the porosity, drainage rate, aeration, and pH level of your mix.
Potting soil commonly called a potting mix or miracle soil, comprises partly peat moss which is limestone-based or coconut coir-based.
These you can sometimes mix with sand, perlite, and grit to improve drainage while other times with vermiculite to increase water retention capacity.
Whereas succulent soil, also known as cactus soil, has a composition made up of regular potting soil mixed with coarse sand (surface and poultry grit) and perlite or pumice.
It would be best to not use vermiculites or soils containing it or other ingredients that increase water retention in the soil.
Composition of Potting Soil and Succulent Soil?
Potting soil and succulent soil have varying compositions. They could be made of a mixture of sand, peat, perlite, etc.
The majority of the reports I have received regarding the death of most succulent plants are usually related to under watering, overwatering, and or root rot.
So, a properly made composition of your mix will aid in giving your succulents a proper environment to thrive. The following are the essential ingredients you will need to attain the best composition for your potting or succulent soil.
1. Composition of Potting Soil
This soil is obtained from mixing 40 percent coconut coir or peat moss (with limestone), 40 percent vermiculite, 20 percent sand. But in the situation where you intend to use sand with perlite, you may want to reconsider changing the percentage composition to 33-33-33.
You can add coconut coir to help increase soil quantity, and because it is an effective air conductor, it does well with every plant (including succulents).
It also helps in retaining water and nutrients and cuts down the risks of plants getting infected with fungi diseases.
While perlites are composed of granules, they can give strength to the plant and remove insect pests from the soil through erosion.
Due to its porous nature, it supports oxygen movement in the soil and suppresses the emergence of unwanted plants growing in the crop or your potting mix.
2. Composition of Succulent Soil
Establishing this soil can easily be done by amending regular potting soil to make it airier, improving drainage, and permitting roots to dry before their next scheduled time for watering.
Your succulent soil should consist of 50 percent regular soil, 35 percent sand and granite, and 15 percent perlite.
Furthermore, 35 percent of sand must be included in your succulent soil because, just like in their natural habitats, succulents usually grow in sandy soil; this sand will help ensure sharp drainage of the soil.
When making your succulent soil, you should never use garden soil or sand from the beach as they may be infected, or you may better still substitute your sand for surface or poultry grit.
When you purchase a commercial succulent, you will notice that there are pieces of whitish styrofoam-looking substances.
Also, the presence of pumice and perlite will help the soil to carry out wicking. Wicking is responsible for the redistribution of water along the root zone, thereby helping all the roots of succulents to attain almost a state of complete dryness.
Without perlite or pumice in succulent soil, there is bound to be overwatering, eventually leading to root rot.
3. Advantages of Potting Soil and Succulent Soil
The advantages of potting soil and succulent soil are so many. The following are the most common advantages:
4. A Suitable pH Value
Both potting soil and succulent soil have a pH of six to seven. But only in the situation in which an acidic plant is being grown are seen to have a pH of around four to six.
5. Activates Roots
Embedded in potting soil and succulent soil are root activators that play a key role in forming and developing root systems.
6. Moisture Retention
Succulent soil and potting soil can efficiently retain moisture; they can absorb and retain moisture for the roots because dehydration may occur if they stay too long.
Although potting soils are very effective at retaining moisture, succulent soils are designed for more effective drainage.
Both soil types are generally affordable except for the rear ones used for special reasons, as they are expensive and very difficult to come about.
Succulent and potting soils are composed of many different substrates like plant material, perlite, blond peat, black peat, and organic matter.
Disadvantages of Potting Soils and Succulent Soils?
Whereas, the sad disadvantages of potting soils and succulent soils that you must consider are as follows:
After some time, potting soil and succulent soil turns into a block of the earth, especially if you are staying in an area with very strong isolation. But you can resolve this by placing the pot in a basin of water for about half an hour.
2. Lacks Nutrients
One percent nitrogen, 0.5 phosphorous, and 0.75 percent potassium are what succulent soils and potting soils can offer. With the emergence of roots, you will only have your NPK going up to 15 percent.
3. Product Differences
There are so many brands of commercial potting soil and succulent soil that are available or being sold.
You may end up purchasing either a better or a worse soil, but to avoid the latter, you must read the ingredient composition thoroughly.
I will also advise you to pick up the one with a high perlite concentration, since, this will greatly encourage good soil drainage and improve your plant’s chances of survival.
You can grow your succulents with regular potting soil, but not all succulents will thrive well or even survive for long in it.
But the good thing is that you can modify your potting soil to become suitable for growing succulents. The difference between potting soil and succulent soil lies in the composition of their nutrients.
You will need a 40-40-20 percentage composition of sand, vermiculite, coconut coir or peat moss to make potting soil. While a 50-35-15 composition of regular potting soil, perlite, and coarse sand will be best for succulent soil.
Moreover, I know you have come to see that the many advantages of potting soil and succulent soil very much outweigh the disadvantages.