6 Best Fertilizers for Succulents

Thick, supple and firm leaves are the ultimate features of a healthy succulent. Sure, watering your succulent and keeping it out of too much sun will help to keep it growing. Keeping it thriving, that is the ultimate goal. To achieve that, it helps if you feed your succulent with excellent fertilizer.

The key is to get the right balance between the fertilizer for your plant, and the water you are feeding it. Too much water, and all the nutrients within the fertilizer will be flushed out. Too little water, and you may end up creating problems with the roots and leaves from the fertilizer. Here are the 6 best fertilizers for succulents— meeting a wide variety of needs.

Check out “Choosing the Right Pot for Your Succulents” to know exactly where to place your succulent.

6 Best Fertilizers for Succulents
fish face succulent pot @potted.arts

Dr. Earth Premium Gold Pure & Natural Fertilizer

This is the ideal fertilizer for your plant when you notice it changing color by turning pale or going yellow. This fertilizer has nitrogen and also includes potassium and phosphorous. It has a concentration of 10-10-10, meaning 10% nitrogen, 10% potassium, and 10% phosphorus. The nitrogen works wonders on the leaves, the potassium is excellent to help a succulent fight disease, and the phosphorus helps with healthy root growth and will help flowers bloom. Check this fertilizer out by clicking here.

You need to be careful when mixing this fertilizer though, to make sure that it is not too concentrated. If it is, it could burn up the roots and destroy them, killing off your plant. Ideally, you should take about one teaspoon of this fertilizer and then mix it in with a gallon of water. Use this fertilizer when you are watering your plants, instead of plain water. Make sure it is nice and hot so that the roots can absorb their nutrients.

Organic Worms

If you are interested in a fertilizer that is totally organic, then get yourself a few wiggly worms. Worms release worm castings, which is their nutrient-rich waste. You can have the worms growing in a small container and feed them a little vegetable waste to get then to release the castings. In fact, these have more than 60 different nutrients including carbon, calcium, nitrogen, magnesium and more.

Already looking for some organic worms? Get some for your succulents by going here.

Worm castings also help to balance the pH of the soil for your succulents, making it easier for them to soak up all those delightful nutrients. When potting your succulent, all you need to do is mix in the worm castings with your soil.

Be sure to also check out “7 Succulent Care Tips” for your succulent caring needs.

Grow Better Organic Cactus & Succulent Fertilizer

To give your succulents food for an extended period of time, you need a slow-release fertilizer and the offering from Grow Better is an excellent choice. Once you have applied it, it takes at least two months to release all the nutrients into the soil. This means that it will be feeding your succulents for a long time, keeping the roots healthy and helping it thrive through the growing season. It is ideal for using on succulents indoors as well as outdoors and works well with a variety of different soils. You can choose how you want to use it— either by mixing it in with a potting soil or adding it to your top dressing. We found this amazing fertilizer for you, check it out!

Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food

Liquid fertilizer is an excellent option for giving your succulents a health boost. It seeps deep into the soil, offering lasting nourishment to thirsty roots. Miracle-Gro succulent plant food is the best option if you have succulents that are looking a little bit under the weather. It offers an instant boost to them, restoring them back to health in record time. This succulent fertilizer comes concentrated, so you would need to read the directions carefully to make sure you get your mix right.

6 Best Fertilizers for Succulents
Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food

Authentic Haven Brand Manure Tea

You might be tempted to create your own manure tea, however, choosing a quality one will be so much better for your plants. Authentic Haven Brand Manure Tea has been perfectly balanced to ensure there is nothing within it that will burn your plants. You prepare it just as you would a cup of tea – steep into some water so that the nutrients go out. It needs to sit in the water for at least 24 hours, though a little more would be better. The color of the water will be brown. Then, when the soil is dry on your plants, use this solution to water them.

Just like a tea bag, you can use this twice, though the second time around, you need to let it steep for twice the time.

Espoma Company Organic Indoor Plant Food 2-2-2

For succulents that spend all their time indoors, this is the perfect fertilizer. Indoor succulents miss out on microbes that can be found outdoors, and these are introduced by this fertilizer! Being organic means it provides plenty of microbes that build up the soil. It offers a more natural environment for the plant, as compared to synthetic fertilizer. With this type of fertilizer, it becomes difficult to over-fertilize the plants, as they are much gentler on succulents. Check out the Espoma Company Organic Indoor Plant Food.

Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on Replanting Practices to Keep Your Succulents Safe or even Best Lighting Practices for Succulent Growth today, along with our 10 additional guides!


When you are planning to fertilize your succulents, there is one thing that you should keep in mind— the weather. In the winter, you will be giving your plants a break from the water, so it makes sense to give them a break from fertilizer too. Check out “How to Care for Succulents in the Winter” for a more detailed explanation. Make sure that you fertilize your plants when you know they’re growing actively. This will prevent harmful salts from building up in the soil. This would ideally be in the summer when they thrive through the heat. Feeding your succulents with fertilizer three times a year is more than enough to ensure they remain healthy.

Choose the succulent of your choice and ensure that your plant has all the right nutrients to help it grow. It is rumored that these plants do not need any fertilizers. No doubt, they may survive without them, but survival is not enough. Give them the best possible chance to thrive with and of these six amazing fertilizers.

Thank you for reading! Make sure to leave a comment telling us which fertilizer best works for you. Be sure to join our exclusive Facebook Group, Succulent City Plant Lounge, where succulent enthusiasts, like yourself, share experiences, tips, and photos to help inspire your inner- gardener!

Also, did you know we’re on Instagram and  Pinterest! Give us a follow for daily, inspiring succulent content!

For some more succulent- inspiring articles, check out How to Make a Succulent CorsageThe 7 Best Succulents for Wedding Arrangements, and How to Create Driftwood Planters at Home!

Happy Planting!! 🌵

Choosing the Right Pot for Your Succulents

Choosing the right pot for your succulents is not an easy task! With so many adorable planters in all shapes and sizes out there, how do you know which one to pick?

While picking a planter with a design you love is important, today we’re going to talk about the more practical things you have to consider when buying a succulent pot, like drainage and size.

Choosing a pot with proper drainage and sizing will ensure the health of your plant babies for years to come… so don’t just pick the prettiest planter on the shelf! (Although it’s fun to do this sometimes!) Make sure it fits these parameters too so it won’t damage your succulents.

Choosing the Right Pot for Your Succulents
Choosing the right pot for your succulents @judyluvs_succulents

Drainage for Your Succulent Plants

Drainage is the most important thing to consider when choosing the right pot for succulents. If your pot doesn’t have good drainage, your succulents are at risk of root rot and other symptoms of overwatering, like mushy, yellow leaves.

Your succulent can even die if it sits in too much water, so you have to give any excess water in the pot a place to go. Enter drainage holes! They’ll allow water to drain from your pot quickly so that your succulents don’t get waterlogged.

There are plenty of adorable pots with drainage holes, like this aqua sunburst planter. But if you have your heart set on a trendy planter without good drainage like a glass terrarium, you can make it work with some careful planning and skill, it might just take more work on your end.

If you want to plant your succulents in a glass terrarium, or any other succulent planter without drainage holes, you’ll have to water them sparingly. You want to pour enough water into the container to wet the soil, but not so much that it will pool in the bottom. If you do create a little puddle of water in the bottom of the container, your succulents could end up dying of root rot because there’s nowhere for the water to go.

So when you’re using a container without proper drainage, always steer on the side of under-watering. And make sure to plant your succulents in a porous succulent soil similar to this so that doesn’t retain too much water—it’ll help prevent your plants from rotting!

Check out our full article if you would like some tips on watering your succulents.

Choosing the Right Pot for Your Succulents
Choosing the right pot for your succulents

Best Materials Used for Succulent Planters

The best pot for succulents is one made out of terracotta (clay) or ceramic. Both of these materials are nice and breathable, so they’ll work in indoor areas that might not get a lot of airflow. Since they allow air to flow and water to escape, terracotta and ceramic pots reduce the chances of your succulents dying from overwatering or root rot. That’s why they’re such a great choice for new succulent owners and people with brown thumbs—they make hardy little succulents even harder to kill!

There’s plenty of beautiful ceramic and terracotta pots out there, so you should be able to find one that you love! We have very cute and tiny terracotta pots on one of the office window sills, if you want to check them out here’s where we got them.

For planters a little more on the rustic side, check out our article on how to make driftwood planters for your succulents!

Choosing the Right Pot for Your Succulents
Choosing the right pot for your succulents

Size of Your Pot Matters

When it comes to the right pot size, you may think bigger is better. You want to give your succulents plenty of room to grow, so planting them in a big pot is the way to do that… right?

Well actually, planting your succulents in a pot that’s too big for them can be detrimental to their growth and overall health! Planting your succulent in a properly sized pot, which should only have an inch or two of extra room around the sides at most, actually encourages it to grow. When your succulent’s roots reach the bottom and sides of the pot and don’t have a lot more room to spread out, your plant will produce new top growth above the soil instead, which is what you want to see! 

Putting your succulents in the right containers also has another positive effect—it reduces their chances of dying from root rot. Soil retains moisture, so big pots that have more of it will retain more moisture. This puts your succulents at risk of water damage and root rot. Bigger is not always better, so plant your succulents in a small enough pot to keep them healthy!

If you’re ever concerned about if your succulent’s health, take a look at our articles Why Your Succulents are Dying or How to Tell if Your Cactus is Dying. We’ve helped thousands of plant lovers save their succulents and cacti.

Choosing the Right Pot for Your Succulents
Choosing the right pot for your succulents

Repotting Succulents

OK, I know we were just talking about how pots that are too big are bad for your succulents. But on the flip side, pots that are too small aren’t good for your plant babies either. 

After a few years of living in the same pot, your succulent might outgrow it. It might become top heavy and start falling over in its container, or shooting out roots through the drainage holes of the pot because it’s trying to grow, but has no more room. In those situations, it’s a good idea to repot your succulent into a slightly larger container, because the small pot is likely stunting its growth. Here’s the best soil to use for your succulents for optimal growth in your favorite planter.

Succulents should be transplanted into containers that are an inch or two larger than their original container about once every two or three years. The beginning of your succulent’s growing season is the best time to repot. After transplanting your plant baby into a cute new container, wait a few days before you water it to give it a chance to root and acclimate to its new surroundings.

Choosing the Right Pot for Your Succulents
Choosing the right pot for your succulents

Now that you know how to choose the right pot for your succulents, are you going to repot some of your plant babies? Let us know in the comments section below! For some inspiration on how to design your own succulent garden, check out our Pinterest and Instagram for daily content! Or swing on over to our exclusive Facebook group, Succulent City Plant Lounge, where you can learn additional tips and tricks from fellow succulent lovers.

This post is sponsored by AmazonFresh! Enjoy unlimited grocery shipping for only $14.99/mo! Sign up for a FREE trial here— exclusively for our Succulent City Community. 

Continue expanding your succulent knowledge! Take a look at some additional Succulent City articles like Top 5 Hanging Succulent Planters Worth Having, 10 Beginner Mistakes When Growing Succulents, and Sedum Morganianum— The Burro’s Tail Plant.

Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on Different Types of Planters or even Succulent Drainage Requirements today!

Thanks for reading, happy planting! ?

6 Best Marble Planters for Succulents

Marble was all the rage in 2017 and still is today, and we totally understand why! Marble countertops and floors are to die for (not literally though).

They’re modern, elegant, and luxurious… we can’t wait until we can afford to tile our whole house with marble!

But for now, we’re celebrating our love of marble by writing this post about our favorite marble succulent planters. We’re even going to show you a cool DIY planter as a bonus so that you can make it at home if you’re on a budge. It’s made with marble contact paper just to give you a slight preview.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the post!

Geometric Marbled Ceramic Pots & Planters

Geometric marble ceramic pots and planters

These faux marble planters have a geometric diamond pattern that really stands out! The texture of these planters combined with their faux marble design makes them look a lot like rocks.

We love the earthy, natural vibe of these planters, and the unique colors they come in. A lot of planters on this list were designed to mimic white carrara marble, but marble comes in a lot of other colors, too. This set of four planters incorporates some of those other colors, like brown, grey and green.

These pots have drainage holes, which make them perfect for succulents. Succulents pretty much need to be put in pots that have drainage holes because they’re so sensitive to overwatering. If they sit in water, their roots will rot and they’ll die. That won’t happen with these planters, though, so you can rest easy!

They come in a set of four and are available for just $17.99, which is an unreal value! Go and snag these up before the seller realizes they’ve made a mistake with their pricing!

Colorful Ceramic Succulent Planters

Green and blue marble planters

If you like color, then these are the succulent planters for you! You’ll get four marbled planters if you buy this set—one green, one blue, one pink and one grey. The bright colors will really compliment your colored succulents!

These planters are about two inches tall and three inches wide, so they’re the perfect petite planters for arrangements of small succulents like Echeverias and Haworthias, too.

Each planter has a drainage hole, so you won’t have to worry about your plants sitting in water. They also come with nice wooden trays that will keep any water that drains out of your pots contained. The trays are a big plus because they’ll prevent your furniture from getting water stains!

These planters are so cute that we don’t blame you if you buy more than one set—we almost did! Each set of four is only $13.99, so go ahead and treat yourself!

Marbled Terracotta Pot

Marled terracotta pot

We think that this marbled terracotta pot from Urban Outfitters is adorable! It has all of the rustic charm of a terracotta pot with some extra flair. The classic grey and white marble design really elevates this terracotta pot and gives it an elegant feel that you’ll love!

This pot only has a three inch opening, so it’s best for your small succulents. It already has a drainage hole, so you won’t need to break out a drill and make one yourself. Best of all, this pot is only $5.00… what a bargain! (Sometime’s it goes on sale for $4.00 too!)

Ceramic Faux Marble Succulent Pot with Stand

Ceramic faux marble succulent pot

We cannot get over this set of faux marble planters! They have a beautiful black and white marble design with metal accents that make them look super classy and sleek.

This set contains one small, one medium, and one large pot, which makes it great for succulents of all sizes!

The metal stands come in a few different colors—black, white, and gold. We love the way that the glossy ceramic marble looks with the shiny gold hardware, but the black and white stands are great choices, too! They both have a more matte finish than the gold, so they make the planters look more modern. We love the way that the black stand brings out the black marble details in the pot and contrasts with the bright white ceramic!

This set of three ceramic pots is just $69.99. We think that they’re a great deal because they come with stands, too! Don’t let the price scare you at first, take a look at them and you’ll understand that you’re getting a great deal.

Ball Shaped Faux Marble Planter

Ball shaped faux marble planter

We think that this planter is one of the most striking ones on the list! It almost looks like a ball or a globe with its tall, curved ceramic sides. It has a beautiful faux marble finish. The marble design streaks up and down the sides of the pot and really emphasizes its curvy shape.

We think that this stunning contemporary pot would make a beautiful centerpiece for your coffee or dining room table. It’s one of the biggest pots on this list, so it will fit quite a few succulents. Load it up with your favorite plants, and put a few colored succulents in there, too. They’ll really pop against the white ceramic sides of this pot!

DIY Marble Planter

Marble contact paper

You can turn pots you already have into marble masterpieces by picking up some marble contact paper. Contact paper is super easy to apply to tin cans or any other round object that you want to turn into a gorgeous faux marble planter!

You don’t even need glue to make this! The only supplies you’ll need are a craft knife, a tape measure, a tin can, and of course, marble contact paper. When cutting this marble contact paper we found that the best option is to use this x-acto knife to get the best clean cut possible, plus it’s not expensive at all.

Measure the length and width of your can using an easy to use flexible measuring tape like this using your tape measure so that you know exactly how much contact paper to cut. Then, use the craft knife to cut the contact paper according to your measurements. Use a straightedge while you’re cutting to make sure that you get the cleanest lines.

Wrap the contact paper you just cut around your whole tin can. Make sure that you wrap the contact paper tightly to prevent air bubbles from forming. Use a handy credit card or gift card in order to get those air bubbles out.

You’re all done! Wasn’t that easy? Now go fill your beautiful, brand new pot with plants!


If you didn’t like any of the planters above here’s a another bonus 3 that I found to be good runner ups! They’re also not too expensive, just the right bang for your buck, and succulent. Marble planters with gold stands, red and blue colored marbled planters and a square marble planter.

We know that you probably can’t pick, but which one of these amazing pots is your favorite? We love the set of four geometric planters the most! Let us know which one you’re going to buy in the comments section below.

If you do end up making a purchase, snap a picture of it and share it with us on social media @succulentcity! We can’t wait to see all of the beautiful succulent arrangements you create in your fabulous faux marble planters. Happy planting!

If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

Oh, I almost forgot, don’t forget to join the Succulent City Plant Lounge to have experts in the community answer your questions right away!

8 Best Indoor Cacti You Need to Have

Mini succulents and other conventional houseplants are in for a big competition. Cacti décor designs are springing up from every corner of the internet and boy, don’t they just look gorgeous!

Taming these desert survivors may seem hard, but not to cacti connoisseurs. Nothing beats the unique rustic look exuded by cacti. With their spiny texture and varied shapes, you’d be forgiven to think they’re living sculptures.

And no, they don’t need to be watched closely. Cacti actually thrive on neglect. (Yes, deprive them and they’ll still grow). Love them too much and you’ll soon be burying lots of them.

This is good news to beginner gardeners, busy plant lovers or brown thumbs who are looking for some bragging rights. Whichever category you fall into, cacti got you covered, talk about independence! If you’re a brown thumb, be sure to join our Succulent Plant Lounge, a lot of the members here converse and help each other out, it’s a great community to be in for succulents.

Sold on getting one of these alien-looking plants for your living room? Picking just any variety for your indoor needs may not be a good idea. Certain cacti varieties are just not meant to be tamed. Be that as it may, there are cacti species that thrive indoors and may even reward you with spectacular blooms.

Ready to explore? Let’s do this!

Bishop’s Cap— Astrophytum Myriostigma

Native to the Chihuahuan desert of Mexico, the Bishop’s Cap cacti is the most popular species in the genus Astrophytum. Its appearance resembles a star-shaped globe with equally divided segments. This hardy plant is usually green in color while young but as it matures, it’s covered by a grayish coating of fine scales to protect it from sun burn.

Tiny spines are lined on the ribs that separate the plant’s segments giving it a distinctive look. Take good care of it and it’ll give you brilliant yellow blooms during spring. Feeding it some fertilizer from time to time will do just that, any highly rated fertilizer for cacti like this will work just fine.

These dainty flowers appear at the center top of the plant where the ridges that separate the different segments converge.

Also known as the Monk’s hood, taking care of the Bishop’s Cap is an easy ride. The can thrive in light shades but require sunlight for at least three hours a day. They can do well in a window sill on a south or west-facing window. Subject them to plenty of sun if you want to see the blooms.

We think a great window sill planter like this modern white one from Window Garden will look wonderful with the Bishop’s Cap cactus.

Astrophytum myriostigma prefers quick draining soil so avoid your regular gardening mix. Water infrequently as too much water will lead to an early grave. You may feed them diluted fertilizer once a month during their growing season. Propagation mainly through seeds.

Barrel Cactus— Ferrocactus Species

Arrayed with ferocious spines, this quirky cactus makes a perfect compliment to your existing interiorscape. As the name suggests, the barrel cactus is spherical with long spines on its ribs. The spikes act as protection to the juicy, edible pulp located on the inside.

The barrel cactus has a long life span and may live for a couple of decades. Its size varies depending on the species. Some are squat while others may be as tall as 10 feet. (Now that’s one tall and spiky plant!)

This cactus is a true sun lover and prefers full sun for a few hours a day. Setting it beside a large uncovered window will ensure it gets plenty of sun for optimum growth. Water sparingly, and do so after the soil has completely dried out. Use commercial cacti mix to prevent damp soil related problems like root rot and fungi.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to handle the barrel cactus with your bare hands, don’t. Be safe with cut resistant gloves so that the sharp spines won’t make a dent in your flesh.

Old Lady Cactus— Mammilaria Hahniana

Old Lady Cactus Mammilaria Hahniana
@succulents_4ever

Native to Guanajuato state of Mexico, this cactus is tall growing reaching to a height of 10 inches. Mammilaria hahniana is commonly referred to as the old lady cactus due to its white hair covering on the entire plant. The white hairs and spine also serve to protect the plant from intense sun.

The old lady cactus blooms in spring and summer producing attractive purple flowers that may even grow in a ring on the plant’s apex.

Use well-draining cacti mix while potting this plant as they hate sitting in damp soil. Water once a week during the hot season and once a month during winter. Mammilaria hahniana will readily bloom in bright sunlight.

Angel Wings Cactus— Opuntia Albispina

Also known as bunny ears, the angel wings cactus is a desert denizen, highly adapted to small amounts of water and extensive heat. It has a striking appearance with its flat pads endowed with glochids –a fancy term for the white prickles you see on its surface.

Unlike most cacti, it lacks spines as these are replaced with clusters of hair on the surface of the pads. Careful though, these glochids can still injure you so take care while handling it.

Opuntia albispina is a summer bloomer producing creamy yellow flowers with globular edible fruits that are purple in color. Provide it with lots of light, quick draining soil and infrequent watering and you’ll have one happy angel wing cactus.

Christmas Cactus— Schlumbergera Bridgessii

Well, if you can’t pronounce the complex scientific name, don’t worry. You can also call it the thanksgiving or Easter cactus. Unlike most cacti, the Christmas cactus is spineless, characterized by its serrated green leaves.

This Brazilian cacti blooms in winter, producing showy tubular flowers in shades of purple, pink, red and pink.

Keep your Christmas cactus in shaded light with a few hours in direct bright sunlight. Exposing it in hot sun will lead to sun burn. This plant is native to the tropical forests of Brazil and so it needs more water than other cacti. Thus, water frequently during its growing seasons but be careful to let the water drain out. If you’re wondering, propagation is also possible via cuttings.

Saguaro Cactus— Carnegiea Gigantean

Native to the Sonoran Desert of Mexico, the Saguaro cactus is a slow growing and long lived plant that can live up to two centuries. It’s scientific name, carnegiea gigantean means gigantic candle. And quite rightly so! This cactus can grow up to 40 feet in height.

Saguaros are barrel-shaped with water storing capacity in the external pleats. It is hard on blooming and may take over 35 years for flowers to appear.

Carnegiea prefers bright sunlight. Water only once a month and cut back on watering during winter and other cool seasons. Let the soil be grainy and quickly draining for optimum growth.

Rat Tail Cactus— Aporocactus Flagelliformis

Can you throw a guess of the native home of this beauty? That’s right! The magnificent Mexico –home to almost all cacti.

If rats annoy you, well hopefully not this quirky rat tail cactus. With its trailing stems covered with fine spines, it’s definitely the perfect plant to set up on a hanging basket. The rat tail cactus thrives on bright sunlight and if everything goes well, they may bloom in spring bringing forth spectacular pink flowers.

Water as you would any cactus, making sure not to overwater the plant. Well-draining commercial cacti mix is recommended to prevent root rot. You can share the rat tail cactus with friends through cuttings. More the merrier! If you have some to giveaway, why not lend some to our members at Succulent Plant Lounge?

Star Cactus— Astrophytum Asteria

It’s a short, plump and round plant with approximately eight ribs each arrayed with woolly areoles. Also known as the sand dollar cactus or sea urchin cactus, Astrophytum asteria is generally green in color covered with decorative white dots.

When conditions are right, the star cactus blooms during spring, producing alluring yellow flowers having orange shades at the center. The fruits are pink, gray or reddish in color, with woolly hair covering them.

Taking care of Astrophytum asteria is quite a breeze. Use grainy cacti mix that’s well-draining and water them twice a month. Ensure the soil dries out completely before in between watering. These sun lovers prefer bright light so get them the south or west facing window for healthy growth.


Have enough of the cacti yet? If you get any particular cactus please let us know and if you want us to write a full in depth article on how to take care of one of these cacti, don’t be afraid to comment it below.

Succulent City is here to help!

Enjoyed learning about 8 Best Indoor Cacti You Need to Have? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about All the Types of Succulents for Indoor & Outdoor. With this ebook, you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

Best Soil for Succulents

Once you’ve figured out how to water your succulents correctly, the second most important thing is getting them the right soil. In fact, without proper soil, it won’t matter if you’re watering the right way or not!

A good soil accomplishes 3 things for a plant:

  1. It provides nutrients, mostly in the form of nitrogen and phosphorous (N and P).
  2. It provides anchorage. The roots need soil with substance to be able to dig in and get a grip for stability.
  3. It absorbs and makes moisture available to the plant. Different soil types hold water for different lengths of time.

What Makes a Good Soil for Succulents?

When we’re selecting a soil for succulents, our primary focus is making sure it has good drainage. That means we’re focused on the ‘moisture’ part of that list above.

First of all – what is soil drainage? Simply put, it’s how fast water leaves the soil. After you water a plant, some of that water should come out of the bottom of the pot, but most of it will stay in the soil. That water either has to be taken up by the plant or evaporated into the air.

As it turns out, succulents and cacti require different soil than regular houseplants. Here’s 16 different succulents in case you’re interested. Most houseplants are tropical plants. They’re originally from a place that probably has lots of rain and ambient humidity. Their soil is also naturally rich in nutrients because of all of the other decomposing plants.

Succulents, on the other hand, come from deserts or other arid (dry) regions that generally have little rain and poor soil quality. The dirt there is probably coarse and gritty and lacks nutrients.

Obviously, it’s usually best to recreate their natural conditions as closely as possible. You might be surprised, however, that the most important thing to copy isn’t the amount of nutrients they get – it’s the amount of water.

Soil composition is important

In essence, soil is made up of two things – organic matter and inorganic matter. (Actually, you could argue that everything in the universe is made up of those two things).

Organic matter in this context means stuff that was once alive but is now dead. It can be in various stages of decomposition, or just regular dead. Some examples are:

  • Compost
  • Peat or sphagnum moss
  • Manure
  • Decomposing plants or animals
  • Coconut coir
  • Leaf or bark shreds

Inorganic matter, then, is everything that was never alive. In the case of dirt, it really just means minerals. Dirt is mostly made out of varying ratios of clay, silt, and sand.

Add organic and inorganic matter together and you’ve got soil.

Now back to water. The more organic matter that’s in the soil, the more water it holds. See what I’m getting at here? More organic matter means less drainage (and wetter soil). It follows that succulents prefer soil that has very little organic matter.

How do you know if the drainage is adequate?

So, we know what soil drainage is and we know how to get it. But how much drainage is enough?

As a rule of thumb, your succulent’s soil should be dry within 1 to 1.5 days of watering. And I mean dry. Bone dry.

There’s a quick way to test how dry the soil is. Stick your finger in the pot an inch or two into the soil. It should feel not only dry, but also warm. If it feels “cool” at all, it’s probably actually slightly damp and you’re misinterpreting the sensation. Need help in repotting your succulents for the perfect drainage system, click here.

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Most soil is bad soil

We’ve been talking about how bad wet soil is for succulents, but we haven’t even mentioned why that is. Well, here’s the answer.

Wet soil can cause root rot. Read all the popular ways a succulent can die so that you can prevent this from happening.

This is a risk for all plants, but it’s especially dangerous for succulents. They aren’t accustomed to being wet for extended periods of time. In their natural habitat, water is wicked away by the dry soil and hot air very quickly.

Root rot is a particularly interesting disease. It may surprise you to learn that plants breathe mostly through their roots – not their leaves. They take in both carbon dioxide and oxygen (yes, they need oxygen too) that is present in the soil.

That’s why people are always talking about loose, aerated soil and how great it is. It’s also why worms are great for gardens – they break up the soil and create tunnels for air to reach the roots.

When soil is wet, however, air can’t move through it (duh). The plant has to “hold its breath” until the soil dries out again and it can breathe. If it takes too long, the root will drown and begin to rot.

Apparently, succulents just succ at holding their breath.

Choosing the Right Soil for Succulents

That may sound dire, but it’s really not that hard to choose a good soil for succulents. Just minimize the amount of organic matter and use those good watering practices we discussed.

Every succulent species has its own particular needs and wants, but 99% of them are cool with pretty much the same dirt. Just to be sure, watch how a plant reacts after being put in new soil and adjust your care accordingly.

How to make your own succulent soil

You can make your own succulent soil pretty easily; you probably already have everything you need at home. Here’s our recipe:

  • 2 parts potting soil. You can use any old dirt you have around. I like to use the Miracle Gro Succulent and Cacti mix. By itself, it’s not the best succulent mix (since it inexplicably contains a lot of organic matter like peat moss), but it does make a great base for mixing your own soil. Try to stay away from using dirt that is made of compost.
  • 1 part perlite. This is the not-so-secret ingredient of great succulent soil mixes. Perlite is actually a type of volcanic glass that is “puffed” using extreme heat, just like Rice Krispies (seriously). Perlite is useful because it is a large particle with air pockets in it so it keeps the soil loose, promotes soil drainage, and helps with airflow.
  • 1 part grit. “Grit” is just any large inorganic particle, ideally of varying sizes. Grit does much the same thing that perlite does (and perlite is a kind of grit). Examples include: large sand particles such as construction sand, small gravel or rocks, or chicken grit.

That’s what we use to get all these nice plants you see here on Succulent City, but feel free to experiment.

Best commercial succulent soils

If you don’t feel like getting your hands dirty and mixing your own soil, there are a couple really great succulent and cacti mixes that are commercially available.

Black Gold Cactus Mix by Sun Gro Horticulture is the gold standard of succulent soils. It’s pretty incredible how well-balanced it is – there’s just enough organic material to fertilize the plant and plenty of inorganic stuff to balance it out and have excellent drainage. You can’t go wrong using this mix.

Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Gritty Mixis another fan favorite, but a little different. It’s a “gritty mix” which means it has virtually no organic matter and retains zero water. It’s technically not even soil. It’s awesome for succulents, especially the picky ones, but you need to adapt your watering a little to accommodate a mix that holds literally no water. Recommended for moderate to advanced growers.


That’s just about everything you need to know about soil and how it relates to succulents and cacti! Do you need any clarification or have any questions? Do you have a soil recipe you want to share? Let us know in the comments below!

If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

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