When it comes to the subject of potting soil for succulents, there are three main types. Each one has its own benefits, drawbacks and uses so it’s important you understand them and decide which is best for you and your plants. It’s also important to know that some of these three types can actually harm your plants. So, let’s get started.
The first type is known as clay. Some people think they need a good drainage ingredient in their soil, but clay actually robs moisture from the soil. If you are growing plants for succulents, then this should not be a consideration. Remember that they don’t have root systems to pull water from the ground like we do. So, don’t buy stuffs with a drainage ingredient or expect good results from your plants.
Potting cactus soil mix is a blend of clay and cactus seed. Most people who try to make their own blend find that it’s too moist or loose. It should be firm and well packed with nutrients. It should also have a good drainage so that excess water draining off the plant doesn’t run away. But make sure you don’t use it for plants with glossy leaves. Glistening leaves can actually damage a poorly mixed blend.
The next variety is known as sand. It contains finely ground sand and a few other types of fertilizers. It can help prevent diseases and insects, which are good for most succulents. However, it is only a good combination for those with small spaces. Biger plants can still survive with this infestation if there is enough space between them.
If you are going with the sand mixture, make sure to use coir as a main ingredient. Coir is rich in microorganisms that will help clean and condition your soil. Some experts recommend mixing in charcoal to the ratio of one to two parts sand and one to three parts coir.
Another option would be clay to sand. This blend has medium-to-great water drainage properties. Experts say that although this is not the ideal soil type for most succulents, it can work on some types like Java Fern.
To make a good soil mixture, you should also add a fine bit of compost to the mix. Most experts recommend the inclusion of castings of dried manure from cows or sheep. The main ingredient of this mixture, however, should be coarse sand or perlite.
Potting soil for succulents should have the proper balance of nutrient-rich medium to coarse grains to provide proper nutrition. Beneficials should be planted alongside other plants that are also good for the ecosystem. Compacted gravels, well-draining soil, and plants with similar needs will also work well. A little observation can go a long way in creating a healthy ecosystem for your plants.
In order to have healthy plants, you should not forget to include drainage holes in your potting mixture. This is important so that your plants do not overheat or suffer from lack of water. However, you should remember that drainage holes are only ideal if you plant your plant at the right depth. For instance, if you plant your succulent on the edge of your pot, it will need more water than if you plant it deeper. If your plant grows up too high, it can become susceptible to fungus and other root-rotting diseases. You can solve this problem by making the bottom part of the pot slanted.
Clay potting mixes can also be a good option for your plants. Experts suggest mixing some peat moss into the mixture to enhance its water-retention properties. Clay, as you may know, is one of the most absorbent materials available. That is why it is an excellent choice for storing perlite and flax seed mixes as they tend to retain a little moisture.
However, it is important to know that super soft soil is not the best soil for plants. Most of the succulents I personally know prefer clay or compost for their potting soil. Perlite, on the other hand, is ideal for plants that love moisture. It retains a considerable amount of moisture and has the added benefit of having a very nice, wide surface. On the other hand, the best soil for overwatering is vermiculite. It is extremely absorbent and very well-suited for tropical or subtropical plants.
In addition to the actual ingredients you add to your soil, the correct pH level is also vital for healthy plants. Potting soil should have a specific pH level to suit the needs of each plant. This is determined by measuring the weight of the plant in your garden center and then adding three numbers to get the soil’s PH level. For example, if your plant weighs about twenty pounds, you would add pH 7 to the potting mix. If the plant weights anything less than twenty pounds, it should be pH 6.