The 5 Best Soils for Succulents of 2023 for Thriving Plants

Bonsai Jacks’ Gritty Mix drains very quickly, creating an environment that cacti and succulents love.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

The 5 Best Soil for Succulents of 2022 for Thriving Plants

Amazon

Succulents and cacti are popular both as houseplants and as outdoor garden plants. However, they have different needs than many other plants you may grow, so choosing the best soil for your succulents is important. As plants native to desert conditions, succulents are easy to overwater, so it’s best to choose a mix that promotes good drainage.

Potting mixes designed specifically for cacti and succulents are easy to find, but many of these mixes don’t actually contain any soil at all. To help you find the best soil for succulents, we researched a variety of picks, keeping in mind the size of the package, intended use, and whether or not it’s an organic blend. We also consulted Justin Hancock, a horticulturist at Costa Farms, and Angelica Elliott, assistant director of public horticulture with Desert Botanical Garden, for additional insight. 

Overall, the best soil for succulents is Bonsai Jack’s Gritty Mix, a fast-draining mix that helps prevent root rot (especially good for those gardeners prone to overwatering). Keep reading to see more of our favorite soils for succulents.

Best Overall

Bonsai Jack’s Gritty Mix

Bonsai Jack’s Gritty Mix

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This potting mix is very fast-draining and mimics the naturally dry environment that succulents love. It’s also a great choice for beginners who often tend to overwater their plants. 

Keep in Mind: Because the mix is so fast-draining, you’ll need to water more often than you might with other potting soils. This is great for many gardeners but might not be good for folks who forget to water or want to water only once a month.

The best soil for succulents helps improve drainage, like the Bonsai Jacki’s Gritty Mix. This potting mix is designed for succulents, cacti, and bonsai and is fast-draining. Plus, because it drains so quickly, this mix can help prevent root rot often caused by overwatering. This makes it a great choice for beginning succulent gardeners who may be tempted to water their succulents too often. 

The ready-to-use mix has an optimized pH of 5.5, which makes it ideal for succulents, cacti, bonsai, and other plants that do well in acidic soil. It’s also a great choice for echeveria, crassula, lithops, jade, aloe, haworthia, crassula, and more. 

The lightweight soil is made with Pine Coir, Bonsai Block (calcined clay), and Monto Clay. It’s also free of peat moss, which has come under scrutiny from environmentalists in recent years. The mix of tan, dark brown, and other earth tones in the potting mix ensures it looks great in your planters, so you won’t need any top dressing. Plus, the dye-free soil is made with pine bark that’s treated to prevent the spread of pathogens and invasive species. 

Part of what makes this pick one of the best soils for succulents is it is easy to use. If you’re repotting a plant, you can remove as much of the old potting soil as you can (without hurting the roots) and pour this mix into your planter. Afterward, all you have to do is water it well and then wait to water it again until the mix is completely dry. 

Price at time of publish: $15

Product Details: Size: 2 quarts | Use: Succulents, cacti, and bonsai | Organic: No

Best Budget

Espoma Organic Cactus Mix

Espoma Organic Cactus Mix

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This organic potting mix packs in a lot of natural ingredients to help your succulents thrive.

Keep in Mind: It does include peat moss, which might concern some gardeners.

The Espoma Organic Cactus Mix is the best soil for succulents if you’re looking for a less expensive option. Made of all-natural ingredients, the organic mix can be used on both indoor and outdoor plants, including succulents, palm, and citrus. 

The formula does contain peat moss, a controversial ingredient due to environmental concerns. In addition to sphagnum peat moss, however, the lightweight potting mix contains humus and perlite, which help provide the necessary aeration and drainage for cacti and succulents. 

The mix also includes mycorrhizae, a soil microbe that helps improve the health of the plant’s roots, and limestone to adjust the pH for optimum growth. Although water will drain through freely, the mix will retain enough water to support plant health. 

You can use this mix when you’re starting a new plant or transplanting it into a larger container. Just keep in mind that it’s a good idea to repot your succulents annually into a larger container to help them continue to grow and thrive. 

Price at time of publish: $12

Product Details: Size: 4 quarts | Use: Succulents, palm, and citrus | Organic: Yes

Best Organic

Wonder Soil Premium Cactus & Succulent Mix

Wonder Soil Premium Cactus & Succulent Mix

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This mix contains coconut coir, a natural and renewable resource, along with other organic amendments.

Keep in Mind: It’s more expensive than other options.

Although this soil is more expensive than other options, just a little bit of this mix will go a long way. That’s because it includes dry compressed coconut coir, which expands when it’s watered. In other words, you’ll only need 1/3 cup of this mix for a 4-inch pot and five cups for a gallon container, for example. 

In addition to coco coir, which is a natural and renewable resource sometimes used to replace peat moss, this potting mix contains a number of other beneficial ingredients. It includes worm castings, which provide beneficial microbes and slowly release nitrogen, and mycorrhizae, a beneficial fungus that helps promote a stronger root system. There’s also kelp, which increases the plant’s resistance to disease, and pumice, which helps promote better drainage and aeration. 

To use this mix in containers, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions about how much to use, water the mix to make it expand, stir to aerate after the potting mix is fully expanded, and watch your plants grow.  

Price at time of publish: $32

Product Details: Size: 3 pounds | Use: Cacti and succulents | Organic: Yes

Best for Outdoor Succulents

Superfly Bonsai Succulent & Cactus Soil Mix

Superfly Bonsai Succulent & Cactus Soil Mix

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This mix promotes good drainage but also retains enough water, so you may not have to water your plants as often as with some other fast-draining mixes. 

Keep in Mind: It’s not an organic mix.

To spruce up your outdoor garden, the best soil for succulents to consider is the Superfly Bonsai Succulent & Cactus Soil Mix. The dirt-free mix, which can work for both indoor and outdoor plants,  is made up of equal parts Japanese akadama, a clay-like component that’s good at retaining water, pumice, New Zealand pine bark, and haydite, an expanded shale that can absorb excess water and release it to the roots slowly. 

Together, the soil’s components promote good drainage and water retention in the mix. They are designed to help the mix stay wet for just the right amount of time before drying out and allowing air to reach the plant’s root system, which will help keep most cacti and succulents in good shape. 

The ready-to-use potting mix is available in several sizes: 1.25, 2.5, 6, and 12 quarts. The different size options are especially helpful if you are planning to plant your succulents outdoors in a raised bed. You can also use the succulent mix on its own or mix it with existing soil outside. 

Thanks to a combination of colors and textures, the potting soil adds interest to succulent containers, which is ideal, especially if you have them on display outside. 

Price at time of publish: $14

Product Details: Size: 1.25 dry quarts | Use: Cacti and succulents | Organic: No

Best for Propagation

RePotMe Imperial Cactus and Succulent Classic Potting Mix

RePotMe Imperial Cactus and Succulent Classic Potting Mix

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This potting mix is made in small batches with simple ingredients so you know what you’re getting. 

Keep in Mind: It’s a bit more expensive than some other mixes.

This RePotMe soil is made in small batches with fresh, high-quality ingredients, making it one of the best soil for succulents to consider. Each batch is inspected to make sure it doesn’t include any bugs or larvae. Plus, it also doesn’t include any peat moss. 

The mix is made with small Monterey pine bark, medium pumice rock, and small red lava rock. It’s a simple recipe yet effective at draining away extra moisture. The potting mix works for most succulents and cacti, including jade, echeveria, Christmas cactus, and more. 

The contrasting colors in the mix offer an upscale look for your potted plants as well, so there’s no need for an extra top dressing for decoration. This mix is sold in a resealable bag for easy storage, which is ideal especially if you don’t plan to use it all at once. You’ll just want to make sure it’s completely dry before storing it away for an extended period of time. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Product Details: Size: 2 quarts | Use: Cacti and succulents | Organic: No

The Bottom Line

Overall, the best soil for succulents is Bonsai Jack’s Gritty Mix because it’s fast-draining and looks great in containers. The bags are also offered in three sizes, and the soil is free of peat moss. 

What to Know About Soil for Succulents Before Shopping

Size

Most potting mixes for succulents are available in several different sizes, so the best option depends on whether you’re just repotting a favorite succulent or propagating a collection of your favorite plants. Unfortunately, sizes are not consistent across the board—some packages are labeled in pounds and some as dry quarts. To help, some brands will even specify how much mix you will need for various sizes of planting containers. 

Use

Generally, the best soils for succulents will work well for any type of succulent, but it’s always a good idea to check the instructions on the potting mix to make sure. Some potting mixes are specified as indoor or outdoor mixes. 

According to Elliott, outdoor mixes often have more fertilizer or may contain moisture-retaining pellets. Overall, many of the best soil for succulents can work for both houseplants and raised garden beds outside. 

Organic

Though organic soils will generally be labeled as such, you can also check out the Organic Materials Review Institute. In general, a truly organic mix will be made of the decomposed remains of plant materials and other organic matter, like the remnants of worms. 

Your Questions, Answered

What are some key ingredients soil for succulents should have? 

In general, the best soil for succulents should have ingredients that promote good drainage and aeration. 

“Succulent mixes usually have ingredients that make them gritty, with lots of air spaces, so you tend to see components like perlite, sand, gravel, and bark mixed in with a base like peat or coir to hold some moisture,” says Hancock.

If peat moss, a controversial ingredient, is included, it’s worth ensuring it was harvested sustainably. If you want to avoid any concerns with peat moss, however, you may want to choose a mix that uses coconut coir. The ingredient is made from shredded coconut husks and is considered a more sustainable choice by some. 

Can you use regular potting mix for succulents? 

When it comes to succulents, you can use a regular potting mix, but you may want to amend it to increase your chance of success. 

“You can use regular potting soil as long as you mix it with pumice or perlite,” Elliott says. “Pumice and perlite help with adding drainage to the soil.”

You’ll also want to keep in mind that your watering style will impact the success you have with succulent potting mixes and regular potting soil. If you are using standard potting soil that retains water well, you’ll need to use less water and water less frequently. If you do that, you may be successful in growing succulents in regular potting soil. 

“If your watering is on point, a regular potting mix shouldn’t be a problem,” Hancock says. “But if you’re not confident in your watering, then a mix made for cacti and succulents gives you more leeway before your plants suffer.”  

Can you use cactus soil for succulents? 

Yes, but keep in mind that the best soil for succulents is typically designed for both cacti and succulents

“Most manufacturers who offer a cacti/succulent soil position it for both plant groups since these plants have similar moisture/aeration needs,” Hancock says.

Who We Are

Renee Freemon Mulvihill is a freelance writer who specializes in home and garden topics. To write this product roundup, she researched products online and checked in with Justin Hancock, a horticulturist at Costa Farms, and Angelica Elliott, Assistant Director of Public Horticulture with Desert Botanical Garden, to find out more about what to look for in a potting mix for cactus and succulents. 

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles