Well draining soil for succulent container gardens

Having well draining soil is crucial for succulents. This post has the perfect succulent soil mix recipe and tells you where to buy the components!

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Most of my succulent gardening is done in containers, whether indoors or outdoors. I’m able to bring my succulents outside in the summer, but for about 2/3 of the year my plants are inside. I do have several containers of cold hardy succulents that I leave outdoors year round. I’ve done a lot of research about the best type of soil for succulent container gardens and I’ve tried several things, some of which work much better than others. 

I wanted to tell you today about the best soil I’ve used for my succulents. You’ve heard me talk about the Garden Web Forum before and I want to make sure I give proper credit to Al from the forum. He is the one (as far as I know) that came up with the soil mix that I use for my containers. If you want to read his post about why this is such a great soil for succulents, you can check out that post here.

Succulent soil is so important to keeping them alive! Find out the best soil for succulents in this post!
Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’

The first thing you need to know is that succulent roots do not get water from direct contact. Rather, they absorb the water molecules in the air. This is why having a succulent sitting in sopping wet soil is so problematic and makes the plant rot.

Everywhere you read about succulent soils they talk about having well draining soil. A lot of people recommend using regular soil and mixing in something like pearlite, which is what I did originally. While the soil mixed with pearlite worked ok for a while it still didn’t dry out quickly enough and I ended up with quite a few plants with early signs of rot. That is when I started researching the best soils for succulents.

Click next to get the recipe for the perfect succulent soil mix!

Next

(I’ll also tell you why the mix is so great and show you where you can buy the mix already made!)

Don't let your succulents die because you don't know how to properly water them!

209 Responses to Well draining soil for succulent container gardens

  1. Hi Cassidy,
    I would just like to say I love your blog and I wanted to know what kind of soil should you use for starting out succulents. I’ve just started out propagating some leaves and what to know what soil is the best for succulents when they just start to sprout. I’m not sure if the Bonsai jack mix is too bulky for little succulents. Also what kind of soil and container is good for outside succulents? is bonsai jack too quick-draining for outside succulents or will normal potting soil work?

    • It does seem too chunky for such a small plant but this soil will be really good for it t grow into, to be a healthy plant.

  2. I went ahead and re-potted my succulents in the “succulent soil/perlite mixture but the soil seems to be staying moist much longer than was typical and I am worrying that they are getting too much water. What do I do?

    • Take a look at your pot to see if it has a drainage hole, if it does not you will want to water the plants less often, for more time for the soil to dry out, this post has more information on that. Otherwise you are watering too much and should wait until the soil has dried out. Hope this helps!

      • I have a big drainage hole at the bottom and I have not watered them even once since I planted them. When I planted them I gave them a good amount of water (did not over-water since nothing came out of the drainage hole) just to let them settle in. I went ahead and re-potted them yesterday and the entire mass of soil/perlite was saturated like mud, I couldn’t believe it. I transplanted them into pure succulent soil like I usually use and I’m hoping they come back from that trauma. I guess I’ve learned my lesson that if something is working well for you, don’t change it. My succulents seem to thrive in succulent soil in my environment.

        • It’s good you determined that now. It definitely takes some experimenting to see what works as ever growing environment is different. If they can dry out for several days, or even a week or two, before watering again they should recover.

          • Thanks Cassidy. They are drying out and do look like they are recovering, I’m so glad. And just to mention, my first attempt at propagating with leaves of various types is going very well and I’m super excited.

  3. I’m trying to propagate some leaves and I have bonsai jack soil, but it seems to chunky…can you recommend a good soil for fresh cuttings and leaves. Thanks Cassidy, your wealth of information is so very much apppreciated…

    • Thank you! It does seem odd to be plating leaves and cutting in bonsai Jack’s soil, but I have done it and it still works great! But if you want to look at something else I would recommend this soil.

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