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!

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!


(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!

169 Responses to Well draining soil for succulent container gardens

  1. Hi, I have a couple od succulents that the stock/stem is drying up. They appear very dry and skinny in a section and it just keeps getting worse. What do you think? The plant leaves look ok until it has gotten really bad.

    • It does sound like it needs more water, but at this point I think you’ll need to cut off the top where it’s still healthy. Wait a few days for the end to dry out and then plant it in a well draining soil. Here’s a post that has more info and should help.

  2. I love your posts and have read every one. However, your website has gotten so crowded with squares and bars with P, f, and twitter bird that I can no longer read everything! May give up due to frustration!

  3. This is very good information, I have recently joined the Cactus and Succulent Society here in Barbados,I am eager to learn more about these amazing plants. I love them.

  4. Thank you for the recipe. I live in the Western Cape in South Africa so I will definitely try your soil mix.

    Pauline Smith

  5. Hi I’m new to succulents and my daughter brought home a small plant in a mini flower pot and I could tell it was different than anything else I’ve ever seen…but I absolutely love this plant!! I honestly don’t know anything about these plants and keeping plants alive for that matter. I have been lucky so far and the plant is still alive.It was planted with regular potting soil if I’m not mistaken and to me it looks like the dirt is packed around it. I really want to know what my succulent’s name. It’s a beautiful plant and it seems like something even I could grow. Is there any way I could send a picture for you to identify it for me? Thanks in advance!

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I'm Cassidy, a professional photographer turned succulent addict and the author and photographer here at Succulents and Sunshine. This is me with my wonderful husband and super cute baby!

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