It’s so sad that you can’t go to the store and pick up a bag of “succulent soil” and call it a day. Most bagged soils aren’t even suited for succulents and almost always need amendments of some type! After trying a bajillion different combinations, I have found one that is not only practical but easy to make as well. “The Best Soil for Succulents” is a sponsored post thanks to DEJAPAN. As always, all thoughts are my own!
the upper layer of earth in which plants grow, a black or dark brown material typically consisting of a mixture of organic remains, clay, and rock particles.
There is a lot of debate about which is the best soil for succulents. Some say you can grow them in straight potting soil and others say it needs to be a precise blend of inorganic matter.
Then you have those are that in the middle.
I’m in the middle (altho I’ve grown succulents in just about everything) and at the end of the day I want what is quickest, easiest, and cheapest (but at the same time, the healthiest).
Depending on where you live, the soil you choose can be crucial to the health of your succulents. Here in North Carolina, it is humid – like walking into a sauna at the gym humid. That means the best succulent soil might be a bit different than say, somewhere out west where it is much more arid.
I need to be able to water my succulents and have it dry out SUPER QUICKLY in order to prevent root rot.
I like my soils to be gritty – I’m talking “when you think you’ve added enough pumice, throw in another handful for good measure” type gritty. This means the soil that nursery succulents come in and most bagged soils won’t do. Grit ensures the plant’s roots are getting the proper balance of oxygen and water that they need. You can’t have a happy plant without happy roots and you can’t have happy roots without happy soil!
Most of you know I live in a log cabin so I’m a bit limited to what I can grow indoors. Aloes, jades, and panda plants are all perfect for growing in areas that aren’t beaming with bright light. (They do need SOME light tho!) I recently aquired a set of aloe cuttings so when I saw these ADORABLE ceramic planters, I totally had to get them. Like with most things, I wasn’t even looking for the planters to begin with but rather that awesome bonsai screen you see there to sift my soil. You’ll never believe where I found them though.
I got them through a proxy shopping site called DEJAPAN. Oh, and that jute twine – that’s for me to try my hand at kokedama.
DEJAPAN allows you to shop Amazon Japan, Yahoo! Auctions, Rakuten and a bunch of other sites from the convenience of one simple platform. I had never used a proxy so this was 100% new to me – every single last detail – but I loved the fact that I could buy something from overseas that may not be available here!
I knew I wanted to buy a soil sieve for my succulents so I put that into the search and this is what came up →
Tip: You can search in both Japanese or English!
I got back 5 hits and quite honestly I didn’t know the difference between the one for sale on Amazon Japan and the one on Yahoo! Shopping (they looked exactly the same). There also weren’t any reviews on either one of the metal sieves so I just assumed the more expensive one was better so I added it to my cart. I shopped around a little longer and that’s when I found the 8 piece set of ceramic planters (with holes in the bottom!) and the ball of jute twine.
This is where things are different than a normal shopping trip on *our* Amazon.
To check out, simply pay as usual then wait for the item(s) to be shipped to the DEJAPAN warehouse (vs. directly to you). Once it arrives in their warehouse, you will get an email letting you know it’s time for you to pay to have it shipped to your door. You can choose the best shipping method that suits your needs and then it will be on its way to you!
I had my package of succulent goodies sitting on my front porch in THREE days from Japan. THREE DAYS.
So, How Do You Make the Best Soil for Succulents?
Remember I said I like to keep it simple? Well, here it is. I have found that the best soil for succulents is made up of 1 part Black Gold Cactus Mix and 1 part 3/16″ Pumice (I get mine from General Pumice Products). I love Black Gold because it doesn’t contain ANY sphagnum peat moss. Brands like Miracle Grow use this as their main ingredient because it’s cheap (it also contains junk like massive rocks, glass, metal, and even syringes) and keeps their profits high. It’s also super water retentive and super bad for the roots of your plants. It can actually become hydrophobic once dry meaning it actually repels water away from the roots (which kinda defeats the purpose of watering!).
I used my awesome new soil sieve to sift a whole bag of Black Gold in a matter of minutes. You can change out the different sizes of screen and I ended up using both of the larger mesh screens, sifting twice.
I don’t know why but this feels sooooo goooood in your hands.
This is from a few handfuls and is why it’s important to sift this soil! These big chunks have got to GO. It’s a small price to pay when you can actually find soil without sphagnum peat moss.
Once you get it all sifted, it should look a little something like this. It’s perfectly gritty and will allow the water to flow through to the bottom of your pot almost instantly – and that’s exactly what you want.
With the proper soil, there’s no need to “add rocks to the bottom of the pot for drainage” cause that doesn’t even help drainage anyway! #gardenmyth
If you’re in a super humid area, you can add in up to 50% pumice by volume. I normally just add a couple scoops of Black Gold and a couple scoops of sifted pumice to a small bucket and mix. For example, if I have 2 scoops of Black Gold, I’ll add 2 scoops of pumice. It’s that easy!
The little ceramic planters that I bought were packed beautifully. I was kinda curious as to whether or not they would withstand their long journey and they did! You could have dropped my box from the moon and these little pots wouldn’t have shattered!
Once I cleaned the roots of the little aloe cuttings I filled the ceramic planters part of the way full with the newly blended gritty, peat-free soil. I then placed the little plants in their new homes before filling them the rest of the way with soil.
If you want, you can add top dressing but I don’t really recommend it, especially for here in the sauna of the south. It traps in moisture and makes it difficult to tell when it’s time to water again. If you do decide to add a top dressing, I would go with something porous such as pumice.
That’s it! My new little ceramic planters are going to look awesome sitting in my big picture window!
Have you ever ordered anything straight from Japan? If so, did you use a proxy service? Let me know in the comments below!
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