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Potting Soil Recipe for Cacti and Succulents

Perfect drainage makes this recipe succeed

Fine Gardening - Issue 125

The Recipe
5 parts perlite
4 parts bagged potting soil
1 part coarse sand
Pinch of rock dust

Top-dress the container soil with small river rock, gravel, aquarium stone, or a fine-grade roofing gravel to keep the crowns of the plants from rotting.

To increase acidity just slightly—something all succulents like—add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 5 gallons water when watering.

View Comments


  1. user-7007731 07/26/2015

    English is my 3'rd language, what do you mean when you say parts? A hand full?

    1. user-7007897 11/12/2015

      It means parts of the whole, which is ten (5+4+1)

      Half the mix is perlite (5/10)
      40% potting soil (4/10)
      10% sand (1/10)

    2. noor_sani 09/22/2017

      Parts is referring to what ever measuring amount you want to use example, 1cup potting mix +1 cup perlite + 1 cup gravel. Or 1 bucket of potting mix + 1 bucket perlite + 1 bucket gravel.

  2. fishmonster 07/23/2016

    Commercially available cactus mix commonly available is NOT the way to go. It holds moisture for a surprisingly long time and it dries much to hard. I have had to come back and dig some of my cacti up and they become extremely hard in North Texas. I recommend two parts of commercial potting mix, two parts of perlite, small rocks (gravel) and one part sand-the coarser the better. This is much better tan just Miracle Grow potting soil. I have forty-nine many variety of cacti and all of them are outside sitting in the direct sun. Our summer temperatures average 100 degrees and the cactus thrive. I keep my bags of Miracle Grow potting mix outside and after a heavy rain they are wet for a surprisingly long time. I used to keep them in my garage but I learned from an open bag that this stuff really has an unpleasant odor. Although I live in North Texas I have eight tons of rock in the back yard including a multi-color flagstone patio.

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