Can You Use Regular Potting Soil For Cactus?


The most crucial step in ensuring the longevity of your cactus is selecting the proper soil.

Considering the wide variety of soil types available, it is natural to wonder whether or not to use regular potting soil for cactus.

This article will discuss if you can grow cacti in all-purpose potting soil and what type of dirt it needs. Additionally, we will also discuss the differences between the cactus mix and regular potting soil.

Can Regular Potting Soil Be Used For Cactus?

Cactus cannot be grown in standard potting soil without additions. It is because of its high water-retentive properties. Cacti require potting soil with quick drainage but low water retention.

Having said that, let’s explore the distinction between conventional and cactus potting soil and what you need to know to give your plants the greatest chance to succeed.

The majority of cactus plants are indigenous to arid regions. Therefore, as a result, they are used to growing on sandy soil.

For the plants to thrive when they are introduced to a new location, the proper soil must also be provided.

These plants specifically require fast-draining dirt. 

A lot of aeration should also be provided by the soil. Cactus potting soil should have some organic material that holds onto moisture but dries out rather rapidly.

Cactus Soil Care

As we already indicated, healthy cactus soil ought to drain water more quickly. Root rot might happen from soil that retains water for an extended period. Therefore,  Don’t plant your cactus in ordinary garden soil.

To prevent water from collecting in the bottom, it is crucial to check that the drain holes are functioning. To keep the soil from drying out too rapidly, feel free to add organic material to your potting soil.

Cactus roots also enjoy loose soil. Therefore, you must ensure that your soil mix is properly prepared to give the roots adequate oxygenation.

As soon as you notice roots beginning to emerge from the drain holes, it is time to start thinking about repotting your plants and changing the soil.

Repotting is required for the majority of cactus species once in two to three years. However, if you have a slow-growing species, then the repotting may be done every four to five years.

Repotting should be done in the spring while the plants are about to start growing.

To guarantee that the roots and root ball are wet throughout the re-potting procedure, it is also advised to water the plant two days before repotting.

Cactus Soil Choices

To avoid root rot problems and over saturation of your beloved cactus plant cells, make sure the soil is quick-draining when producing or purchasing a cactus potting mix.

To prevent the plant from drying out, you must, however, make sure that the soil can hold the water you give it.

The nutritional requirements of cactus plants must also be met by your potting mixture. When selecting cactus potting soil, keep the following important things in mind: 

Which Is Better, Organic Soil Or Non-Organic Soil?

gardener transplanting little green cactuses with needles
Photo by Teona Swift on

Container gardening works well with both organic and non-organic combinations. The main distinction between the two is the necessity for fertilizer in non organic mixtures to supply the plant with vital nutrients.

However, because they are nutrient-rich, organic mixtures are more sustainable for long-term use.

Most of the time, the organic components are in various states of decomposition.

In the long run, the organic compounds continue to nourish the soil as they break down and decay, and therefore, are better to be used.

What Should Be Included In Cactus Potting Soil?

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Understanding the components is essential to selecting the finest potting mix.

  • Vermiculite / perlite promotes soil drainage
  • Calcined soil or sphagnum peat moss helps with water absorption.
  • Composite organic matter supplies your plant with vital nutrients.

Vermiculite is typically utilized in soil that is either medium to heavy. It is because it retains more water than perlite.

When the is not alkaline, some potting mixes additionally contain lime to assist maintain pH equilibrium.

Cacti plants often need soil that promotes good air circulation. To aid in the issue of air circulation, you should often search for or make a potting mix that is a little bit light and fluffy.

Avoid dirt that is densely packed or compacted since it might lead to long-term issues. Cactus roots won’t be able to develop effectively in soil that becomes too compacted when it rains.

While some potting soils have already been blended, others have not. It is better to have mixed soil if you are just starting. Pre-mixed soil has several benefits, but one of the biggest is that it may be used right out of the box.

If you do not have time and energy to mix soil yourself,  getting the special cactus or succulent soil can be a good option.

It doesn’t require any special preparation on your part, nor do you need to add any other ingredients. For gardeners who don’t have the time to prepare the soil beforehand, this is a practical choice.

Additionally, you must check the pH of the cactus potting soil. Because they don’t have to worry about the pH.

Pre-mixed cactus soil is made to have a certain pH balance that will support the growth of your plants.

The soil shouldn’t be very alkaline or acidic. For cacti, a neutral to slightly acidic soil pH is ideal. In the numbers, the pH level is preferable to be between 5.5 and 7.5.

How To Make Cactus Soil Mix at Home

Although nurseries and garden stores provide pre-made cactus soil mixture, you may manufacture your own at home using a basic cactus soil formula.

Step 1:

Choose the right soil mixture for your cactus by identifying its species. The proportions of the components you use in your potting mix may need to alter depending on the demands of the plants you are growing, such as desert cactus or tropical succulents.

Step 2:

Gather the required organic and inorganic ingredients according to the needs of your particular cactus. Perlite, Coconut coir, Coarse sand, Crushed granite,  Pumice, Chicken grit, gravel, and regular potting soil are all popular ingredients for cactus soil.

Step 3:

Thoroughly combine the dirt. Depending on the needs of your particular plant, there are several soil combination alternatives to think about. You can take 3 parts of the ratio of regular potting soil and also 3 parts of either gravel, sand, or grit.

Additionally, add 2 parts of either pumice or perlite. So, this 3:3:2 ratio mix will provide the perfect cactus soil formula. Before you give the soil to your cactus plant, fully combine the components in this ratio in a big container.

Bottom Line

You may still cultivate your cactus plants in conventional soil or the regular potting soil, however, it is not recommended.

Don’t use the regular potting soil or any of those soils mentioned above by themselves, because it can cause additional problems.

These soils retain moisture for an excessive amount of time, and they may contain a variety of fertilizer additions that are not suitable for cactus plants.

As a result, rather than utilizing ordinary soil to nurture your cactus, think about including it as one of the components of your oil potting soil mix.

Peride Beradze
Peride is an avid planter, Tour Manager and freelance writer. She is a plant collector who mainly focuses on succulents. She loves studying cultures, traveling and learning new languages.

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