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Cactus Soil - Choosing The Best Cactus Soil Mixture

Updated on July 17, 2012

If you are just getting started in the hobby of growing cacti, one of the first questions you will probably ask would be about choosing the correct cactus soil mixture. Since cacti and other succulents grow in much different conditions than most other household plants, one can rightly assume that they have different nutritional and soil requirements. Choosing the right cactus soil can help your plants flourish, while choosing the wrong mixture can inhibit their development.

Premade Cactus Soil Mix

If this is your first venture into the realm of cactus care, or if you simply do not have the time to make you're own cactus soil, choosing a commercially available cactus soil mix is probably your best bet.  Many large gardening companies, such as Miracle Gro and Hirt's, sell their own type of succulent and cactus soil mixture.  Usually under $10 per bag, these mixtures provide all of the nutrients that cacti need, all while keeping in mind the dry soil qualities that need to be present in any cactus soil.  For the beginning, this is the easiest, most convenient and generally preferred method to get started in cactus care.

Homemade Cactus Soil Mix Recipe

If you are an experience grower of succulents, or if you are ready to dive in head first, you may opt to blend your own cactus soil.  Using a variety of different ingredients, you can easily create your own cactus soil mix recipe.

A good base to start with for your cactus soil mix recipe is normal potting soil.  Make sure you choose one that is not very "mulchy", as the nature of cactus soil can cause the wood chips to rot if your cactus watering schedule is too frequent.

From here you want to add an inorganic item to your mix, such as pumice stone.  If pumice stone is not available you may use non-absorbing cat litter.  The purpose of this ingredient in your cactus soil mix recipe to to provide an inorganic substance to help with draining and to keep the soil dry and airy.

Next you will want to add an ingredient, such as peat, which allows the cactus soil to hold moisture and nutrients.  You do not want the cactus soil to stay too moist (hence the purpose of the pumice stone), but it is important for there to be some water retention in your cactus soil mix.  Use peat sparingly, as the potting soil base you selected will most probably have a good deal of peat already in it.

Play around with the different mixtures in order to find a mix that is perfect for your plant and climate.  Following this basic cactus soil mix recipe will provide you with a good template for creating nutrient rich cactus soil.


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