What DIY Soil Mix Is Best For Succulents Indoors?

Photo: Annie Spratt

Succulents are extremely hardy plants that are accustomed to living in semi-arid to arid desert environments. That means they need far fewer resources than other plants in terms of water and nutrients, but they do need as much light as possible.

When it comes to watering your succulents e.g. Hen & Chicks you'll want to vary it by season.

When thinking about how to transplant succulents for moving them inside it’s important to consider the type of variables you can control for your succulents to be happy. Let's start with soil.

DIY Soil Mix Recipe For Your Succulents Indoors

You can either make your own cactus soil mix or buy one. Just be aware that not all store bought succulent soil mixes are good quality. We've heard mixed experiences about Miracle Gro cactus soil mix, for example.

If you want to go the DIY route here's what to do.

Create a 50/50 mix of potting soil and sand, and add 1 inch of pea gravel to the bottom of your container (whether it has a drainage hole or not). You can also put some pea gravel on the soil surface.

This gritty soil mix combined with sparse watering will ensure that your succulent gets the exact amount of minerals and water it needs to thrive indoors.

The key thing with your succulent is to ensure it’s well-drained as sogginess is the enemy of happy succulents!

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Give Your Succulent Tons of light

When you bring your transplant your succulents and bring them inside in fall or winter you’ll need to replicate the amount of light they get outside. If you’re in a year-round sunny environment a bright window may be enough. If not, you’ll need an artificial light source.

Lights For Your Succulents Indoors

To keep your succulents happy indoors during the fall, winter and spring months they will require plenty of light. To accomplish that you will need a bright window. Should you lack that you might consider getting a full spectrum grow light.

Succulent Watering For Indoor Conditions

In the desert succulents face long dry periods and then a deluge of water in a storm event. You’ll want to water your succulents in the same way at home when your succulents are indoors.

Give them a complete soaking and then leave them for a long period of time - possibly weeks.

In contrast, when propagating other plants such as basil you'll keep your cuttings in water. With succulents, not so much!

You can use a plant moisture meter to ensure that your succulent has optimum levels of moisture as it can be hard to tell by just touching the soil surface.

Sometimes the surface of your succulent soil can be bone dry while there is plenty of moisture down below. The only way to know for sure is a moisture meter.

Frequently Asked Questions About Making a DIY Soil Blend For Indoor Succulents

What is Perlite?

Perlite is actually an non-organic white volcanic glass that is used as a soil additive for plants such as succulents. It is available at most major stores with a gardening section. Whether you use rocks, soil, pumice or Perlite is up to you - they all perform the same job.

What Should the Ratio of Organic to Inorganic Material Be In My Succulent Soil Mix?

If you are NOT buying a cactus blend and want to make your own succulent soil mix We recommend using 50% inorganic material to 50% organic material. In practice, at the simplest level this means stiring in some sand into your soil of choice - at the ratio recommended above (50% sand to 50% potting soil with 1 inch of pea gravel in the bottom of your container).

For your 50% inorganic you might choose instead to use a mix of pumice, Perlite, sand and gravel. There are many combinations of inorganic material that will work, so choose the one that speaks to you the most.

Is There a Difference Between Succulent Soil For Indoors vs Outdoors?

No, the recommended ratio of soil to inorganic material is the same whether your succulents will be inside or outside.

Growing succulents indoors is super easy if you have the right soil. Just remember to add some gritty inorganic material so that the soil is not too fertile and drains extremely well so it doesn't stay soggy.

Have fun, and let us know how it goes!


Our own experience with propagating and transplanting succulents, and professionally installing succulent rock gardens... plus:



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