The soil that you use for your cactus is not the same as what you would use in a flower pot. Cactus are some of the most challenging plants to grow, and they need their own special soil. If you want to know more about why this matters, read on!
Can I Use Cactus Soil for Other Plants?
Yes, cactus soil can be used for other plants. There are plenty of gardeners that have successfully used cactus soil instead of potting mix. Cactus soil is a good foundation for all plant potting mixes, as it provides great aeration and drainage.
The only requirement needed is the addition of moisture and natural fertilizer so that your plant has everything it needs to thrive.
Here’s how I do it: The base of the potting mix is made up primarily of cactus soil, which provides excellent drainage for your plants. The rest should be filled with peat moss and perlite to provide a healthy environment that allows the plant to thrive.
Giving soil advice is an impossible task as different plants have their own specific needs. For example, orchids love to be kept in dry soil, whereas ferns enjoy being watered often.
What Does Cactus Soil Contain?
Cacti grow in dry and harsh environments, so their potting mixes are composed of little more than stones, sand, and some compost. Here’s what you find:
- Sand: For extra weight and drainage
- Compost: For some microbe growth
- Perlite: Keeps everything together and get’s rid of unwanted moisture (I think you’re noticing a theme here)
- Stones: The use of rocks is a well-known technique for improving the drainage and preventing air gaps
From the gritty sand to weightless pebbles, cactus soil has a few inorganic materials that make it unique. A good cactus mix allows any excess water to escape and many succulents love this feature of their habitat.
What Soil do Regular Plants like?
You’ve got yourself all sorts of new plants – congrats! But what’s going into their potting mix? The soil you use will depend on whether the plant in question needs great drainage or if its roots should stay moist most days.
Soil is not just made up of dirt. There are many different textures that can be mixed together for the perfect potting soil recipe, depending on which plant you’re growing and what type of texture they need to grow in their habitat.
Miracle Grow Potting Mix (Amazon link) is what I use for all of my houseplants. It is filled with ingredients that provide your plants with the nutrients they need for a healthy life.
It’s worth mentioning that you don’t want to use soil from your outdoor plants on indoor houseplants, as it can result in root rot from a lack of drainage.
What is the Difference Between Cactus Soil and Other Soil?
Cacti thrive in the desert, where they don’t need to be watered much. In order for them not to drown from flooding or remain parched indefinitely without water, it is crucial that their soil drains well and doesn’t collect too many puddles. As such, cactus soil comes with loads of stones and sand.
Unlike cacti, most houseplants are from the tropics, which means they need more water to thrive. These beautiful plants thrive on rich, moist soil that can keep them fed and watered for a few days.
House plants and succulents represent two opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to nutrients. Most houseplants need soil that is rich with organic matter, while succulents thrive in dry conditions without a lot of nutrient density.
Both cacti and tropical houseplants require aeration. As such, both types of potting mix should include materials that improve the amount of air circulation. More oxygen gives your plants a chance to breathe and promotes the maximum amount of growth.
In conclusion, there is no such thing as the “perfect soil mix” that can be used for all plants. For some plants, cactus soil might work just fine. However, if you have a fern on hand, then you should find something more moist for it to thrive in.
If you do have a load of cactus mix just sitting around, then you can make your potting mix more interesting by mixing in some cactus soil. This will provide excellent drainage, aeration, and a nice texture for plants to grow in!
Tim is an avid gardener from the UK. He was the founder of PlantCarer.com from 2021 to Sep 2023. He sold PlantCarer.com to Aaron. He has since started his own business called Seed To Supper, which provides new gardeners all the materials you need in a box (pots, seeds, compost and instructions) to grow your own delicious and nutritious vegetables and herbs from start to finish – no garden required.