Soil for Cactus: How to Choose, Make It Yourself, and Take Care of It

What soil is suitable for cacti? How to prepare the soil for them? Which soil composition is suitable for planting? You will find the answers to all these questions in our article.

The basic requirements for soil

Cactus soil should be light. The best basis for it is a coarse grains sand. Elements of soil can be:

  • gravel
  • stones
  • brick chips

The composition of the soil

Soil for cacti can be made up at home from a variety of elements:

  • Sod clay soil. It can be obtained in areas with undisturbed or restored herbaceous vegetation.
  • Garden soil.
  • Forest soil formed by rotting leaves.
  • Humus. Richly fertilized organic soil from the field.
  • River sand. It can be collected from the riverbank or sandpit.
  • Brick chips. It helps to remove excess moisture from the soil.
  • Powdered charcoal. It inhibits the development of putrefactive bacteria.
  • Pebbles and gravel of small fractions. It makes the soil more porous and permeable.
  • Zeolite (processed clay). It is the main element of the cat's litter box filling. Absorbs and retains moisture. It helps to protect the plant from overwatering.

Artificial soil for cacti must contain natural sources of minerals:

  • sand
  • pebbles
  • gravel
  • charcoal

Selection of ready to use substrate

When buying a ready-made substrate, pay attention to its peat content. High peat content in the soil is undesirable for cactuses. Peat absorbs moisture well at first. But as soon as it dries out, it loses its absorbing properties.

The best composition for cacti is soil with low-lying peat as its base.

How to make a soil mix yourself?

To make a soil mixture you should take the following ingredients in the following proportions:

  • 2 parts of leaf humus
  • 2 parts of turf soil
  • 2 parts of coarse sand
  • 1/2 part of shredded charcoal
  • 1/2 part brick chips

Pebbles and gravel can be mixed in the same volume as sand. This mixture can become a substrate for those cacti whose origin could not be determined.

Different types of cactuses require different types of soil:

  • Cactuses that grow in the desert. They can grow in soil made up of equal parts of turf and leafy soil, peat and coarse river sand with pebbles.
  • Cactuses that grow in the plains. They can grow in soil made up of two parts of turf soil and one part each: forest and garden soil, peat, coarse sand with pebbles or gravel.
  • Large cactuses of the cereus genus. Excellent growth and development in soil containing equal amounts of sand, forest and sod soil, and half of the peat part.

Soil care

The soil should be warmed up before planting a plant in it. To warm up the soil, place some of it in a metal container in a heated oven.

Watering is a prerequisite for normal plant growth and development. Cactuses, like many other indoor plants, require different watering intensity depending on the season:

  • On hot summer days, you can water cacti every day. However, the soil should not accumulate moisture but should remain crumbly. With less sunlight, soil moisture should be reduced.
  • In winter, the plants barely grow due to insufficient light. Watering can be reduced to 1-2 times per month.

Fertilizers should be added to the soil regularly. For example, before the intensive growth of cacti in spring. Cactuses need nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium salts in the soil.