Soil prep is always the first step in the sowing process, and the age old question is: what soil mix should I use? 

 mixed succulent soil


For first-time growers or people who would like a quick and simple solution, commercial pre-mixed cactus soil is always a good choice. 

Depending on the granular substrate ratio in the soil mix, you may also add 20%-30% perlite to increase its drainage capacity and prevent it from clumping.

Where to buy?

Pre-mix soil can be found in various local stores (Canadian Tire/ Lowe’s/The Home Depot etc.) with reasonable price, so check them out first!

Be careful! 

It isn't rare for soils to be contaminated by fungi/bacteria/insect eggs (even the commercial soil mixes!). Microwave the WET soil for 5-10 minutes before using to make sure it is safe for the vulnerable seeds, especially when reusing your soil.


Making your own soil mix is an interesting (and messy!) process which your succulents will appreciate!

plants and different types of soil on a table

Good soil mix for succulent seeds should meet three criteria:


    1. High air exchange and excellent drainage capacity
    2. Fine substrate for roots to grab on to and get nutrients from
    3. Does not easily harden or clump

Making your own succulent mix is as simple as mixing two types of materials together.

a pile of soil

The first is the nutrient substrate (the “soil” itself)

It is a soft, ventilated substrate that provides nutrition and helps take root. However, as time goes on it will harden and no longer be appropriate for root respiration. The most common nutrient substrates include peat soil (a non-renewable resource), humus soil, etc.


a pile of Akadama

The second is the granular substrate (the granules)

Unlike the soil this comes in larger granules which helps root breath and improves drainage/ventilation. There are many kinds of granular substrate you can find: perlite, carbon granule, Akadama, ceramsite, volcanic rock, or even pebbles.

The ratio of the two materials depends on the application of the soil. Basically, more nutrient substrate is needed while taking root and more granular substrate is preferred for older plants due to their reduced water needs. A 30% granule ratio would be a good choice for our succulent seeds while for adult plants you may increase granule ratio to 50%-70%.


  1. The commercial cactus/succulent soil mix is great to start with.
  2. Disinfection is not mandatory but strongly recommended.
  3. The DIY soil mix requires nutrient and granular substrates, their ratio depends on the life stage of the plants.

Customer satisfaction is always our ultimate goal. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions you have. Happy sowing!

Photo credits: 
"Succulent Garden supplies" by is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit
Illustration photo created by zirconicusso -
"Akadama" by abelard.uribe is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit


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