Cactus soil is ideal for plants that thrive in arid areas, such as succulents, due to its excellent drainage properties and moisture retention capacity. However, can you use leftover cactus soil for other plants?
Critical to mention is that all plants benefit from well-draining soil. However, to determine the efficacy of cactus soil on other plants, you’ll need to determine the plant’s specific needs.
Some plants may be a good fit for cactus soil, while others may require a different soil type. Let’s get down to more details below.
What is Cactus Soil?
Cactus soil is expressly formulated for the unique requirements of arid-growing cacti and succulent plants. The soil is a well-draining mix with a high percentage of sand, perlite, compost, and other gritty materials, allowing water to drain quickly.
Another characteristic of cactus soil is low organic content— preventing plant stress associated with compaction and root rot. The soil is typically designed to mimic the natural environment of succulents that thrive in arid regions with poor soil quality.
Can Cactus Soil Be Used For Other Plants?
Absolutely! You can use cactus soil for growing other plants, but there is a slight caveat— the plants must also have similar growing conditions as that of cactus.
For instance, herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and lavender prefer well-draining soil and can thrive in cactus soil. Some types of flowers, such as portulaca and gazania, also do well in cactus soil.
Pros of Using Cactus Soil For Other Plants
- Prevents Overwatering: Several plants suffer from a lack of aeration and root rot due to overwatering. However, you can rid your plants of these conditions using cactus soil that dries out quickly.
- pH balance: Cactus soil is formulated to be slightly acidic, which is ideal for many plants.
- Well-Balanced: Cactus soil is a blend of several soil components, including sand, compost, perlite, and other gritty materials. These materials provide an ideal medium for healthy plant growth.
- Easy To Work: Given its lightweight, cactus soil is easy to work with. You can easily blend it with other soil types, making it suitable for many plants.
- Cost-Effective: You may want to cross-check the cost of cactus soil vis-a-vis other soil types on sale by your local soil vendor. Cactus is usually a cost-effective option for gardeners intending to provide their plants with high-quality growing medium on a budget.
- Poor Water Holding Capacity: While it’s true that cactus soil has good drainage properties, the same quality is disadvantageous for plants that love moisture, such as begonia, lotus, and elephant’s ears.
- Limited Diversity: If you use cactus soil exclusively, you limit the scope of plants you can grow in a particular area. This happens because it is specifically formulated for succulents that aren’t as demanding as some other plants.
- Lacking Nutrients: Cactus soil mainly contains a mixture of sand, perlite, and peat moss. This isn’t ideal for plant types that are nutrient heavy.
Plants That Thrive In Cactus Soil
If you are wondering what plants can fit and grow in cactus soil apart from cacti, here is a list below.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera is one of the most popular succulents known for its healing properties.
- Snake plant: Known for its air-purifying properties, you can add snake plants to your list of garden plants that grow well on cactus soil.
- Echeveria: Echeveria is a succulent native to Central and South America that does well in cactus soil.
- Kalanchoe: Kalanchoe is native to Madagascar and requires minimal watering.
- Jade Plant: The jade plant is a succulent native to South Africa. It can grow well in cactus soil and is drought-tolerant.
- Harwothia: Harwothia is a small succulent native to South Africa.
- Eurphobia: Eurphobia is a succulent that loves a slightly acidic and well-draining planting medium.
- Gasteria: Gasteria thrives best in cacti or succulent soil.
- Agave: Agave grows well in rocky or sandy soil. The plant is native to Mexico and known for its sharp leaves and large flower stalks.
- Sedum: Sedum is native to Europe and Asia and matures into various colors and shapes.
How To Use Cactus Soil For Other Plants?
- Select The Right Plants: While cactus soil can be used for many plants, it is best suited for those that prefer well-draining soil. The common ones include herbs, vegetables, and many types of flowers.
- Mix With Other Soil: Cactus soil is lightly dense and porous, creating some fuss with some plants. Mix it with regular potting soil in a 50/50 ratio to make it more suitable for other plants.
- Add Fertilizer: Cactus soil does not contain many nutrients, so it is essential to add fertilizer to ensure that your plants get the nutrients they need. Use a slow-release fertilizer specifically designed for the type of plant you are growing.
- Water Appropriately: Cactus soil is well-draining and can dry out quickly. This can be a problem for some plants, especially those that require more moisture. Ensure to water your plants carefully, checking the soil regularly to ensure it is neither too dry nor too wet.
- Repot If Necessary: As with any soil, cactus soil can deplete over time. If your plants start to look unhealthy or stop growing, it may be time to repot them in fresh soil ideal for the plant.
- Use Additives: To increase the density and moisture retention capability of cactus soil, consider incorporating additional compost or peat moss. Shredded leaves are also an effective additive.
- Adjust pH: The pH level of cactus soil may be unfavorable to plants that don’t tolerate high acidity levels. Adding compost or lime can bring down the acidity to the required levels.
Cactus soil is a type of soil specifically designed for cacti, herbs, and succulents. Due to its well-draining and good aeration properties, some gardeners may be tempted to use them on other plants.
That’s a safe path to take but with precaution since regular plants are not used to cactus soil.
Poor nutrition, less compactness, and quick water loss are the prime factors. Using appropriate additives, you can adjust the soil to negate them. Happy gardening!