Can You Use Cactus Soil for Regular Plants?

Can You Use Cactus Soil for Regular Plants Image Illustration

Cactus soil is an excellent option for homeowners growing cacti and other succulents. But you might ask yourself, “can you use cactus soil for regular plants?” 

Yes, you can use cactus soil for regular plants. But there are a few points to note if you’re thinking of the same. 

First, it’s crucial to ensure that the plants you’re growing in it can survive low-moisture levels as the cactus mix drains out water much faster than potting mix. Next, you must consider the plant’s nutrient needs and determine whether all the essentials are in the mix.

That said, let’s discuss cactus soil in detail to help you can make informed decisions on this.

Can You Use Cactus Soil for Regular Plants?

Yes, you can use cactus soil for regular plants, but you’ll need to consider a few things. For starters, the cactus soil will have different nutrient content and moisture levels than regular potting mix, so you’ll need to adjust these to match the plant’s needs.

Remember, cactus soil drains water faster than regular garden soil, so you’ll need to water your plants more frequently. But it also has excellent aeration, so it can provide optimal growth conditions for regular indoor plants.

What is Cactus Soil?

Cactus soil mix is a mixture of sand, organic materials, and other additives that can be used to grow cacti and other succulents. The natural ingredients may include compost, sand, and peat moss. 

But cactus soil may also include decomposed granite, perlite, vermiculite, and Epsom salt. The ingredients help improve nutrient content, drainage, and aeration to promote root and plant growth.

Cactus soil is specifically designed to retain just enough water while providing good drainage for cacti and succulents.

What are the Components of Cactus Soil?

Cactus soil is a mixture of sand, organic matter and inorganic matter. The organic matter can be compost or peat moss. 

Can You Use Cactus Soil for Regular Plants Image

Cactus soil mix contains the following components:

  • Sand – This is the main ingredient in cactus soil mix. It consists of fine sand no bigger than 2mm. Sand aerates the soil while providing nutrients to plants.
  • Perlite – Perlite is volcanic rock. It creates tiny air pockets in your mix when added at 50% by volume (2 cups per 1 gallon). These air pockets enhance root growth while improving drainage.
  • Pumice– Pumice is added to help aerate the soil. It also adds some structure to the mix so that roots can grow through it without hindrance.
  • Grit – Grit contains sharp stones that help improve drainage by creating tiny holes in your mix.

Cactus soil may also contain peat moss. This is a naturally occurring material that adds extra nutrients to the mixture keeping your plants healthy while improving root health!

Why You Shouldn’t Use Cactus Soil Mix for Other plants

There may be better choices than using cactus soil for other plants. Cactus mix has poor water retention, nutrient content, and nutrient-holding capacity.

This makes it work better for cacti and other succulent plants that don’t need as much water or nutrients as regular plants. So while it can help keep cacti alive, it may not be enough to nourish regular plants in the same way.

If you’re determined to use cactus mix for other plants, you can adjust certain soil properties with organic material or fertilizers to make it more suitable.

Otherwise, consider a different type of soil to get the best health benefits for your plants.

What are the Best Soils for Regular Plants?

The best soils for regular indoor plants can range from loam to others like clay and silt. Depending on the plants, some people go for sand, peaty or chalky soils.

Overall, the best soil for regular plants should have the following properties: 

Light and well-aerated 

First, ensure that the soil is light and well-aerated. This will help avoid root rot and ensure the plant roots can easily absorb water and oxygen.

A perfect blend of nutrients

You also want to ensure your soil has the perfect blend of nutrients for your plants to thrive. A good mix of organic matter like compost, peat moss, and worm castings is essential in providing plants with essential nutrients.

Free from pests and harmful bacteria

Finally, your soil should be free from pests and harmful bacteria. You can confirm this by checking pH levels with a pH testing kit every once a while. If the pH levels are too high or too low, you can adjust them easily by adding lime or sulfur as needed.

How to Prepare Cactus Soil to Use for Regular Plants

If you choose to use cactus soil for regular plants, you’ll need to research and identify the additives to include to give your plants all the essential nutrients.

Here’s how to prepare cactus mix for regular plants:

1. Research the Plant’s Soil type & Nutrient Needs

First, visit the plant’s natural habitat to determine the best type of soil and nutrients. Different trees and plants have different needs when it comes to soil, so be sure to do thorough research before using cactus soil for your particular plant.

2. Identify the Additives You need to Improve the Cactus Mix

Next, decide what additives to add to the cactus soil to improve its quality. This can include anything, from composted manure to fish or bone meal, for extra nutrients. It’s also important to check if the plant has special needs, such as pH balance or drainage requirements, as these should be considered when adding additives.

3. Measure & Mix the Ingredients Thoroughly

Finally, measure out and mix the ingredients thoroughly. If possible, use a rototiller or trowel to mix the components evenly throughout the soil. 

Once you’ve put everything together, your cactus soil should be ready for use. The best mixtures provide plenty of nutrients for regular indoor and outdoor plants!

Cactus Mix Versus Potting Soil: Understanding the Differences

Understanding the Differences between cactus mix and potting soil picture illustration.

When comparing cactus mix versus potting soil (or garden soil), there are a few key differences to consider. 

Water Retention

Cactus mix has a coarser texture and is designed for plants that need to keep their roots dry, such as cacti and succulents. On the other hand, garden soil is designed for plants that require more moisture, like ferns or other indoor plants.


The cactus mix is also well aerated than potting soil. First, it is less dense than the latter. Plus, additives like pumice and perlite have tiny holes throughout their structure which improve aeration while allowing water to drain off quickly from your soil.

Nutrient Content

Lastly, the two soils have different nutrient contents. So if you’re looking to plant a regular houseplant in cactus mix, consider it a starting point before supplementing with other materials. Additives like peat moss or perlite can ensure your plant gets the right amount of moisture it needs. 

Depending on your particular plant needs, you may also need fertilizer or other soil additives.

Can I Use Cactus Fertilizer for Other Plants?

While you can use cactus fertilizer for regular indoor plants, it’s best to avoid it unless you’re planting herbs with succulent roots like aloe vera or snake.

Remember, cactus fertilizer may not favor other non-succulent plants because those varieties have different nutrient needs. That said, do not use such fertilizer on regular plants as they may have a negative effect.  

Can You Plant Cactus in Potting Soil?

Yes, it’s possible to plant cacti in potting soil. However, for cacti and succulents, the soil should be well-drained and airy. And because most potting soils are too heavy and dense, it’s not the best option for these plant types.

If this is your goal, then it is important to look for a soil mix specifically made for cacti and succulents. It’s also important to choose the right container for cactus when planting it in potting soil.

If you choose to use potting soil for a cactus or succulent, add lots of perlite or pumice to help with drainage. This will prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.

You should also add some sand to the potting soil. Sand adds extra aeration while reducing compaction over time. It also ensures that water drains out quickly so your plant doesn’t stay wet for too long.

How to Make Cactus Soil at Home

If you want to make cactus soil at home, the process is pretty simple. You’ll need a few essential ingredients and supplies, which you can easily find in a garden store or online. Once you have the supplies ready, mix everything to create the perfect recipe for cactus soil.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own cactus soil mix: 

  • Perlite
  • Vermiculite
  • Peat moss
  • Compost or manure
  • Coarse sand 
  • Worm castings
  • Bucket
  • Shovel

Now let’s look at the steps to put your cactus soil mix together:

  1. Start by mixing equal parts of each material—perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss—in a large bowl or container.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of coarse sand and 1/4 cup of compost or manure for every gallon of the first mixture.
  3. For extra nutrients and microbes, mix in a few spoonfuls of worm castings.

Finally, mix everything until it’s well combined. Your homemade cactus soil is now ready to use!

The Benefits of Cactus Soil

Cactus soil can be an excellent option for succulents because it contains natural materials like perlite and pumice that improve drainage and aeration. 

Here are more pros of using cactus soil mix:

  • Cactus soil is usually much lighter than regular soil, which makes it much easier to transport and add to your garden or outdoor space.
  • Furthermore, the mix has enough nutrients to sustain succulent plants throughout the year without regular fertilizing. 
  • Cactus soil has a high pH level, which is suitable for cacti because it helps them thrive.
  • It also has excellent drainage and aeration, making it an ideal soil for cacti.

Lastly, the cactus soil mix is relatively easy to find, prepare and use. You can prepare the mixture at home or buy pre-mixed cactus soil on Amazon.


Soils have different components and properties, which is why it’s best to confirm if you can use cactus soil for regular plants. While this is possible, cactus isn’t the best option for non-succulent plants.

Cactus soil contains several materials that regular soils typically don’t have, such as gravel and sand. This helps to ensure that the soil drains well and doesn’t become waterlogged, which is crucial for cacti and other desert plants that need more air circulation around their roots.

Soils for regular plants typically have more organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, which helps to retain moisture and nutrients.

This isn’t necessary for cacti, which is why you can get away with using cactus soil for other plants—as long as you’re mindful of the soil’s drainage properties.

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