Cactus soil, also known as cactus potting soil mix and succulent soil mix, is a type of soil designed for shallow cactus root systems. Cactus soil is the best soil to use for houseplants like cactus plants, succulent plants, and bonsai trees. With proper care and the right growing conditions, cactus soil can improve the health of your plants. \n\nCactus soil differs from potting soil in a few key ways. \n\n- __Drainage__: Potting soil retains moisture more than cactus soil. Excess moisture can lead to root rot in all kinds of plants, but cacti require particularly fast-draining soil to mimic their natural environment. Cactus soil drains excess water quickly and keeps your cacti root systems healthy. \n- __Materials__: Regular potting soil uses organic matter like peat moss, pine bark, and vermiculite. By contrast, cactus soil contains mostly inorganic matter like pumice, chicken grit, gravel, or perlite. Cactus soil mix also includes a small amount of organic material, including coco coir (made from coconut husks) and sphagnum peat moss.\n- __Density__: Potting soil is denser than cactus soil. Inorganic materials like perlite prevent soil compaction and allow better airflow for cactus roots. Proper aeration is essential for cactus growth. \nPre-made cactus soil mix is available at nurseries and garden centers, but you can make your own at home with a simple cactus soil recipe.\n\n1. __Research your plant’s species__. Determine the species of your cactus and research the correct soil mix for that species. Different types of plants—like desert cacti or tropical succulents—have different needs that might change the ratio of ingredients you use in your homemade potting mix.\n2. __Gather your materials__. Based on your specific cactus, collect the necessary organic and inorganic materials. Popular materials for cactus soil include coarse sand, perlite, coconut coir, pumice, crushed granite, gravel, chicken grit, and regular garden soil.\n3. __Mix the soil thoroughly__. There are a variety of soil mixture options to consider based on your specific plant. One common cactus soil recipe includes three parts potting soil, three parts sand, gravel, or grit, and two parts perlite or pumice. Mix this ratio of ingredients thoroughly in a large container before using it to plant your cacti. \nWhether you use pre-made cactus soil or a DIY mix, follow these tips for how to use your cactus soil properly. \n\n1. __Avoid overwatering your cacti__. Cacti are highly drought-resistant plants—water your cactus sparingly, or every week or two with less than half of a cup of water. Check to make sure your cactus soil is dry before watering. Even with the proper cactus soil, overwatering your cactus can result in root rot. \n2. __Use a pot with a drainage hole__. Good drainage is essential for growing succulents and cacti. Using a pot with a drainage hole will help minimize the risk of overwatering.\n3. __Repot your plant when necessary__. Repot your cactus when its roots begin reaching through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Pull your cactus out of its pot using thick gloves or a pair of tongs. Gently shake off old soil from the root system. Place your cactus into its new pot and put fresh cactus soil around it. Wait a few weeks to water your plant after repotting.\n4. __Replenish organic materials as needed__. Regular potting soil breaks down after a year or two. Keep an eye on your cactus soil and repot with fresh organic materials when necessary. \nGrow your own garden with Ron Finley, the self-described "Gangster Gardener." Get the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com/) and learn how to cultivate fresh herbs and vegetables, keep your house plants alive, and use compost to make your community - and the world - a better place.\nCactus soil mixes organic and inorganic materials to keep your cactus roots aerated and dry.