Using Specialized Soil for Growing Succulents

By Bonnie Grant | January 23, 2018
Image by Nikki Tilley
by Bonnie Grant
January 23, 2018

Succulents are easy to grow, even for a novice. This is probably why they are such popular houseplants. They scoff at neglect and thrive with little more than occasional water and good light. But even the most stoic cactus or succulent plant has certain basic needs to allow it to be so forgiving. The amount of water given is one of the more crucial aspects of succulent care. It is a fallacy that cactus and other succulents don’t need water. They are especially tolerant to long periods of drought, due to their unique adaptations, but they are plants after all and do require moisture to grow.

These amazing plants also need basic nutrients. Most are fairly happy in low fertility soils, but the best growth, flowering and form are achieved with adequate levels of minerals and nutrients. The key to achieving this is in the soil.

Many succulent soils lack the porosity and percolation necessary to avoid overwatering the plants. Overwatering may cause soil fungal issues or even root rot. Under watering causes wilt, withering, poor health, and reduces a plant’s ability to uptake nutrients. The piece size and type of material that makes up a succulent soil can mean the difference between life and death for your plants. It needs to have uneven pieces of grit and other materials that allow excess moisture through but delivers enough to roots. This is a fine balance and one that can be achieved by using professionally prepared potting mixes, like those offered from Bonsai Jack.

They have developed a succulent and cactus soil medium that actually mimics the type of soil in which most succulents grow in the wild. It doesn’t rely on water hogging materials like sphagnum or peat moss. Instead, it is a blend of precisely designed particle fragments that create a perfect drainage environment for plant roots.

Soil pH also affects how a plant can uptake nutrients. The majority of succulents prefer a pH that is slightly acidic. Achieving that without sphagnum moss can be a challenge. Bonsai Jack’s succulent soil has an average pH of 5.5, which is well within most succulent plants’ needs. Soil pH of 7.0 is neutral and acceptable to many types of plants but succulents, and in particular cacti, prefer things a little more acidic. Most nutrients are available to plants at neutral to acidic levels. The nutrients iron, manganese, zinc and copper are especially available in acidic soils. The formula that Bonsai Jack has come up with affords just the right amount of acidity for nutrient availability.

Bonsai Jack’s succulent soil is made from their natural proprietary ingredients: Monto Clay, Bonsai Block and Pine Bark Fines. Monto Clay is short for Montmorillonite clay. It is a soil conditioner whose particles swell when introduced to water. Bonsai Block is a gritty soil amendment in earth tones, while Pine Bark Fines are larger bark fragments than traditional types and acidify the entire mixture.

Use of Bonsai Jack’s succulent soil provides optimal drainage, retention and pH for best nutrient uptake. Their website is easy to use too, with soil calculators, quick FAQ, videos, photos and tips for making your plants as happy as they make you.

The above article was sponsored by Bonsai Jack. The information contained in this article may contain ads or advertorial opinions.
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