In search of soil for cacti

I fell in love with succulents earlier than with other plants. It happened in 1999, when I first visited the exhibition of the Smolensk cactus club “Lobivia”. Fifteen years have passed since then, and the specimens I bought that spring and in subsequent years are the most mature plants on my windowsill. I never liked to bother with the preparation of soil, and at an age when you do not take hobbies so seriously and responsibly, I did not see the point of bothering with the disinfection of the substrate. This I told you how not to do. 🙂

I do not warm the substrate and do not treat it even now – may not lazy flower growers boo me! It has always been enough that the soil is purchased. God forbid, and over the years no one scary has ever gotten into the pots.

Meanwhile, various sources made it quite clear that with ordinary soil marked “For cacti”, sand and small stones will not go far. Succulents (of course, taking into account the peculiarities of the species) must be recommended to add a brick crumb, as a basis to take leafy soil – that is, one in which the decayed leaves from the fall. Limestone was also needed for the better development of prickles, but it could at least be replaced by eggshells.

I did not want to run around the parks with a shovel, so for many years I made do with store soil, which is known to contain a lot of peat.

What’s wrong with peat for cacti? It is too nutritious, and in such an environment, the ascetic root system is in serious risk of rotting. You can dilute it with sand and be careful with watering, but the acidity is still not the same, not the same chemical composition.

What solution was found?

In the spring of this year I accidentally came across a mixture for succulents “Gardens of Aurica” in the store. I had already prepared a dose of skepticism, but I was not there. Everything with the composition of the substrate for cacti was good: sod soil, charcoal, sand, ceramic chips, biohumus.

soil for cacti and succulents

There was no limit to my happiness, and I picked up as many as twenty packs at such an opportune time: my succulents had never seen anything better before anyway.

I did not think that the difference would be so noticeable. Throughout the summer, the cacti were clearly growing more actively (within reason) than in previous years, and the new prickles were appearing more massive. You can hardly tell the difference from the photo, but as a hostess, believe me, I can see it.

Gymnocalycium kozelskyanum before and after the change of substrate

And I will demonstrate the results on my pet. He’s about 12-14 years old. Unfortunately, he got a little burnt out this summer.

Gymnocalycium kozelskyanum