Succulent potting soil, fertilizer, water: Jeff Pavlat

Jeff Pavlat from the Austin Cactus & Succulent Society shows how to make your own succulent potting mix and how to fertilize and water your plants. Start with a good quality potting soil.

Pumice and perlite work about the same. The difference: Pumice is a volcanic stone. It stays in the soil better and doesn’t float up when you water, like perlite does. It’s more durable and doesn’t crush like perlite.

But, it’s harder to find than perlite, so if all you can get is perlite, that’s fine.

You can add Turface MVP, a clay product made for baseball fields.

Another product is called Floor Dry. It’s made by NAPA Auto Parts, and it’s meant to suck up the oil that would leak out of your car on your driveway. It’s diatomaceous earth that has been pressed into little pellets.

You don’t want soil to stick together. It needs to break apart easily.

It is easier to kill succulents by over-watering rather than under-watering, but they do need water.

Container succulents inside in bright light
Water once every 2-3 weeks and perhaps even a month.

Container plants outside and in the greenhouse
Summer: Water once a week.
Winter: Water once a month.

Heavy rainfall? Not a problem for a day or two. In extended rain for weeks, bring to cover to avoid over-saturation and fungal disease or root rot.


Succulents don’t need much fertilizer. If you re-pot your succulents every year or so, the new fresh soil gives them the nutrients that they need.

If you fertilize, dilute a product that’s low in nitrogen.
You can buy some special fertilizers that are meant just for cacti and succulents, and with those, you would just follow the directions.

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