Some say the easiest way to kill a succulent and/or cactus is by overwatering. While this is true, our experience suggests that fast-draining potting mix is at least as important as (if not more so than) avoiding overwatering. In fact, choosing the proper potting mix will actively reduce the risk of root rot from overwatering. A good rule of thumb is that if you grab your potting mix and clench your fist, the potting mix should fall from your hand once you unclench your first. There are many different varieties to choose from, and we’ve seen may different potting mixtures work well. Below we’ve described two of our favorite homemade mixes.
Homemade Potting Mix 1
One of the more popular and most economical soil solutions is to mix standard soil (make sure the soil does not have peat moss) with perlite and sand. As a general rule, the mix should be 50% soil, 25% perlite, and 25% sand. You can play around with the mixture and see how it feels and monitor how quickly it drains.
Homemade Potting Mix 2
Another good potting mix that can be made at home is equal parts (i) finely ground pine bark, (ii) a small clay-like material, and (iii) finely ground granite, lava, etc.