How to prepare soil for succulents at home from scratch? The first thing to add to a potting mix is sand. Remember that the sand should be river sand and not beach sand because the beach sand has a lot of salt. It is not good for plants.
The reason adding sand is that it allows good drainage, and is also able to give some structure to a potting mix. The second thing to add is compost. This is old compost. You do not need fresh compost because the succulents require only limited amount of nutrients. They do not require a lot of nutrients. You can also use well digested menu. The only thing is whatever source of nutrient you decide to use, it should be well decomposed. The amount of compost to add is equal to the amount of sand. They are an equal proportion 1:1.
The third thing that is going to add to this mix is perlite. The amount of perlite is going to be half of what used for sand and compost. Most perlite are in lot of these expensive potting mix that you get online. It is nothing, it’s basically a residue that comes along with volcanic eruption. It’s very similar in composition to glass. It is not really glass though. It does not have edgy surfaces, it would not cut your hand. It’s just that in composition is similar to glass. The reason to add perlite to this is because perlite has this unique ability of being able to absorb water, but not have very high density over time.
In over several years, as you keep adding water and the soil starts to get old, the potting mix starts to get old. Compactness starts happening. What is compactness? It is basically that the air spaces reduce. As a result, these tiny roots that succulents have. They start getting clogged with water but what perlite does is that it is able to maintain aeration and absorb water. Those empty spaces allow aeration in the potting mix and is also able to hold the water. But it’s not very dense.
The last thing to add to this potting mix is cocopeat. It is essentially dried coconut fiber so need to add water and it can double up in its size.
The cocopeat could be also exactly as the same amount of perlite. Do not need a lot of cocopeat. The only thing is that most of the things that have been added to this potting mix are not going to retain the water for a very long time. Cocopeat is added just so that the potting mix does not get dry up quickly and holds water for some time but still does not clog it. These are basic things that are needed for the potting mix. Sand which is going to help in drainage and give some structure to the potting mix.
Compost is a good source of nutrient. It is well decomposed compost. You do not need fresh compost. Perlite which is going to keep the potting mix light and provide some aeration or void compactness. Lastly, cocopeat which is going to keep the potting mix slightly moist, not very moist. Now put all the four things together and mix them.