Mineral substrate for cacti and succulents

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Cacti and succulents are very frugal plants, which influences the selection of a substrate. Preference is given to mineral and humus poor soils, but there are many possible variations in their composition. Mineral substrates can also be mixed by themselves to create an ideal breeding ground for cacti and succulents where they can develop well.
Cacti and succulents are those plants that can give even people without green thumb much pleasure. Anyone who has already studied cactuses will soon discover that they already live in their countries of origin and in the most impassable and barren areas of the world. In this country, the cacti and succulents are similarly low demands and also need a little nutrient-rich soil. The ideal substrate for cacti therefore consists to a large extent of mineral constituents. When choosing the individual mineral components, however, there are many possibilities for variation, whereby individual substrates can be mixed for cacti and succulents.
Cactus substrates - less is more!
There are around 1800 different types of cactus worldwide and in addition several thousand different types of succulents. Despite the different species, there is one thing these plants have in common - their preference for sites that are characterized by less nutrient-rich soils. Accordingly, the substrate should be constructed, which should be slightly acidic for most cacti. A ph value between 5.5 and a maximum of 7 would be optimal. Important for the substrate is that it has a high air and water permeability. As in nature, where the cacti and succulents grow on stony and gritty soil, this does not create waterlogging and excess nutrients can drain away. This is also important for breeding in the pot, because the cacti and succulents immediately after fertilization, which usually happens in liquid form, save and excess nutrients would then lead to over-fertilization.
Unsuitable substrates

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For cacti and succulents wholly unfit potting soil is from the trade, which can lead to a strong growth, but subsequently also to putrefaction. In addition, the substrate should not exceed a pH of seven, otherwise the soil is too acidic, killing the cacti long term. Anyone who is not sure what pH value the soil has, for example, can get a test kit from the pharmacy and even determine the ph value. Not every mineral is suitable for cacti and in no case may building sand be used. This is too calcareous and can lead to a so-called chlorosis. The formation of chlorophyll is inhibited, which in the long run causes the cacti and succulents to die.
Tip: The substrate should be adjusted in relation to the lime content, if the irrigation water is very calcareous. Here you should generally pay attention to a less calcareous substrate, as the cacti are supplied with lime via the irrigation water.
The list of possible substrates is long, since all cacti and succulents prefer mineral and nutrient-poor substrates, but, for example, native succulent species tolerate a higher proportion of humus than, for example, succulents from Mexico.
  • Lavagrus: Lavagrus is a volcanic material that should have a grain size between three and seven millimeters. It has the property that it can store large amounts of water, which are then gradually released back to the plants.
  • Bimskies: Bimskies is also of volcanic origin and has a slightly acid pH. Only pitted ingredients should be used by the pumice as fine sand or dust could unnecessarily compact the substrate.
  • Urgesteinsgrus: Urgesteinsgrus consists of granite or gneiss and is slightly acidic. The advantage is that this material has a high content of nutrients such as potassium or iron, which gradually dissolve out of the rock and the cactus and succulents are supplied with it.
  • Bl├Ąhschiefer: Bl├Ąhschierer is optimal to create a drainage at the bottom of the pot. It also ensures stability while ensuring good air and water permeability.
  • Quartz sand / quartz gravel: Quartz sand or quartz gravel is used to loosen up the substrate and can also be used to cover the surface.
  • Diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth has a ph value of about 5.5 and gradually releases important nutrients for cacti and succulents. In addition, it can very well bind moisture, which prevents it from forming mold.
In addition to these additives, there are other additives such as clay, perlite u.v.m. which are added to the substrate. Important in the selection of aggregates is that predominantly those substances are used, which also occur in the home of cacti and succulents.
Optimal mixture

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If you have little experience with cacti, you can take a ready-made earth from specialist retailers and mix it with additives. However, the proportion of cactus soil should not be more than 75% and the remaining 25% can be filled with pumice, for example, which can also store nutrients well. Anyone who already has experience with the cultivation of cacti can also completely mix the substrate itself, which for example can also contain a small proportion of humus that is at least three years old. For sowing cacti and succulents, however, the proportion of humus should be slightly larger and take about 1/3. The remainder consists of finely sieved mineral substrate, which is mixed with the humus.
Tip: The substrate of cacti and succulents, which come from the wholesale, is often not suitable for the long term for the plants. Therefore, the plants should be quickly repotted a freshly mixed substrate, so it can come, for example, to waterlogging or subsequently rotting roots.
frequently asked Questions
Do you mix or buy yourself?
Basically, a finished substrate from the specialist trade, which is supplemented with other mineral constituents, will be a good starting point. However, the cacti and succulents are optimally supplied with a mineral substrate that is precisely tailored to the respective species.
How is the substrate treated before sowing?
Before using the mineral substrate, it is moistened well and sterilized in the oven for 30 minutes at around 150┬░ C. As a result, for example, fungal spores are killed, which can damage the plants. A sterilized soil is especially important for sowing, otherwise foreign seeds could germinate and the cacti and succulents could unnecessarily take away nutrients.
Clay or plastic pot?
In any case, the spirits are different, because both have advantages and disadvantages. Clay pots support faster evaporation, but can break quickly and are expensive. Plastic pots are more stable and cheaper, but require better drainage, as evaporation is much slower.

Video Board: Succulent & Cactus Substrate Mix - Terrarium Tips.

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