Organic Planting With Cactus Soil

Cactus soil is popular for many types of potted plants. It is rich in nutrients, does not retain excess moisture and has an acidity level that falls right in the middle of what is considered optimum for most plants. Despite the reputation as a bleak and barren soil, cactus soil is actually high in macro and mirco nutrients as well as many vital minerals.

Cactus Soil is Coarse

Soil mixed for cactus plants is a coarse mixture. Where ordinary soil may have as much as a 20 percent sand content, cactus soil is quite a bit higher, with a sand content of 33 percent or more. For turnips or onions, this type of soil means that the tubers and bulbs can grow larger without fighting through dense soil. The benefits of coarse soil are numerous, including giving life forms in the soil ample ability to move around. Earthworms and insects are vital to soil health, but they often having trouble moving in clay or some other hard-packed soil.

Cactus Soil is Rich

Seeds will germinate well in moist cactus soil. Because it is so high in vital nutrients and minerals, seeds and seedlings are able to get the energy they need for strong growth. After germination, the seeds can be transplanted to a more loamy soil or they can be left in the cactus soil indefinitely. This soil has everything needed for full grown plant and starting seed alike. It is not as rich as peat alone, however this type of soil contains more nutrients than are available from clay or sandy soils.

Mixing Lime into Cactus Soil

Sometimes, the acidity level of cactus soil may be too high for less tolerant plants to handle. When this happens, the solution is to add lime, a natural acid neutralizer. You don't need to use a lot of lime and most experts recommend that lime should only be applied to cactus soil in increments of 1 part for every 10 parts of soil. Many clay soils can neutralize soil acidity as well and many experts prefer the use of Gypsum to lime.

Cactus Soil Drains Well

Because of the high sand content, cactus soil is recognized for good drainage. For garden plants that do not grow well in a lot of water, especially bulbs and tubers, cactus soil is a popular choice. It will retain moisture, but the soil will drain before water levels are able to build up around the roots of the plants. If if you do not use cactus soil for the plant itself, having it as the bottom layer in a planter or flower pot will help you regulate the moisture in the container.

Cactus Soil for Planters

In planters, cactus soil is excellent for most plants. Whether you intend to grow shrubs or herbs, this type of soil is dense enough to support a large plant, yet loose enough to allow roots to grow unimpeded. It contains a beneficial mix of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium and includes most of the micro nutrients required by plants as well.