Can I Use Orchid Soil for Succulents and Cacti? (An Easy Guide)

By | Updated October 31, 2023

If you’re like me, then you love succulents and cacti! They are so easy to care for and can add a touch of greenery to any room.

But what can I do if I want to switch up your potting mix? Can I use orchid soil for succulents and cacti?

Does it make a difference? Or can I just use any potting mix as long as it’s free-draining and doesn’t have chemicals or artificial nutrients added?

In this article, we will explore the answer to that question.

Keep reading to learn more!

Is Orchid Potting Mix Good for Succulents and Cactus Plants?

Not all types of succulents will thrive in orchid potting soil.

Tropical succulents, such as Crassula capitella ‘Campfire’, Aloe ciliaris, and Cotyledon orbiculata, are the ones that will do the best in an orchid potting mix.

If you have desert succulents, they may not do well in a soil that retains more moisture than they are used to.

You can try it and see how your plants do, but they will likely need more of a gritty type of soil to thrive.

You can use orchid soil for tropical succulents because it can retain moisture, yet it drains well.

These succulent plants can thrive in a moist environment as long as they are able to dry out between waterings.

On the other hand, Cactus plants can usually handle a soil that is more on the dry side.

If you have cactus plants in addition to your succulents, it is best to use a potting mix that is specifically for cactus plants. This will ensure that they can thrive.

So can you use orchid potting mix for succulents?

The answer is yes, but it’s not a perfect match. If you have tropical succulents, they will likely do well in an orchid potting mix.

However, desert succulents may not do as well. If you have cactus plants in addition to your succulents, it is best to use a potting mix that is specifically for cactus plants.

What Soil Is Best for Succulents?

Most succulents are native to arid regions where the soil can be very sandy or have a lot of gravel.

For most succulents, it is best to use a potting mix that drains well and is on the gritty side.

Most regular potting soils are not good for growing succulents since they can retain too much water and cause root rot.

A cactus or succulent soil mix can be a good option, or you can make your own mix by using one part of regular potting soil, one part perlite, and one part coarse sand.

This type of mix will help to ensure that your succulents have the right drainage and aeration.

What Is the Difference Between Cactus Soil and Orchid Soil?

The main difference between cactus soil and orchid soil is the amount of aeration and moisture retention.

Cactus soil is designed to allow for more drainage, while orchid soil retains more moisture and provides more aeration.

Orchids can’t tolerate soggy conditions, so they need a mix that can drain quickly while still holding some moisture.

Cacti can thrive in more dry soil, so cactus mix typically has less organic material and more sand or perlite.

An orchid soil mix has more space between its particles to allow better aeration and drainage.

The mix also has a higher percentage of organic matter, which will help to retain moisture.

On the other hand, cactus soil is heavier and more dense because it doesn’t need aeration.

It also has a lower percentage of organic matter, which means that it will hold less water. This provides the perfect environment for cacti and succulents.

The best way to tell the difference between orchid soil and cactus soil is by the feel; you can hold a handful of each in your hands and notice that they have different textures.

The Orchid mix will be light, fluffy, airy, and slightly damp, while the cactus mix will feel more dense and dry.

Is Orchid Bark Good for Succulents and Cacti?

Orchid bark is not recommended for succulents and cacti.

If you have an orchid plant, the bark in the orchid potting mix is wonderful since it provides drainage and extra room for your plant roots to develop.

However, it can also hold a lot of water, which can cause root rot if you have succulents and cacti because they do not need much water.

If you are looking to add some extra drainage to your cactus or succulent potting mix, you can add some perlite to the mix instead of using orchid bark.

Perlite is a volcanic rock that has been heated until it pops like popcorn, and it is used in many potting mixes because it helps soil drain well.

You can also use pumice, which is another type of volcanic rock, or lava rock can be used as well.

If you have orchid bark and don’t know what to do with it, you can use it as a mulch.

It can be spread over the surface of your soil, and it can help maintain moisture since orchid bark can absorb water.

The best place for this is in a garden with plants that need regular watering.

Orchid bark can also be used in terrariums to help provide aeration and drainage and help keep the soil moist.

Can I Use Orchid Fertilizer on Succulents and Cacti?

Orchid fertilizer can be used on a variety of different plants, including succulents and cacti.

However, succulents and cacti don’t need to be fertilized too often. In fact, if you overfeed your plants can cause the leaves to become long and leggy or can even kill them.

In order to successfully use orchid fertilizer with succulents and cacti, you must dilute the orchid fertilizer to about half strength.

This can be done by adding a little bit of water to the fertilizer and mixing it until it’s diluted.

Once you’ve diluted the liquid, add some of this mixture into your watering can and water as usual.

In most cases, you’ll want to fertilize succulents and cacti during their growing season, which is typically in the spring or summer.

Fertilizing them during the winter can harm them, as they will be going into a period of dormancy and won’t need as much nutrition.

In general, you can use orchid fertilizer for succulents and cacti, but you’ll need to dilute the orchid fertilizer to half strength to avoid harming your plants.

Be sure to water your plants regularly and fertilize them during their growing season for best results!

Final Thoughts

Growing succulents and cacti can be a fun and easy way to add some life to your home or garden, but it’s important to use the proper soil to make sure your plants thrive.

While you can use soil meant for orchids, it’s recommended only to use it if you can’t find cactus soil.

The reason is that orchid soil can hold too much moisture, leading to root rot in succulents and cacti.

Orchid soil can also be more expensive, so it might not be worth the extra money to buy if you can find the cactus mix at your local garden store or online.

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