While I was studying biology, in my spare time I started to grow cactus. They were awesome and they were very easy to care for. Contrary to what most people think, they don’t need a lot of light, so you can even have them in your room.
One day, I was looking for some potting soil for my cactus, when I found an orchid potting soil. It looked like good soil for cactus; it was full of nutrients, and it was just the right size for my new pots. I bought it, and I took it home with me.
In the next days, I decided to use this soil for my cactus too. It wasn’t bad at all: its texture was soft and organic, perfect for plants that like nice and moist soil. Moreover, it was good-looking enough: dark-red color, with pieces of bark here and there.
But one day… I decided that maybe this potting soil wasn’t that good after all: one of my cactus fell sick!
So you’ve got a cactus and you’re wondering can you use orchid soil?
Well, you could—but it depends on the type of cactus you have. Orchid potting soil works great with tropical plants, but not so well with cactus. Cacti and succulents will be unhappy if you use orchid potting soil because it will hold too much moisture for them, leading to root rot.
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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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.
|Orchid Soil||Cactus Soil|
|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. Orchid mixes are specially formulated with ingredients that will hold some moisture but drain well. This allows the orchid to thrive in soggy conditions without becoming waterlogged and damaged.||Cactus soil is designed to allow for more drainage, as cacti don’t like their roots to stay wet for too long. Cacti can thrive in more dry soil than many houseplants, so cactus mix typically has less organic material and more sand or perlite. It’s perfect for most cacti because it drains quickly and is dry enough for their roots without being so dry that their leaves start to shrivel up.|
|Orchids are among the most delicate of plants, and it’s important to keep them in light, well-aerated soil. A typical orchid mix has a lot of filler—fine particles that don’t pack together tightly but instead allow air to flow through. The result is a soil that’s light and easy to work with, while also providing better drainage and aeration because the particles are so loose.||On the other hand, cactus soil is heavier and denser because it doesn’t need aeration.|
|Orchid enthusiasts recommend that you use an orchid potting mix with a higher percentage of organic matter. This will help retain moisture while also allowing excess water to drain away from the roots.||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 Orchid mix will be light, fluffy, airy, and slightly damp.||The cactus mix will feel more dense and dry.|
The two kinds of soil look similar, and they’re both made of organic material, but they feel very different in your hand. Orchid soil is extremely fine, almost powdery; it’s almost as soft as baby powder. Cactus soil is coarser, with larger grains—it feels more like sand when you rub it between your fingers.
Can I Use Orchid Fertilizer on Succulents?
Orchids are certainly some of the most popular plants in the world, for their exotic beauty and their intriguing origins. The origin of orchids is similar to that of succulents: they come from hot, arid climates. Since both are used to dry conditions, the question arises: can I use orchid fertilizer on succulents?
Succulents and orchids have very similar watering needs. Both like to be watered infrequently (once every two weeks should work), but with a lot of water at once. In fact, since orchids thrive on humidity while succulents prefer a dry environment, you’ll notice that succulent owners often use orchid fertilizer on succulents. Since both plants flourish in hot, arid climates, they both require the same type of care: lots of suns and little water.
Orchid fertilizer is slightly different from other fertilizers in that it is specifically designed for certain types of orchids and contains small amounts of trace elements ( iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, iodine, fluorine, molybdenum, cobalt, chromium, and nickel) that some other fertilizers don’t contain. We know, that cacti love fewer nutrients.
What Is Special About Orchid Potting Mix?
Most orchids have fairly thick, fleshy roots, so it is important to use only a specially formulated Orchid Mix ( buy from amazon.com) for them.
- normal potting mixes are too dense and retain too much moisture which could cause roots to rot. Orchid mixes are typically made from a combination of bark, sphagnum moss, charcoal, and perlite.
- This mix is designed to provide just the right amount of air and water that an orchid needs, preventing overwatering and root rot. The bark helps improve drainage and aeration as well as provides nutrients for the plant. Sphagnum moss helps retain moisture but when dry can be rehydrated quickly by soaking in water
- Perlite is made from heated volcanic glass providing an excellent source of air in the pot
What Is in Cactus Potting Mix?
In the wild, desert plants have adapted to drought conditions by storing water in their fleshy leaves and stems. That doesn’t mean they don’t need water—it means they don’t need as much as other plants. They still require enough soil to hold moisture and nutrients for nourishing the plant over time.
Cactus soil mix contains mostly inorganic matter like pumice, chicken grit, gravel, or perlite (and maybe some organic material like coco coir or sphagnum peat moss). The porous structure of these materials helps them retain water without becoming soggy and rotten as traditional potting mix might after years of watering.
What Is Orchid Potting Mix Made Of?
What is an orchid potting mix made of? Most mixes contain fir bark, perlite, charcoal, and sometimes some peat moss and are suitable for most orchids. They’re good to use in all types of pots, whether they be plastic (think: the wooden ones you throw away), clay pots that need a little boost to breathe, or even air plants that work well with less-dense soil.
Can You Use Orchid Bark in a Cactus Mix?
First, bark breaks down fast. That normally is not a problem with orchids, because orchids are repotted every other year or so. But for cacti and succulents that could cause a problem.
Second, most cactus and succulents need rocks and sand for stability and support as much as anything. I would think that bark would be far too light and unstable.
Can I Use Orchid Soil for Other Plants?
Orchid bark is often used as mulch for bonsai and other tropical plants, but can also be used for African violets, tree ferns, and other plants with similar needs. Since it tends to stay wetter, orchid bark will work better in a container than in an open garden bed. It’s not so much that you shouldn’t use it on succulents, but rather that you should choose another type of mulch for them. Orchid soil is more suited to the needs of orchids and other epiphytes (plants that grow on trees and rocks).
Can I Use Any Soil for Cactus?
What soil do cacti need? Cacti require porous, sandy, or pebbly potting soil that provides plenty of aeration and excellent drainage. A good cactus potting mixture will also consist of some organic material that makes moisture available to the plant roots when watered but then dries out quickly.
Is Succulent Soil the Same as Cactus Soil?
The differences between succulent soil and cactus soil are slight, but if you’re used to working with one type of plant, it can be easy to make a mistake when you’re trying to care for another type.
Both kinds of plants have different soil needs: cacti need a gritty, porous type of soil with little organic matter, while succulents need a well-draining potting mixture with plenty of organic material like peat moss or composted manure. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel with each plant—just adjust the soil mix for each slightly and you’ll be fine.
Orchid potting soil is a popular option for growing orchids, but it’s not the best choice for succulents and cacti. Orchid potting soil is optimized to grow orchids and will hold too much moisture for succulents and cacti. Using orchid potting mix for succulents and cacti will lead to root rot and other problems.