How to Fix Cactus Soil without Sand? (Can You Live without Oxygen?)

How to Fix Cactus Soil without Sand?

The short response is yes. But will they be successful? But not for the long run. Think of them as temporary, enjoyable projects that are not intended to last a long period of time. They may look like epiphytes however they have different growth habits and requirements.

If you are unable to locate coarse sand it is possible to substitute poultry grit or chicken gritty, which is extremely affordable. It is composed of crushed granite. Another ingredient that can help to ensure sharp drainage of the soil of your succulent is turface.

Cacti require the use of a porous, sandy, or pebbly potting mix which allows plenty of airflows and good drainage. A great cactus potting mix includes organic matter that helps to make it possible for the plant to get water to its roots after watering but is quickly dried out.

Cactus Soil Mixtures: A Little about the Components

Cacti require the soil to be loose and rough. This is accomplished through the addition of gravel, coarse river sand vermiculite mulch (loosening the granules into different shapes), and others. Cacti’s soil should be loose and coarse permeable to air and water. It shouldn’t contain organic fertilizers like animal manure or bird droppings, or sawdust from horns.

They’re suitable for loose substrates that are filled with hummus, and some acidic reactions. For these cacti, the soil is blended with crushed sphagnum moss as well as a little peat, along with vermiculite and perlite.

The soil, naturally must not be contaminated by dangerous substances, pests bacteria, disease-causing germs, and organic compounds that are not decomposed. Permeability is another important aspect. It is recommended to use the mixture of the humus of leaves, clay turf sand, and coarse river sand mixed with crushed stone in any ratio to suit your needs.

Sand of any kind will not work. Small (construction or from children’s sandboxes) should not be taken. We need a large one, fractions of 2-5 mm, maybe a little more. Medium gravel is also a good choice. If it is not possible to sift the sand yourself, look at the pet store, ask for aquarium soil, but just do not buy marble chips, take ordinary pebbles, unpainted.

We collect soddy land next to wormholes in birch undergrowth, in meadows and fields away from roads or in a vegetable garden. Having removed the top layer of turfgrass with roots – you will see it, sod land.

Leafy earth (humus) – from the same undergrowth (we find it in the forks of birch roots), in the park, and in other places where the foliage is not removed and rots. Here is the topmost layer of almost black color interspersed with undecomposed organic matter and will be leafy earth. It is acceptable to replace leafy soil with garden compost.

The brick will fit exclusively red. Pieces of such a brick make the soil not only looser, but also regulate the supply of moisture, first absorbing it, and then giving it away as the soil mixture dries.

Charcoal is the charcoal leftover from a fire. Coal takes away excess moisture and is an excellent antiseptic that prevents the development of fungi and mold. In addition, it is a storehouse of trace elements necessary for cacti.

Zeolite in the composition of the soil mixture for cacti allows you to bring its structure as close as possible to the requirements of plants. Zeolite is needed of volcanic origin, not oceanic, it should not dissolve in water. As an inexpensive substitute, many use Barsik Standard cat litter.

Be sure to sterilize the soil to ensure that pests such as nematodes and spores of soil fungi are destroyed.

The basic principle of compiling cactus soil on your own is no peat in the soil! Peat retains moisture, and this should be avoided in the first place when growing cacti.

As One of the Soil Options:

  1. Coarse river sand – 6 parts;
  2. Small pebbles – 6 parts;
  3. Land (turf and leaf) – 3 parts;
  4. Brick chips – 3 parts;
  5. Charcoal (birch) – 1.5 parts;
  6. Zeolite (preferably of volcanic origin) – 1.5 parts.
The soil is loose, and breathable, and the water does not stagnate in it. 

Should You Add Sand to Potting Soil?

Builder’s sand, or coarse sand, is best for making potting mixes. Avoid plaster and fine sands; they create a dense mix that will inhibit drainage. 

Because it is heavier than other ingredients. Sand is a good choice for top-heavy plants that might tip over.

Cacti plants thrive in a porous sandy potting mix. So, adding some coarse sand to your regular potting soil is critical. The benefits of using sand in a potting mix include:

+Porous – The tiny spaces between the grains of sand allow water and air to flow through the mix easily, which promotes drainage and oxygen exchange. This helps keep roots from drowning and allows them to breathe.

+Lightweight – Compared to most other materials used to improve potting mixes, such as peat moss or vermiculite, sand is lightweight and easy to use. For example, you can carry 50 pounds of sand at a time in one hand. (You would need two hands to hold that much vermiculite.) This makes it easier to move bags of potting mix around your yard or garden center than it would be if you used materials like vermiculite or peat moss.

+Insulates against heat – Sand provides insulation for roots in containers that sit in full sun.

How Much Sand Do I Need for Cactus Soil?

Mixing your own soil is a great way to save money, especially if you are planting cacti or succulents. You can also use this mix for indoor plants that need good drainage. I typically use a 50/50 mix of coarse construction sand and compost because this makes a cheap mix that has good drainage for cacti and succulents. If you are using broken pottery, rocks or other decorative pieces, you will want to use more sand than compost. If you are using large pots with more space, try adding 2/3 sand and 1/3 compost.

Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

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