What Soil to Use for Moon Cactus? ( Don’t Use Peat)

What Soil to Use for Moon Cactus?

Hibotan Cactus requires soil that drains well and is not too rich in nutrients. Repotting should occur when necessary but be sure to choose a pot with drainage holes.

The Hibotan cactus likes the soil mix to be comprised of 25% to 50% perlite or pumice. It’s not susceptible to root rot, so repotting is not necessary unless it grows too large for its pot. Water weekly in summer and every two weeks from fall through spring.

The best soil for moon cactus plants is an aerated sandy soil that allows water to drain well. Adding pebbles or small stones to a potting mix can also create a suitable cactus soil. Like most types of succulents, moon cacti prefer a potting mix that is acidic to neutral.

Spring is usually the best time to repot just before the active growing season begins.

Soil for  Moon  Cacti: the Criteria to Take into Account

What are the criteria that affect soil quality for indoor cacti? As you will see, it’s all about balance and context.

Quick-Draining Soil

Moon cacti must have well-drained soil. These cacti enjoy drought but hate moisture. The soil should be very porous in order to avoid moisture buildup and the inevitable appearance of pests such as scale insects that feed off of the cactus’ roots or cause systemic rot if left untreated. Soil that is too heavy on the clay side carries with it the risk of overwatering, which can result in root rot and general dissatisfactory conditions for the plant. So it is better to choose a very granular soil that will not absorb water.

A Ventilated and Dry Substrate

Moon Cacti are able to absorb water from the air around them and they do not have very long roots in which they can absorb nutrients. So these plants need to be watered way less frequently compared to other cacti species. In fact, if you give them too much water at once, it may make your Moon Cactus sick and cause it to deteriorate because of being placed under a lot too much stress.

The moon cactus is a plant that needs to be taken care of well. It’s important not to place a cactus in an area that is too moist or poorly ventilated. If its soil has way too much water, the cactus will inevitably develop root rot, which will be unsightly and cause the lovely cacti to die.

Relatively Poor Soil

Let’s not forget that cacti are desert plants that are very accustomed to dry, nutrient-poor soil. Let’s not forget that cacti are desert plants and they need desert conditions to thrive above all else. While cacti will also survive in a plain soil environment, adding some specialized cactus fertilizer can help promote healthy growth.

Why is Purchased Soil Unsuitable?

The plant store sells only peat-based soils which are completely unsuitable for moon cacti. They also have soils that are intended as food for cacti and succulents. Plus, fertilizer is also added to peat.

Peat is inherently a natural substrate for soil microflora, to which moon cactus typically aren’t resistant.

Peat is a type of soil or organic matter that will slow the rate at which water penetrates it. It’s great for plants that like to grow in chilly weather and those that need a long period of time to adjust to their surrounding environment.

Peaty mixtures have a high water-holding capacity: they dry out slowly, which is favorable for microbes, but not for moon cactus. Dried peat in a pot is then extremely difficult to wet.

Want to become a real cactus grower? Then you’ll have to make some adjustments to the soil before planting your cacti. Fortunately, it’s not hard, but it is satisfying.

The worst part about commercial mixes is that once the commercial mix has dried, it becomes very difficult to re-wet it due to the nature of the main ingredient, peat. As a result, the water will stand at the top and mostly run down the inner wall, leaving most of the soil mass dry.

What is Soil Microflora?

Soil Microflora

Microorganisms are the majority of soil organisms, and microflora is bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa, and microscopic animals. Microflora inhabits the soil from the surface of the soil to deeper soil horizons and from the surface to the root zone. Microflora influence the nutritional status of plants and the formation of humus.

Soil microflora – microscopic fungi, bacteria, and algae. To survive, they need organic matter from the soil substrate. In addition to organic material, they require stable conditions so that the soil does not dry out completely.
When growing ordinary plants, microorganisms receive just such conditions: the soil remains constantly wet.

Making Moon Cacti Soil at Home

DIY Moon Cactus Soil

We can construct a loose soil substrate, which will dry out very quickly. Ordinary forest or garden topsoil, mixed with coarse sand, is suitable for us.

The main components of the substrate for moon cacti are:

Clay base: forest, garden, street land.

Mineral baking powder: coarse sand, small stones, perlite, vermiculite, lava, pumice

Good drainage is essential to prevent roots from rotting. Otherwise, you could find yourself with a batch of bad compost.

Avoid large pieces of bark and wood chips.

For moon cacti that choose rocky soil in the wild, crushed stone or gravel is included in the mixture.

Pumice is a light volcanic rock, porous. Relatively similar substitutes include perlite (a lightweight, low-density volcanic rock that expands after absorbing water), as well as insoluble cat litter, aquatic plant soil, and sandstone. These last three materials help provide aeration for the mixture by keeping the mixture somewhat “airy.” Note that it’s vital to use something like pumice so that water can more readily pass through the mixture while still keeping it somewhat airy!

You can add coarse, fibrous organic material to the soil. Coir is used to aid in retaining moisture and air within the soil, providing structure to the mix. Unlike peat, coir is amenable to rewetting when dry, making them both effective based on moisture levels.

Clay minerals: the major constituent of soil seems to be one of the most fertile as its adaptability to retain nutrient salts. But, its impermeability to air and its natural tendency to stick together makes it unfit for planting in its pure form.

Potassium permanganate should not be spread in the soil as it is a strong oxidizing agent that makes the chemical properties of the soil even more severe.

Smaller pots will dry out faster, enabling you to more accurately control the amount of water your plant receives, which is especially important during the winter months since a smaller pot will be exposed to the elements for longer periods of time.

Practice shows that the really important characteristics of an earthen mixture for  moon cactus are:

Looseness, air, and water permeability of the soil.

Acidity (PH)Most succulents and cacti require a slight acid reaction to ensure healthy root growth. Based on numerous studies the results showed that soils that have a PH between 6 and 4.5 which is acidic, would be ideal for moon cacti.

Perlite: Perlite is a substrate of mineral origin. Its porous structure has the same moisture-holding capacity as sphagnum moss, making it suitable for the cultivation of cacti. Perlite is a white granule that is almost weightless when dry. It takes on excess water and slowly releases it back into the soil.

Crushed charcoal: Crushed charcoal is used to control the appearance of fungal diseases, prevent rotting, and improve the gas exchange of soil. It also aids in soil aeration by removing excess moisture from anaerobic soils. Charcoal should be made from softwood and will have a maximum size of about 5 mm. For moon cacti, charcoal of a larger size is desirable in order to keep the soil airy.

How to Acidify the Soil?

The moon cactus, which grows well on soil rich with nonorganic matter and develops in acidic soil, benefits from applications of superphosphate, which not only affords the plant phosphorus but also slightly acidifies the soil. This is necessary for the full development of the moon cactus.

In addition to phosphorus, superphosphate also contains sulfur, magnesium, calcium, and other elements. Acting on plants in different directions, improves metabolism, strengthens the root system, and accelerates development and flowering.

Is Vermiculite Good for the Moon Cactus?

Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that expands when heated. It’s often used in potting mixes to increase aeration. One of its most unique and beneficial uses is as a soil amendment for cactus since cactus soils are notoriously poor in nutrients. Because of its roomy nature, vermiculite can be a great addition to the soil of your moon cactus. Not only will you likely see the difference in the health of your plant, but if your moon cactus is indoors, it should also make your potting mix smell less like dirt.

Vermiculite works well for moon cacti because it is a good “soil conditioner,” meaning that it helps the soil hold moisture, it helps the soil drain better, and it makes the soil lighter. While many people worry about adding too much water to their moon cactus because they don’t want their plant to rot and die, vermiculite can help prevent this by making sure that there is plenty of drainage in your potting mix so excess water can escape (this means you’re less likely to overwater your plant).

Should I add Perlite to My Moon Cactus Soil?

Cactus may benefit from a higher mix of sand, but it must be the coarse type. Perlite is a mineral that has been ground down into small, lightweight particles. When you add it to the soil, it helps water travel throughout the roots and soil more evenly. Perlite allows for better drainage in some cases and doesn’t usually need to be replenished like regular soil, so it’s a good addition to any soil mixture. It also helps sandy soils retain moisture, which can be useful when you live in a dry climate like Arizona.

What is a Substitute for Perlite?

If you have coarse sand, it can work as a substitute for perlite. Sand is similar to perlite in that it is pH neutral, sterile, nutrient-free, and facilitates drainage. This material is also quite heavy, so the plants in your garden will have a hard time lifting their roots through it—meaning they’ll get the support they need during harsh weather conditions.

Can I Use Gravel Instead of Perlite?

Yes, perlite can stand in for gravel in certain situations, namely those where the presence of gravel will aid drainage.

In Conclusion

Moon cactus plants are best grown in containers with aerated, sandy potting soil that allows water to drain well.

Pebbles or small stones added to the potting mix will create an environment suitable for most types of moon cacti.

Moon cactus is most comfortable growing in soil that is slightly acidic to neutral.

Soils consisting of decaying plant matter, known as peat, are not suitable for moon cacti. Peat is a type of soil containing organic matter that retards the flow of water.



Anwar Hossain

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

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