The Power of Perlite

The Power of Perlite
The Power of Perlite

How tiny bits of volcanic glass can help your succulents thrive

If you haven’t guessed by now, to grow happy and healthy succulents (or any plants, really) you need the right kind of soil. For most house plants, regular potting soil is great because it’s filled with tons of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus and it will stay moist for a while. Succulents, however, need well-draining soil that’s less nutrient-rich. That’s where perlite comes in. Here’s a little breakdown on why perlite is every succulent parents’ best friend… Read more!

What is it?

Perlite is the small, white pebble-like material that’s a key ingredient in most cactus soils. Perlite may feel unnatural, kind of like styrofoam, but it is actually just a treated form of naturally occurring volcanic glass. (Pretty cool, huh?) ⁠

How is it used?

Including perlite in soil facilitates better airflow and drainage. By keeping the soil loose, it allows it to dry out a bit faster between waterings. This is ideal for succulents, whose roots can rot when left in wet soil for too long. ⁠

Overhead of succulents with spoonfuls of perlite, sand, and soil

How much should I use?

Most cactus soil should already have perlite in it, but some succulents really benefit from having extra mixed in. It’s also advantageous to add extra perlite if you are encouraging cuttings to grow!⁠

Loose perlite is a handy thing to have around if you’re a houseplant parent. Chances are, if you’re already raising other houseplants, you have standard potting soil around. With loose perlite and sand, you can turn that potting soil into succulent-safe cactus soil!

Here’s a tried and true 3-ingredient cactus mix recipe:⁠

  • 3 parts potting soil⁠
  • 2 parts coarse sand⁠
  • 1 part perlite⁠

Check out our other posts on Potting Soil and 3 Ingredient Cactus Soil.

It’s a perlite party out here! Have you had experiences with using more (or less) perlite in your soil mixes? Let us know in the comments below. We value hearing from our community of plant parents, and learning from each other! Happy planting, lovelies! ⁠

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