What is the Best Soil for Replanting Cacti?

“What kind of soil do you use to replant cacti?” Question from Joy of Hemet, California.

Answer: Most true cacti grow best in nutrient-poor soils that drain fast, whether grown in-ground or in pots.

In-Ground Cacti

If dividing and replanting your cacti in a dryland garden, remember that they need ground that is well drained but porous and deep with little water-holding ability. Some organic matter is recommended, but it should be minimal. You can rely on amending the soil with products like Black Gold Cactus Mix and crushed granite for extra drainage. I also like to cover the base of plants with rock or pebble to help surface water trickle down while holding it better at the roots. Newly transplanted/planted cacti require extra water for several weeks after planting while they set deep roots.

Potted Cacti

If replanting your cacti in pots, choose a pot that’s several inches wider than the old and a good bit deeper, and transplant it in Black Gold Cactus Mix, which drains well while holding just enough organic matter. A deeper pot will help plants set deeper roots in your hot, dry climate. Be sure to cover the potting mix with attractive rocks or pebbles.

Happy cactus planting!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist




Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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