The Secret Ingredient Your Succulents Need

Succulent Care Tips

How do I keep succulents alive? Help, my succulent is dying! As a succulent garden hobbyist, I get asked questions like these a lot. My own interest in succulents began with one of my very first blog posts, and it intensified when I started my own succulent garden last year. I can’t stop sharing these beauties on Instagram!

Once you start growing succulents, it’s hard to stop! I just bought four tiny cuttings from a neighbor this week. But even though succulents are easy to grow, they aren’t foolproof. Do you have ailing succulents? It’s a myth that you can’t kill a succulent. In fact, it’s unfortunately much easier than you think.

I’ve killed them by underwatering and by overwatering. That’s the tricky part! So first, make sure the issue isn’t either of those things – this post has some advice on that. Sometimes they’ll perk right up with a little water — or try moving them to a sunnier location. If none of those things have helped, keep reading to find out how to fix the soil. It’s so disappointing when a beloved plant fails to thrive, so I want to help you reach succulent success.

Save your ailing succulents

When I was in Oregon for Thanksgiving, my entire family went to the Holiday Market, which is the Eugene Saturday Market that moves indoors for the winter. There are craft booths, music, food and a farmer’s market section. And just to show how popular this market is, I ran into a friend there who was in town visiting family. It’s not a small town, either. So as far as I can tell, the entire city of Eugene was attending the Saturday Market that day because 100% of the people I know in the city were there.

In the farmer’s market section is actually where I learned about this secret ingredient! A vendor was selling succulents and bags of ground up pumice for succulent soil. I bought a small amount of the pumice stone, and more succulents just because. Like I said, it’s hard to stop.

Keep succulents alive with one secret soil ingredient

I don’t know how I went this long without knowing about it, but it turns out that ground pumice is THE key to getting healthy succulents! The plants need well-draining soil, and 1/4 inch size pumice rock amends the soil in the ideal way. The common brand of succulent potting mix, Miracle Gro, does NOT include pumice. It’s also unlikely that pumice is in the soil when you buy a succulent from a store. If you have succulents that aren’t thriving, poor soil might be the culprit. So mix 1/2 pumice and 1/2 soil to make a mixture that your succulents will thrive in. If you want to keep your succulents alive and thriving, I can’t recommend this enough! After I ran out of the pumice from the farmer’s market, I bought a bag at my local garden shop. Of course, you can get it on Amazon either mixed into potting soil or on its own (these are affiliate links).

If you do add pumice to your succulents, do let me know if they perk up! I’ve noticed improvement in succulents within a week of adding pumice. This is an important ingredient to keep succulents alive and I hope it works for you too.

10 Comments on The Secret Ingredient Your Succulents Need

  1. Ashlyn
    February 3, 2018 at 12:24 pm (2 years ago)

    I love succulents, but I never want to buy them because I’ve killed so many in the past! I’m going to have to try this tip!

  2. Niamh
    February 3, 2018 at 4:44 pm (2 years ago)

    I bought a succulent (Sebastian) before I moved to uni in September and I can proudly say I have kept him alive! I am hoping to grow my family of succulents after seeing this post!

    P.S I love your blog!!

    • Abbie
      February 7, 2018 at 11:12 am (2 years ago)

      He has a name! That’s amazing. Congratulations on your success and I hope you grow your little succulent family. Keep me updated!

  3. Nathalie
    February 7, 2018 at 11:21 am (2 years ago)

    This is awesome- I love succulents but have been a little intimidated about buying some because I killed my first one. I am going to try again!

    • Abbie
      February 7, 2018 at 12:40 pm (2 years ago)

      Good for you for trying again! Gardening is full of disappointments as well as successes.

  4. Eva
    February 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm (2 years ago)

    Your succulents look so good! I would’ve never guessed that pumice was the secret ingredient!

  5. Holly | Legally Crafty Blog
    February 8, 2018 at 3:11 pm (2 years ago)

    I kept thinking succulents would be easier– but you do have to care for these little guys! Thanks for the tips!

  6. DSue White
    March 22, 2018 at 9:17 am (2 years ago)

    Great post! Are jade plants succulents?

    • Abbie
      April 13, 2018 at 9:49 am (2 years ago)

      Indeed they are! And they can be grown indoors…I have one that is very happy with lots of indirect sunlight.


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