Cactus soil has recently become popular for many houseplants, but can you use cactus soil for peace lilies?
Cactus soil can be a great option for peace lilies, assuming some organic material is added. One of the main issues with a lot of soil mixes for peace lilies is that they retain too much water, which is an area where cactus soils excel as they drain very well.
In this guide, I’ll take you through exactly what is needed for a suitable peace lily soil mix, why cactus soil is usually suitable, and how to make your own soil mix if you prefer.
Let’s get right into it.
- Qualities Of A Good Soil Mix For Peace Lilies
- Why Cactus Soil Can Work Well For Peace Lilies
- How To Make Your Own Cactus Soil Mix For A Peace Lily
- Watering And Fertilizing Peace Lilies In Cactus Soil
- Signs Of Using The Wrong Soil Mix For Peace Lilies
- In Summary
Qualities Of A Good Soil Mix For Peace Lilies
Before we dive into cactus soil specifically, let’s first look at what makes an ideal soil mix for peace lilies in the first place.
A well-draining soil is essential for peace lilies, as it aids in preventing root rot while still providing sufficient moisture for the plant.
Obviously, there is a delicate balance here – you don’t want the soil to drain too much, as this could quickly lead to underwatering.
Moisture retention is also important, as the roots thrive in moist but not overwatered soil.
Water availability supports transpiration and ensures that key nutrients are transported to other parts of the plant.
A lot of people don’t pay enough attention to the soil’s nutrient content.
Peace lilies, like other houseplants, require nutrients to grow and thrive. These nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (the main three found in complete fertilizers), and many others.
These can, of course, be supplemented with fertilizers, but it’s important for the soil also to be packed full of nutrients to support growth.
Organic material like compost is a great way to boost the nutrient content of the soil.
Peace lilies require soil with a pH of around 5.8 to 6.5, which is slightly acidic.
Why Cactus Soil Can Work Well For Peace Lilies
Cactus soil can work very well for peace lilies as it is very well-draining.
This means that overwatering and, therefore, root rot are very unlikely to affect your plant.
Some Potential Issues
There are a few potential problems that cactus soils can cause, and these depend on the type of cactus soil you use.
Some cactus mixes contain potting soil or compost, while others are inorganic and contain perlite, gravel, grit, and other materials.
Those that are purely inorganic lack the nutrients that peace lilies need to thrive, and they also tend to drain extremely quickly, leading to underwatered conditions.
How To Make Your Own Cactus Soil Mix For A Peace Lily
If you use a purely inorganic cactus mix for your peace lily, add compost or potting soil to the mix before you pot your plant.
I recommend making this up to around one-third of the total volume for best results; adding this organic material will improve the mix’s moisture retention.
If you like to make your soil mix from scratch, use one part potting soil, one part sand, and one part peat moss.
Watering And Fertilizing Peace Lilies In Cactus Soil
Watering and fertilizing are very straightforward if your peace lily is potted with cactus soil.
Here are some easy tips to prevent fertilizer burn and make sure you avoid overwatering or underwatering.
Some cactus soil mixes will drain more than others, so staying on top of watering is important.
You should water the soil when the top one to two inches of soil become dry. Regularly check the soil to ensure you keep on top of watering, and remember that it will fluctuate throughout the year, so you’ll have to water more often in the summer and less often during winter.
Cactus mixes don’t contain as much organic material as other soil mixes, so it’s important to supplement with fertilizer to ensure your peace lily gets all the nutrition it needs.
I recommend using a complete liquid fertilizer once to twice monthly during the growing season for the best results.
Signs Of Using The Wrong Soil Mix For Peace Lilies
Using the wrong soil mix can lead to various problems for your peace lily.
Here are some telltale signs to look out for.
If the leaves start to turn yellow and droop, this is one of the first symptoms of overwatering.
Overwatering is much more likely to occur if your soil mix doesn’t drain properly. This is why cactus soils are an excellent base for peace lily soil mixes, as they drain well and prevent root rot.
Brown Crispy Leaves
If your soil drains too much, it can quickly lead to underwatering, which can cause the leaves to dry up due to a lack of moisture.
These leaves will turn dry and crispy to the touch.
Pests like fungus gnats are attracted to overwatered soil, especially if the surface of the soil has visible water on it.
This can result from soil that retains too much moisture or doesn’t drain quickly enough.
Root rot occurs due to extended periods of overwatered soil, which again can result from using the wrong type of soil.
I highly recommend using the correct soil type for your peace lily to prevent these issues!
Some cactus mixes can lack organic material, so make sure the cactus mix you use contains a healthy amount (around a third) of soil or compost. You can also use our recommended mix above for the best results.
If you use 100% cactus mix, you can run into issues depending on the type of mix used. If the mix doesn’t contain moisture-retaining material, underwatering will quickly become a problem.
Want to learn more about peace lilies? Check out some of our other recent articles below: