Can Succulents Grow in Sand? All You Need to Know

Succulents are stunning plants that can give your property a deserty-appearance. There are plenty of species of these plants, allowing you for a wide selection. Indeed, you can choose among several shapes, sizes, colors, and types of succulents. In general, with these plants, it is most likely the case that you either love them or hate them. But regardless of what your aesthetic preferences are, we cannot deny that these plants add an appealing texture to your garden, especially if you live in an arid region.

Many Succulents Grow in Sand

Can Succulents Grow in Sand

Many succulents’ natural habits are deserty, with minimal rainfall and sandy soils. Under such conditions, these plants take advantage of the infrequent rains and hold on to moisture through their thick leaves.

As you may or may not know, sandy soils are not particularly rich in nutrients, meaning succulents in these environments have to find alternative ways to get their food. Some can do a type of photosynthesis that allows them to collect carbon dioxide from the pores of the leaves and use sunlight to convert it into glucose, on which succulents feed.

Growing succulents at home is generally not as challenging, as these hardy plants will adapt to most situations. Under optimal conditions, they are easy to grow and take care of. Because of their thick leaves and structure, these plants can store water and thrive in situations most other plants might die. But does that include sand substrates? In short, can succulents grow in sand? Keep reading to find out!

Can Succulents Grow in Sand?

Can Succulents Grow in Sand

Succulents are ideal for arrangments: they are versatile and adapt to most conditions, as long as the temperatures aren’t too low. You have probably already seen them in terrariums filled with sands or rocks. But is a sandy substrate optimal for these plants to thrive?

The truth is that despite looking beautiful, a succulent will not survive for long in a terrarium with sand. Instead, such conditions should be rather a short-term decoration. Indeed, while this type of soil might not cause your succulent to die, you’ll have problems with it thriving and growing. After all, there is a difference between surviving and thriving.

The problem with growing succulents (or any other plant) in the sand is that this substrate doesn’t retain water well. You might think that this is not much of an issue for succulents, which don’t need much moisture. And, of course, succulents prefer little to no water to overwatering as their roots are prone to rot. However, they still need some time to absorb enough moisture for their needs. And sand doesn’t allow them to do so, and more if you are growing your plants indoors. So, even in sandy environments, succulents still require the addition of organic materials to retain moisture.

The Ideal Soil Conditions for Succulents

Can Succulents Grow in Sand

The ideal solution is to use a succulent growing mix in the soil: such a substrate can provide your plants with enough nutrients to survive, which are missing in the sand.

If you wish to see how it works for you, keep in mind that the type of sand you use is crucial. For best results, pick one that is coarse and open, which allows for the creation of air pockets between the grains.

Don’t forget that plants, besides water, sun, and nutrients, also need oxygen to carry out photosynthesis. Air is vital for healthy roots, which without it will suffocate, causing your plant’s death. Avoid using beach sand: chances are your succulents won’t tolerate such high contents of salt, which might eventually kill your plants. Instead, consider getting builder’s sand to grow your succulents.

Also, to improve results and help your plants survive in sandy environments, don’t forget to add some nutrients using a liquid fertilizer. But avoid overdoing it: mix your product at about half or one-quarter of its strength.

Also, monitor your watering schedule: your succulents should get enough moisture but not too much. With sand, overwatering can be a problem. Finally, make sure you place your succulents under direct light, essential for photosynthesis. Pick a location that gets at least a couple of hours of sun per day.

Can Succulents Grow in Sand: Final thoughts

So, in short, succulents might survive in the sand but will probably not be able to thrive there, nor grow, unless you make some amendments to the soil. While you might enjoy your succulent in a sandy terrarium, you should only put your plants under such conditions for short periods.

On the contrary, you will eventually notice your succulents sending their roots out to reach a more optimum growing environment.