Which Is Better Perlite Or Pumice For Succulents, Cactus Plants

When you make succulent soil, you need to add water-absorbing materials to enhance the pot’s drainage. It is crucial. Indeed, now you can think about adding perlite or pumice for succulents soil mixture. These materials know as water-absorbing materials. Without any doubt, almost all gardeners mix these materials into their soil recipes.

They are not just excess water-absorbent materials. These materials can increase the aeration and loosening of the soil. This post will help you if you are thinking about selecting the right material for your succulent soil recipe.

Once you mixed the perlite or pumice into the soil, these materials can absorb water in different amounts. Which means each material has a different absorb ratio? Therefore first, we have to identify each material advantages and disadvantages.

Perlite Or Pumice For Succulents & Cactus
Perlite and Pumice

Why Succulent need water absorbs materials.

Succulents and cactus are native to desert and semi-desert environments. They thrive well in less moisture and loose soil. These arid climate plants require a limited amount of water throughout the year. When the soil kept moisture for a longer period, succulents and cactus plants tend to root rot. Ultimately, they can die.

Growing succulents’ plants under entirely different climatic conditions than the native environment requires good drainage and moisture control. Otherwise, they may stunt their growth or die.

Before we decide on perlite or Pumice best for Succulents and Cactus plants better, we must identify them more deeply.


What is Perlite?

Perlite is a volcanic glass, and it is a naturally made material. When the lava ejected, the volcano cools down rapidly. When it rapidly cools down, water traps inside the lava and form into a glass-like material. While it is in raw material, it contains a high level of moisture. When the perlite heated, it evaporated water (Source).

See also  Are Eggshells Good For Succulents? | Use Eggshell Powder?


Is perlite toxic?

Perlite is not toxic to humans and worms and small microorganisms living in the soil. Touching this material does not harm humans. It uses many applications, including horticulture, industrial water treatment, and pharmaceutical industry purification. Though ingesting can use minor illness, an excessive amount can cause permanent damages. If there is any dust, avoid inhaling. Since it has styrofoam looks, better to keep away from the kids (Source).


The benefit of Perlite.

  • Can absorb excess moisture.
  • Not a durable material.
  • Improve soil loose and aerated.
  • Improve soil drainage.
  • Work as a soil amendment and conditioner.
  • Relatively easy to find and cheaper.


Is perlite good for succulents?

Perlite is good for succulents and cactus. It can enhance the potting mix drainage. This is a good ingredient for succulent soil and good soil amendment. Adding 20% of perlite is a good starting amount. According to the soil conditions, can increase the amount.


What is Pumice?

Pumice is a bubbly rock made from hot lava. It is naturally created when the lava spews from the volcano and cools down. While the lava is ejected, it comes with different gases. When the lava is cooling down, it discharges the gases, and leaves make tiny solid holes. That is why we can see small holes in pumice stones (Source).


Is pumice toxic?

Pumice is not toxic to humans, worms, and small microorganisms living in the soil. It is non-toxic and non-hazardous. Touching and robbing this material does not harmful to humans, though ingesting can cause minor illnesses. Therefore, keep away pumice from kids. An excessive amount can make dust, void inhaling it.


The benefit of Pumice.

  • Can absorb excess wetness.
  • Durable material.
  • Mixing with soil makes it lose and well aerated.
  • Improve drainage.
  • Hold water even if the soil dry.


Perlite vs Pumice.

Since these two-material made from lava, there are several differences and similarities. Since perlite is lightweight, it can easily blow away, and fine perlite can be dusty. Pumice is heavier, so it cannot blow away, though fine pumice can be dusty.

When the perlite absorbs water, it is getting weaker and can easily break. Therefore, it is not durable and cannot use for a longer period. However, pumice is a bit harder material, and it cannot easily break. Consequently, it can use for a longer period.

See also  Best Succulents Soil Mix At Home | DIY Soil Recipe
Criteria Perlite Pumice
Durability After it absorbs water, it can easily break. More durable than the perlite.
Water Absorb It can absorb water, but not like pumice. Higher water absorption capability.
Price Inexpensive  Expensive
Availability Widely available Widely not available
Weight Lightweight Heavier
pH level Neutral Neutral
Organic or Inorganic inorganic inorganic
Decompose When water absorb it decompose Does not decompose
Replacement Hence it decomposes replacement requires. No need to replace it.
Dust Can be dusty Can be dusty


Is perlite or pumice better for succulents?

Now you may think about pumice or perlite for succulents’ plants. Since these two materials can absorb moisture on the soil, they hold water differently. Perlites absorb the excess water from the soil and keep it until the soil is dry. When the soil started less moisture, it releases the stored water. Pumice work differently. Pumice has tiny holes, that can keep water inside these small chambers. These pores hold the water even if the soil is dry. Furthermore, pumice can absorb oxygen and hold it inside.

Therefore, pumice is the best solution for Succulents. It absorbs excess moisture and improves aeration for succulent soil. Since succulents require a less water-growing medium, these volcanic rocks provide it better than perlite and activated charcoal. Pumice can use as a propagation medium for Succulents. It reduces harmful bacteria and fungi growth. Therefore, pumice is suitable for succulents.




When comparing pumices, perlite, and charcoal, the winner is the pumices. Is it more durable and can absorb water in a high amount? When the soil moisture reduces pumice does not release hold water. Therefore, it is not naturally changing the soil’s wetness. Since it is a more rigid material, it can reuse. If we compare pumice price with perlite and activated charcoal, it is relatively high though we can reuse it several times. Therefore, the total cost is lower. Furthermore, activated charcoal also a bit harder material and can use several times.

When growing succulent indoors with low light, increases these material portions up to 40%. This ratio depends on the soil condition.


See also  Is Charcoal Good For Succulents and Cactus?

Common Q&A.

Is too much perlite bad for succulents?

Perlite is suitable for succulent plants. These arid plants are not like wet soil. If the root system kept water for a longer time, it could cause root rot. Therefore, adding perlite is beneficial to prevent succulent root rot. Perlite can absorb excess moisture and release the moisture when the soil dries up. Releasing water is the only drawback of this material. If you use Pumice, it does not release moisture when the soil started to dry. Therefore, always recommend pumice over perlite.


What are the disadvantages of perlite?

The biggest con is perlite release moisture when the soil starts drying. Another disadvantage is perlite is not durable, and it easily breaks when it socks water. If you use pumice, it never releases moisture, and it is a more rigid material. Thus, you can reuse it.


How much perlite do I add to my succulents?

There is no definite answer for this. Adding 20% of perlite for succulent soil recipe is the best start-up. This material will enhance soil aeration and drainage.  Mix well perlite with soil and pour into the containers. If the garden soil is close to clay, increase the perlite amount up to 40%.


How much Pumice do I add to my succulents?

Mixing 20% or higher amount of pumice is better. If your soil contains more moisture, retain materials, or your garden soil is close to clay, increase the pumice ratio to 40%. This is a good soil amendment.


What is a good substitute for perlite?

The best substitute for perlite is pumice. It works better than perlite. Therefore, it is the best alternative. When using pumice as an alternative to perlite, you can use the same ratio recommended for perlite.

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Leave a Comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.