Is Kanuma Soil Good for Succulents, Bonsai & Cactus?

Taking care of succulents, bonsai and cactus is not a big deal. But choosing the right soil for them can be a hassle at times. Especially because your fellow gardeners keep giving you advice on soil components.

So you get a bit confused about whether to use those or not. So the recent name you heard is kanuma soil.

Now you’re searching, is kanuma soil good for succulents, bonsai, and cactus?

Yes, kanuma soil is good for all types of succulents. It’s also usable for most of the bonsai types. Because of its acidic level, it helps to thrive acidic soil-loving plants. But it should always be used in a proper manner to get the benefits.

To know how to do that, you’ll have to keep reading. 

What is Kanuma Soil?- Mystery Solved!

Well, Kanuma is a region in Japan known for having volcanic mountains. And kanuma is mainly a form of volcanic rocks. But they’re not distributed raw. First, they’re collected from the volcanic mountains.

Then they’re processed very carefully. After that, they go through a sterilizing process. And finally, they’re baked.

These baked particles are excellent substances to grow plants. But it is slightly acidic. This is what makes it popular after akadama. So let’s see if you can use this substance for your succulents, cactus, and bonsai.

Is Kanuma Soil Good for Succulents, Bonsai & Cactus?-Yes/No?

Well, kanuma soil is good for all sorts of cactus and succulent plants. Because succulents and cactus love acidic soil. They can tolerate up to 6-6.5 pH levels of the soil. As kanuma provides a highly acidic environment, it is beneficial for the plants.

However, you can’t use kanuma alone as a soil component to growing succulents. You’ll have to tone down its acidity with other components. So choosing the right components to use with it is important.

Because that’ll determine the overall health of the plant. So you can only use the kanuma soil if-

  • You mix it with other soil components
  • You use it for acidic soil loving plants

So keep these factors in mind and use the soil accordingly. But while using it with other components, don’t mix with garden soil. Garden soil isn’t a good option for succulents or cactus to be used in a soil mix. 

But when it comes to bonsai, there’s a lot of variety. Most of the time, bonsai trees have different needs. But a large portion of them is similar to the succulents in terms of soil needs.

For example, gardenias, camellias, and azaleas are some of the bonsai that love acidic soil. So kanuma is a good choice for them as well.

But you may wonder what are the benefits of using kanuma to your plant. So check the next section for that.

What are The Benefits of Kanuma Soil? – 4 Benefits

Kanuma soil has multiple benefits for your plant. Whether it’s helping the roots to grow, or increasing the absorption of minerals, it has several benefits. So here’s a list of those.

Notifies When to Water The Plants

A lesser-known fact about kanuma is it changes color. When you pour water into it, it turns to a darker shade until the soil holds water.

Eventually, it will become lighter in color as the water starts to dry up. At some point, the soil will be back to its normal color. Then you’ll know that it’s time for you to water the plants.

So it saves your time as you won’t have to poke the soil. The soil itself will let you know if it needs water or not. So you can maintain a good watering schedule. 

Improves Root Health

Among all other benefits, it’s the reason why people want kanuma soil. So it actually keeps the overall soil a little moist. That is perfect for succulents to absorb the water needed. Then it passes the extra amount efficiently out of the pot.

So it provides good drainage at the same time. While doing so, it gives the roots the right amount of pressure. As succulent, cactus and bonsai roots absorb moisture fast, kanuma helps with that.

So the roots don’t have to stay damp. Otherwise, it would have started to rot. Then the cactus plant would start to turn purple.

The same goes for other succulent and bonsai plants. 

Apart from these, it actually improves root health. Due to its nature, kanuma promotes root with fibrous health. So if you plan on repotting the plant, you’ll easily be able to shake off excess soil. Due to the proper root health, the root won’t be too hard and breakable.

Facilitates Aeration 

So the kanuma soil provides a good aeration system in the soil. It means that the soil would have an extra oxygen supply. That’ll help the excess water to pass out of the pot soon enough.

That will prevent root rot. It will also restrain the buildup of fungus in the soil. Because the soil won’t be damp for a long time. 

Also, pests that infest moisture-loving plants would be away from the plant. Because the plants will be having the exact amount of water it needs. So there’s no way they’ll be extra moist.

So these bugs won’t feel attracted to eat their leaf juices. And the plants will be safe from pests and fungal infections. 

Increases Mineral Absorption

Healthy roots can trap minerals better. As kanuma keeps the soil and root healthy, they can operate better. As a result, the roots soak up all the soil minerals and fertilizers. 

As the kanuma soil is lightweight, it helps the soil to breathe. While doing so, it supplies minerals to the root, which passes it to the stem. Then it reaches the whole plant.

This way the plants will flourish. The overall health will be better than before.

How to Use Kanuma Soil? + Proper Soil Recipe

You have heard a lot about the benefits. Now let’s tell you how to use kanuma soil. 

We’ve already mentioned that it can only be used while mixed with other components. So you can mix it with pumice, potting soil, and sand.

But finding the right potting soil can also be an issue. In that case, we provided the best potting soil suggestion for indoor planters. All you have to do is check them.

After you get your potting soil, start preparing the soil mix. 

You’ll have to take 1/2 scoop of kanuma and 3 scoops of potting soil. Then add 2 scoops of sand. Lastly, mix 1/2 scoop of pumice with it. Give them a good mix. 

Now use this soil for succulents, bonsai, and cactus.

What Are The Alternatives to Kanuma Soil?

Well, we’ve been explaining the benefits of kanuma soil. But here’s a catch, it is available in bulk only in Japan. So in the West, there’s not much supply of it. 

So unavailability is a huge drawback. Due to this, the price is a lot higher than its alternatives. 

You may have been struggling to find it or may have a budget issue. In that case, you can opt for its alternatives. Check the alternatives out.


Perlite is the closest alternative to kanuma. It is also as lightweight as kanuma. It promotes the same level of aeration to the soil.

Plus it can be found in every gardening store or even at some super shops. Perlite can be used as decorative stones on top of the soil. So it’s an all-in-one alternative for kanuma.


Akadama also changes color when it is wet. So it’s easier to understand when you need to water the plants. 

Apart from that, it’s not as lightweight as kanuma. So when you water the plant, it won’t float around like kanuma. That’s definitely a plus point. Lastly, it restores root growth just as kanuma.

So you’ve learned about the alternatives. Moreover, you know if you can use kanuma for succulent, cactus, and bonsai or not. And that’s all on this topic. 


Question: How long can kanuma stay in place in the soil?

Answer: Well, kanuma itself is a strong substance in the soil, but it’s not unbreakable. After 1-1.5 years the kanuma soil starts to break. And you’ll need to replace it then.

Question: Can kanuma be used as decoration to succulent or cactus?

Answer: Yes, due to its color, it’s acceptable as a decorative component as well. So you can just put a layer of these on top of the soil as decoration.

Question: Can I plant my bonsai, succulent, or cactus only in kanuma soil?

Answer: Well, no. Though these plants require high acidic soil, still they can’t handle kanuma alone. Because the kanuma soil itself has a 4.5 pH level. So when mixed with other particles, it gets toned down.


It is time we say goodbye. Because you got your answer to whether kanuma soil good for succulents, bonsai and cactus.

We tried to give you a brief understanding. But if you still have confusion, just comment below.

Happy gardening! 

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