Succulents are cute and wonderful plants to have inside to add a splash of color and vitality to your home. Succulent gifts have become very popular as well as succulent terrariums in recent years. They are versatile plants that don’t require a lot of maintenance if you plant them right. They are relatively easy to care for compared to other garden plants, but there are still some things you need to keep in mind if you want to grow a beautiful succulent that lives for a long time.
After our years of growing and caring for succulent plants, we’ve compiled this guide full of nine tips and do’s and don’ts for succulent care. If you follow them to a tee, you’re practically guaranteed to have a beautiful indoor succulent plant even if you have little planting experience!
Choose the Right Soil
The first step to ensuring that your beautiful seeds grow up to be cute, leafy plants is to feed them the nutrients they need. We’ve found that most succulents do best when planted in soil that doesn’t hold water to ensure you aren’t overwatering them. When it comes to the soil that you use to plant your succulents, there are a few options to choose from.
First, you can use the regular-old garden soil you might already have. Add a little pumice or perlite to the soil, and you’ll be good to go! Secondly, you can buy specialty succulent soil mix that mimics the natural soil they grow in out in the wild. Finally, you can take a DIY approach, and make your own succulent soil by mixing together turface, crushed granite, and pine park.
Avoid Dimly-Lit Areas…
Your succulents need light to grow! In fact, many experts believe that succulents need up to 6 hours of sunlight when growing out in the wild. Make sure that you are putting them in direct sunlight during the day so they can absorb as much of the sun’s natural love! If you keep them in the dark, they won’t grow nearly as well, and can even begin to die if you aren’t careful!
…But Don’t Sunburn Them
If you notice that your succulent is starting to develop black spots on its leaves, or has a white-ish hue, you are exposing it to too much sunlight! It all depends on the type of succulent that you choose, but some will prefer less-intense forms of light, such as during the morning or under partial shade. Keep in mind that if your succulent has been sunburned, it will probably have those scars forever, but the plant will still be able to grow and thrive healthily.
Overwatering is one of the biggest mistakes that many people make. Succulents aren’t super thirsty plants, and they can store water in their stems. The rule of thumb to follow is only to water them when their soil is dry—not when it’s wet or even a little damp. There aren’t any set time periods for watering, and it will depend on the climate inside your home. That being said, if it takes a week for the soil to go dry, only water once a week. If it takes two weeks, only water every two weeks. Adjust your watering schedule to your plant’s needs and don’t drown it!
Let Them Drain
Going off of our last tip, you should only choose containers that will let your succulent dry off. Their roots don’t like being wet for extended periods so it is vital that water can freely drain from their container. Choose a container that has a hole at the bottom to allow water to seep out, and don’t tightly compact soil all the way to the bottom. Instead, we like to use loosely-packed gravel at the bottom that will let water seep through. This way, your succulent gets all of the water that it needs and nothing more.
Don’t Water with Spray Bottles
Although spray bottles might seem like a more convenient way to water your succulents and could prevent overwatering them, they actually do more harm than good. By watering with a spray bottle, the water isn’t reaching all the way down to their deepest roots. This shallow watering encourages shallow root growth which is weaker and won’t be able to soak up all of the nutrients in the soil. Use a pitcher to water your succulents and make sure the water is going deep.
Don’t Let the Leaves Shrivel
If you start to notice that the leaves of your succulent are beginning to shrivel, it’s a sign that it is severely dehydrated! Make sure that you start watering it immediately to replenish its moisture before it’s too late. Keep in mind that if leaves are simply falling off that it is completely normal.
Fertilize At Least Once a Year
Annually, you’ll need to replenish the nutrients in your succulent’s soil. Luckily, unlike many plants, succulents are fairly low maintenance, so you don’t need to worry about fertilizing them all of the time. We recommend you pick up a well-balanced organic fertilizer and use half of the suggested dose during the beginning of your succulent’s growing season.
A Tip for Propagating
If you’ve ever propagated houseplants before, you probably plucked a stem, soaked it in water, and watches the roots grown. When it comes to propagating succulents, the process is the exact opposite. You’ll need to pluck a stem and put it in the shade for three days to dry out. The reason that you will let the stem dry is so it can “heal” or form a callus that prevents rot. Put your dried stem in some soil, give it some water, and it should be ready to start growing.
Hopefully, this guide has been helpful, and your succulents will be much healthier this year! Follow these tips, and you should be able to avoid many of the common problems that new succulent growers encounter. If you need any pots, bowls, or new plants, feel free to check out our products!