5 Tips on How to Care for Succulents
Succulents are attractive, easy to grow, and come in all shapes and sizes. There are tons of different varieties but their requirements for care are mostly similar because they all store water in their leaves (which is where they get the name “succulent”). Succulents can be beautiful houseplants or they can be grown outdoors. Succulents are great gifts for birthdays, holidays, or even just because!
Here’s some tips that will guide you with successfully caring for succulents:
Choose the right succulents
Some succulents require more care than others, especially when it comes to light. Majority will need full-sun and do better in an outdoor environment so try and choose succulent varieties such as the Haworthia Zebra, Jade Plant, Snake Plant or String of Pearls when planting indoors, as these varieties can tolerate lower light better than others.
Put them in a brightly lit area
If you have a window in a room that gets lots of sun, you can get away with succulents like Echeverias and Sempervivums, but it may still be difficult to maintain. Just try your best to give your succulents as much light as possible in your home, otherwise they will grow etiolated (tall and leggy) and lose their nice shapes permanently.
You may need to constantly rotate your succulents and move them from room to room to chase the light, or you can place them temporarily outside during daytime to help them receive the light they need to thrive. If this isn’t possible, you can consider purchasing grow lights to sustain your succulents indoors. These come in many shapes and sizes - at Cheeky Plant Co. we have lots including red blue LED grow lights and white LED ring grow lights.
Growing succulents outdoors on the other hand is much easier as the sunlight easily matches the requirements of succulents in their natural habitats. Your succulents should ideally receive up to 10 hours of bright light per day to keep them strong and healthy.
Use a loose well-draining potting mix
It is not ideal for succulents to remain in wet soil for a long time. To mimic their natural environment, you’ll need a loose well-draining potting mix that is able to let water reach the roots when you water the succulent and allows the water to leave the pot and the soil to dry properly before the next watering. Choose a gritty potting mix when purchasing soil. Usually there are premade succulent and cacti potting mixes at garden stores, or you can make your own potting mix using inorganic and organic materials.
Water well but not too frequently
Succulents although being desert plants by nature, still need sufficient water to continue thriving with growth. If their intake of water is limited, the growth of the succulent will be hindered. Slow growth could be an advantage if you’re keeping succulents indoors and don’t want to keep repotting due to them stretching out, but it is not the optimal way to care for succulents. The best way to water your succulents and ensure development of a solid root system is to water heavily in one go and allow the soil to completely dry before watering again. If you have neglected your succulents, here's an article on how to save your underwatered succulents.
Only use plant pots with drainage holes
Avoid using terrariums (a big no-no for succulents) or any pots that lack a drainage hole when planting your succulents because they usually lead to their demise. Succulents do not like to sat in flooded soil for extended periods of time especially when there’s no drainage hole because this will inevitably lead to root rot and the rotting of the entire succulent. With a drainage hole, the water is able to drain out and the soil is then able to dry.
You can just drill holes into the base of a pot that doesn’t already have drainage holes but if that can’t be done and you still want to use that nice looking pot, you can consider the double potting method where you use a smaller nursery pot with drainage holes and place it inside the bigger pot which doesn’t.