How to Grow and Care for your Succulents

What is a Succulent?

Succulents are amazingly unique plants that come in so many shapes and sizes! From the many varieties of Echeveria to the highly coveted Aloe Vera plant, there is a special variety of succulents for everyone’s preferences. People love these plants due to their unique look, how easy some types can be to propagate, and how not needy they are once you get the hang of growing them!

 

While succulents are often called the ultimate easy plant for beginners, there are easy pitfalls you can fall into if you aren’t careful! Ensuring that you are using the right kinds of potting soil, watering infrequently, and keeping an eye out for signs of root rot are all vital to keeping your succulents happy and healthy! We will help you learn more about how to care for these plants and how you can start to expand your succulent garden.

 

(PS - Lively Root lets you buy indoor plants online, such as many succulents including Echeveria varieties and Aloe Vera!)


Toxicity Level

Toxicity levels vary from succulent to succulent for pets, cats, and dogs! For example, while Echeveria are safe for pets, Aloe Vera and Kalanchoe can be very toxic to ingest for them. Just make sure to do your research on the variety of succulents you are purchasing if you are trying to keep your collection safe for curious furry friends! 

Care Level

Succulents are known for being easy to care for, but don’t think that means you don’t have to do any research before owning them! Setting them up for success with the right soil (such as a cactus and succulent mix) is essential to ensure they stay healthy. Drainage holes are a must in your pot to prevent root rot - the main affliction of these plants. Almost all succulents prefer bright, indirect light when indoors for at least six hours and want the soil to totally dry out between waterings. Once you get the hand of these few tricks, succulents are very low-maintenance and can be really easy to care for!

Great for People:

  • Who love a variety of colors and textures
  • Who are on the go and need lower-maintenance plants
  • Who love to share plants with friends
  • Who are interested in a variety of plant shapes and sizes
  • Who love variety and variegated leaves

 

Great for Spaces Like:

  • Homes with bright, indirect light
  • A space with room for a grouping of plants
  • Tabletops and desks
  • With rock or desert gardens
  • Small nooks that still need some green

How to Care for a Succulent

Light preference

Most succulents will prefer at least 6 hours of full to partial sun a day indoors. When exposing your succulents to the sun in a new environment, move it out slowly and increase the sunlight exposure one hour each day for two weeks to prevent the leaves from being burnt. Without enough light, succulents can start to get “stringy” and grow in unhealthy patterns to try to reach more sunlight.

Water/Humidity

When watering your succulents, you will want to ensure that the pot has dried completely. You can do this by testing with a finger or using a wooden skewer to check for any dampness in the soil. When you do go to water them, water thoroughly and ensure that the pot drains completely, keeping the tray beneath it dry by pouring it out or using a towel. If water sits in the bottom of the tray or saucer, it can potentially cause root rot. In the winter, succulents will need less water unless under grow lights. 

Ideal Temps

Different succulents have very different temperature preferences. Home temperatures are usually acceptable for succulents, as many varieties are often hardy to these environments. Outdoor hardiness also varies from succulent to succulent. Make sure to check before trying to grow them outside!

Plant Food/Fertilizer

There are special kinds of fertilizer for succulents to help them grow. Often referred to as cactus fertilizer (or cactus and succulent fertilizer), this specially formulated fertilizer is a great option for those not looking to get too complicated. When applying any kind of fertilizer to succulents, it is important to ensure that it doesn’t sit on the leaves, as the chemicals can potentially burn them. Once a month is usually a good frequency for feeding succulents.  

Repotting Frequency

Depending on the size of your pot, succulents only need to be repotted once every few years. Different types of succulents will grow at different rates, but often you will find it only necessary every year or two. When you get your new succulents, don’t rush to repot them immediately. They will need to get used to their new home for about 6-12 months ideally before moving, but if they start to really crowd the pot or the roots rise to the surface of the soil, you can repot sooner. Try to repot in the winter. Before repotting, water the succulents in their old pot. Remember to use succulent specific soil. Follow our guide when repotting for extra help!

 

Propagation

While not all succulents propagate in the same way, many are extremely easy to handle! Most succulents, including common varieties like Echeveria, can easily be propagated with a single leaf. Water your succulent a few days before attempting this. Find a plump leaf with uniform color, and gently remove them from the base of the stem on the lower level of the rosette. Lay the leaves on a paper towel to callus over, keeping them in a dry, warm area. When dry, dip them in rooting hormone. Place the dipped end into the moistened soil or lay them flat on top of the succulent soil. Place in a warm, dry place in indirect, bright sunlight and mist as the soil dries. After four weeks, roots will grow! Continue this until the plant matures and can be transplanted. While still maturing, try to avoid full sun as it can scorch the leaves.

Cleaning

Sometimes dust or dirt may accumulate on the leaves. If so, feel free to wipe it off with a damp cloth or spritz with water to clean. Occasionally, a leaf will dry up and die. You can remove them by gently pulling on them. If your succulent flowers, eventually you will want to trim the stems off.


 

Common Issues of Succulents

Watering issues are the most common for succulents. If you see their upper leaves wilting, getting wrinkled, or drying out, they may be underwatered. However, if you see older bottom leaves looking transparent and yellow, they may be overwatered. Succulents can sometimes start growing “stringy” or elongated, which often means that they are not getting enough light.

The most common reason a succulent dies is root rot. If you look at your succulents and see black or soggy leaves on the bottom, or the roots look dark brown, it could be that it has root rot. Often you can smell root rot if it has gotten bad enough. Avoid overwatering them to prevent this from happening, and ensure they have proper drainage and soil.

 

Complimentary Plants with your Succulents:

Snake Plants are a great compliment to a succulent collection, as they are actually succulents themselves! Their unique architectural look and similar water needs make them a great addition to a succulent corner. Snake plants do prefer lower levels of light but should survive in higher levels as long as you watch out to make sure their leaves aren’t burning. They like their soil to dry out entirely between waterings and don’t need much humidity.

 

Mini Schefflera Umbrella Trees have a great contrasting texture to succulents and also have similar requirements! Their leaves mimic an umbrella shape, giving them their name. They prefer bright, indirect light and for their soil to dry out completely between watering days. These plants also don’t need humidity to thrive.

 

For more information on caring for your new indoor plant, check out our comprehensive care guide here.

 

Want to buy your plants online? Find succulents such as KalanchoeAloe Vera, and Echeveria here!

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