7 Beginner Tips For Growing Succulents & Everything You Need To Know

7 Beginner tips for growing succulents

You may have spotted a stunning succulent along the seedling isle at your local farmers market, shouting ‘Pick me.’ Or perhaps you have been gifted with a tiny but charming succulent at your office party or best friend’s wedding. Either way, these odd but beautifully shaped plants with chunky leaves and adorable colors are too attractive to walk away from.

The succulent trend has taken over by storm, with these plants featuring prominently in rock gardens, office reception areas, table centerpieces, and even outshining an intended spouse in a bridal bouquet. These plants are not particularly fussy and are the perfect beginner tutorial when testing out your green thumb. By keeping up with their relatively small list of desires, succulents can blossom to be focal points in any surrounding.

 

7 Beginner tips for growing succulents
A succulent pot held by hand @curso_de_cactos_online

1. Choose Wisely

Becoming a succulent parent should not be a daunting task. Yes, there are hundreds of species to choose from and a myriad of shapes and hues to fit your every desire, but you might want to consider some points to help you narrow down your selection. 

Think through the location where you want to grow your succulent. Some succulents do better outdoors than indoors. Some prefer bright direct light while some shy away from the sun, favoring indirect light.

Do you have the space for a gigantic succulent, or would you desire a tiny one to fit in any nook or cranny? Would you rather plant it straight in the ground or a fancy pot that you can move around? Once you focus on this, you are in a better position to go pick up your adopted succulent.

When buying your succulents, take a closer look at the plants. A succulent should be well-formed, have great coloring and healthy foliage. Try and avoid any with signs of damage or insects.

 

2. Soil Matters

Succulents like to be dry from tip to root, meaning they prosper when they grow in free-draining, aerated soil. A cactus or succulent potting mix works well, but if this is unavailable, you can create your own by mixing potting soil with coarse sand and crushed gravel to create drainage.

As fancy as it looks to place succulents in glass containers, they are not very conducive to the health of the plants because they do not drain well and lack breathability. For a healthy succulent, ensure that the containers have drainage holes for surplus water to pass through and that there is a good airflow for healthy root development.

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3. Water Only When Necessary

Succulents plants are xerophytes, meaning that they adapt naturally to minimal rainfall by storing water in the leaves and stems. Your best bet would be to wait till the top soil is completely dry (roughly about every two weeks), pour water on the plant till it completely drains through and shake off any excess water before returning your plant to its favorite position. We can’t exaggerate this enough, it is very easy to overwater succulents and they won’t always bounce back!

 

4. Succulents Like Sunny, Dry, Spots

With most succulents being natives of dry and hot climatic areas, it’s no wonder that they are great sun worshipers. 4 – 6 hours of direct light from the sun at a kitchen windowsill or on the patio is suitable for your plant. If your succulent grows outdoors, and you are in an area with high temperatures, try to create a shade or screen for your plant during the hotter hours of the day.

Most succulents are not hardy to frost, and it is advisable to move them somewhere warmer during the cold seasons. Shelter them from strong winds, and prolonged exposure to rain as this attracts mildew. 

 

5. Feeding and Pruning

You can treat your succulents to a fertilizer feed 3 or 4 times a year. Removing any dead or decaying leaves will also help your plant grow. Something to note; If the leaves start to shrivel from the top of the plant, something is not right. If they wither from the bottom of the stem closest to the soil, that is normal.

Have any of your leaves been falling out and you still don’t know why? Take a look at “Why Are My Succulent Leaves Falling Off?” for tips on saving your succulent from falling leaves.

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6. Maintain a Diary

Keep track of your plant’s appearance and growth habit to understand what they are trying to communicate to you. When leaves start to turn yellow, your plant may be exposed to too much moisture. Soggy leaves mean your plant is drowning, and curling top leaves mean they are not getting enough water. When the plant starts to stretch and look lanky, it may not be getting enough sunlight. A regular watering schedule will help you map out when your plant needs a drink or when it’s had enough.

7 Beginner tips for growing succulents
potted Succulent plants arrangement @sagan_shop

Bonus Tip: Watch out for Pests and Diseases

Succulents rarely get attacked by bugs and ailments, but always keep an eye out. Cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol deter crawling pests.

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  • Your information is very helpful, especially the part about the plants soil should be dried out in 1.5 days after watering! Really good to know. I looked at my delosperma this morning and I thought it needed some water, but maybe not!
    I have found that plants ordered online often have a difficult time surviving. They may have been taken as a cutting months before my order was sent and so are compromised to start with. Then, the trip in the belly of an aircraft at 35,000 ft can get pretty chilly. It’s very disappointing to open a package of comparitively very expensive plants to find frozen leaves and very little if any roots. I have spent months nursing babies in their little pots only to have them destroyed by fungus knats. Last summer, I was surprised to find that the local garden centres have much healthier stock at 1/4 the cost! It’s tough though, to accept the unavailability of the more scarce plants on my wish list. It’s taking me a long time to build a collection of healthy specimens. Have propogated a lot of leaves without intending to. Thanks again for saving my succies leaves!

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