A Proper Guide On Succulent Care For Everyone – How To Take Care Of A Succulent Perfectly

7 Beginner tips for growing succulents

You may have spotted a stunning succulent at your local farmers market along the seedling aisle, shouting ‘Pick me.’ Or perhaps you have been gifted a tiny but charming succulent at your office party or best friend’s wedding. 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 for testing your green thumb. By keeping up with their small list of desires, succulents can blossom as focal points in any surroundings.

I guess most of you here are beginning your journey with succulents. So, are succulents easy to take care of? Yes, they are, but we shouldn’t be careless. These 10 tips below will minimize the chances of you not caring correctly for succulents. Let’s dive in!

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

1. Choosing The Suitable, Healthy Succulents

Becoming a succulent parent should not be a daunting task. Yes, there are hundreds of species to choose from and myriad 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 instead plant it straight in the ground or in a fancy pot you can move around? Once you focus on this, you are better positioned to pick up your adopted succulent.

When buying your succulents, take a closer look at the plants. A healthy succulent should be well-formed and have great coloring and healthy foliage. Try and avoid any signs of damage or insects. We have prepared a list of trusted vendors where you can get yourself some healthy succulents.

2. Use Proper Succulent Soil & Fertilizer

Succulents like to be dry from tip to root, prospering 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.

Colorful succulent lithops in planter
@vividroot

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 good airflow for healthy root development.

Several succulent gardeners believe that succulents don’t need fertilizers. While most succulents can do perfectly well without any fertilizer, it’s important to note that nutrients are necessary for any plant. However, don’t overfeed your plant! It’s recommended to feed your plants three to four times a year. The best time for this is during summer or spring when your plants are actively growing. Succulents are generally dormant during winter, so avoid feeding them during this time.

Read more: The Best Fertilizers For Succulents

3. Don’t Underwater/ Overwater Or Use The Misting Method

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

Another succulent faux-pax is the notion that they can survive without any water. Though xerophytic and adapted to desert conditions, succulents require enough water to store some in their leaves. A desert may experience long spells of drought but pours when it rains. It’s recommended to mimic such watering as succulents are adapted to this. However, don’t forget to water it, so it might be underwatered!

1 more tip: you shouldn’t use the misting method to water succulents. Not only is misting a terrible way to do so, but it also promotes leaf rot if you spray mists daily. Leaves rotting because most of the water remains in the leaves for extended periods. This is dangerous for succulents such as Kalanchoe tomentosa.

Read more: How Often Do You Water Succulents? The Complete Guide On Watering For Succulents

4. Using Appropriate Planters or Pots

Succulents appear even more beautiful when planted in fashionable planters. However, if your container is jeopardizing the growth of your plants, you’ll soon end up with an empty planter. Succulents are prone to root rot. This happens when they sit in wet soil for too long. The soil in containers without a drainage hole takes much longer to dry out, increasing the chances of root rot.

Similarly, partially-closed containers lead to higher levels of humidity around your succulents. This is risky as it promotes rot, especially in the leaves and stems. You can never go wrong with Terra cotta, wood, or hypertufa containers.

Read more: An Ultimate Succulent Pot Buying Guide – Choosing The Best Pots For Succulents.

5. Do Not Plant Succulents Near Non-Succulents

Different plant arrangements are just gorgeous. No doubt, succulents look good when paired with some ferns or moss varieties. Unfortunately, that can only be done temporarily.

Succulents have very different growing conditions as compared with other home plants. Basil needs water every six hours, or else it’ll begin to wilt. Similarly, a moss plant will thrive in a moist environment.

On the other side of the ring, succulents can’t stand being wet. It’s impossible to have cohesion without one of the plants dying.

This is also true for some succulent groups. While a few succulents can go on without water for weeks, some need to be watered weekly.

6. Do Not Plant Succulents Too Close

Growing different succulents in one place presents a spectacular aesthetic. And to some extent, succulents can get along with this better than other plants. However, squeezing many into a single space presents a few problems. Competition for nutrients becomes fierce, which may lead to malnourishment.

Additionally, excessive crowding of succulents may encourage pest infestations and even the spread of mold. Such a combination of succulent killers is deadly and may wipe out your entire collection.

7. Succulents Like Sunny, Dry, Spots

Most succulents are natives of dry and hot climatic areas, and they are no wonder 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. Remember to rotate your plant regularly if you place them in partially-shaded areas.

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

Some low-light succulents can do well in little light, but they also need to be exposed to sunlight for a minimum number of hours every day. However, most home decorating designs don’t make provisions for stuffing many plants on the windowsill, minimalists especially. Therefore, placing them on a south-facing or west-facing window is recommended. During summer, you can take them outside and let them bask in the sun during the morning or late afternoon hours. If the natural lighting in your home is needed, a grow light may get the job done.

8. Maintain a Diary

Keep track of your plant’s appearance and growth habits to understand what they are trying to communicate to you. When leaves 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

9. 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. There are natural homemade pesticides that can help you scare pests away. We have an article for this topic: Common Knowledge About Pest Control For Succulents! Read on for more helpful information!

10. Remember To Tidy Up Your Succulent

Most succulents fit perfectly well in small planters. You can even use our hidden cactus mug as a planter for the smaller succulent plants. Nevertheless, plant roots require enough room for growth. If roots overgrow their pot and stay in that condition, desiccation problems will ensue because water won’t be adequately absorbed. Additionally, the uptake of nutrients and minerals may be a problem leading to a weak plant. Succulents are slow growers, and determining when to repot may be daunting. The best tip we can think of is repotting as soon as roots start peeping through the drainage hole.

Moreover, trimming/ pruning your succulents regularly will be great for their growth and health of the succulent. For a detailed guide on this, see this article!

11. Keep The Dust Away

Whether you place the succulent inside or outside, there will be dust. The dust is harmless in most cases, but it makes your succulent less attractive. For me, I always want my succulent to stay healthy and beautiful. I usually use a regular cloth with water to clean the dust off succulent leaves and spines. The feeling of caring for your beloved houseplant from the smallest part is the best thing ever!

Final Words

I hope these tips will help all our new gardeners who start with succulents. Is there any tip that I forget to mention? Let me know in the comment section below! Thanks for visiting Succulent City, and looking forward to seeing you around soon!

ABOUT ME

Richard Miller

Salute everyone. It's Richard, the author of this Succulent & Xeriscaping blog. I am a traveler and a nature lover looking for a connection with the wild green. In my journey, I found a love for succulents and xeriscaping. What attracts me is the long-lasting & unique beauty of every plant I have the chance to see with my own eyes. Welcome to my little blog and let's enjoy a good time together!

Contact me: richard.succulentcity@gmail.com

2 thoughts on “A Proper Guide On Succulent Care For Everyone – How To Take Care Of A Succulent Perfectly

  1. 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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