A Comprehensive Succulent Care Guide By Succulent City

succulent care guide

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener, caring for succulents is essential to learn/ to be reminded of. Are succulents easy to care for? Both yes, and no. Succulents require less effort from the owners. Therefore, we can’t be ignorant. This article summarizes my experience growing succulents over the years, including all the important notes and relevant resources (articles, free eBooks, …). Now, let’s begin!

First and foremost …

1. Pick A Healthy Succulent

Becoming a succulent parent should not be a daunting task. You can choose from hundreds of species with various shapes and hues. However, you might want to consider some points to help narrow down the selection. 

  • Your favors: Do you like succulents with fleshy rosettes? Or those with small thin leaves? What is your favorite color? Do you like a mini succulent or a mature one? Which succulent genus is one you love? It’s up to you to decide, considering a few factors below. Me? I own a succulent garden, not a big one but enough to be the home for many succulents. I don’t really pick which one is my favorite, but if I have to, Peperomia Obtusifolia is my go-to.
  • Your growing location: Think about the place you will grow your succulent. Is there natural sunlight? How is the weather at your place? Some succulents prefer bright direct light, while some shy away from the sun, favoring indirect light. If you live in an area with freezing temperatures during the year, it’s best to buy summer-dormant succulents. These succulents are cold-tolerant and thrive well in winter.
  • Your space: 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.

A few notes when you are at a succulent store: Are those foliages healthy? Is the color pale or fresh? Is any damage seen on the succulent (might be from insects, pests, or human interactions)? A healthy succulent should be well-formed with healthy foliage. Reduce the risk of having a weak plant by going through this list of trusted vendors by Succulent City.

2. Choose The Right Planters or Pots

Succulents appear even more beautiful when planted in suitable pots/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 Terracotta, wood, or hypertufa containers.

For an in-depth read: Choosing the best pots for succulents.

3. Make Proper Succulent Soil

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

The importance of soil mix is undeniable. A poor soil mix is deadly to your succulents. What makes a good soil mix, then? First, you need all the proper compositions for the succulent soil mix. Next, we need to make sure the soil is well-draining and breathable. You will need the correct ratio to do that. Then, place the soil mix nicely in the container before potting the plant.

For an in-depth read: Making The Perfect Succulent Soil With Succulent City.

4. Fair Use Of Fertilizers

Several succulent gardeners believe that succulents don’t need fertilizers. While most succulents can do perfectly without fertilizers, they can be a good addition in some cases. Fertilizing succulents requires specific knowledge. We need to know precisely how much fertilizer, the time to use it, the frequency, or whether homemade or store-bought fertilizer is better, … The keynote is not to overfeed your plant! By doing that, there is a high chance that your succulent will be fine. Talking about succulent fertilizers, we have written a comprehensive guide. See below!

For an in-depth read: The Only Succulent Fertilizer Guidebook You Need.

5. Learn Essential Gardening Skills

What are the essential gardening skills you need when caring for succulents?

  • Propagating: This is a crucial gardening skill to care for plants, not only succulents. There are several methods to propagate succulents successfully. Each has its pros and cons. As succulent growers, we need to know which method is the best for a succulent and when to apply it. For an in-depth read >>
  • Trimming/ Pruning: Knowing when and how to perform this action is necessary for succulent care. As you know, succulents might grow in length after a long time. Trimming/ pruning correctly will support better growth for your succulent. For an in-depth read >>
  • Beheading: Why do I split this guide from the trimming/ pruning guide? Beheading an outgrowing succulent is performing the trimming/ pruning action at the very top of your plant. Unlike pruning/ trimming, which takes a careful inspection of your succulent in general, beheading supports propagation to create a new healthy plant. For an in-depth read >>
  • Potting/ Repotting: Whether you are potting a succulent from an outdoor environment or repotting it from an old pot, it’s the same skill. However, the timing is different for several reasons. For an in-depth read >>
  • Watering: Watering is as simple as pouring water into the thirsty soil. The real question is when, how often, and how much. There isn’t a unique method of watering succulents. For example, misting is a terrible way to water succulents. It promotes leaf rot, which is extremely dangerous for succulents like Kalanchoe tomentosa. All you need is to water succulents when they are dry. For an in-depth read >>
  • Light: Most succulents are natives of dry and hot climatic areas, and no wonder they are great sun worshipers. 4 – 6 hours of direct light from the sun on a kitchen windowsill or the patio is suitable for your plant. If your succulent grows outdoors in an area with high temperatures, try to create shades for your plant during the hotter hours of the day. Remember to rotate your plant regularly if you place them in partially-shaded areas. For an in-depth read >>

6. Plants’ Positions

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.

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. Prepare For Common Succulent Problems

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. However, don’t forget to water it, so it might be underwatered!

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. 

8. Maintain a Diary

Please 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 stretches and looks lanky, it may not get 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

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 Comprehensive Succulent Care Guide By Succulent City

  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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