Succulent Plant Care 101: Essential Tips For New Owners

Posted on: 21 April 2023

Succulents have become increasingly popular due to their low maintenance requirements and stunning variety of shapes, colors, and textures — but if you're just beginning your journey with these unique plants, it's essential to familiarize yourself with their care needs and preferences to ensure they flourish and bring lasting beauty to your home or office space. Here's what you need to know about the key aspects of succulent care, from watering to sunlight exposure, and everything in between:

Watering Your Succulents

One of the most critical aspects of succulent care is watering. These plants are adapted to survive in arid environments, which means they require less water than many other houseplants. To avoid overwatering, follow the "soak and dry" method, where you thoroughly water the soil and then allow it to dry out completely before the next watering. This approach mimics the natural rainfall patterns succulents would experience in the wild and helps to prevent root rot.

Providing the Right Amount of Sunlight

Succulents need plenty of sunlight to grow and maintain their vibrant colors. However, the amount of sunlight required can vary depending on the specific variety. As a general rule, most succulents prefer at least six hours of bright, indirect light each day. Monitor your plants for signs of too much or too little light, such as elongated stems, faded colors, or sunburn, and adjust their exposure accordingly.

Choosing the Right Soil

Well-draining soil is crucial for succulent health, as it allows water to pass through quickly and prevents the roots from sitting in standing water. Commercially available cactus and succulent mixes are a great option, or you can create your own mix by combining equal parts of potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite or pumice. This combination will provide the proper drainage and aeration that succulents need to thrive.

Selecting the Appropriate Container

When choosing a container for your succulents, prioritize pots with drainage holes. These holes allow excess water to escape and prevent your plants from sitting in soggy soil. Terra-cotta pots are an excellent option, as they are porous and can help wick moisture away from the roots. Additionally, make sure the pot is appropriately sized for your succulent, providing enough space for growth without being too large, which can lead to overwatering.

Fertilizing Your Succulents

While not a strict requirement, fertilizing your succulents can encourage healthy growth and vibrant colors. During the active growing season, typically spring and summer, feed your plants with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half-strength. Fertilize once a month, but avoid fertilizing during the dormant winter months, as this can lead to leggy growth.

Visit a succulent plant retail store to learn more.