5 Succulent Care Tips for Happy, Healthy Succulents

Proper succulent care can be easy, as long as you know a few basics. Hopefully from the tips in this post, as well as the posts above will help you ensure the long and happy life of  your succulents!

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Growing succulents doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, succulents can be a really low maintenance plant that looks great year round! The five tips below are simple and easy but will make all the difference in how well your succulents survive!

These tips for growing succulents were so helpful! This site is worth checking out!
Echeveria ‘Lime and Chili’, Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’, Echeveria subsessilis, Echeveria ‘Black Prince’

Water more, less often

I know, I know this is the thing that gets said over and over with succulents too much water is not good for succulents. It’s true! It is a crucial part of succulent care. I have almost lost a couple plants due to over watering so really this can’t be stressed enough!

However, succulents like to have their soil soaked and then dry out before watering again. So, soak the soil and then let it dry completely. For more details about this watering method, check out this post or my ebook on watering.

A couple things I have learned along the way that may help with watering… the thicker the leaves on a succulent the less water it needs. So my beautiful Pachyveria Royal Flush is going to need a lot less water than the Aeonium Zwartkop. I actually really like the Aeonium Zwartkop because it tells me when it needs to be watered by having droopy leaves. Add a little water and it perks up within a couple hours!

For a more in depth look at how I water my plants, check out my post How to Water Succulent Plants.

Succulent Care - Tips for Watering Succulents -- Succulents and Sunshine
Pachyveria ‘Royal Flush’
Aeonium Zwartkop - Succulent Care - Tips for Watering Succulents -- Succulents and Sunshine
Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’

Don't let your succulents die because you don't know how to properly water them!

Well Draining Soil

So, I just told you succulents need infrequent watering and the soil needs to dry out between watering. In order to do that you’ll need a well draining soil. There are a lot of suggestions as to what you should use for soil and in what proportions. The basic idea is that you need to mix in something light and porous into regular soil to increase the drainage. I’ve been adding pearlite to soil at about a 1:1 ratio. One of the best soil mixes I have though is from a can of succulents I got from a gardening class taught by Cynthia Bee. She uses vermiculite and coconut coir in her mix and it has been really great as far as drainage. I’m looking to switch over to all coconut coir. Basically though, just make sure your succulent is in a well draining soil so the roots can completely dry out between waterings.

UPDATE: For more details about my current soil mixture, check out my post Well Draining Soil for Succulent Container Gardens. You can also buy a the succulent soil I use here.

Lots of Sunlight

Succulents need a lot of sunlight to grow happy and healthy. Something I learned though is they don’t like direct sunlight in the heat of the summer when they are outside. They are very prone to sunburn.

Rather, if they are outside put them somewhere they will receive some shade and stay relatively cool. Morning light is good with a bright shade in the afternoon. If your plants are inside, put them somewhere they’ll receive bright light for most of the day. They are less likely to get sunburned inside, but it can still happen. Usually a south facing window sill will provide enough light but if you notice signs of sunburn (brown/black spots on the leaves) move it somewhere that the light is not quite as direct.

A sign that your succulent isn’t getting enough light is “stretching”. If your plant starts to get really tall with a lot of space between leaves it is stretching out trying to find more light. If you notice this, try to move your plant where it will get more light throughout the day.

Stretching Succulent - Plenty of light is crucial for proper succulent care -- Succulents and Sunshine
Graptopetalum paraguayense

This is an example of a succulent that is stretching for light. See how spaced out the leaves are?

Click next to find out two more unusual tips that will make your succulent growing experience even more fun and successful!


Get this easy to follow guide for getting started with succulents!

152 Responses to 5 Succulent Care Tips for Happy, Healthy Succulents

  1. Hello there,
    Your website is absolutely helpful especially for me who is starting out to grow succulents. However my Graptopetalum Paraguayense had stretched and been over watered. It’s in a vet had shape. I tried to salvage some leaves on the bottom part of the stem to propagate later but it seem to have weaken the stem so much that the whole plant had bent over and the stem darkened. Please what should I do?

  2. Hi! My succulent has a few hard brown things on the leaves, which also look a little shrivelled! I’ve been checking for causes, but am still stuck. Does anyone have any idea what may be causing these things to happen?

  3. Hi My succulents seem to have a problem! The lower leaves are growing downwards are the middle of the plant seems to be ok, but as its growing more leaves are turning down? I dont know what to do about it!!! They are for my wedding!!!! help!!!

  4. Hey,

    I have a succulent that is doing the stretching thing, but I have it directly in front of (almost on the windowsill of) a West-ish facing window. I live in New York area and the plant started stretching within the past few months (so the end of summer). Any advice of how I can help the plant growth better? It also looks like it’s bottom leaves are dying.


  5. Hi one of my succulents is invested with greenflys it is growing and losing leaves at the same rate! I dont know what to do.

  6. I’m Amy C. From Montreal Quebec we have more of cold weather,we have pouring rain in summers so I have mostly indoor plants, my bow window gets south sunlight, I don’t know if drafts will affect my plants (New succulents collector),
    I have a tier could take 20 pots,I have light bulbs for plants. Will that be sufficient enough for the succulents? Thank you so much for tips

    • It’s very possible the lights you have will be enough. I’m not an expert with grow lights, but you can find out more here and here.

      Drafts may affect the plants if it changes the temperature a lot, however air flow is generally very healthy for succulents so it may do more good than bad. Check out this post for more tips on growing succulents indoors. I also have an ebook about growing succulents indoors as well.

  7. I LOVE your website!! It has helped me learn how to take care of and enjoy these plants from step 1! I just wish you had a contact page where we could shower you in fan mail or something. :)

  8. hi there! this is super helpful, since i’m a first time succulent owner! i have a little one that sits on my window sill, and it grew towards my window, and part of its leaves are spaced out a bit. it gets watered every other day, and gets a little bit of succulent food every two weeks. i’m not sure if that’s too much, and if it growing towards the window is normal, or if i should provide more light?

Let us know what you think!

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You'll find an incredible selection of cold hardy succulents at Mountain Crest Gardens