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!

This page contains affiliate links, but I love all the products I link to!

Are your succulent leaves falling off? Or maybe they just aren’t growing well? 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’

 

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?

Propagate!

One of my favorite things about succulents is how easily they propagate. It is so easy to increase your succulent garden by merely taking off leaves from your plants and putting them out on a damp soil to grow. For more detail instructions on propagating succulents you can take a look at this post or you can also purchase my eBook! Propagating is so easy and so much fun to see the tiny new plants growing. Plus, if your supply of succulents is constantly growing it is fun to start giving them to other people! Most people are intrigued by how these plants propagate and you may even find some people who want to try it themselves!

Succulent Care - Group of Succulent Cuttings -- Succulents and Sunshine
Aeonium ‘Kiwi’, Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnburg’, Sedum rubrotinctum, Graptosedum ‘Vera Higgins’

Succulent Leaf Cuttings -- Succulents and Sunshine

 

Experiment

I have been participating a little bit in this succulent and cactus forum. There is a lot of great information on there and people are so willing to help out when they can. From all of the things I’ve read on there though I’ve decided that the health of your succulents boils down to experimenting with watering, soil and sunlight. Every area is so different and the plants respond in various ways to their environment. Often you’ll see completely contradictory statements in regard to care of succulents but ultimately their environment determines whether or not something will be good for the plants.

I would love to hear from any of you with your successes or failures in growing succulents as well as questions you might have about them. I am not an expert by any means but I am passionate about them and am always excited to learn more. If you have any tips for growing succulents feel free to share them here as well!

 

 

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

  1. I just bought three succulents from Costco. Them come in a plastic container and then put into a nice vase. Do I need to take them out of the plastic container and put it in the ceramic vase? And do I also need to get new soil?

    • When I buy succulents I almost always repot them including giving them new soil. I love this soil, it works very well for succulents and gives the water a lot if drainage which is great. If your plant is healthy how it is now then it is up to you what you do with it!

    • I bought those too from Costco and mine are dying now-based on this article they look over watered however I followed the directions that came with the plants! Any tips for me to revive them?

  2. Hi! My succulents leaves are dying on the top! What does this mean? Also, my other succulent, a donkey tail, is falling over and the little bud leaves are falling off! It is not black or anything. What do I do??

  3. Hi Cassidy,

    Your site has always been my go to for succulents and their care. I’ve also recommended to a lot of my friends who are new to this.

    I have a question that I can’t seem to find an answer for and was hoping you might be able to shed some light – I have an echeveria Paul Bunyan for over a year now and it is healthy but I have noticed recently that the newer leaves do not have bumps anymore so I was wondering if there’s something i should have done differently to maintain the plants look.

    I read somewhere that it has to be beheaded quite frequently as it gets leggy but will this bring back the bumps?

    Please let me know… thank you.

  4. Cassidy,

    your blog is such a gold mine esp for newbie like me. I just rescued a lil succulent from Lowe’s sale bin for $1. It looked fragile and in need of TLC. In hindsight, it would have been cheaper to buy the healthier ones at $3.99. oh well…

    when i started researching on how to revive it, i found your blog. I figured I need to repot the poor thing into a better pot with drainage and proper soil. After reading your post on bonsai jack, i ordered a bag of the succulent mix and the top stones.

    can you recommend pots that are suitable as table top display with drainage? they seem difficult to find. this one from CB2 is really lovely and the price isn’t so bad. my only concern is the drainage :(
    https://www.cb2.com/gorge-grid-bowl/s116908

    let me know your thoughts

    Thanks!

    • I am glad you saved that little succulent! :) It is great you are concerned with drainage, watching out for this really helps these plants to be more happy and healthy. Take a look at this page I have saved here on etsy, with some of my favorite pottery! Etsy always has great choices. You can also look at this post, if you are going to be using a pot with out drainage. Another option is to drill a hole into a pot you want to use as a planter! Hope this helps, best wishes. :)

  5. Thank you for the information about the succulents growing tall. I’m thinking maybe rotating my container garden might help with the sunlight issue. I’ve found that these lovely plants are very forgiving when it comes to care, but unfortunately they are sensitive to water rot. Unfortunately Florida is prone to unexpected thunderstorms and I’ve lost a few due to drowning. What I’ve found helpful was to plant in smaller pots, with holes for draining and putting gravel rocks in layers on the bottom and top. Saving dry soil helps out to report if needed.

  6. Hello there! I have a propagating questions.
    I have a large Echeveria succulent that grew three pups last summer. I left them on the plant to give them more time to grow. Well in the past few months since winter ended, the main plant has had a HUGE amount of pup growth along its main stem, where leaves used to be. It also ended up leaning to one side. I have no idea if I just need to leave the plant as it is or if I need to start propagating it. I’m honestly scared to touch it because each time I’ve tried to propagate succulents with pups before, they’ve all died and so did the main plant. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

  7. Cassidy!!!

    So glad I found your blog-
    Looks like I’m overwatering one of my pots at work! Ugh
    Thanks for all the free advice.
    Hope you’re doing great!

    -Wade

  8. hello !! i have a tiny little succulent that seems to be dormant ?? the stem seems greenish-yellow (that’s its natural colour, i think) but recently i think i overwatered it a little and the leaves have fallen off and non are growing back. there are a few of really tiny black leaves shrivelled up at the top but the stem seems fine. please do advise me on what to do !! thank you :-)

Let us know what you think!

Buy beautiful colorful succulents online from Mountain Crest Gardens

Many of the posts and pages on this site contain affiliate links. From time to time I receive free product to review and share with you but all opinions are my own and I'll only share products I like! Find out more by clicking here.

Find out more about these 10 easy to grow succulents and add them to your collection!
Find out everything you need to know about watering succulents!

Don't let poor watering techniques kill your succulents! Avoid the number one cause of unhealthy succulents with the tips and techniques in this ebook!

Learn how to grow healthy succulents indoors!

Growing succulents indoors is tricky business if you don’t know the proper soil, sunlight and watering requirements. But you can make succulents work for you, you just need to know the right way to care for them! Follow my step-by-step instructions and watch your worries float away and your succulents thrive, year after year :)

The secrets to propagating succulents successfully!

Would you like to multiply your lonely collection of succulents into dozens—and even hundreds—more? Good news: succulents can be propagated like wild bunnies, as long as you follow a few simple tricks. And best of all, they won't cost you a penny!

If you're looking for simple, quick tips to help you get started with succulents, this is the guide for you! These 30 tips cover the basics from buying and planting succulents to designing beautiful arrangements with them. Easy to read and easy to implement ideas to get you off on the right foot.

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

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Wondering who I am?

Let me introduce myself... My name is Cassidy Tuttle and I’m a professional photographer turned succulent addict. These are my two sweet children and wonderful husband in the photo with me!

My adventure with succulents started with three small plants on the window sill of my basement apartment. Within a year I had propagated them and purchased more, totaling over 100 plants!

It’s been a fun adventure since then as I’ve drowned, burned, frozen, and starved my collection of succulents. This site is where I teach you how to avoid all those mistakes I made or help you recover from them.

While I’ve killed plenty of succulents in the last few years, I’ve also kept hundreds alive and thriving, and I know you can do the same!

Did I mention I wrote the book on succulents?

It’s true! I’m the author of Idiot’s Guides: Succulents which is designed to help those of us who love succulents (but are limited to growing on our window sills and porches) keep our succulents looking great.

You can purchase my book through my Amazon affiliate link here or pick it up at your local Barnes and Noble.

If printed books aren’t your thing, I’ve also written several ebooks about succulents on various topics including indoor growing, watering and propagating. You can check those out on this page.

My goal is to help you not just keep your succulents alive, but help them thrive no matter where you live.

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff!

I’m impressed you’ve made it this far down. You should probably be rewarded for that…

How about some bite sized succulent tips delivered daily to your inbox?

I’m sure you’ll love my 30 Days of Quick Succulent Tips email series. Each day I’ll send you a 2-3 sentence tip about growing succulents along with a photo and link to learn more.

Sound good?

 

Still have a question or need help?

For help identifying your succulent click here.

Need help with an order you placed here or with one of our affiliates? Please email me (info@succulentsandsunshine.com) with your question.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.