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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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!

 

 

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

  1. I bought 2 of the succulents cactis, all the leaves have fallon off, will it start over giving more leaves or do I throw them away?

    Joan

  2. Is moss not a good idea with succulents? I wanted to plant a terrarium but it seems succulents aren’t conducive for a terrarium.

  3. My succulent died the other day, is it ok to use the same potting mix for a new succulent after I clean the old one?

  4. Hello,

    I bought a beautiful succulent about a month ago. Except in the last few days I noticed the leaves closest to the bottom the tips are turning dark and shriveled. I water every 2 weeks about. It is sitting on a shelf in my living room that gets hit by 2 east facing windows all day. What can this be?

  5. My little succulent hen n chicken is growing new tiny leaves at too, but losing bottom leaves. What’s up?

    • Hi Theresa! It is normal in the course of succulents growing for their leaves to fall off. Check out this post for a bit more info!

  6. I have a succulent that I got a little over a year ago. I didn’t know until recently about stretching so it grew really tall but always looked healthy. I’ve been giving it a lot more sunlight recently so it wouldn’t stretch anymore. However, over the past few day I’ve noticed that all the leaves, except for the ones at the top, have begun drooping. The base is still strong and I don’t overwater, but most of the leaves are soft and droopy. Any advice?

    • Drooping leaves can be from not getting enough light, but it sounds like you’ve addressed that problem. You might need to water deeper, and less frequently. Succulents prefer to have the soil soaked and then dry out before being watered again. This post will help you set a watering schedule.

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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

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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?

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