Succulents are often touted as "easy to grow" or "hard to kill" plants. This frequently leads new growers into thinking they don't need to put any effort into keeping their new plant babies alive. While succulents can be low maintenance, there's a few mistakes most people make when they start growing that end up causing disappointment and frustration.
Treating Them Like Other Houseplants
Many people assume that they can take care of succulent plants however they want -- just treat them like normal house plants. The problem is succulents aren't like most other house plants. They have completely different watering needs and often need more sunlight and airflow than other plants. It's common for house plant lovers to pick up a few succulents only to find they die a few weeks later because they cared for them the same way as their other plant babies.
Choosing The Wrong Kinds of Succulents
Not all succulents are suited for indoor growing, even if you have grow lights. Most succulents like to be in bright, indirect sunlight for 6-8 hours a day. Some also like more water than others. Starting out with a brightly colored succulent inside and watering it every day is the quickest way to kill your succulents.
Using The Wrong Soil
Most succulents are sold in soil that is too dense and organic for long term growth and success in your home. It's best to repot your new succulents in a gritty succulent soil. This type of soil (as seen in the photo) allows for plenty of airflow around the roots and helps prevent the roots from rotting.
Using a Non-Draining Planter
Succulents need their soil to dry out before getting watered again. Using a pot without a drainage hole makes this extremely difficult, especially if the pot is very deep. While glass containers look pretty, they can quickly become moldy due to water getting trapped in the bottom. This also causes problems for the succulent roots and will cause them to rot.
Not Giving Them Enough Light
Most succulents are considered "full sun" meaning they need at least 6-8 hours of bright, indirect sunlight outside during the day. Even a very bright window sill generally doesn't get bright enough light to prevent succulents from stretching out or leaning (like in the photo). Over time a succulent that doesn't get enough light will become weak and is much more prone to have other problems.
Ignoring Them Completely
While it's true that succulents are generally drought tolerant, this doesn't mean they don't ever need to be watered. Using the proper watering method will help ensure your succulents can go long periods of time without water, but don't ignore them completely or they will dry up and die.
Getting Too Many At Once
Even as low maintenance as succulents can be, having too many makes it difficult to give them all the proper attention they need. Many new growers buy a bunch of different varieties all at once and find that some need more work than others and end up killing plants due to neglect or improper care. Starting with a few plants will help ensure long term success.
What Succulent is Best for You?
There are thousands of succulent varieties and not all of them will grow well in your climate or may require more (or less) work that you want to put in. It's important to know how much light and water your succulent plants need to thrive so you can select the plant that's best suited for you.
Ensure You're Watering Properly
A big part of keeping succulents healthy is providing them with the right environment. You'll want to pay attention to the soil they're in, how much sunlight they're getting, and most importantly, how often you're watering them. The method and frequency of watering succulents are critical to preventing rot while encouraging lots of new growth.
Is Your Succulent Dying? Find Out Why
There's a number of reasons your succulent might not be looking great. Find out how to tell what's wrong with your succulent and how you can fix it or prevent it from happening again.
This article originally appeared on Succulents and Sunshine.