Growing succulents indoors can be a bit tricky. However, with these simple tips you’ll be able to better care for your indoor succulent collection.
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Welcome! I am so excited to help you learn more about growing succulents indoors!
As cute as they are, succulents don’t always make the best indoor house plants. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t grow them!
With a little bit of information you’ll be able to keep your succulents growing happily indoors. This post will teach you exactly that: how to grow beautiful succulents indoors.
Start with the right succulents
Not all succulents are suited for indoor growing. Choosing succulents that prefer low lighting will make a big difference in the success of your indoor succulent garden.
This is something I talk about in great detail in my course, Successfully Growing Succulents, but I’ll give you some suggestions here as well.
In general, succulents that have bright colors (such as reds, purples and oranges) don’t do well indoors. They require some direct sun and more light than is generally available indoors.
A great place to start is with succulents that are naturally green. A few great examples include Haworthia and Gasteria varieties like the ones pictured below.
As much light as possible
When succulents are indoors it’s often hard for them to get enough sunlight. Outdoors they generally need about 6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day.
However, indoors, you’ll want to place your succulents near a window that gets light all day. If this isn’t an option, place your succulents near the brightest window or brightest area of your home or office.
You’ll want to keep your plants as close to the window as you can. In rare cases a succulent can actually get sunburned if the light from the window gets too hot. This tends to happen most with south facing windows in the summer (if you’re in the northern hemisphere). Most of the time this isn’t an issue though.
If your succulents aren’t getting enough light you’ll notice they will start to stretch. They spread out their leaves and bend toward the light to get as much exposure as possible.
Stretched out leaves is a common fate for most colorful succulents, such as Echeverias, that are grown indoors.
If you find your succulents are beginning to stretch, move them to an area that gets more light. However, if they are in the brightest part of your home or office and still start to stretch, you’ll want to supplement with a grow light.
You don’t have to leave your stretched out succulents looking long and leggy though. Just cut off the top and propagate it! The bonus is that you’ll also get more plants 🙂
Water more, but less frequently
The biggest problem new succulent growers face with keeping their succulents alive indoors is watering. So much so, that I’ve dedicated not just an entire post (though you can read that here) but also a whole ebook to watering succulents.
It’s a big deal! Succulents need a surprising amount of water to thrive. However, they don’t like to be watered as frequently as most indoor plants.
But, I wouldn’t go so far as to say succulents rarely need water. So… here’s the deal…
Succulents like to have their roots soaked with water but then dry out quickly. Then, watered again after the soil has been dry for a few days.
Lightly spraying succulents with water can help them survive for a period of time, but if you really want to thrive, they need to follow the “soak and dry” method.
Don’t water indoor succulents daily. That’s the quickest way to kill them.
Also know that succulents have a dormant period when don’t need as much water then. Generally this is in the cooler months of the year. Since they aren’t actively growing, they don’t use up as much water.
I get quite a few emails with people who think their succulents are dying because the leaves are wilting and shriveling up. Here is a little secret, just like all plants, eventually the lower leaves of succulents are going to shrivel up and die.
You should only be concerned about dying leaves if the newest or uppermost leaves on your succulent are shriveling. If it’s just the ones near the bottom of the stem (closest to the soil), you don’t have anything to worry about!
Avoid Glass Containers (or anything that doesn’t drain)
Glass containers generally aren’t a great long term potting solution for succulents. They do not like to be sitting in soggy soil, so a glass jar or terrarium, which does not have anywhere for water to drain out, is not going to make your succulent happy.
Another downside to glass containers is lack of breathability. Succulents need good airflow to maintain healthy roots and therefore healthy stem and leaves.
If you have a glass container that you love and are determined to plant your succulents in it, I highly recommend taking my course, Successfully Growing Succulents, where I teach you how to water succulents in pots without drainage and make sure they thrive. Plus, you’ll also learn a lot more techniques to help ensure your succulent grows as healthy as possible.
If you can help it, I really recommend staying away from glass unless you know your succulent really well and are confident in your watering skills. My favorite pots to use indoors are terra cotta and glazed ceramics.
But… if you happen to purchase a plant with bugs already, they can easily become a big headache.
A common bug new growers encounter are gnats. Generally you’ll only get gnats if your soil stays too wet. Gnats are generally avoidable by using a well draining soil mix and allowing your soil to try out between watering.
Another bug that surfaces all too often in mealy bugs. They are nasty white little guys that hold on to your succulents for dear life.
If you do get mealy bugs, you’ll want to spray them with rubbing alcohol and pour alcohol over the soil to kill any eggs they may have laid. Learn more about treating mealybugs here.
I also discuss how to treat mealy bugs and scale in my online course, Successfully Growing Succulents.
The great thing about growing succulents indoors is they’ll generally look good for several weeks even if you are a “succulent killer.”
But, hopefully you feel better prepared to take care of your succulents indoors now! Make sure you don’t let things get too stressful. After all, succulent gardening is supposed to be fun and therapeutic.
If you’d like even more help going from succulent killer to succulent goddess, I’d love for you to join my course, Successfully Growing Succulents. I walk you through all aspects of caring for succulents (including diagnosing what’s wrong with them) to ensure you have a fun and joyous experience growing succulents.
Or, if books are more your thing, head on over to my books page to see a variety of physical books and ebooks to aid you in your succulent adventures!
Thanks for reading this article!
I’d love to help you more in your succulent adventures! Here are some great ways to interact and learn more about succulents:
Join our Succulents and Sunshine Facebook Community! You’ll find a great group of other succulent lovers who would love to meet you! Plus, I’m there answering questions, sharing new tips, and special offers.
Sign up for my weekly Q&A email to get lots of great new information about succulents
Visit the Succulent Q&A archive to see what questions other succulent enthusiasts have asked (and get the answers)
Sign up for my course, Successfully Growing Succulents, to take your succulent skills to the next level!
Grab a copy of my ebooks for some in-depth succulent reading