How to Grow Healthy Succulents Indoors

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, they don’t always make the best indoor house plants. That said, if you love them as much as I do, you’ll grow them anyway! And you should!

With a little bit of information you’ll be able to keep your succulents growing happily indoors. Choosing succulents that prefer low lighting will make a big difference in the success of your indoor succulent garden. For example, Haworthias and Gasteraloes are two genus of succulents that do especially well indoors.

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For those of you with cold winters, bringing your succulents inside before it snows will actually be a good thing for them. Most succulents are dormant during the winter. They need a period of cold to help them produce better blooms in the spring and summer.

I’ll outline some tips below that will help your succulents stay as healthy as possible while they are living indoors. Some of these tips will seem familiar (see 5 Tips for Growing Succulents) but these will be directed specifically toward growing succulents inside.

6 Hours of Sunlight

When succulents are indoors it’s often hard for them to get enough sunlight. They generally need about 6 hours a day.

You’ll want to keep your plants as close to the window as you can, but be careful not to let them get sunburned if the light from the window gets too hot. This tends to happen most with south facing windows (which tend to get the most light if you’re in the northern hemisphere).

I’ve kept my succulents in an east facing window, right up against the window, and they have done really well. If your succulents aren’t getting enough light they will start to stretch. Colorful Echeverias are especially prone to stretching indoors.

If there isn’t anywhere that gets brighter light (or more hours of light), don’t worry! After it get’s too stretchy for your taste, just cut off the top and propagate it! The bonus is that you’ll also get more plants :)

Water more, but less frequently

Many people will tell you succulents don’t need very much water. That simply isn’t true!

However, over watering is the number one way people kill succulents. So… here’s the deal. Succulents like to have their roots soaked with water but then dry out quickly. Granted, if you keep the soil wet every day, they will die from too much water. On the other hand, simply spraying them lightly with water will kill them too.

I have a whole ebook just about watering succulents. That’s how important it is! You can read the basic technique for watering here, but if you have more questions, I’ve probably covered it in the ebook.

Basically though, you need to be giving your succulents enough water that the soil gets completely wet. Then, let it dry out completely before you water again. Don’t water it daily and don’t use a spray bottle!

Also know that succulents have a dormant period (most of them in the winter) and they don’t need as much water then. Since they are dormant, they aren’t growing and 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, especially during the winter. Succulents do not like to be sitting in soggy soil so a glass jar (or terrarium) is not going to make your succulent happy. This seems to especially cause problems in the winter when succulents need even less water than normal. Often succulents will get bugs or diseases from having soil that is too wet.

If you just love the glass container you have your succulents in, be so so careful with how much water you give it! I would measure out how much water you are pouring on and make sure you only put in enough water to just get the soil damp.

The same thing goes for a container without a hole for water to drain out. Air flow is especially important for succulents in the winter to help keep the soil mostly dry and the plant breathing. Again, make sure you are using a well draining soil as well.

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 (as you can tell from the photos). You can find a great selection of pots at a great price on Mountain Crest Gardens and Etsy. They provide great air flow and allow the soil to dry out easily.

Temperature

If you grow your succulents indoors year round, they won’t notice much change in temperature unless they are right by the window. As a general rule, succulents like to be warm during the summer and cool during the winter.

If you can, keep the temperature in the summer between 70 and 80 degrees. During the winter, you’ll want your succulents to be a little colder, between 50 and 60 degrees. Most succulents can tolerate higher and lower temperatures as well, but those are the ideals.

Generally it is not a good idea to let the succulents get below freezing as this tends to cause damage to most succulents. I’ve found that having my plants by the window and keeping my house at a normal temperature for me seems to work just fine. They get a little warmer by the window in the summer and a little cooler in the winter.

Bugs

If you are following healthy practices for your succulents as indoor house plants (good watering, well draining soil, sunlight, airflow and temperature), bugs should not be a problem. But… they often are still. I haven’t had too many problems with bugs but I’ve had quite a few ask about how to take care of them.

My experience has mostly been with gnats. You’ll generally 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.

There are a other bugs that can attack your plants too, including mealy bugs. 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.

My friend Jacki at Drought Smart Plants actually has an ebook all about pests that your succulents might get. If you have a bug problem and it’s not gnats or mealybugs I’d recommend getting her ebook!

You'll love the tips in this ebook to help you get more succulents for free!

Hopefully you feel better prepared to take care of your succulents indoors now! If you have any questions , leave them in the comments below or send me an email! For an even more in depth guide, be sure to check out my ebook, Growing Succulents Indoors. You can also find some great succulent pottery for indoor growing on the Products I Like page.


2017-10-21T00:24:06+00:00

357 Comments

  1. H February 4, 2017 at 6:01 am - Reply

    Hello,

    My succulents are doing pretty well at the moment, I live in the UK which means at the moment there isn’t much sunlight… but I move them to the window before I leave the house to get some daylight. Also, my house is quite old and I feel they enjoy the moisture in the air.

    One question, I was told by a florist to sit my succulents in a bowl of water for about 30 min to let them soak up the water, and to do this once a month… would you recommend this?

    • Cassidy Tuttle February 15, 2017 at 2:35 pm - Reply

      I don’t think this is a healthy thing for your succulents, it wouldn’t give your plants a chance to develop strong roots, also too much water could cause the roots to rot. If you need help watering then you can look at this post as well.

  2. […] your indoor gardening may take a lot of work? Succulents only need 6 hours of sunlight and a little water every week to get […]

  3. lola February 20, 2017 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    My succulants look like the ones in the picture, each in their own terra cotta planter, but I was wondering if I can replant them in a larger pot and mix them up. Also, how much room do they need?

    • Cassidy Tuttle February 21, 2017 at 11:57 am - Reply

      If you want to know more information on repotting you can take a look at this post to walk you through it. Succulents can be packed closely together or the can be in a larger pot. If they have lots of room it is likely that they will grow and stretch to try and fill the space.

  4. SRK February 21, 2017 at 2:06 am - Reply

    Hello, I live in Mumbai (India) having a tropical climate. I have a few succulents at home indoors. however, there is barely any sun light streaming in through my windows. I live in an apartment so dont have the luxury of a garden or even a balcony. i keep the succulents (in fact all my plants) twice a week on the window (south -east direction during summers and winters) parapet where the plants get enough sunlight from 12 pm to 4 pm during the day. i am planning to get more succulents. having the kind of sunlight i get at home, you think its a good idea to add more plants? Please advise.

    • Cassidy Tuttle February 21, 2017 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      If your plants seem to be doing well and are healthy I don’t think you need to be worrying to much and if you want to get more go for it :). Succulents will tend to strectch out when they aren’t getting enough sunlight so that is something to look for.

  5. Sally Redfern February 24, 2017 at 7:46 am - Reply

    I have questions not earlier addressed,I think. First some background info: I live in condo, 8th (top) floor, on the NW coast overlooking the bay in Panama City, Florida. I have a maybe 8 to 10 inch self-draining pot of succulents that that seem to enjoy the sunshine and moisture\rain provided naturally (or added if needed).
    Now my question: a couple of weeks ago 3 or 4 of the plants produced some “off-shoot growths’ (like one of yours pictured) that seem to be ‘going to seed’. What do I do? Some plants, like coleus I have always been told to nip off the seedy growth. I do cannot remember (from 80 years ago) if/what my Mom did for her lush growth of succulents in our 18” by 5′ front porch well composted soil.
    Any suggestions other than just letting Mother Nature do her thing?

    • Cassidy Tuttle March 1, 2017 at 12:30 am - Reply

      You can cut off the blooms once they die. The seed stems can’t be propagated, although you can harvest the seeds to propagate. Take a look at this post for info on how to do that.

  6. Johanna March 10, 2017 at 3:33 am - Reply

    HI! I’ve seen many pictures of vertical planters for an indoor succulent garden. After reading through your posts I’m concerned about the water drainage since the planter will be hanging on my wall. Is this method one you wouldn’t recommend? Do you have any suggestions on how this planting method could be effective?

    • Cassidy Tuttle March 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      Vertical planters are such a beautiful choice, its very convenient and doesn’t take up much room, although it is a little bit tricky to care for. Check out this post, it will go in depth about how to take care of succulents in a pot with out a drainage hole and I think it will be the most helpful for you!

  7. Bailey D March 11, 2017 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    I have owned an aloe plant for about two years. My friend’s mo gave me a small chute and it has grown much since I’ve received it. However, this summer I noticed one of the leaves getting a little shriveled. Through the winter, I have noticed some light browning occurring and it has become a little mushy. I keep it on a windowsill in my home. I have also yet to really repot it or add/change the soil, but I intend to over my spring break coming up here soon. Please let me know if you have any ideas!

    • Cassidy Tuttle March 28, 2017 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      It sounds to me like it’s getting too much water or isn’t drying out enough. Replacing the soil with something that drains better will likely help quite a bit.

  8. Hayley March 19, 2017 at 4:04 am - Reply

    I’ve been trying to grow succulents indoors for a while but they never seem to survive! I think they’ve been hidden away from the sun too much. Thank you for your tips, I’ll definitely be using them to keep my succulents healthy from now on :)

    • Cassidy Tuttle March 20, 2017 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      You are welcome! Best wishes :)

  9. K Ann Guinn March 24, 2017 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Thanks so much for all of the valuable information in this post and on your site!

    I just purchased from our local high school sale the cutest little handmade clay pots each containing a tiny succulent, and was looking for some basic information to help me keep them alive.

    You’ve provided much; I’ve already quickly read and digested at least three of your wonderful posts.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

    • Cassidy Tuttle March 25, 2017 at 7:15 am - Reply

      You are welcome. I am happy to help!

  10. Mariana March 28, 2017 at 9:29 am - Reply

    I live in central texas and weather here changes drastically! I keep my succulent echeveria in my workplace which half the walls are glass so there’s plenty of light but we keep it a little cool in here. I noticed when I first bought it, the leaves were pretty firm and now they’re not. I water about once a week or every 4-5 days… I’m not sure what’s happening. Any suggestions?

    • Cassidy Tuttle March 30, 2017 at 11:44 am - Reply

      If your succulents leaves are starting to shrivel up then that is due to under watering, or if they are getting transparent and squishy then the succulent is being over watered. A good way to make sure you are watering correctly is to use the soak and dry method. Soak the soil all the way through and then wait for the pot to dry out. Once it is dry all the way through then it is time to water again!

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