Not sure where to start when buying a succulent? I’ve done the hard work for you. Follow my advice and you’ll be confidently buying succulents in no time!
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Buying succulents is so much fun! They're all so beautiful and unique so it can be hard to pick just the right one.
Then again, you might know exactly what you want already. Before you take your shopping trip, whether locally or online, this post will help you determine the perfect succulents for you.
What’s your succulent style?
You might be the kind to give your plants too much attention, or you might totally neglect them. Maybe you’re like me and are non-committal: sometimes giving lots of love and other times utterly neglecting your plants.
Depending on how you care for succulents, and where you live, you'll want to select different plants. For example, Haworthia fasciata is a great option for indoor growers. But, Echeveria varieties prefer to be outside with lots of sunlight.
If you tend to water your plants a lot, Portulacaria afra is a great option. If you rarely remember to water, try a cactus or succulent with very thick leaves.
A great way to determine whether certain succulent plants will grow well for you is to ask yourself a few questions:
- Am I growing indoors or out? This will determine the lighting and temperature requirements for your succulents
- Is there a lot of light where I'll be placing my succulent? Can I supplement with a grow light inside? Again this will help you determine the lighting requirements for your succulents
- Do I like to water frequently or do I tend to forget to water? An app can help you remember when to water, but otherwise you'll need to pick a plant that can tolerate however much water you do or don't give it
Each of these questions can help you determine what succulents will be the best fit for you. Some succulents need more light or water than others. If you pick a high-light succulent but place it on your desk at work, it won't do well for very long.
If you always forget to water, then you need a succulent that can withstand extra long periods of drought. These individual succulent pages can help you find succulents that are a perfect match for you.
You'll also find a list of succulents that work for specific climates or "care styles" in our Choosing the Best Succulents ebook.
What size should you get?
Succulents come in a wide variety of sizes and with that variation you’ll also get a variety of prices and you’ll find some sizes are easier to care for.
Larger plants are less fickle. They don’t dry out as quickly, so they don’t need as frequent watering. The larger the pot, the easier (generally) it will be to maintain your plant. A succulent in a gallon sized pot will be lower maintenance than a 6 inch pot, which will be lower maintenance than a 4 inch pot, and so on.
A succulent in a larger pot will cost more, but if it means you’re less likely to kill it… seems worth it to me!
Cuttings are easier to work with since you don’t have to worry about roots, and they’re much cheaper! They’re generally a little more needy than a fully rooted plant, but not too bad overall.
Plugs are somewhere in between cuttings and a 2” potted succulent. They start growing more quickly than cuttings, but can still be a bit temperamental.
Now that you’ve found the right plant for you and know what size to get, you may be thinking, “That’s great! I know what to get, but where do I actually buy them?”
You can buy locally at various stores or nurseries, as well as online. There’s benefits to both.
You can buy them at a variety of stores depending on where you live. A few places I’ve been able to find succulents locally are:
- Home Depot
- Local nurseries
- Farmers Markets
I prefer local nurseries or even farmers markets if you have them. They tend to be higher quality and less likely to be over watered. Since succulents are really popular, I’ve found more local nurseries are carrying them.
If you aren’t sure if a local nursery carries succulents, give them a call. You can search for your city or area and “succulents” on Google to find the nurseries closest to you.
Some advantages to buying locally are being able to choose the specific plant, as well as quality and quantity. Of course, there are also some downsides. Not all areas have stores that sell succulents. There are typically fewer unusual varieties. Local shops don’t specialize in succulents, so plants can be less healthy.
Choose the Healthiest Plant
This one may seem obvious but… when you buy at a local store avoid damaged plants – this means no bumps, no scars, no bugs, and no mushy spots. You can slightly bump the leaves to make sure they don’t fall off. Be sure to do this very gently, but this is one of the early signs to tell if a succulent has been overwatered. The leaves should feel firm, not mushy or squishy.
Another thing to look for is color. Brighter colors equal a healthier, better maintained plant. Usually this is just a matter of them getting enough light.
Watch for multiple plants in the pot. It’s like getting plants for free! Sometimes I’ll pick out a plant that doesn’t look quite as good because it has multiple plants in it. I know I can help it look better and get more plants out of it.
Not all succulents will come with more than one succulent in the pot; it really depends on the variety. If you only see one plant in the pot, lift up the leaves a little and see if there’s any new growth hiding. I’m always surprised how many have babies growing!
Also, don’t buy anything that has been painted! It’s crazy to me that these exist, but if you do see succulents that are glittering or are royal blue, it’s likely they’ve been spray painted. Buying these is just not a good idea. They may look fun, but in the long run, you will have more success with a healthier plant that has not been painted.
As you likely guessed, the pros and cons to buying succulents online are essentially the opposite of buying locally.
Benefits to buying online
One great thing about buying online is the access to a wider variety of succulents. There are also better specimens, because sellers are experts. You also get the plants delivered to your door – you don’t have to go out to go shopping!
The downsides to online ordering are that you can’t pick your specimen, plants can be damaged in shipping, and are also more expensive.
Now, this isn’t really a downside, but almost always plants purchased online may be a little dirty when they arrive. Simply use a soft brush to remove the soil. I also use an air compressor, so if you have one that’s a great option! Do not use canned air though! It will damage the succulent’s leaves.
Where to buy online
Good news for you… I’m an expert at buying succulents online! I’ve ordered from dozens of online shops so I know a thing or two. Here are my favorite places to purchase succulents online:
- Mountain Crest Gardens (my personal, go-to source)
- Leaf and Clay
- The Succulent Source
- Looking Sharp Cactus
- Etsy shops including:
When purchasing from online sellers for the first time, look for high quality reviews. This way you will know that you’re getting the best succulents you can from a reputable seller. I’ve personally purchased succulents from all the shops above, so they get my full approval!
If you aren’t growing succulents in the United States, it can be harder to find succulents for purchase, especially online. While I haven’t personally purchased from the following online stores, I’ve heard great things and they ship to a lot of different countries!
Also check with different Etsy shops. You’ll find some who are located outside the US or willing to ship to many different countries.
Once you’ve purchased your succulents, it’s a good idea to replant them as soon as possible. A lot of times the soil succulents are planted in is not ideal for long-term growth. Plus, they are often root-bound, meaning the roots aren’t able to spread out, so they need more space to grow.
I use Bonsai Jack for my indoor succulent soil, and have never been disappointed. It drains well and has the perfect particle size. Soil is really important for healthy succulents. You can learn more about it here.
Now that you know the pros and cons to buying succulents locally or online, it’s your turn! Decide which option is best for you, and follow my tips for getting the best succulent you can.