It isn’t always easy being a plant parent, but thankfully succulents are pretty tough to kill (you know, as long as you don’t over-water ’em). You just have to know a few basic care methods for your little plant babies, which is why we’re here!
5 tips to raising a thriving succulent:
1. WATER: Desert plants need water, too.
When you first get your succulents, they might be thirsty from their journey! After removing the rubber bands and any other packaging materials from around the succulent’s pot, stick your finger about an inch down into the soil. If it’s completely dry, give your succulent a good soak. Typically, succulents need a thorough watering (do not spritz) every 10–14 days, or whenever the soil is completely dry. If your succulent begins to wilt and wrinkle and hasn’t been watered in a little while, that’s a good sign it needs a drink! The most common problem with succulents is watering them too often. It’s easy to overwater your succulent, so be sure to keep an eye out for yellowing, bloated leaves that feel mushy to the touch. These are sure signs your poor succulent is over-watered.
Check out How to Water Your Succulents Without Killing Them for more info!
2. THE POT: Give your succs a good home.
Your baby succulents will arrive in 100% biodegradable pots that have holes for drainage. After 1-2 rounds of watering (about 3 weeks), the biodegradable pot will start to soften and, well, degrade. At that point, you’ll want to place the whole succulent–pot and all–right into a container of your choice, preferably one with drainage holes. We like terra cotta pots because they’re affordable and almost always have a drainage hole,* but just about anything can be a pot! An old mug or dish (one that’s at least a couple inches deep), tin cans, jars, wooden boxes or crates, old tea tins… you name it! Surround any space between the biodegradable pot and the new pot with cactus soil (see #4 for more info on soil), and after a few months the earth-friendly pot will have completely degraded!
*If the pot of your dreams doesn’t have a drainage hole, add a layer of rocks to the bottom of it before planting your succulent.
3. SUNLIGHT: Keep ’em where the sun shines
Be sure to give your succulents a space that offers lots of natural light. While baby succulents don’t require 100% direct sunlight (and might burn in such harsh light), about 6-8 hours of bright, indirect light a day will keep them happy and healthy. If your succulent isn’t getting enough light, you may start to see them stretch. Their stems will grow very tall, and there will be lots of space between leaves, like they’rereaching for the light. If your succulent is getting too much light, you might see dry, brown patches on the tops of their leaves, which indicates sunburn.
Get the full scoop: Shedding (Sun)Light on Succulents
4. SOIL: Drainage, drainage, drainage
The best kind of soil for succulents is called Cactus Soil, which can be found at any local garden store. Here’s an example.
Did you already buy a giant bag of regular potting soil? No sweat! There are two simple ingredients you can add to potting soil to create your very own cactus soil mixture. Put your potting soil in a large mixing bowl and mix in equal parts perlite and coarse sand. The ratio of new ingredients to potting soil should be 1:1 (e.g. 3 cups potting soil to 1 cup perlite + 2 cups sand). All supplies are available at your local garden store!
One of the best parts about succulents is that you can turn one into many! Succulent army for the win! Propagating is the process of growing new plants from a “mother” plant, like using leaves or cuttings from a mama succulent.
Here’s our Complete Guide to Propagation.
Interested in growing your succulent collection? Subscribe to Succulent Studios to receive two succulents a month for just $10 +shipping.