Succulents are plants with thick fleshy leaves that evolved to store water in arid climates. They continue to increase in popularity as houseplants due to their unique shapes and minimal watering needs. Succulents vary a lot in shape, size, and color, making them perfect for plant collecting.
Although succulents are generally regarded as low-maintenance and easy-care plants, they can be difficult to keep happy in most average home conditions. Succulents need lots of bright indirect light and just the right amount of water in order to thrive indoors, which might be difficult to achieve in northern, more temperate regions.
Succulents thrive in locations that receive approximately six hours of bright, indirect sunlight every day. When succulents (and many other plants) aren’t getting enough light, they begin to stretch their leaves up in search of sunlight. This process is called “etiolation.”
If you notice your plant beginning to stretch, try placing it in a sunnier location or consider purchasing a grow light. Be sure to gradually increase the plant’s light exposure to avoid scorched leaves.
Succulents are drought-resistant and retain large amounts of water. Due to this, they prefer the “soak and dry” method of watering. Water the soil directly until you see water draining out of the holes at the bottom of the pot. Then, let the soil dry thoroughly before watering it again.
If your plants are in peat-based soil, consider soaking your plants in a container of water for several minutes to allow the soil to completely rehydrate. Be sure to fill the container with enough water to cover the soil while keeping the leaves dry.
Yellow, squishy leaves are a sign that you are overwatering, while dry and wrinkled leaves indicate the plant needs more water.
You may need to adjust the length of time between waterings depending on the time of year and where you live. During the winter months, succulents only need to be watered once a month. In the summer when they are actively growing, they will need to be watered every 1-2 weeks.
Succulents are hardy and can survive in a wide range of temperatures. Most succulents tolerate temperatures between 40 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit. More delicate varieties should be kept in more conservative temperature ranges.
Succulents like dry air and relative humidity levels below 30 percent. They will do fine in regions with higher humidity, but be sure to decrease watering frequency accordingly.
Succulents do not like their soil being wet for long periods of time. They should be planted in a well-draining cactus soil or a potting soil mixture containing sand, pumice, or perlite.
Avoid peat-based soils which become hydrophobic (repel water) when completely dry.
Although many succulents are not toxic to pets or humans, there are a few toxic varieties to be aware of. Euphorbias have sap that irritates the skin and causes stomach pain if ingested. If you have pets, be aware that Aloe Vera, Jade Plants, Euphorbias, and Kalanchoes are toxic to pets.