With fleshy leaves, fun shapes, and an array of colors, succulents are some of the most popular types of plants. And along with being super cute, succulent care is actually pretty straightforward and easy. We’re going to dive into how to care for succulents, so stick with us to learn about choosing the proper light, water, and soil for succulents.
Succulent Care Basics
In the past ten years, succulents have burst onto the plant scene and filled the homes and workplaces of people looking for a low-maintenance solution. And it’s true, succulents are a great option if you lack a green thumb.
But what exactly are succulents? Well, these plants don’t belong to a single plant genus or plant family. Instead, they’re classified based on their fleshy, thick leaves. In fact, the word succulent comes from the Latin word sucus, which means juice.
Due to their high moisture content, succulents are partially adept at surviving drought. Many succulents can survive over a month without water!
Caring for Succulents: Light, Water, & More
Some types of succulents can grow outdoors in warm climates, but many people opt to grow these guys as potted plants. If you want to bring a succulent into your home or office, it’s best to first learn how to care for succulents.
Choosing a Container and Soil
One of the first steps in properly caring for succulents is in giving them the proper home. These plants can store quite a bit of moisture in the leaves, which means they don’t need access to lots of water. However, they do require excellent drainage.
When you select a pot for your succulent, choose a container that is just an inch or two larger than the base of the plant. An excessively large container can cause the soil to remain moist and therefore make succulents unhappy.
Once you’ve found a pot that’s the proper size, check and see if it has drainage holes. If it doesn’t drill some holes into the bottom of the planter, or choose a container with holes.
Next, it’s time to fill your planter with a suitable potting mix. Since succulents like their soil on the drier side, pick a mix that offers excellent drainage. Most garden centers and big box stores carry potting mixes specially designed for cacti and succulents, and these mixes work well. You can also create your own succulent mix by combining equal parts sand, perlite, and peat moss.
As you learned above, succulents can withstand long dry spells and like well-draining soil. With that in mind, it makes sense that you don’t have to water these plants too often.
One of the biggest mistakes plant parents make in caring for succulents is providing them with too much water. If the soil remains moist, succulent roots can begin to rot, and the plants may die. Therefore, you should make sure to let the soil dry out before watering your succulents.
The frequency you should water your succulents will depend on the temperature, light, and humidity. However, you can expect to water your succulent about once every two to four weeks.
You can stick your finger into the top of the soil to determine if your succulent needs water. If the top two inches are dry, you can water. However, if it’s moist, you should wait to water your plant.
When you water, thoroughly saturate the soil until water is running out of the planter’s drainage holes. If water collects in a catch dish or plate, make sure to empty it.
Houseplants like pothos and prayer plants prefer filtered or indirect light. However, when it comes to succulent care, our guidelines are a bit different. Many of these plants thrive when they receive lots of bright, direct light, but some species prefer part shade.
That means most succulents will be happy next to a south-facing or west-facing window, rather than a dark corner. You can also place them in the middle of a bright room.
If you notice your plant’s color begins to fade or it stops growing, it may need more light. Try moving it to a brighter location and see if it perks back up.
On the other hand, succulents can receive too much light. Crispy, discolored, or burnt leaves can indicate that the plant is receiving light that is too intense. If that’s the case, move your plant to a location that receives less direct light.
Temperature and Humidity
The exact ideal temperature will vary depending on the type of succulent. However, most of these plants prefer warm temperatures that remain between 65–85°F. Fortunately, that means normal household temperatures will often suffice.
Along with checking the overall temperature, take note of drafts. These plants can become shocked by sudden changes in temperature, so keep them away from fireplaces, air conditioning vents, furnaces, and exterior doors.
As far as humidity goes, many succulents like their air on the drier side. Most of these plants will grow just fine in average indoor humidity. However, succulents can suffer if the humidity becomes excessively high. That means you should forgo spritzing them with a water bottle or placing them near a humidifier.
Like most housplants, succulents are susceptible to attack from a variety of pests. The most common pests are sap-sucking critters like spider mites, aphids, and thrips. While all of these pests are different, they have a few things in common.
First, they’re small. That means you may not notice them unless you look carefully. Second, they reproduce rapidly, and a few pests can quickly transform into large populations. Finally, they all use piercing and sucking mouthparts to remove sap from plants like succulents. This damage results in leaves that are covered in little yellow dots or fully discolored foliage.
Since these pests populations can quickly get out of control, you should remove them from your succulents as soon as you spot them. Try dipping a rag in soapy water and then wiping the pests off the plants. Another option is to spray the pests with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Popular Types of Succulents
Now that you’re versed on succulent plant care, it’s time to choose one for yourself! There are hundreds of different types of succulents, which means it can be difficult to choose which one to bring home! On the flip side, they present practically endless opportunities for plant collectors.
You can find some of the most popular types of succulents below.
The term aloe can be used to refer to the Aloe genus of plants, which contains more than 600 species! However, people commonly use this shorthand term to refer to the popular plant known as Aloe vera. All types of aloe have triangular, fleshy leaves that are arranged in a rosette.
The Echeveria genus contains approximately 150 different species and even more hybrid varieties. These plants have rosettes of fleshy leaves that resemble beautiful flowers.
The jade plant, scientifically known as Crassula ovata, is a succulent native to South Africa. It has a brown stem that produces fleshy, rounded, green leaves. As plants grow older, they can develop branching stems and resemble small trees.
Add More Plants to Your Home
Whether you’re keen on succulents or are interested in flowering plants like orchids and peace lilies, you can rely on The Bouqs for your next green friend. We have a variety of plants for delivery, making it easy for you to bring a new plant home. And we also carry unique options like succulent bouquets!Shop All