Succulents are trendy and stylish plants to have around your home or workspace but they can be tricky to keep alive! We are here to help you keep your planted bundles of joy healthy and thriving.
In this blog post, you will learn how to water your succulents properly, where to keep them, and how to spot the warning signs you need to propagate a struggling succulent.
Starting Off On The Right Foot
In order to give your succulents the best chance at survival, you need to start with a succulent that is good condition. Luckily, if you get your succulents from Succulent Bar, this should not be a worry! We source our succulents from local plant nurseries and hand select each and every succulent that we provide for our customers. Whether our succulents are shipped or purchased in person, our succulents are treated with the utmost care and are sure to be in excellent condition when received.
Signs of healthy succulents include vibrant colors, firm leaves, and slow growth. Succulents are not meant to grow quickly. So although this may seem like a red flag, this is actually a great sign. Additionally, dried leaves may occasionally be found at the bottom of your succulent but this is also a great sign. In fact, succulents grow by shedding their old leaves. Dried leaves are a sign that your succulent is growing properly.
Generally speaking, succulents require a large amount of indirect sunlight and most varieties will burn in direct sunlight. Indirect sunlight is sunlight that passes through something such as window shades, leaves of a tree, or bounces off of a wall (think a covered patio). Typically 6-8 hours of sunlight is preferred. If indoors, the best place for a succulent is a bright window sill facing south or west.
Succulents require very little water and less frequent watering than most plants. The downfall of most succulents tends to be from over watering. The rule of thumb is to check your succulent’s soil. Your soil should be bone dry before each watering. After that, feel free to water with 1-2 tablespoons of water and adjust from there. Most succulents have very shallow root systems so remember that a little water goes a long way. Succulents do not like to have “wet feet” meaning they don’t like their roots to stay wet for too long.
How to Water
Succulents tend to easily rot if water sits on their leaves too long. These plants absorb their water through their roots, so it’s best to lift your succulent’s leaves and water directly to the base of your plant rather than misting or pouring water over the top of your plant. This can be done with tools such as a spoon, straw, watering can, or mister. Succulents are native to areas that receive large amounts of water and then go through an episode of drought (think desserts). So what does that mean? It means they like the soak and dry method. Give them a good drink of water and then allow them to COMPLETELY dry out before watering them again. Do not let their soil stay wet for longer than 2-3 days at a time and water your succulents on average every 2-3 weeks.
Plants thrive best in containers with proper drainage. That means, pots with holes in the bottom are the best option possible. You can purchase containers that have holes already in them or you can create the holes yourself by drilling or poking holes into your container. Unfortunately, most containers do not come with drainage holes (especially the really cute ones) but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them. What it DOES mean is that you need to make sure you are watering your succulents properly and not so much so that the soil is drenched for long periods of time. See above info on How to Water.
Succulents thrive best in cactus soil that has aeration. Cactus soil tends to dry quickly after it is watered, avoiding root rot and excess water getting to your succulent. You can find this type of soil at most plant nurseries, or department stores that have garden centers such as Lowes, Home Depot, and Walmart. Your soil needs to have a gritty consistency to it, composed of elements such as sand, moss, perlite, bark, and pumice.
The Warning Signs
Succulents are finicky plants to keep alive, but knowing the warning signs can help you succeed.
Soggy or yellowed leaves
Mushy, yellow leaves are typically a sign that you are overwatering your succulent. The best way to save a succulent that has been over watered is to transfer your succulent to completely dry cactus soil. After that, try cutting back by only watering your succulent with 1-2 tablespoons of water when the soil is completely dry. This typically happens every 2-4 weeks depending on its environment.
If you’re finding that your succulent is rotting, it is likely a sign of overwatering or poor drainage. Without drainage, excess water cannot escape your container and will make your succulent start to rot. Check to see if your container has the proper drainage holes. If not, drill or poke holes into your container or transfer to a new container. If your container does not have a drainage hole, see above info under “Containers.”
Wilted, rubbery leaves are a sign of underwatering. Start to correct this problem by watering your succulent with 1-2 tablespoons of water. After that, wait until the soil is bone dry to water again. If this happens sooner than 3-4 weeks, it may be time to up your water dosage. Continue to test the amount of water over the next few weeks and months until you find your succulent’s sweet spot.
If you notice your succulent is growing taller with large spaces in between its leaves this is a sign that your succulent needs more light. Although it may seem good that your succulent is growing in actuality succulents are very slow growers. Your succulent is growing because it is looking for more light. If you have this problem, move your succulent to a bright window sill as soon as possible. Unfortunately, stretching is irreversible. Your succulent will still grow and can thrive after this but the elongated nature of its stem will not go away.
Dark spots on your succulent’s leaves are a sign of too much sunlight and show that your succulent has been burnt. These “burns” will not go away but your succulent will eventually shed these leaves as it grows. To fix this issue, simply place your succulent in a less sunny location.
Is your succulent still giving you trouble? Don’t worry, ask the experts! DM us on Instagram or email us at [email protected] with your question and we’ll be sure to get back to you!