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5 Tips for People Who “Succ” at Taking Care of Succulents

Succulents and cacti can be perfect for decorating your dorm – if you know how to take care of them, that is. As the owner of a ton of happy and healthy succulents, I have a few tips that can help your succulents thrive.

1. Don’t water a succulent every day!

This is the most common mistake people make with succulents, so I had to mention it first. Succulents are not like normal plants! They come from environments where there isn’t a lot of rain, so when it does rain they store every drop of water they can in their leaves. You should really only water a succulent once every two to three weeks. Water it any more than that, and the roots will rot, killing the entire plant!

2. Water your succulent in a sink, not with a watering can.

Even though you’re only watering a succulent once every couple of weeks, you need to give it way more water than you’d give a typical houseplant. When you water a succulent, you should water it under a faucet until water starts dripping out from the bottom. The pot should feel nice and heavy when you’re done.

3. Make sure you have the right type of pot.

Most of the time when you get a succulent from a store, it will be in a plastic pot. Plastic (and glass) pots trap water around the roots of a plant, which can lead to mold, bugs, and root rot. If you buy a succulent in a plastic pot, make sure to repot it into a terra cotta or ceramic pot right away. These types of pots absorb water, making sure your plant won’t drown. You also want to make sure the pot you choose has a hole in the bottom, which lets water drain out.

4. Find a good light source.

Unless you have a window facing directly south (this is where the strongest sunlight is), just putting a succulent in a window won’t give it enough light. Succulents need tons of direct sunlight to thrive, so when you’re looking for a good plant light, it needs to be bright. My favorite plant light is a small but powerful hanging light that you can find on amazon. Your plants should get plenty of light if you turn the light on when you wake up and off before you go to sleep. Also, hang the light at least 2 feet above your succulents, you don’t want to burn any leaves!

5. Have fun!

Once you’ve covered the basics, you can experiment with some expert techniques. If you really want your succulents to thrive, look into using succulent fertilizer. If you want to expand your succulent collection, you can try propagation, which is using a leaf from a succulent to grow a whole new plant.


Emma Hynes

Cincinnati '22

University of Cincinnati - History and Political Science major Activist with a focus on lgbt people and people in poverty. Trans inclusive feminist. She/Her pronouns
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