A Beginner’s Guide to Caring for Succulents

Succulents have been all the rage as of late and it’s not hard to see why. They’re adorable, low maintenance and add beautiful color to any area. Succulents are drought resistant plants of which the leaves, stem or roots have become fleshier due to the development of water-storing tissues. They make ideal plants for beginning gardeners because succulents can thrive off of natural water sources like mist and dew, and really don’t need much attention at all. Below, before and after photos can be seen of some of my succulents. Keep reading to find out how I got them to grow up so nicely!

Courtesy: Sophia Akel

Courtesy: Sophia Akel

Courtesy: Vanessa Valles

My ultimate piece of advice for healthy succulents is this: leave them alone. Yes, you read that correctly. People buy succulents with the expectation of them needing regular care like many other house plants. However, too much attention will actually kill your succulent. Succulents are very, very low maintenance plants. Here are some tips:

Heavily water your succulents 1-2 times a month. 

I suggest drenching your succulents until the soil is almost soupy. I water my plant babies very heavily about once or twice a month and leave them alone otherwise. Even if you miss a watering during the month, your succulent will survive. Remember: They’re meant to thrive in dry conditions! On this note, also make sure that your succulent can adequately drain water from itself. You don’t want the plant to be sitting in water because the leaves will become engorged and fall off. You can make sure your succulent’s water drains properly by carving out holes in the bottom of its pot/holder. 

Keep them outside. 

This tip doesn’t necessarily go for every variety of succulent, so it will definitely be up to you to research your specific succulent and its needs. However, in most cases, it’s best to leave your succulent outside in full sunlight. They thrive off of the intense humidity that can only be found outside. They do look really cute inside, but most succulents will eventually wither away and die if kept indoors full time. I only bring my succulents inside if it’s raining extremely hard because I don’t want them to drown or become overwatered. Your succulent will surely thrive if placed in direct sunlight on a patio, balcony, etc. 

Courtesy: Sophia Akel

The tips I’ve shared with you so far are basically all you need to keep in mind for succulent care. However, there are a few issues that you might run into with your plant, so here are some solutions for them. 

If you notice bugs in or around your succulent, spray the entire plant with rubbing alcohol. This will ensure that the bugs stay away.

If your succulent looks like it’s leaning to one side, it’s probably trying to reach towards the sun. Place it in more direct sunlight. 

Your succulent can survive outside in the winter. These plants are able to withstand extremely cold temperatures and frosts. However, if temperatures drop way below freezing and your succulent looks like it’s suffering, bring it inside until it gets warmer outside.

If your succulent’s leaves fall off, don’t throw them away! Place them in a clear area of soil and new baby succulents will grow! This is an awesome process known as propagation. Check out the pictures below to see some examples of my succulents’ propagations. 

Courtesy: Sophia Akel

Courtesy: Sophia Akel

Once these mini versions of your original plant pop up, it’s important to be super gentle with them and only water them very minimally – a few spritzes of water every few weeks is enough. When these leaves grow big enough, you can transfer them to a new pot and you’ll have a duplicate of your original plant! Propagation is a fun, easy and free way to expand your succulent collection. 

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