Succulents 101: A Beginner's Guide

So, you've decided to become a plant parent! Succulents are a great choice for beginning gardeners because of their low maintenance requirements, large variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and satisfaction of cultivating a beautiful plant! Venturing into the world of succulent ownership has proven benefits for your physical, emotional and mental health. It is easy to become overwhelmed by tedious details from internet searches and all-knowing nursery owners, so this guide serves as a  beginner’s guide to basic care for succulents!

Succulents are arguably the most basic easiest plants to grow, and I always recommend starting here if you are new to the houseplant scene. These fleshy plants store water well and are known to survive in desert conditions. Your dorm or house will make a perfect mild environment for these plant to flourish!

 

Watering

Watering is the most common issue gardeners face with succulents. These plants can thrive with a bit of neglect, so you should water deeply, let the soil almost completely dry out, and repeat the process. The spring and summer seasons are the peak growing time for succulents, and you should give your plant more water than usual during this period. However, water sparingly during the dormant seasons of fall and winter. If you see your plant’s bottom leaves turning pale or yellow, this is a key indication you are giving your plant too much love!

Soil

Now that we have established succulents do not like wet feet, it is important to use a well-draining soil to maximize the plant’s health. My 3-2-1 recipe is a great rule of (green) thumb! Mix 3 parts potting soil, 2 parts coarse sand or crushed granite, and 1-part perlite to give your succulent the best growing conditions.

Sunlight

Succulents thrive in full sun conditions, so if you have a porch or balcony is ideal for your plant during the warmer months. Windows in your house that have bright indirect sunlight are a great alternative if you have limited space!

 

My Plant Recommendations 

There is nothing more rewarding than purchasing and bringing home your own plant baby! The succulent varieties listed below are plants I have personally grown for a long time and they are 100% guaranteed to add happiness to your life.  

Aloe Vera

Possibly everyone’s first succulent, the notoriously robust Aloe Vera plant makes a beautiful evergreen addition to any landscape.

 

Mother of Millions

This happy plant thrives in indirect light and are characterized by their many baby plantlets. Since this succulent is an abundant producer, you can easily propagate the plants by cuttings!

Haworthia

Possibly the most adorable and easily recognizable succulents is the Haworthia varieties. Characterized by its small spikes and pearly warts, this requires similar growing conditions to the Aloe Vera.

Hens and Chicks

This is another great succulent group of plants for indoor gardening. They form clusters of flowerlike rosettes and prefer bright environments with infrequent watering.   

Snake Plant

The snake plant or Mother-in-law’s tongue is arguably the lowest maintenance plant in this list! This succulent plant can survive in dim spots and tolerates moderate watering.

 

Lastly, I recommend taking a trip to your local nursery and browsing the succulent section. It is so important to connect with nature given the stress of college studies, and caring for a small houseplant is often therapeutic and relaxing.

Most importantly, remember not to panic! Succulents are generally hardy plants that are forgiving so long as you care for them responsibly.