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How to Care For Your Succulents

The groundhog didn’t see his shadow and the days are getting noticeably longer, which means that spring is on its way! When I asked people what they think of when they hear the word spring, many responded with things such as sungrassplants, or flowers. In hopes of brightening up my apartment to get through these last dreary months of winter, I bought a flowering succulent plant. I’ve killed many plants in my lifetime, even the hardy succulent plants UW housing gave out for free; I always either forget to water them for days at a time or I drown them. I am determined to keep this little succulent alive, and I am going to share my findings on how to do that with you all.


The most important tip to remember is that succulents do NOT need a lot of water to survive. In fact, it is common to kill your succulent by overwatering it. Using a misting squirt bottle is ideal, and you only have to mist it every 10-14 days. Keep an eye on how dry the soil is – your succulent is at its happiest when the soil is just beginning to dry out. Speaking of soil conditions, fertilizing your little plant is a good thing to do about once a year to give it the nutrients it needs.


Since you are keeping your plant indoors, you want to make sure it is getting enough sunlight. Keeping the succulent out of direct sunlight is going to help with how fast the plant dries out. Most succulents prefer indirect sunlight, so keeping it by a window but not on the window sill itself is ideal. Another tip to consider when picking out your new succulent is that green colored plants thrive better indoors, compared to purple and orange colored succulents. Succulents also are best when they are not crowded together. They don’t need much water in the first place but don’t make them compete for it. Crowding succulents together also creates a great home for insects and mold to start growing.


When picking out a succulent you may want to do some research if you really want to keep it alive and well. There are certain types that are heartier than others and are great for us newbie plant owners. The Crassula genus succulent family is a great place to start. The most common Crassula is the Jade plant, but there are many different kinds in this plant family. Aloe Vera is another easy plant to keep alive, and they like more sunlight than other succulents. The Echeveria also likes more sunlight but they do not need as much watering, as they are native to the desert. During winter time the Panda Plant is a good option because they are native to Madagascar, so dry heated homes make them happy. Lastly, if you want a pop of color check out the Crown of Thorns; with enough sunlight, the red and orange leaves can bloom all year round. One last thing to consider when buying plants is if you are a pet owner. Pets love to be nosy and can sometimes think our plants are a treat for them. Make sure that Fido or Fluffy won’t get sick if they do get a nibble by researching pet-safe succulents.


I am currently on week three of keeping my succulent alive! While brushing up on my succulent facts I found a great site that sells all sorts of plants. Check out The Sill for cheap and cute house plants, including succulents, that get delivered to your door! Juicy Kits is another online site where you can order succulents, and even buy in bulk if you want to gift some succulents to your roommates. Remember, little water and filtered sunlight. Happy plant parenting!



Laura Dirk

Wisconsin '21

Hi! I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin - Madison studying biology. I am crossing my fingers to get into vet school to continue my education and follow my dream! Follow along my rollercoaster of college with me through my articles, learn new tips and tricks, learn from my mistakes, be inspired!
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