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How Can You Keep Your Succulents Healthy and Vibrant?

By Staff Writer
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Knowing how to take care of succulents will ensure your plants thrive, grow, and, most importantly, survive for many years to come. Whether you have indoor succulents or outdoor succulents planted in pots or directly into the soil, there are many things you can do to keep your plants healthy. From watering your plants correctly and placing them in the right position to using the right potting soil, looking after your beautiful succulents is easier than you might think.

01

Let there be light

Succulents love lots of light and need at least six hours of sunlight daily to stay healthy. Place or plant your succulents in areas where they will receive enough natural daylight, but take care with newly planted succulents as they can scorch if placed in direct sunlight. Once they are established and fully grown, they can be placed in a more sunny position.

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02

Rotate indoor or potted succulents regularly

Succulents love lots of direct sunlight, so it is a good idea to rotate them regularly so that each side of the plant receives enough light. Turning your indoor and outdoor potted succulents 180 degrees once a week should ensure that they receive all the light they need and in all the right places. Succulents also lean towards the sun, so turning them regularly will help to ensure a uniform and straight growth.

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03

Don't overdo the watering

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Overwatering succulents is much worse than underwatering them. They need water to thrive, of course, but it's usually less than you think. The best way to make sure you aren't overwatering is to check the moisture in the soil, either by poking in a finger or pushing in a stick and leaving it for a bit, then drawing it out to see how wet it is.

Unlike other houseplants that get watered when only the first inch or so of the soil is dry, wait to water your succulents until the soil is arid. Remember: they can hold a lot of water in their leaves, so they aren't "parched" just because the soil is. Adding water before they're ready can lead to root rot and kill your plant babies.

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04

Don't overwater them

When watering your succulents, make sure you soak the soil directly. You'll know you have watered enough when the water runs from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pots. For succulents planted in the ground, water once a week during the summer months, unless it's been raining.

You can also place your pots in a tray of water and allow them to soak up the water they need from the bottom. Remove them from the tray once the top layer of soil is slightly moist.

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05

Choose containers with good drainage

Choosing good containers for your succulents will make your life so much easier and help to keep your succulents growing and looking their absolute best. Succulents don't do well if they are left to sit in waterlogged soil, so choosing a pot with lots of drainage will ensure excess water drains away after watering or heavy rainfall. Terracotta pots are some of the best containers for succulents as they have plenty of holes and also help to retain heat during the winter months.

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06

Choose the right soil for your succulents

Choosing the wrong soil for your succulents could cause your succulents to rot and die very quickly. Succulents require good quality soil that drains excess water away, so yard dirt or regular potting soil won't do. If you are planting succulents in pots, use a special cactus potting soil that contains pumice, perlite, or sand. You can also use this type of soil when planting succulents outside in the ground.

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07

Keep your succulents clean

This tip applies mostly to indoor succulents. Over time, your plants will start to pick up a little dust and dirt on their surface. This can actually inhibit their growth. By wiping leaves gently with a damp cloth or clean paintbrush, you can reach all of those hard-to-reach spots and keep your succulents thriving and looking their absolute best. You can also spray leaves with a fine mist spray to give them a healthy shine and a little extra moisture.

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08

Watch out for bugs

Just like any other plant, your succulents are at risk of being attacked by bugs and other pests. Gnats and mosquitos are attracted to succulents that have been overwatered or that do not have correct drainage. To remove eggs or larvae, use a spray that contains 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. You should also take care to remove any infected plants away from healthy plants until all bugs have been removed.

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09

Give your succulents a good fertilizer

Fertilizer can do wonders for your succulents; the good news is that they don't need much. A light feeding during the spring and summer months will help to promote growth and give your plants extra nourishment and nutrients. Just take care not to overfertilize, as this can cause your succulent to grow too quickly and develop weak areas.

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10

Protect outdoor succulents in winter

While succulents are relatively easy to take care of during the summer months, they do need a little extra TLC during the winter. Even a light frost could kill off a healthy succulent. When the weather starts to get colder, you should bring your potted succulents indoors if you can. If this is not possible, wrap them in horticultural fleece or a hessian blanket to protect their leaves and spines from the elements.

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11

Detailed pest management: aphids, spider mites, and mealy bugs

Pests can be a succulent's silent enemy. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of aphids, spider mites, or mealy bugs. These tiny critters can harm your plant and hinder its growth. If you spot any, consider natural remedies or gentle insecticides to keep your succulent safe and thriving.

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12

Recognizing underwatering symptoms

While succulents are champions at conserving water, they still have their limits. If you notice your plant's leaves looking shriveled or droopy, it might be craving more moisture. Regularly check the soil's dryness and adjust your watering schedule accordingly to keep your succulent, vibrant, and plump.

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13

Maintaining optimal temperature for succulents

Just like us, succulents prefer to stay cozy. While they can handle a range of temperatures, it's best to keep them in a moderate climate. Extreme heat can stress them out, and frosty conditions can be fatal. If you're growing them outdoors, consider their placement, and if indoors, ensure they're not near heaters or chilly windows.

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14

Balancing sunlight and shade for succulents

Sunlight is essential for your succulent's growth, but too much can be harmful. Aim for a balance, providing them with bright but indirect light. If your succulent starts to stretch out or lose its color, it might be telling you it needs more sun. On the other hand, if the leaves start to burn or brown, it might be time to provide a bit more shade.

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15

Enhancing succulent colors with sun exposure

Want to see your succulent flaunt vibrant hues? Sun exposure can do the trick! Many succulents will display richer colors when exposed to the right amount of sunlight. However, remember to introduce them to increased light gradually to avoid sunburn.

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16

Advanced soil mix recipes

Share to PinterestScoop soil and fertilizer in trays into pots, ready for planting.

Turn your succulent’s home into a gourmet feast with a custom soil mix. Think of it as crafting a fine dining experience for your plant. A dash of pumice for drainage, a sprinkle of worm castings for nutrients, and perhaps a handful of coarse sand to keep things airy. This bespoke blend not only caters to their delicate roots but also ensures they’re getting all the goodness they need to thrive.

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17

Succulent health check

Share to Pinterestwoman's hand shows yellow withered leaves of home plant in Kalanchoe flowerpot. Houseplant care, flower disease control, insect pests that kill potted flowers

Just like us, succulents can have off days (or weeks). Yellowing leaves might suggest too much love (water, that is), while shriveled leaves whisper tales of thirst. Regular once-overs can catch these cries for help early, letting you adjust their care before they hit the plant equivalent of a bad hair day. After all, prevention is better than cure, especially in the plant world.

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18

Succulents as eco-friendly decor

Share to PinterestZero waste look after the earth by recycling and upcycling old used goods. Succulents are planted in old kitchen utensils, tea pot and coffee pot. Recycled plant used for decoration in garden or house

In today’s green-conscious world, succulents stand out as eco-warriors. They sip water sparingly, making them a poster child for drought-tolerant decor. Nestling a few around your home not only adds a splash of living green but also aligns with a lifestyle that treads lightly on the planet. Plus, they’re a visual reminder of nature’s resilience and beauty, a little nudge to make more earth-friendly choices every day.

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19

Advanced propagation techniques

Share to PinterestSnake plant propagation by single leaf cutting closeup view with selective focus

Diving deeper into the world of succulent propagation opens up a nursery of possibilities. Beyond the simple leaf method, try your hand at stem cuttings or dividing mature plants. These techniques can feel like advanced gardening, but they’re really just another step in your plant parent journey. With patience and a bit of practice, you’ll soon have baby succulents sprouting up, ready to start their own journey in your indoor oasis.

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