How to Care for Succulents: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re looking for an easy-to-care-for houseplant, succulents are a great option.

These plants are known for their ability to store water in their leaves, making them drought-tolerant and low-maintenance. With a little bit of care, you can keep your succulents healthy and thriving for years to come.

Succulents come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from tiny rosettes to large, spiky cacti. Some popular types of succulents include echeveria, haworthia, and jade plants.

These plants are great for adding a touch of green to your home or office, and they’re also perfect for beginners who are just getting started with indoor gardening.

To keep your succulents healthy, it’s important to provide them with the right care. This includes giving them plenty of sunlight, watering them sparingly, and using well-draining soil.

How to Care for Succulents

In this article, we’ll go over all the basics of succulent care, as well as some tips for propagating, pruning, and transplanting your plants. By the end of this article, you’ll be a succulent expert!

Key Takeaways

  • Succulents are low-maintenance houseplants that are great for beginners.
  • To care for your succulents, make sure they get plenty of sunlight and use well-draining soil.
  • You can propagate, prune, and transplant your succulents to keep them healthy and thriving.

What Are Succulents?

Succulents are a type of plant that store water in their leaves, stems, or roots, allowing them to survive in arid environments. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them a popular choice for indoor and outdoor gardening.

Cacti, aloe, and agave are all examples of succulents, but there are many other types as well. Echeveria, kalanchoe, crassula, haworthia, and snake plant are just a few of the other popular varieties.

One of the defining characteristics of succulents is their ability to survive in harsh conditions.

Succulent in a Pot
Succulent in a Pot

They are often found in deserts and other arid regions, where water is scarce and temperatures can be extreme. Their ability to store water in their leaves and stems allows them to survive for long periods of time without rainfall.

Succulents are also known for their low-maintenance nature. They require very little water and can often go weeks or even months without being watered. This makes them a great choice for busy people or those who don’t have a lot of time to devote to gardening.

Overall, succulents are a versatile and easy-to-care-for plant that can add a touch of natural beauty to any space. Whether you’re looking for a low-maintenance houseplant or a unique addition to your garden, succulents are definitely worth considering.

Succulent Plant Care

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that adds a touch of greenery to your home, succulents are an excellent choice.

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and with proper care, they can thrive for years. Here are some tips on how to care for your succulent plants.


Succulents love sunlight, so it’s best to place them in a spot that gets plenty of direct light. If you’re keeping them indoors, a west-facing window is ideal.

If you notice your succulent stretching or leaning towards the light, it’s a sign that it needs more sun.

On the other hand, if the leaves start to turn brown or yellow, it may be getting too much direct sunlight.


Succulents need well-draining soil to prevent root rot. You can use a commercial potting mix specifically designed for succulents or make your own by mixing sand, perlite, and organic matter.

When potting your succulent, make sure the container has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.


One of the most common mistakes people make with succulents is overwatering. Succulents store water in their leaves, so they don’t need to be watered as frequently as other plants.

Water your succulent only when the soil is completely dry. When you do water, make sure to soak the soil thoroughly and let the excess water drain away.


Succulents prefer warm temperatures and can tolerate a range of temperatures from freezing to 90°F.

However, they don’t like sudden temperature changes, so avoid placing them near drafty windows or air conditioning vents.


Succulents don’t require much fertilizer, but you can give them a boost by using a succulent-specific fertilizer or a general-purpose fertilizer diluted to half strength.

Avoid fertilizing during the winter months when succulents are dormant.

Pots With Drainage Holes

It’s essential to use pots with drainage holes when planting succulents. Without proper drainage, excess water can accumulate in the soil and cause root rot.

If you want to use a decorative pot without drainage holes, place a layer of gravel at the bottom to help with drainage.


Succulents thrive in arid climates and don’t require high humidity. Avoid misting your succulent as it can lead to excess moisture and promote fungal growth.

Temperature and Humidity

Succulents can tolerate a range of temperatures and humidity levels, but they prefer warm, dry conditions.

Avoid placing them in areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms or kitchens.

Tips on How to Care for Succulents

Watering Schedule

One of the most important aspects of succulent care is proper watering. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering can cause the plant to wither and die.

A general rule of thumb is to water your succulents once a week, but this can vary depending on the climate and the type of succulent you have.

Check the soil moisture level before watering and make sure the soil is completely dry before watering again.

Light and Temperature

Succulents love sunlight and need about six hours of sun per day, depending on the type of succulent.

However, too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, so it’s best to provide some shade during the hottest part of the day.

Succulents also prefer temperatures between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure to keep them away from extreme heat or cold.

Soil and Fertilizer

Succulents thrive in well-draining soil that allows excess water to flow out.

Use a cactus soil mix or succulent soil that contains sand or perlite to ensure proper drainage.

Fertilize your succulents once a month during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer that is diluted to half strength.

Hardy Succulents

If you’re looking for low-maintenance ground cover, consider planting hardy succulents.

These plants can withstand harsh weather conditions and require very little water. Some popular hardy succulents include sedum, sempervivum, and ice plant.

Vertical Gardens

Succulents are also great for creating vertical gardens. Plant them in a wall planter or a hanging basket to add some greenery to your space.

Make sure to choose a planter that has proper drainage and use a soil mix that is specifically designed for vertical gardens.

By following these tips on how to care for succulents, you can ensure that your plants thrive and stay healthy. With their unique shapes and colors, succulents can add a touch of beauty to any space.

How to Propagate Succulents?

Propagating succulents is an easy and cost-effective way to expand your collection of these beautiful and unique plants.

Whether you want to create more plants for your own garden or share them with friends and family, there are several methods you can use to propagate succulents.

Propagation Methods

Leaf Propagation

One of the easiest ways to propagate succulents is through leaf propagation.

Simply remove a healthy leaf from the mother plant, allow it to callus over for a few days, and then place it on top of well-draining soil. In a few weeks, the leaf will begin to sprout roots and a new plant will emerge.

Stem Propagation

Stem propagation involves taking a stem cutting from the mother plant and allowing it to callus over for a few days.

Once the cut has healed, plant the stem in well-draining soil and water sparingly. In a few weeks, the cutting will begin to grow roots and a new plant will emerge.


Division is a method of propagating succulents that involves separating the mother plant into smaller sections. This method is best used for plants that have multiple rosettes or offsets. Simply remove the plant from its pot, gently separate the rosettes, and plant them in their own pots with well-draining soil.

Can Succulents Survive and Thrive by Growing them in Water?

Water propagation techniques for succulents can be an effective way to grow and propagate these resilient plants. While succulents are known for their ability to thrive in dry conditions, some species can also be propagated by placing cuttings or leaves in water. This method allows the plants to develop new roots, ultimately leading to their successful growth and survival. Water propagation can be a fascinating and rewarding method for expanding your succulent collection.

Tips for Successful Propagation

  • Choose healthy leaves or stems for propagation. Avoid using damaged or diseased plant parts.
  • Allow cuttings to callus over for a few days before planting to prevent rot.
  • Use well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging and root rot.
  • Water sparingly until new growth appears.
  • Provide bright, indirect light for new plants.

By following these tips and using the appropriate propagation method for your succulent, you can easily expand your collection and enjoy the beauty of these unique plants.

How to Prune Succulents?

Pruning is an essential part of succulent care. It helps to keep your plants healthy, beautiful, and compact. In this section, we will discuss how to prune succulents and when it is necessary to do so.

When to Prune Succulents?

It is best to prune succulents during their active growth period, which is typically in the spring and summer.

However, you can prune them at any time of the year if they become too large or leggy.

How to Prune Succulents?

Pruning succulents is an important aspect of their care and can help them grow healthier and more attractive. 

Here are some simple steps to follow when pruning your succulents:

  1. Pull off older leaves regularly: Dead leaves on the lower parts of your succulents can hinder their growth. Gently remove these leaves with your fingers to promote growth. Leaving them on the stem for too long can cause the soil below the plant to take longer to dry, leading to rot.
  2. Cut back leggy stems: If your succulent becomes too tall or leggy, you can trim it back to encourage new growth. Use sharp pruning shears to cut back the stem just above a leaf node. This will stimulate new growth and make your succulent look fuller.
  3. Remove rosettes: If your succulent has grown too large, you can remove rosettes from the base of the plant to create new plants. Use a sharp, sterilized knife to cut the rosette from the stem, leaving a small stem attached to the base. Allow the cut to dry for a few days before planting the rosette in well-draining soil.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your succulents healthy, attractive, and thriving.

Tips for Pruning Succulents

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when pruning succulents:

  • Always use sharp, sterilized tools to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Don’t over-prune your succulent, as this can stress the plant and slow down its growth.
  • If you’re unsure about how much to prune, start by removing a small amount and then wait to see how the plant responds.
  • Some succulents, such as Echeveria, can be propagated from leaf cuttings. If you want to create new plants, try taking leaf cuttings and planting them in well-draining soil.

By following these tips, you can keep your succulents looking their best and ensure they stay healthy and happy.

How to Transplant Succulents?

Transplanting your succulent is an important step in ensuring its growth and health.

It is recommended to transplant your succulent every 2-3 years, or when you notice that its roots have outgrown the current pot.

Here are the steps to transplant your succulent:

  1. Choose a new pot that is one size larger than the current pot. Ensure that the new pot has drainage holes at the bottom.
  2. Prepare the new pot by filling it with well-draining soil. You can use a cactus or succulent mix, or make your own by mixing potting soil with sand or perlite.
  3. Carefully remove the succulent from its current pot. You can gently squeeze the sides of the pot or use a knife to loosen the soil.
  4. Clean the roots by removing any dead or rotting roots. Be gentle to avoid damaging the healthy roots.
  5. Place the succulent in the new pot and fill in the gaps with soil. Ensure that the soil level is not higher than the level of the soil in the old pot.
  6. Water the succulent lightly, and let it settle in its new home for a few days before watering it again.

It’s important to note that transplanting your succulent into a pot that is too large can cause problems. A pot that is one size larger than the current pot is sufficient.

Transplanting your succulent can be a bit intimidating, but with these steps, you can ensure a smooth and successful transplant.

How to Grow Succulents in Pots?

Growing succulents in pots is a great way to add greenery to your home or office. Here are some tips for growing succulents in pots:

Choose the Right Pot

When choosing a pot for your succulent, make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom. Succulents do not like to sit in water, so the holes will allow excess water to drain away.

A terra-cotta pot is a good choice because it is porous and will allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Use the Right Potting Mix

Succulents prefer a well-draining potting mix. You can make your own mix by combining equal parts of potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite.

Alternatively, you can purchase a pre-made succulent potting mix from your local garden center.

Plant Your Succulent

Fill your pot with potting mix and create a small hole in the center. Gently remove your succulent from its current pot and loosen the roots.

Place the succulent in the hole and fill in the gaps with potting mix. Make sure the soil is level with the top of the pot.

Add Pebbles

Adding a layer of pebbles to the top of the soil can help with drainage and prevent soil from splashing onto the leaves. It can also add a decorative touch to your pot.

Water Your Succulent

Water your succulent thoroughly, making sure the soil is completely moistened. Let the soil dry completely before watering again.

The frequency of watering will depend on the size of your pot, the type of succulent, and the environment it is in. In general, succulents do not need to be watered as often as other plants.

With these tips, you can successfully grow your succulent in a pot. Remember to choose the right pot, use the right potting mix, plant your succulent properly, add pebbles, and water your succulent appropriately.

Common Problems With Succulents

Succulents are known for their hardiness and ability to thrive in dry conditions, but they are not invincible.

Here are some common problems that you may encounter when caring for your succulents:


Overwatering is one of the most common problems that succulent owners face. It can cause root rot, which can be fatal to your plant.

Signs of overwatering include mushy or soft leaves, brown or black spots on the leaves, and a foul smell from the soil.

To avoid overwatering, make sure to let the soil dry out completely between watering sessions. Use a well-draining soil mix and don’t let your succulent sit in water for too long.

Under watering

Under watering can also be a problem for succulents. Signs of under watering include shriveled or wrinkled leaves, dry soil, and a lack of growth.

To avoid under watering, make sure to water your succulent thoroughly when you do water it.

Don’t just give it a little bit of water every day. Instead, water it deeply and then let the soil dry out completely before watering it again.

To understand in more detail, check the difference between Overwatered and Underwatered Succulent.

Leggy Succulents

If your succulent starts to grow tall and leggy, it may not be getting enough light. This can be caused by a lack of direct sunlight or by the succulent not getting enough light throughout the day.

To fix this problem, move your succulent to a sunnier spot. You can also prune the stem of your succulent to encourage it to grow bushier and fuller.

Burned Leaves

Succulents can get burned if they are exposed to too much direct sunlight. Signs of burned leaves include brown or black spots on the leaves and scorch marks.

To avoid burned leaves, make sure to place your succulent in a spot where it gets the right amount of sunlight.

Some succulents prefer full sun, while others prefer partial shade. If your succulent gets burned, you can trim off the damaged leaves.


Succulents can be susceptible to pests like mealybugs and gnats.

Mealybugs look like white cottony masses on the leaves and stems of your succulent, while gnats are small flies that fly around your plant.

To get rid of mealybugs, you can use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to wipe them off.

To get rid of gnats, make sure to let the soil dry out completely between watering sessions and use a sticky trap to catch them.

Other Problems

Other problems that you may encounter when caring for your succulent include brown spots on the leaves, mistakes in care, and dust buildup.

To fix brown spots, make sure to water your succulent properly and avoid over fertilizing it.

To avoid mistakes in care, make sure to research your succulent’s specific needs and follow them closely.

To get rid of dust buildup, use a soft brush to gently brush off the leaves of your succulent.

By being aware of these common problems and taking steps to prevent them, you can ensure that your succulent stays healthy and happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I water my succulents?

Succulents should be watered when the soil is completely dry, which typically happens every 1-2 weeks.

What type of soil is best for succulents?

Succulents need soil that drains well. A good soil mix for succulents should contain coarse sand, perlite, and/or pumice. Avoid using soil that contains a lot of peat moss or vermiculite, as these materials retain moisture and can lead to root rot. 

Can succulents survive indoors without drainage?

Succulents can survive indoors without drainage, but it’s not ideal. Without drainage, excess water can build up in the soil and lead to root rot. If you’re planting succulents in a container without drainage, be sure to use a well-draining soil mix and be careful not to overwater your plants.

How do I propagate succulents?

Succulents are easy to propagate. One way to propagate succulents is by taking stem cuttings. Simply cut off a stem and let it dry out for a few days. Once the cut end has calloused over, plant the stem in well-draining soil and water sparingly until new growth appears. Another way to propagate succulents is by removing offsets or “pups” that grow from the base of the plant.

Do succulents need direct sunlight to thrive?

Most succulents need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to thrive. However, some succulents can tolerate less sunlight than others. If your succulent is not getting enough sunlight, it may become leggy or lose its vibrant colors.

What are some common problems with caring for succulents?

One common problem with caring for succulents is overwatering. Succulents are adapted to survive in dry conditions and can be easily killed by too much water. Another problem is using soil that doesn’t drain well, which can lead to root rot. Finally, succulents that don’t get enough sunlight may become leggy or lose their vibrant colors.

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