How To Successfully Grow Succulents

Plush leaves, vibrant colors, and easy maintenance — there’s a reason why succulents have become so popular.

Truth be told, as much as I enjoy them, I’d never had much luck with house plants. That is until I purchased my first jade. Reminiscent of the huge, seemingly ancient jade that lived on my grandmother’s porch, this plant was slightly smaller, adorned in tiny white flowers, and completely intimidating. It may sound silly to call a plant intimidating, but for someone who had never had much luck keeping green things alive, actually purchasing a plant with the intention of caring for it was a big step. Many years have passed since then, and I’m proud to say that my first jade is still alive and kicking, thriving even, and it’s been joined by many, many more succulents and cacti, because along with learning how to care for these plants, I learned just how much they can transform your home.

Cacti and succulents (plants that store their water in their leaves) are wonderfully easy to care for, but contrary to what many seem to think, they do require attention. Fall is the perfect time to bring some greenery into your home, so today I’m sharing my tips for caring for these incredible, sculptural plants.

Succulents

The wonderful thing about these unique plants is that, despite the incredible variety available, they all require similar care. Cacti are a small subset of the succulent group, and are probably the simplest of all succulents to grow and tend to, but they do require some simple steps.

Cacti prefer sandy conditions, so be sure to pick up some cacti-specific potting soil if you plan to change the planter. When growing cacti, think of the conditions they grow naturally in: the desert, which is cool at night and hot and sunny throughout the day. Give your cacti access to full sun and a temperature range of about 70 to 80 degrees, in the winter, that temperature may be brought down to about 50 degrees, as long as the plant is protected from any drafts.

Cacti experience the most growth throughout the spring and summer, it’s during these times that they require the most water. When the soil is dry, water the plant completely, using a cacti-specific fertilizer if needed. In the winter, only water your cactus if it begins to shrivel.

Succulents

Succulents

Succulents are almost as easy to grow as cacti, and the care between plants barely differs. Like their thorny cousins, succulents prefer bright light and do best in sunny, south facing windows. The wonderful thing about these plants is how easy it is to tell if the plant is getting too much or too little light. Leaves will turn brown or white in too much sunlight, alternately, the plant will get “leggy” or stretch in too little light.

Succulents

Succulents thrive in the summer, which is an ideal time to give them some time outdoors. Place them on a porch or front step, and you can almost see them grow before your eyes. After a season spent outdoors, your succulents will be hardy and ready to hibernate for the long winter ahead. Like cacti, succulents should be watered frequently in the summer — about once a week or whenever soil is dry, and very infrequently in the winter, about once every other month. Never allow your plants to sit in standing water, which can cause the roots to rot and the plant to die.

Succulents

Similar to cacti, succulents should be potted in a plant-specific soil. Vintage planters found at thrift stores or flea markets are a great way to add color to your space, just be sure to thoroughly rinse the container before re-potting the plant to remove anything that could contaminate it.

Succulents

Do you have tips for livening up your space with plants? Please share in the comments!

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7 years ago

I’m terrible at keeping plants alive, I adore succulents though and am eager to decorate with them! Pinning.

Warm Regards,
Alexandra
http://www.littlewildheart.com

7 years ago

I don’t have a green thumb either, and i’m sad to say that i actually had an aloe plant that died :( the funny part is that my mom told me they are so easy to care for, and she barely ever messes with hers if at all…

7 years ago

I had a carnivorous plant for 3 years! The only thing I did was giving it some water from time to time. This year my plant was slowly dying.. It was a bit painfull for me to throw it away after all those years haha

ValerieRandomness.blogspot.com

Amy
7 years ago

That looks so pretty. I’ll definitely try it! :)

http://citybuiltofdreams.blogspot.com/

7 years ago

This is a great post! I’m thinking of giving succulents as presents this Christmas and a good How To guide might be necessary. Thank you!

Mikayla
7 years ago

Love the illustrations :)

7 years ago

I’ve been wanting to have succulents for years, but I have two cats and many are poisonous to them. Anyone know of any pet friendly kinds?

http://lostindreamland8.blogspot.com/

7 years ago

This is perfect, just yesterday I bought some succulents. Thanks for sharing all of these tips.

xx Cheyenne
http://www.bohemianjourneys.blogspot.com

7 years ago

Don’t forget if you’re reading this in the Southern hemisphere that it’ll be the North facing windows!

7 years ago

I love reading an article that will make people think.
Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!

daniele
6 years ago

My cat ate most of my succulents (apparently they are not that poisonous to them haha) but now I only have 2 :(. I have a brown thumb, but I have managed to keep them alive during the horrible NY winter. I put them in tea cups! They look so cute!