There are many types of succulents that come in a variety of shapes and colors. Jade plants, cacti, and aloes are all examples of some types of succulents, and they can serve as both indoor and outdoor plants. Succulents are easy to care for and make for a hardy houseplant, and caring for succulents is easy once you learn the right way.
How to care for succulents: 5 tips
Although succulents don’t require a lot of attention, they do need a few basics to thrive:
1. Provide enough sunlight. Succulents need adequate light – at least six hours of full sun per day. Caring for succulents outdoors can be quite easy. However, if you have an indoor succulent, be sure to sun it in a window. A plant that leans toward the light doesn’t get enough sun, but a plant whose leaves have burn marks gets too much direct sunlight.
2. Water properly. The amount of water succulents need can change depending on the season. During their growing season, succulents should be watered whenever their soil dries out completely—and avoid adding excess water—a succulent’s longevity increases when its roots are given time to dry between waterings. Succulents become dormant during cold winter months, so they need less water during this time. Overwatering succulent soil is a major cause of most growing problems, so be sure to only water your succulent as often as necessary.
3. Use the right mix of pot and soil. Whether you bring your succulent home from a nursery or grow it yourself, the right container and potting soil can make all the difference. For an outdoor succulent plant, your succulent pot should have a drainage hole. Good drainage allows moisture to escape and allows the roots and soil to dry out to prevent rot. If you have an indoor succulent, instead of needing to be drained, you can use well-draining soil that is coarser than regular soil, allows more air to flow through, and encourages evaporation. Perlite and pumice can be added to certain potting mixes to improve aeration.
4. Don’t forget to fertilize. Even low-maintenance desert plants benefit from occasional fertilization. Use a diluted, all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer a few times a year to give your succulents a boost. It’s not strictly necessary, but if you see that your soil could use some help, add a little fertilizer.
5. Examine your plants. A succulent is more susceptible to pests indoors than outdoors. Check your plants regularly to make sure they are free of mosquitoes or mealybugs – these insects are an indication that your plants are overwatered or over-fertilized. Mealybugs drink their host plant’s juices and can lay hundreds of eggs, damaging your plant over time. Spraying the leaves or base of your succulent with rubbing alcohol is an effective way to kill mealybugs and their eggs. If you’re bringing home a succulent from a nursery, first check the foliage and soil to make sure you’re not bringing home any pests.