All About Succulents

What is a succulent?

Succulents are plants that store water for times of drought in fleshy leaves or stems.

How much should I water my succulent?

It will vary depending upon the pot (whether it is porous or non-porous), air circulation, soil mix, amount of sunlight, and temperature. The rule of thumb is to let the plant dry out between waterings, but do not let it get bone-dry. If it is too dry it will kill the root hairs, but overwatering will do just as much damage. Keep in mind that a plant with thicker leaves will require less water than one with thinner leaves. Also, your succulent is dormant during the winter months, so you will probably find that you water less frequently during that time of the year.

What kind of light does my succulent require?

Your succulent is happiest with about 6 hours of bright light, such as you would get in a south- or east- facing window. Different varieties like direct light more than others, so watch for signs of sunburn (brown or black spots on the leaves.) You are less likely to get sunburn when your succulent is indoors. If you put it outside in the summer, acclimate your plant to the brighter light by starting it in the shade, and then moving it to a spot where it will get morning sun and afternoon shade.

If your plant is stretching - growing longer stems with more room between the leaves - it's a sign that it's not getting enough light.

What kind of soil and pot should I use?

Because your succulent likes to get dry between waterings, use a well-draining soil. You can use specially-formulated cactus soil, or mix something light and porous into your soil, such as perlite or coconut coir. A succulent in a clay pot will require more watering because water evaporates through the pot - this can be good for a plant that is outdoors in summer, because it cools the roots.

Re-pot your succulent when  you see roots coming out of the bottom of the pot. Replant in a pot that is 1/2" to 1" more in circumference, and place the plant at the same depth. Do not water for a few days, to allow any roots damaged in the move time to recover and callous over, thus protecting the plant from fungal infection.

Can I propagate my succulent?

Yes! Echeverias (succulents that grow in a rosette shape) propagate easily from leaves. Other varieties (such as Crassula, with stacked leaves around a central stem) will propagate from cuttings. Let the leaf or cutting dry and start to callous over (1-5 days) and place it semi-upright in potting mix. Water about once a week. A new plant will form within one month.