succulents close up

How To Grow Succulents – 6 Greatest Tips for Healthy Growth

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Succulents are drought-resistant and versatile plants that can survive a long time without water. They can store moisture in their stems and leaves and become fleshy and thick. As a result you can grow succulents very easily.

These plants can grow in both outdoor and indoor spaces because of their ultra-low maintenance requirements. Additionally, you can also use pots or garden beds to grow them. You just need to consider the hardiness of the plant and where you live. This is the key point to start successfully!

succulent in pink pot

In this guide, I will cover all the basics that you need to know about planting succulents. It’ll help you understand how to grow succulents easily to add more beauty and character to your property and indeed your life.

How To Grow Succulents: Best Tips to Follow

Here’s a list of the best tips to follow to grow succulents successfully.

1. Choose the Right Plants

If you live in a place with hardiness zone 9 or above, you can grow pretty much all types of succulents. But you’ll still need to make sure that you select plants that can easily tolerate high temperatures under the sun, especially if you are growing succulents outdoors.

Whereas, you’ll need to be careful if your hardiness zone is below 9. In this case, choose succulents that can withstand moderate to cold temperatures, like prickly pears and claret cup cactus.

Keep in mind that most succulents don’t survive the winters outdoors in areas with hardiness zone 5 or below. If you live in such an area, you’ll need to choose succulent plants that can thrive indoors, such as Christmas cactus and zebra cactus.

To be honest, the amount of rain you get is also a factor. Here in the UK if your ground is heavy and you get a lot of rain over winter it can cause your succulents to die as they are rotting away.

christmas cactus
Christmas Cactus
Credit: Photo by

If you want to grow colorful succulents indoors, you may need to install grow lights in your indoor area. That’s because these plants need a lot of light to grow. But if you can’t install grow lights, you can go with plants that can tolerate low light, such as Gasterias, and Haworthias.

2. Select Planting Spot

As mentioned above, succulents can be used as indoor plants but it’s important to keep in mind that these plants need a lot of sunlight to thrive. Therefore, place your indoor succulents in a place that receives sunlight at least eight hours a day. I keep mine on my kitchen windowsill which basks in the sun all afternoon and evening.

succulents in tray of 3 pots

If you see that your indoor succulent plant is stretching out of the container or has become “leggy”, it’s not receiving enough sunlight. In such a case, you’ll need to relocate your potted plants to help your succulents thrive.

If you’re planning to grow succulents outdoors, choose a spot that receives direct sunlight almost all day long, eight to 12 hours.

3. Pick the Pots Wisely

It’s important to choose succulent planters carefully if you’re not planning to grow these plants in your garden bed. The material of the containers you choose can play a critical role in the development of your succulents.

If you’re just starting out, then you can go with terracotta. That’s because it’s a porous material that will ensure needed airflow to the roots. However, you don’t want to go with this material if you live in a very dry and hot environment. In such a case, you should opt for ceramic succulent planters or your succulents will just dry out too quickly.

I use ceramic planters in the house but I control the amount of water they receive and I also usually use a pot within the outer pot so that I can lift it and check how heavy (and therefore wet) it is.

It’s also important to choose pots that come with drainage holes. Using a container without drainage holes will trap a high amount of moisture inside, which can lead to a root rotting problem in succulents. Obviously indoors you need to capture any water but you can use a saucer or a pot within a pot like I do.

4. Choose the Right Soil

Unlike most types of plants, succulents thrive in well-drained soil. They don’t need highly moist soil as they have the ability to store moisture in their leaves and stems, allowing them to cope with droughts. Therefore, make sure that the garden soil or potting mix you use isn’t poorly-drained or heavy.

Add grit, perlite or similar to your potting mix to ensure good drainage. A 50 / 50 mix is not too much! By that I mean 50% compost and 50%grit.

Additionally, you’ll also need to check the pH level of the soil. If it’s alkaline, you’ll need to add the right fertilizer to adjust it, as most succulents prefer slightly acidic soil. The ideal soil for succulents should be loose, slightly acidic, and grainy, containing plenty of pumice and perlite or sand.

I also like to put a layer of grit on top of the soil / compost. This makes the plant look really nice and it stops any compost splashing up onto the succulent when I water or it rains.

5. Plant Succulents

Some succulents propagate themselves by putting out smaller plants that grow out from the plant and root in the soil as they come into contact with it. You can then separate these from the main plant and grow them on as new plants to keep or share.

small succulents growing

If your succulent does not put out small plants (and many don’t) then propagating succulent cuttings is the easiest way to grow new succulents. You’ll need a full-grown succulent plant to use one of its leaves for propagation. Follow the steps listed below to propagate succulents.

3 succulent pots
  1. Snap off one of the leaves from its base, attached to the stem of the mother plant. Make sure that you snap the entire leaf from its base. If you find it difficult, you can snip off a small part of the mother plant’s stem.
  2. Place the leaf or cutting in a well-lit place for a couple of days until it forms a callus over the end.
  3. Once the callus is formed, place the leaf indoors, where it can receive a lot of indirect sunlight. After a few weeks, you’ll see small pink roots sprouting. You can sprinkle some water on the cutting once a week as well.
  4. When you see roots coming out, give your plant a good soak and place it on the succulent soil. The plant will continue to grow, becoming bigger in size.
  5. After a couple of weeks, remove the leaf from the newly born plant.
  6. Next, plant the new succulent into its own pot or place it in the garden bed. You’ll need to dig a small hole and place the bottom part of the roots with tiny and thin threads into the soil.

The plant will acclimate to the new surroundings and its growth will accelerate due to sunlight and nutrients available in the soil.

6. Water and Feed

Succulents don’t need to be watered frequently. Ideally, you should water succulents fortnightly during hot months and once a month in winter. If you water them more, the soil will become moister than these plants need and it’ll increase the risk of rotting.

I can’t stress enough that you are more likely to kill your succulent through overwatering than underwatering. They are adapted to cope with drought.

It’s also important to add fertilizer to the soil to provide healthy nutrients to improve your succulent growth. You should use a balanced fertilizer for your succulents and add it to the soil once a month. It’ll allow your plants to grow lush and lovely.

watering succulent with pink watering can
Watering a Succulent
Credit: Photo by

Final Words

Growing succulents in pots or garden beds is an easy task and you can complete it even if you have just started your gardening journey. I hope this guide will help you understand how to grow succulents easily.

Make sure that you follow each tip carefully to achieve the best results and have healthy and green plants for your outdoor or indoor space.

If you are thinking of growing them outside permanently (right plants in right hardiness zone) then how about converting an old dining chair into a ‘succulent seat’ like this one. Full details are on this site for you to follow. I really like mine and it brightens up a dull corner by my garage door.

succulent chair

Or if you are looking for many ideas for your garden and plants then check out the whole gardening section of this site.

Let me know in the comments below what succulents you grow and any tips you can share with the rest of us.

succulents pin with Christmas cactus on it

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