I’ve been learning so much about succulents thanks to my bff who has recently become obsessed with them. My love of succulents and cacti (which are a particular type of succulent) goes a looooong way back, to my childhood. I’ve been keeping houseplants since I moved away to college. At that time I had a pothos with just three leaves, a cutting my mom gave me from a house plant we’d had for a long time at home.
A few years later I found a little desktop cactus growing kit and I just had to have it. Six years on I still have many of the small cacti that I sprouted from seeds in the kit.
Amidst the veritable jungle of houseplants in my one bedroom apartment are also succulents. For many years I kept them without knowing anything more than that they are desert plants that are low maintenance. Several pots’ worth of succulents have perished due to silly and preventable issues. Things like pests, the wrong amount of water or light, and being planted in the wrong soil.
Indoor Succulent Gardening Tips:
1. Plant succulents in the right kind of soil (I buy ‘cactus, palm, and citrus’ soil at the hardware store). Never plant succulents in sand.
2. Do not over-water succulents (or any plant), they will rot from the roots up. More houseplants die from too much, rather than too little, water.
3. Make sure your succulents are getting the right amount of light. Few plants like prolonged exposure to direct like, even succulents. Plants that are getting too much light will appear burned or withered.
4. If your succulents are getting too little light they will become elongated. This is not harmful to them but it will affect their appearance. If you want certain succulents to retain their tightly clustered geometry make sure they are getting enough light.
5. Succulents are low maintenance, but not zero maintenance. Keep an eye on them regularly for pests, signs of under- or over-watering, and light needs.
6. Due to their low water needs succulents are NOT good plants for terrariums, which retain too much moisture.
7. Succulents can do well planted close each other. Just make sure that all the varieties you place in one container have similar light, water, and temperature needs.
8. Some succulents can grow to be large and you may need to transplant them to larger containers over the years.
9. Garden and hardware stores typically have the best specimens, and largest variety of succulents and cacti, in spring to summer. Stock up on plants during these seasons.
10. Make sure to research if any plants you want to buy will potentially be harmful to your pets. When you need to use chemicals to treat plants for pests make sure you use treatments that are as non-toxic as possible. Rubbing alcohol, pepper oil/spray, vinegar, and dish soap are all useful and common ways of treating different pests.