7 Succulent Tips and 5 Succulent Mistakes to Master Echeveria Species, Cacti, and More

This succulent tips article is written by my daughter Emily. She has been researching and experimenting with succulents for a while now, and has some great insights on how to care for these popular beauties.

Succulents can make excellent houseplants as well as charming additions to any garden, if you follow their pesky rules. Unlike most popular houseplants and the average flower you’d plant in the garden, succulents and cacti are a bit more particular.

Succulent Tips and Mistakes to Avoid

Succulent tips and mistakes to avoid for best plant care.But on the flipside, once you’re used to the succulent routine, they’re actually incredibly easy to care for. To get you started, here are a handful of succulent tips to take into account, and a few succulent mistakes to avoid:

Definitely do:

1. Give succulents as much light as possible. They should ideally spend their time outside, in the sunlight, or inside at a south-facing window.

Succulent reaching for the sun.

reaching for light

2. Wait until your plant’s soil is completely dry before you water it, and when you do, be sure to water thoroughly, until excess water drips out of the bottom.
3. Use a specific cactus soil, or mix a well-draining soil blend of your own. Standard potting soil will retain too much moisture, causing succulents roots to rot.
4. Plant in a container with drainage holes to avoid rot. If you’re planting in something unconventional, like a birdcage or a teacup, you may need to be extra careful with your watering and/or make adjustments for drainage.

Succulents packed into a pot.
5. Feel free to pack succulents together tightly. They have shallow roots that grow slowly, so if you like the look of packed planters, go for it.
6. Research your specific plant. While most succulents prefer lots of sunlight, some prefer the opposite, such as epiphytic cacti like the Christmas cactus.


7. Propagate succulents to your heart’s content; share them among your local plant community, family, and friends; and embrace the collecting spirit.

Definitely do not:

1. Over water succulents, which is the easiest way to kill them. When in doubt, don’t water.
2. Put succulents in full sunlight after they’ve been indoors, in a shaded nursery, under a tree, etc. for a while. Without time to adjust, they will get sunburned.
3. Treat succulents like houseplants, watering them sparingly. When, and only when, it is time to water succulents, they should be watered deeply.
4. Water succulents in the winter as frequently as you do during the summer. When the weather cools off, succulents require even more infrequent drinks.

Succulent growing from a leaf section.
5. Stress out! While this may seem like a lot of information, there are really only four key concepts: lots of sun, drainage holes, let the soil dry out, water deeply.

Purple succulent plant.

 

The variety of plants in the succulent world is enormous, from the popular hens & chicks to crazy cool cacti that grow into bizarre shapes. With the above info, you’re ready to master them all.

What has your experience been with succulents?

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Comments

  1. I love cactuses, they are special. I must admit I have not been successful in caring for them, either to much water like it says in your post or not enough. I do have these large plant that seems to do well outside.
    But i don’t get it why it does since it has been raining alot here. Must be the type of plant Cacti.Happy 4th.
    Maria

    • Hi Maria,

      I too have killed many a plant with too much love (water). I also think that some, like yours outdoors, once established can probably take more water and perhaps you have it in such well draining soil or your ground drains really well that it doesn’t rot the roots.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great holiday week!
      Patti

  2. I have never had the gardening bug but it seems that I’m seeing succulents everywhere and thought about getting a few for my house. I mistakenly thought they didn’t need the sun. This was very informative! Are they hard to kill because I don’t have much of a green thumb and I would want these to be indoor plants mostly though I could take them outside in the summer.

    • Hi Denise,

      Most need sun. A south facing window is best. I some ways they are easy to grow because once you get them in the right conditions, they do great. I say give them a try by following Emily’s suggestions, and if they don’t work out don’t feel bad. It happens.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Patti

  3. What a lovely post! Thank you for the tips. I have a few succulents, but have been wanting some more! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    • Hi Marci,

      I’m so glad you like it. My daughter is obsessed with them and hers have been growing like crazy so I thought it would be a good idea to have her write a post for me. She is a writer by profession and I’m thrilled that she is getting the gardening bug like me.

      Have a great week!
      Patti

  4. You know I haven’t tried succulents yet I keep wanting to but I put them off.. I’m not one for house plants and that’s probably because I don’t spend much time indoors. Growing up Hen and Chicks were always planted in old shoes. Thanks for these tips you made it sound really easy to grow them successfully.

    • Hi Carole,

      I get it. You are so the outdoors girl and I love the idea of Hens & Chicks in shoes. How cute would that be. This is just something for you to throw in your back pocket for a future creative project.

      Have a great holiday week!
      Patti

  5. Thanks so much for the tips! I think I’m looking mine. My mom gave them to me and one that was really but completely died and the others are….I don’t know hopefully on the mend but it doesn’t look like it. Is there any way to get them to get better one they’ve started dying?

    • Hi Tina,

      I’m not sure if you can bring them back or not. I’d suggest making sure you get them into bright light and make sure they are not over-watered. Don’t feel bad. Everyone has a plant die on them now and again. If you really like succulents, try again.

      Good luck and thanks for stopping by,
      Patti

  6. I see succulents everywhere in blogworld, but didn’t realize they were so care-intensive. I’ve been known to kill my share of plants, although I consider myself a gardener. I didn’t know Christmas cactus was a succulent, but it makes sense. This was a very informative post & I’m glad for the helpful info. I can tell your daughter has indeed made a study of them!

    • Hi Florence,

      I have seen pictures of your beautiful plants so I’m sure you could tackle succulents if you wanted to. And yes, Emily is obsessed with these little guys. I’m thrilled because it’s now something we have in common.

      Have a great week and thanks for stopping by,
      Patti

  7. We love our succulents. Staying in South Africa we are blessed with a large variety of indigenous species and because they’re so water wise they thrive in our gardens. They really are the most rewarding plants. Your Emily did a fantastic job explaining how to take care of them Patti. Wishing you both many more happy gardening hours

    • Hi Michelle,

      That’s so exciting that you have the opportunity to enjoy such unique succulent species. I’m sure you have some real beauties to love. Also, I really appreciate the validation of Emily’s work. She will be so please to hear it.

      Thank you for your kind words and I wish you many more wonderful gardening hours too!

      Patti

  8. Thanks for the info. Will be following.

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