If you’ve been hanging around on my blog for a while you’ll know that I am quite obsessed with succulents and growing them. My girlfriend gave me a few from her garden a while ago and since then I have been moving and spreading them around. You can see from below they just keep growing so I must be doing something right!
Don’t worry, I haven’t always aced it. Just like everyone else I have managed to kill lots of succulents too, and sometimes they aren’t as easy to grow as you think.
Here’s a few mistakes people make straight away when trying to keep their succulents alive…
They won’t grow inside
I believe succulents just don’t grow well inside. If you have had luck inside then YAY for you. But here’s the main reason why they won’t grow well inside…
“…most succulents require full sun – 4-8 hours of outdoor sunlight. This is quite different to the amount of light they would receive next to a window and even less if they are more than 30cms from the window. Most likely it developed root rot as the amount of water it was receiving was far too much for the amount of photosynthesising it was doing. I keep mine outside in full sun (sunrise to 1/2pm, where as all day sun is literally no shelter all day) and water them once a fortnight if they are lucky…”
Ah yes! Good advice. So they are not really designed to survive inside long term are they? Unless you are happy to pop them outside often, maybe they are best displayed on outdoor tables, or at the entry or in a corner on your back verandah?
Using a pot with no hole
Fancy pots sold at hardware shops or decorating places just don’t seem to have the hole in the bottom! Either drill one, or just don’t use it. Succulents will not survive without good drainage. You can’t let succulents sit in wet soil.
Don’t use a spray bottle
Mostly succulents don’t need their leaves to be wet. What they love is a soak around their roots. So spritzing their leaves will not actually water the succulent. It will just make the leaves yellow and water-logged. They love being watered directly at the soil area. A light spray will not promote healthy root growth.
So, how much water and how often?
Succulents are designed to withstand drought, so what they love is a really good soaking (at the soil level – so I poke a watering can through the middle of the succulents in the pots). They think they won’t be getting any more water for a while so they soak up the water and store it. This means they can last a while without another water.
I recommend watering your succulents every 1-2 weeks.
If you live in a humid climate then succulents will also store moisture from the air so they will probably need less (maybe closer to 2 weeks). If you live in a hot dry area in the Summer they may need more (like each week). It’s always best to err on the side of underwatering because succulents will last a good few days in dry soil.
In the cooler months everything will be dormant, so you won’t be expecting any new growth, therefore watering will be even less.
To be sure, stick your finger in the soil and see how it feels. If it’s slightly damp, then no need to water. If it’s really dry, then yes, give them a soak.
If you need to up the watering you’ll know because the succulents aren’t growing and look dry and crunchy. If you are overwatering you’ll see them looking sloppy and limp.
TIP – if they look long, stretched and thin it means they need more light – they are stretching to find the light. So make sure they get enough sunshine.