Growing succulents indoors is a tricky business if you don’t know the proper soil, sunlight and watering requirements. According to this week’s gardening guest blogger Cassidy Tuttle, you can make succulents work for you, you just need to know the right way to care for them! Cassidy, a self-described “professional photographer turned succulent addict,” is here to offer her expertise on how to make your succulents thrive! For more information on growing and caring for succulents (or just to admire her photography), please visit her website Succulents and Sunshine.
Succulents are very popular houseplants and frequently people say they are hard to kill. However, many people find their succulents looking less than perfect within a couple weeks of purchasing them. There are a few common mistakes that are easily remedied to help you on your way to growing beautiful succulents indoors and keeping them alive for years to come.
The Wrong Succulents
While most succulents will survive for a while indoors, most will not thrive. Succulents that are grown indoors should tolerate low lighting and grow slowly. Some of the easiest succulents to grow indoors include Haworthia fasciata, Sansevieria trifasciata, and Crassula ovata. Many cacti also do well indoors, such as Mammillaria gracilis fragilis. Often the brightly colored succulents seen in arrangements and gardens in the ground will start to turn green, stretch out and lose their shape indoors. However, if you buy a brightly colored arrangement like this it will last much longer than an arrangement of cut flowers and you don’t have to take care of it! Most succulents will stay alive for a couple weeks with little to no care.
No drainage hole
Unless you are extremely careful with how much and how often you water, you’ll want your succulents in a pot with a drainage hole. The roots of the succulents will quickly rot if they sit in wet soil for too long. While there is a great selection of pottery with drainage holes, many don’t. Either avoid these pots or add a drainage hole by using a diamond tip drill bit. You can add a drainage hole to almost anything!
The Wrong Soil
As mentioned above, succulents will rot and die if they are in wet soil for too long. If you buy your succulents from a big box store like Lowes or Home Depot, they will likely be planted in a very rich soil that retains water and stays wet for a long time. Instead of keeping them in this soil, you’ll want to buy a cactus mix which is readily available at these same stores. Another great option for indoor succulent soil is diatomaceous earth. The easiest form of diatomaceous earth to find is Oil-dry, designed to clean up oil spills. Most auto parts stores and many hardware stores will carry this. You can mix this in with a standard potting soil or use it on it’s own. diatomaceous earth absorbs water but dries out quickly. This is perfect for succulents. If you find you really like to water plants, using diatomaceous earth as the soil for your succulents will help prevent over watering.
Not enough light
Most succulents need full sun to maintain their color and shape. You’ll want to put your succulents in a south facing window where they receive light for most of the day. You may still notice some stretching if you are growing Echeverias which grow quickly and need lots of sunlight. If you grow Haworthias, Gasterias, and Sansevierias however, you’ll be able to get by with just a few hours of light per day.
Worrying too much
While succulents do need water to thrive, most will tolerate several days and even a week or two without water before they’ll start to shrivel and die. Overwatering is the quickest way to kill your succulents. Generally succulents are inexpensive to buy so take it easy, experiment, and see what succulents do best where you live. Fussing over your succulents will likely result in too much watering and quickly lead them to their death. It’s much easier to revive a succulent that has had too little water.
It isn’t hard to keep your succulents alive if you take these tips to heart. You’ll find that the more you grow and let yourself experiment, the happier you and your succulents will be! To learn even more about growing succulents indoors, check out my ebook The Essential Guide to Growing Succulents Indoors. You can also get a free PDF of my top 10 recommendations for indoors succulents on my website.
Remember to tune in next Wednesday for another unique perspective on gardening!