Dive into the enchanting world of succulents with us in our ultimate succulent guide!
Widely loved for their variety of colors, textures, shapes, and sizes, succulents let you get creative with your greenery! These petite plants are a great choice for all because they are drought tolerant, easy to propagate, and overall extremely low maintenance.
A colorful succulent garden, photographed by Orlova Maria.
In this succulent guide, we’ll cover:
- How to help your succulent thrive: Important recommendations about lighting, soil, and watering frequency.
- How to style succulents: Simple ideas that let plant-parents unleash their creative side!
Before diving into your succulent redesign, consider where you are buying your succulents. Your complete succulent needs can be found at Mountain Crest Gardens, one of the largest succulent retailers in the US. This shop provides high-quality plants and easily delivers them right to your front door. Not only do they have almost every succulent imaginable for sale (including rare species!), they also offer subscription boxes, sampler trays, soil mixes, and more! Visit their website here.
How to Help Your Succulent Thrive
Succulents are known for being easy to care for and forgiving of missteps, but there are still a few essential guidelines to follow to keep your succulents healthy and happy. Your succulents will thank you for getting a handle on these basics!
Give Them Enough Light
Because they are desert plants, succulents need ample sunlight to thrive, most needing 12 hours of sunlight each day. In high-temperature areas, some afternoon shade is ideal to prevent leaf sunburn.
Sunburn presents as black or brown spots on your plants’ leaves. This usually happens if your succulent is in bright light outdoors at a high temperature. If you see sunburn on your succulents, providing filtered shade and cooler temperatures indoors will help!
To grow your succulents indoors, any location that receives bright light for a majority of the day is best, such as a south-facing windowsill. Although sunburn is less likely indoors, make sure to keep an eye out for those black and brown spots. If you want the ability to decorate anywhere in the house with your succulents, consider buying a grow light! There are tons of options, but full-spectrum lights are efficient and remain cool to reduce the likelihood of sunburn. The Aspect Pendant light is a succulent-friendly option that seamlessly integrates into any interior design aesthetic.
Indoor succulent collection under the Aspect. By @earthwindandcactus via Instagram.
Make Sure Your Soil Has Good Drainage
Succulents typically prefer hot, dry environments, which means you want to ensure your soil provides plentiful drainage. If your succulents will be living outdoors, place them in a spot with natural drainage, such as an elevated area to encourage runoff.
If planting indoors or in a container, make sure the planter being used has a drainage hole. Adding sand, gravel, or rocks to your soil will help encourage drainage! If you can, look for planters made of materials such as terracotta to boost draining. Providing a high-drainage environment will prevent your succulents from gnat infestations, a problem often seen from too much moisture.
Soak Your Plants But Don’t Overwater Them
Watering tends to be the tricky part of caring for your succulents. Although they are desert plants, succulents like to have their soil completely soaked when watered. Yes, soaked! Make sure to thoroughly water your succulent and then wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again.
Also, consider the thickness of your succulents’ leaves, as this is where these plants store water from the soil. Typically, plants with thicker leaves need water less frequently because they have greater storing capabilities.
Styling Your Home With Succulents
Unique takes on the classic pot
Succulents give plant owners the ability to add some plant-style to their decor, and so do the pots the succulents grow in! Though you can never go wrong with a classic terracotta pot, there are endless creative designs online to inspire decor. You can keep it simple with a plain, elegant pot holding an individual succulent to compliment any style; some of the most timeless pots have subdued designs to accentuate the natural beauty of the plant. To add more dimension to the room, modern pots of unique shapes or eccentric colors are a great choice.
And if you aren’t finding any pots in the store that are to your liking, you can use almost anything as a pot for your succulents! Whether your favorite coffee mug, an old basket, or an empty soup can, once you start looking around the house for DIY succulent pots you will be sure to find them everywhere! This is the time to be bold, creative, and unique with your decorations!
One of the most interesting and attractive succulent trends is the terrarium. These small, self-sustained ecosystems provide endless opportunities for an isolated living space for your small plant. (Check out Growing Tips on The Latest Trend: Terrariums for information and tips on growing and styling your terrarium!)
Succulents do especially well in terrariums because of their minimal requirements, allowing you to customize your design and let your plants thrive. From hanging glasses to desk orbs, there are countless ways to naturally incorporate terrariums into your indoor space.
Image of a succulent terrarium, photographed by Jeff Sheldon.
Plants and interior design intersect to create a sophisticated, natural appeal to any space. Planting your succulents in hanging planters is sure to wow your guests by creating an immersive plant display. Similar to terrariums, hanging planters allow you to get creative in your design. You can choose multiple small hanging pots to sprinkle around the home, or one large accent piece for a chandelier-like effect. Utilizing hanging planters is also a great way to upgrade an alcove or other bright spaces. For more plant hanger inspo, check out Plant Styling Tips: Enhance Dull Space With Hanging Plants.
Last Notes in our Succulent Guide
Now that we have covered all of the basics of succulent care, it’s time to start a succulent garden of your own. Succulent care should never be stressful; use these plants’ ease and resilience to be creative and have fun adding plants to your home!
How do you figure out what kind of succulent you have?
All succulents may look pretty similar to one another, especially when you are just getting familiar with these plants. It is important to know what type of succulents you have in order to give it the best care. The Succulent Electric is a blog that has tons of great information on how to identify your succulent. You can examine traits such as the leaves, colors, spikes, and even the little hairs along the leaves to determine what kind of succulent you have! This blog also has a photo identification chart to compare photos of your own plants to visually determine the species.
Which succulents are good for beginners?
The best succulents for beginners are ones that are resilient to the learning curve their owner will experience. Luckily, just about all succulents can withstand some turmoil, but a select few are exceptionally easy to care for. Aloe Vera is great for beginners because its large leaves mean it only needs infrequent watering and the gel inside the leaves can be used for its soothing properties! Other easy to care for succulents include Jade Plant, Snake Plant, and the African Milk Tree. Any succulent that can withstand a few missed waterings and bounce back from some temporary unideal conditions is great for beginners.
Do succulents need direct sunlight?
Mature succulents thrive on direct sunlight! When your succulent is still growing, too much direct light can burn them, so a slow transition from indirect light to direct light should occur in the early stages of your succulent’s life. It is also important that all sides of your succulents are getting proper light, so make sure to rotate your plant every week or so to avoid your plant leaning in one direction toward the sun.