how to keep succulents alive

Ideas On How To Keep Succulents Alive And Healthy

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Have you recently bought a succulent and wondered how to keep it alive? Or do you own a succulent that is dying slowly in your living room and needs rescuing? This article discusses some ideas on how to keep succulents alive to maintain the beauty of your indoor succulent garden.

Most succulents thrive as outdoor plants, but the moment you introduce them indoors, you need to give them extra attention. If you know how to care for indoor succulents, you will find keeping them alive an easy task. Read on to get these easy tips.

What Are Succulents?

Variety of succulents on a white bowl

Succulents are a group of plants that store water in their tissues such as leaves, roots and stems. In addition, they are drought resistant since they are adapted to survive in arid conditions. You can also learn how to trim tall succulents on The Plant Bible.

Examples of succulent plants include aloe vera, snake plant, jade, and cactus. These plants have leaves that are fleshy and lump to minimize a lot of water in them. So, let us look into how you can keep these plants alive.

1. Know Your Succulents

Before introducing a succulent indoors, you should be aware of the type you are dealing with. Not all succulents can thrive as indoor plants, so knowing the plant type may make your plant stay alive. For example, choose succulent plants that can grow in low light or shade instead of those that require direct sunlight.

In general, succulents that are not green in color (reds, purples and oranges) may not thrive as indoor plants since they require maximum sun exposure. For this reason, choose green succulents.

2. Give Them Enough Light Exposure

Succulents on a brightly lit window

Like any other plant, succulents require maximum sunshine exposure to stay alive. They may need up to 6 hours of sun exposure, depending on the ones you have. If you have a newly planted succulent, you may have to expose it directly to sunlight for some hours, then bring it back indoors, or place it near windows to provide shade using sheer curtains.

3. Provide Some Shade

Succulent plant on a shaded area

Contrary to the belief that most succulents survive in direct sunlight, some require shade to bloom. In most cases, the varieties in solid green or variegated ones may burn due to sun exposure. If you want succulents that can hold up to maximum sunshine, go for the deep pigmented ones such as the reds, blues and those covered with spines.

4. Give The Plants Breathing Room

 Aloe Vera plants aerated outside

Not all succulent plants do well indoors; some thrive in arid and warm habitats and thus require proper air circulation to breathe. You can place your succulents indoors but ensure the room is fully aerated. If you have a small room, you will need to take them out for air constantly.

5. Rotate Your Succulents

Changing your succulents’ location can make them bloom. For instance, your plant may be dying due to receiving sunlight on one side. To avoid this, keep rotating positions for the plant to get maximum sun exposure.

6. Water The Soil Directly

Watering succulents

Succulents can go for days with minimal watering, but that does not mean you should not water them. Be keen not to overwater the plants since excess water may kill them; underwatering too is dangerous since the plant may end up rotting.

So, which is the right amount of water to keep your succulents healthy? Succulents like when they get water just before their soil approaches dryness. If you are in the dry season, you can water your small pots once a week, while the bigger ones can wait up to two weeks to get water.

7. Re-pot Your Succulents To Sizeable Pots

Crop person re-potting succulents to smaller pots

For succulents to survive indoors, they will require constant movement by either looking for a spot that has enough sunlight, shade or even aeration. It will be cumbersome if your succulents are in big pots that will also take up space. For this reason, it is best to re-pot your outdoor succulents in sizeable pots for them to fit inside.

You can find a smaller pot that can fit near the window or a pot that you can easily move around.

8. Ensure There Are Drainage Holes In Your Planting Pot

Drainage pots

Use a planting pot with enough drainage holes to avoid root rot when using excess water. In addition, a pot with drainage holes will enable your plant to get maximum aeration.

Your container should have drainage holes that allow excess water to escape when you are watering.

9. Use The Right Type Of Container

Avoid using glass containers to pot succulents since they lack proper drainage. Glass jars may look beautiful, but they may end up killing your plants due to root rots.

They are also air-tight and thus lack breathability. On the other hand, succulents require enough airflow for maximum breathability.

10. Plant Your Succulents Using A Well Draining Soil

Sometimes the issue leading to the death of your succulents is the soil you use. If you want your succulents to stay healthy, use well-draining soil.

The best soil for planting succulent plants is cactus or succulent potting soil. These soils are available at your local nursery store, or if you have experience caring for succulents, you can make your potting soil by mixing sand, pumice or perlite.

11. Feed Your Succulents

Spraying fertilizer o a succulent

Feeding sounds hilarious when we talk of plants, but yes! Plants requires feeding. As much as succulents grow in low nutrient environments, spraying them with fertilizer once a year is beneficial to their growth. Use a well-balanced organic fertilizer, dilute it with water, and spray it directly on the site. For best results, you should spray the fertilizer a the beginning of the growth.

12. Get Rid Of Bugs

Crop person spraying pesticide on a succulent

Examine your plants frequently to see if there are bugs that could destroy the leaves. Bugs can be a sign of overwatering or over-fertilizing your plants. Occasionally your indoor plants attract bugs such as gnats or mealybugs, which feed on water succulents with poor drainage. Rubbing alcohol on the leaves and spraying on the roots of your plant can help kill the larvae, thus preventing them from destroying your plant.

13. Propagate Your Succulents

A propagated succulent stem

You can also keep your succulents alive by propagating them. However, if your succulent is fully grown and you want to cut some stems off and then plant a new one, you need to look for professional tips to get the best results.

To prune an overgrown plant, cut it off from the top without tearing the stem. Then, pull the succulent leaves gently and remove the entire leaf from the stem by working it side to side until it comes off the stem.

Lay the plant top and leaves out and let them air dry. Once the plant has dried completely, lay the leaves on top of fresh cactus soil and spray it with water. After two weeks of constantly spraying, you should see little pink roots and small parts of leaves starting to form.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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