The swollen leaves or stems of succulents store water, enabling them to survive in low moisture, poor soil conditions...making them great picks for indoor containers and rock gardens.
More Information About Succulents
Succulents for the indoor garden, the patio, or the backyard. No matter where you grow them, succulents are tough, drought-tolerant plants that are easy to care for. The swollen leaves or stems of these plants store water, enabling them to survive in low moisture and poor soil conditions making them great picks for patios, green roofs, rock gardens, living walls and sun rooms.
In the last decade, young gardeners and millennials have been flocking to succulents as they really like low maintenance plants, container gardens, indoor gardens, and exotic plants...succulents are perfect for them. The proclivity of this younger generation to buy succulents online has lead to an explosion of online nurseries where to buy succulents.
How to Grow Succulents Indoors or Outdoors:
Succulents are usually native to dry desert or chaparral regions and mountainous slopes and they generally thrive in poor soils (sandy/rocky with low nutrition). However, in the garden or in a container, succulents will grow and flower better with supplemental water and fertilizer IF they are applied correctly.
How often should you water succulents?
That depends on the time of year, rain levels, light levels, temperature, soil drainage conditions and humidity. The higher the light and temperature and dryer the air the more often watering will be appreciated. The less well drained the garden soil or potting soil is, the less often you will need to water. As a general rule, water no more than once per week during active growth (summer) and no more than once per month during inactive periods (fall, winter, early spring). If the container or the ground appears to be even a little wet, then you do NOT need to water or you risk rotting the plant. Here's a good mnemonic for watering succulents...'When in doubt, give it drought'. When you do water, soak the container or garden plot thoroughly so that water runs out. This will help flush salt and fertilizer out of the soil.
What kind of fertilizer is best and how often should I fertilize succulents?
Succulents can be sensitive to high fertilizer levels so dilute your Miracle Gro to 25% strength or better yet, use an organic fertilizer like compost which naturally releases its nutrients slowly. Apply fertilizer only during active growth (in summer).
What is the best soil for succulents?
All succulents must be planted in a well-drained container or garden site such as a rock garden, raised bed, or sloped bed. Root rot from wet soils (especially cold wet soils) is the number one killer of succulent plants. Store bought 'potting soils' have way too much peat moss and added water retaining substances and so they drain far too slowly for succulents. Instead, try growing succulents in a specialty cactus mix OR brew your own with 50% garden soil (or non-peat-based bagged potting soil) and 50% washed sand or pebbles or pumice or perlite or vermiculite.
What size container should you use for a succulent?
Succulents generally do better crowded into a smaller pot because that usually means that the pot will hold less water, dry out faster and reduce the risk of rot. If you like the look of a larger pot, try nesting a small pot inside of a larger pot to achieve the look that you like.
How much light do succulents prefer?
If you are growing succulents indoors in containers, remember that most of them like lots of sun so keep them in your sunniest window / room or rotate them outside for a day or two every couple of weeks.
Succulents generally prefer full sun but if you have overwintered your plant inside, then when moving it back out leave it in the shade for a few weeks and slowly re-introduce it to full sunlight. Otherwise it will sunburn and look terrible. Red, tan, brown, or indented plants are all signs of too much sun exposure (yes, succulents can get sunburned). Highly variegated succulents with large white, cream or pale yellow sections will burn more easily and will generally prefer some afternoon shade or partial shade locations. When growing indoors, give your potted succulents the brightest windows in your house.
Do you have any other succulent growing tips?
Yes. Here in North Carolina, the summer air is quite humid and that can promote rot by slowing down the rate at which soil moisture evaporates. Locate your succulents in a place where they can get some air circulation.
The Best Succulents for Indoor Gardens, Patio Gardens or Landscapes
- Sempervivum - grows in short, compact rosettes and spreads slowly by offsets.
- Delosperma - forms a mat of plump jelly bean-like leaves and has insanely colorful flowers. Looks great dangling over the edge of a pot or wall
- Sedum - a wide variety of shapes and colors. The tall sedums have very colorful flowers that attract butterflies and the short sedums make a nice botanical carpet
- Echeveria or Graptopetalum - feature silver leaves that blend well with all interior decors
- Agave - the giant agaves, when grown indoors, will fill the corner of your living room better than any Norfolk Island Pine. And in the garden, Agaves look great in rock gardens and in containers.