Succulents are great for first-time gardeners because they’re one of the easiest houseplants to care for. By nature, succulents are drought resistant meaning they retain water. This makes them low-maintenance plants that are suitable for indoor and outdoor settings.
Plus, succulents are incredibly popular. There are many different succulent varieties available at your local garden centre. From the echeveria to the blue chalk stick, there’s a succulent to suit every plant enthusiast.
Check out All Green Nursery & Garden for succulents that will look plant-tastic! Visit us in-store for the best in garden advice, or order now for speedy delivery around Melbourne.
Caring for succulents indoors and outdoors
You might be surprised to learn that the main reason succulents die is from receiving too much love and attention. So, to make it easier for you, here are some quick do’s and don’ts for how to look after succulents.
- Make sure your succulents get enough sunlight (but not direct sunlight)
- Rotate your succulents frequently and evenly
- Plant your succulents in a quick-draining soil without any added fertiliser
- Use a topdressing that can double as drainage material
- Groom your succulents by removing dead leaves
- Don’t overwater your succulents (once every couple of weeks is perfect)
- Don’t use glass containers or any pots that don’t drain well
- Don’t crowd too many succulents in one pot or space
- Don’t ‘mist’ your succulents as this can lead to root rot
- Don’t leave your succulents in a place that’s excessively hot
How to plant succulents
Step 1: Pick a pot that has drainage holes
Succulents can’t tolerate standing water, so it’s incredibly important to choose a pot that has drainage holes and is porous like terracotta pots. It doesn't matter how deep or shallow your pot is, as long as it fits the succulent at its current size and has a little room for growth.
Step 2: Fill the pot with succulent potting mix
First, put down a paper towel or mesh at the bottom of the pot so the soil doesn’t spill out of the drainage holes. Then, fill the pot two-thirds with a potting mix for succulents and cacti that drains well.
Step 3: Plant your succulent with pebbles on top
Place your succulent into the pot and fill soil around the plant to keep it stable. Finally, pour small pebbles or crushed rock around the succulents to keep them in place and help the base of the plant dry quickly after watering.
The best soil for succulents
The best potting mix for succulents is one that drains well and provides enough nutrients for your plant. Regular potting mix or dirt from your garden isn’t suitable as this soil is likely to retain water which can lead to root rot in a succulent plant.
It’s best to find a potting mix at your local garden store that’s specifically for succulents and cacti or you can make your own soil. You can DIY a great succulent soil by mixing potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite, or pumice together.
How to do water therapy for succulents
If your succulent seems limp and looks like it needs some love then water therapy might be the way to go.
- Rinse as much soil off the roots of the succulent as possible
- Fill a vessel just below the lip with water
- Submerge the succulent in the water to just below the leaves
- Place the succulent in an area with bright, indirect sunlight
- Replace the water in the vessel every 5—7 days
- In a few days, you should see new root growth
- Continue the water therapy for 2—4 weeks before replanting the succulent
Choosing the right succulent for you
From flowering succulents to large-leafed ones, it can be hard picking the right plant for you. Here are some of the most popular succulent varieties available.
The Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
Native to South Africa, the jade plant is an evergreen succulent that has smooth, shiny leaves. These succulents bloom small pink or white flowers in the late winter to early spring. The jade plant is very common in households as it’s also known as the ‘money tree’ which brings good luck and financial success.
The echeveria is one of the most common and easily found succulents across the world. This plant is native to the semi-desert areas of Central and South America and belongs to the Crassulaceae family. It’s known for its tightly coiled leaves that resemble a rose.
Not many people know that aloe vera is a succulent plant. Originating from the Arabian Peninsula, this succulent is now grown all across the globe. Aloe vera is commonly used as a topical treatment and can be found in everything from skin lotions and ointments to beverages.
Foxtail (Agave attenuata)
The foxtail is native to Mexico and grows well in warm and subtropical climates like Australia. This succulent is used as an ornamental plant in gardens and is popular in softscaping projects because it can grow quite large. This one is best suited for outdoors only.
Zebra Plant (Haworthiopsis attenuata)
Originating from South Africa, the zebra plant is one of the most commonly cultivated succulents in the world. This plant has short leaves that grow between 6—12 centimetres and features white bands which resemble the skin of a zebra.