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How To Plant Succulents

by Sofia Lara

You may have seen them at a wedding, an office reception area, or at a friend’s garden. One thing’s for sure, you were immediately captivated by the charm, beauty, and elegance of succulent plants. 

Succulents are everywhere! They have become increasingly popular over the years not only because of their eye-catching appeal but succulents are one of the easiest plants to grow.

If you’ve been thinking of growing succulents in your garden or inside your home, we’re here to tell you to “Go for it!”

Take a few minutes to read our article on how to plant succulents so they can lead long and happy lives at your home!

Step 1 – Where Do You Want to Plant the Succulents?

Succulents are the James Bond of plants – they are drop-dead gorgeous but can withstand harsh weather conditions. 

You can plant succulents outdoors or indoors. Keep in mind there are types of succulents that grow better in certain conditions. A good rule of thumb is to decide on the location of your succulent plant based on the color of its leaves. 

How To Plant Succulents

Succulents that have bright-colored leaves – orange, red or yellow – thrive better outdoors because they need regular sun exposure to maintain their colors. 

Succulents that have dark green leaves are best grown indoors because they can survive with only partial exposure to sunlight. 

If you’ve decided to grow your succulents outdoors, plant them in a location where they can get at least six hours of the morning sun. Avoid planting succulents in locations that get the full brunt of the afternoon sun as its leaves can get sunburned. 

Step 2 – Gather the Materials That You Need

First, let’s talk about the materials you need for growing succulents indoors:

  • Container/Pot 
  • Soil
  • Fertilizer

We recommend choosing a pot that’s made of terra cotta or unglazed ceramic. These types of materials allow evaporation to take place by letting moisture leave the soil along the sides of the pot. 

The pot should also have a good-sized drainage hole that can enable excess water to flow out of the soil. Place mesh tape over the drainage hole. You want the water to flow out, not big chunks of soil. Make sure there is a drip tray placed underneath the drainage hole. 

For the succulent soil, choose cactus, sandy soil, or any commercial brand that has been formulated to support the growth of the plant. These types of soil have great drainage properties. In addition, they are well-aerated which means air moves freely between the plant’s roots. 

Drainage is an important quality in soil because if the roots are left to sit in a moist environment for a long time – more than three days – they can rot. Once the roots start to rot, it can develop an infection that can quickly spread throughout the plant. 

To further improve drainage, add ingredients such as perlite, pumice, pebbles or coarse sand to the mix at a 1:1 ratio.

Succulents can grow healthy without fertilizer but you have nothing to lose by adding it to their diet at least once during the growing season and again before they become dormant. 

You can use any brand of fertilizer that has been formulated for succulents. We recommend a balanced blend made up of 8% Nitrogen, 8% Phosphorous, and 8% Potassium. Simply ask the garden store for a low-balanced, soluble 8-8-8 fertilizer mix.

Before adding fertilizer to the soil, reduce its potency to ½ the strength that is indicated in the package. The standard mixture is one tablespoon per gallon of water. Reduce the ratio to ½ tablespoon per gallon of water.

Step 3 – Remove the Succulent From its Pot

Succulents that are bought from nurseries or commercial gardening stores are kept in plastic pots and densely packed in soil. To grow healthy indoor succulents, remove the succulent from the pot and shake off excess soil from its roots. 

Take a few seconds to check the condition of the roots. If you see damaged roots or some that are in the early stages of rotting, cut them off with a sharpened and sterilized pair of garden shears.

Step 4 – Re-plant the Succulent In Its New Pot

Now it’s time to plant the succulent in its new home!

Fill up the pot with succulent soil but not all the way to the top. If the roots of the succulent are long, leave more space at the bottom for them to grow. Gently nestle the succulent’s roots on top of the soil. Give them room to circulate, don’t pack them in tightly. 

When the succulent looks comfortable and stable in its new home, pour in more soil but again, don’t fill it to the top. 

The extra space will be used for “top dressing” – materials that will accentuate the elegance and beauty of your succulent plant. Good choices for top dressing are gravel and small pebbles. 

What About Outdoor Succulents?

If you want to grow your succulents outdoors, you can plant them directly into a soil mixture that is specifically formulated for succulents. 

There should at least be six inches of soil provided for the succulent’s roots to grow and relieve itself of excess water.  If you are creating a succulent garden, give each type of succulent enough space to grow without overcrowding the roots. 

You may also want to place them in pots or hanging baskets. Succulents that have trailing leaves such as String of Buttons, Ruby Necklace, and String of Hearts will look great in hanging baskets.

Conclusion

When should you water a newly-planted succulent?

Before giving your succulent water, let it “rest” for one to two days. Some of the roots could have been damaged during the re-planting stage. Allowing the succulent one to two days rest will give the roots time to set itself in the soil. 

Planting a succulent is easy! It’s another reason why many people are growing succulents in their homes. 

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