How to grow succulents

How do I care for my succulents?  How do I grow succulents? How do I water my succulents?  What kind of pot do I use for my succulent?  How much light does my succulent need?  What kind of soil do I use for my succulent?

These are just some of the questions that I get so I decided to write this post to help keep your plants thrivin’ an’ survivin’.   

How to Grow Succulents - A Comprehensive Guide | FaithFoodFamilyFun

Please note: The information provided in this post is what works best for me here in North Carolina to grow succulents.  Your area may require different methods and techniques.  This is a sponsored post on behalf of Leaf & Clay.  As always, all thoughts my own.  This post also contains affiliate links.

Warning – this post is LONG so feel free to use the links below to jump to a specific category.

Tip 1: Select the Perfect Plant

 How to Grow Succulents for Beginners | FaithFoodFamilyFun

When it comes to buying succulents, there are numerous places to look.  My favorite is Leaf & Clay, but  I have also heard great things about Mountain Crest Gardens as well (I haven’t ordered from them yet) .  I was actually surprised at how amazing the plants looked when I ordered from Leaf & Clay.  I was so afraid that they would just throw any old thing into the box but they selected the plants better than I could have!  Other places to check are local nurseries – they are such a great way to give back to the community!  

Generally speaking, I avoid big box stores.  I understand they are convenient, but the employees at places like Home Depot could care less that they soak the succulents daily or never.  The plants may look okay sitting on the shelf, but closer inspection may reveal weeks of abuse like rot in the stem (which is hard to see on plants with tight rosettes, for example) or rot in the roots.   Succulents tend to rot from the bottom up so you may not know that they have one foot in the grave until you bring them home and are dead a week later.  I guess my point is to go somewhere that specializes in succulents for the best plants.

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Look for a pot with a drainage hole that is about the same size as the plant.  Succulents don’t do well in a container that’s 10 times larger than the plant.  Please don’t think that by adding pebbles to the bottom of the planter will help if there is no drainage hole.  This is an old wives tale and does absolutely nothing except make the pot smaller (since you will be adding less soil) plus it promotes rot since the water has no where to go.  You want your plants to thrive, not barely survive.  If your pot doesn’t have a drainage hole, you can easily make one using a special drill bit like I did HERE.  My favorite planter material is terra cotta (pretty much all my pots are in these!) followed by ceramics since they are breathable and is what I have found the best to grow succulents in.  

You also may be tempted to place 4 or 5 succulents and cacti down into a glass bowl but this is, in my opinion, the worst thing you can do to them long-term.  Doing this will create an atmosphere that is far too humid for them (plus it won’t have any drainage).  One helpful tip, avoid planting cacti and succulents in the same arrangement since they have very different watering needs.  IF you want to plant them together, I do actually have a tip for that but it will be in a future post. *sorry!* 

How to Grow Succulents for Beginners | FaithFoodFamilyFun

When I first get any new succulent, I always remove the peat that’s seemingly strangling the roots.  If you were to take the plant from the nursery container and put it straight into your new pot, the water would simply flow around the peat-bound root ball and out the bottom each time you gave it a drink (leaving the roots bone dry).  This is partially because peat becomes hydrophobic when dry meaning it REPELS water.  

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One of the advantages of ordering your plants bare root from Leaf & Clay is that most of the peat has already been removed.  This makes replanting sooo much easier.  If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, by all means, feel free to skip it.  I’ve personally noticed a huge difference by taking the time to do this step. 

How to Grow Succulents for Beginners | FaithFoodFamilyFun

Here is an example of the importance of removing the peat off of the roots and is actually one of my very first succulents.  I didn’t know back then to remove the peat and you can see how it has formed a solid mass under the plant.  The roots were forced to grow around it since they were unable to grow through it.  Every time I gave it a drink, the water would just flow around this clump and straight out the bottom of the pot.  This plant didn’t do well until I removed the peat.  It’s now thriving and looking great!

How to grow succulents from cuttings

A quicker way to growing succulents is by breaking away a small offshoot like the one pictured below and planting this directly into soil. Or, if the succulent is more ‘tree-like’ such as the Coral succulent, you could break away a small branch and place this directly into soil.

Leave the cutting in soil and water sparingly. Within a few weeks, it will establish roots and continue to grow.

I’ve successfully used this technique to grow String of Pearls, Coral succulent, Jade plant and Echeverias, just to name a few.

Tips:

– sometimes I will add a drop of honey to the tip of the stem before I plant it into soil to encourage root growth

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– ensure pot has good drainage and do not overwater or you will drown the plant. Only water once a week or when soil feels dry and light

How to grow succulentsBreak away small offshoots or sections and plant

I hope you’ve been inspired to grow succulents of your own!

You may like to also check out this article about the Top 12 reasons you’re killing your plants for more tips on how to keep your new succulents alive.

We’ve also got 9 inspiring ways to display plants here where you’ll be sure to find new ideas!

Do you have other tips on how to care for succulents? Share them in the comments below or tell us your favourite plant to grow!

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