It’s the end of daylight savings time! That means the days are getting shorter, and there will be less sunlight, which means it’s time to answer another question of the week!

“How do I keep my succulents alive?”

Light Conditions: First off, succulents need a minimum of 5 to 6 hours of good sunlight every day to be happy. In the summer, they do great outside in half-day of sun, but not all day full sun. If in full sun outside, they will burn. So when you bring them into your home, you need to put them as close to the window as possible to get the most amount of sun, but not so close that they will feel the cold temperatures at night in the winter.

Drainage: Succulents will not survive without proper drainage. If you are planting them in a terrarium like this one, then you will need layers of stone for proper drainage.

Ideally, succulents are either kept in their plastic grower’s pot with proper drainage holes (usually the same pots that they are purchased in) or in a clay pot with a hole in the base. Succulents prefer to be potted in a sandy soil mix, not regular potting soil. Most commercial tropical soil mix recipes are made to keep moisture in your plants to allow for less frequent watering. Good cacti and succulent soil will have about 30 to 40% sand in the mix to allow the water to run through quicker. Depending on the size of your succulent pot, it will depend on the watering. The smaller the container, the more frequent the watering.

Succulents prefer to be watered from the base of the plant, not from the top. If you water from the top of the plant and get water on the ‘petals’ of the succulent, they will most likely rot.

If you have a lot of succulents, you can fill your sink with about an inch of room temperature water and then gently place your succulents in the sink making sure they don’t float on the surface and then fall over and sink. That would defeat the purpose of watering from the base of the plant. Just hold the plants for a couple of seconds for the water to soak in the base for them to stay upright. Let your plants sit in the water for a couple of minutes. You will know they are watered when you pick up the pot and feel a difference in the weight.

If you don’t have very many succulents, a small bowl like this would work just as well.

3 succulents in a bowl being watered

 

Notice that the water is not higher than the plastic pot, so the plants are only getting a drink from the base.

 

lifting succulent from water

Make sure to let each plant drip out any excess water before you place the succulents back into your decorative pot. You don’t want water sitting at the base of the plant. Succulents prefer a really good soak, and then to be left out to dry well between waterings.

You can do this every week or two, depending on the size of the pot. Once a week to 10 days for little 2-3” pots, and every couple of weeks for 4-6” pots. If you find that your succulents are drying out much quicker due to the heating in your home, you may have to water them more frequently.

It’s normal for succulents to slow down their growth during the darker and colder winter months, as they usually go dormant. So don’t be discouraged when your succulent isn’t shooting new leaves for you or isn’t growing as quickly as you would like. It will most likely make up for that in the sunny summer months!

If you have a question, please comment below and I would be happy to answer it!