Care Tips for Succulents

indoor succulents
Most succulents naturally grow in arid or semi arid regions around the world. They also can make great houseplants. They are easy to grow and care. However, if you are use to growing tropical plants, you will need to make some care adjustments for succulents. This starts with understanding the native habitat where succulent varieties grow naturally. You want to mimic that habitat in your home as much as you can. Here are a few care tips for growing succulents as houseplants.


Soil for your succulents need to drain well and not hold water for more than a day or two after a deep watering. You should plant your succulents in a cactus soil mix. You can buy premixed cactus soil, but some of the commercial premixed cactus soil don’t drain well.

I also noticed that the commercial premixed soil is contaminated with pests, like fungus gnats.  Beware of that!

There are a couple of quality premixed cactus soil I’ve used:

Organics Mechanics Cactus and Succulent Blend

Jack’s Gritty Mix by Bonsai Jack

You can mix up your own cactus soil. It is simple. This type of soil usually consists of (approximations):

  • 2 part course rock grit
  • 2  parts of organic matter (coconut coir, rice hull, or pine coir) – avoid peat
  • 2 parts of inorganic mineral matter (perlite and/or pumice)
sedum oaxacanum

Each soil components are found at most lawn and garden stores or retail plant nurseries. You will need a big bucket to mix up your soil.

The goal is to have good aerated soil that holds enough moisture for succulents to absorb quickly rather than having roots sit in wet, un-aerated soil that will cause root rot. Proper soil aeration allow for succulent roots to get oxygen.

In nature, the arid dirt does not much nutrients except from mineral rocks and dead organic matter that decays over time. Much of their nutrient get absorbed from rain water and what they are able to soak up from the wet dirt before it quickly dries. The roots trail deep down into the dirt that it adapts to.

string of pearls in window


Succulents need lots of bright light. Some succulents prefer in full sunlight and some prefer bright indirect light.

  • If you have a bright sunny room that gets south or full south-west sunlight, place your succulents in that space.
  • If your window get good sunlight but not too intense, place your succulent on the window sill.
  • If your succulent prefers bright indirect-light, place it near the bright window without prolong exposure to the direct sun.
  • If your home does not get bright natural light, you can use broad spectrum grow lights. There are grow light bulbs you can purchase that fit in standard light fixtures.


Succulents require periodic waterings, spaced out over the course of 2 to 3 weeks, rather than once or multiple times per week. They hold water in their leaves and stems as they do in their natural habitat. This is what makes their leaves and stems are thick and plump. Once the water is absorbed into the plant body, the succulent will utilized its own water reserve until it time to water again. 

When watering your succulent, water the soil deeply. Try not to get the leaves wet. It is not a huge deal if the leaves should get wet, but there should be enough air circulation for the leaves to dry and not hold moisture. Don’t let the bottom of the pot sit in a tray of water.

During dormant periods (Fall and Winter), you should water less.

Air Moisture

Succulents commonly native to arid and semi-arid climates. Unlike most tropical plants, air moisture requirements are minimal. This is good news for many of us who have trouble with maintaining humidity levels in their home. Succulents can thrive in ideal humidity levels of 50% to 60%, maybe a little higher.


Comfortable room temperate is great for succulents. In short, the temperature that feels good to you in your home is good for your plant. Succulents naturally grow in high temperatures like 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. 

The lowest temperature is around 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Some can survive in lower temperatures. Our homes are generally in the low to mid-70 degree Fahrenheit range.

To summarize, succulents are drought-tolerant and need less frequent watering. They need to grow in soil mixed with part organic and inorganic matter for good water absorption and drainage. Succulents require bright sunlight or bright indirect light and low to moderate air moisture. They also will grow well in comfortable room temperatures. When you consider these care tips, you will have much growing success.

Lorna Hawkins
Lorna Hawkins
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