How to Care for a Succulent Plant

Overview

Succulents have a water-holding ability that allows them to thrive in arid regions. These plants appreciate well-drained soil that is loose and sandy. Succulents do not tolerate cold temperatures. In areas where the winter is harsh, plant them in containers so it is easier to bring them indoors during the winter. Plant succulents in containers that are not too large for them. They do best in clay pots that dry out quicker and allow air to the roots. The soil should dry completely in one week.

Step 1

Place your succulent in a south or west facing window that catches the most sunlight. Give your succulent the best light possible. Many succulents will thrive under incandescent or fluorescent light.

Step 2

Water when the top 1/2 inch of soil is completely dry. Succulents tolerate drought conditions but need water for growth. Never let the succulent stand in water. Do not overwater your plant. Allow it to dry out between waterings.

Step 3

Lower the water you give it while the succulent is dormant during the winter. October and March are water transition months. Gradually increase the water during March and decrease the water amount during October.

Step 4

Feed the succulent plants monthly while they are actively growing. Use 1/4 the amount of fertilizer recommended for normal plants. Once the succulent goes dormant, stop feeding it until it begins to show new growth.

Step 5

Check your succulent for black stem rot, caused by over watering. Red mites and spider mites will attack your succulents. Remove mealybugs by hand or apply a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to them.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not place succulents in overbearing sunlight. Succulents commonly grow in the shade and their skin may sunburn if suddenly exposed to strong sunlight.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer

References

  • University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program: Cacti and Succulents
  • University of Illinois Extension: Succulents
  • Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Growing Succulent Plants

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois Extension: Try Cacti and Succulents for Easy-Care Houseplants
Keywords: growing succulents, plant care, black stem rot

About this Author

Karen Carter spent three years as a technology specialist in the public school system and her writing has appeared in the "Willapa Harbor Herald" and the "Rogue College Byline." She has an Associate of Arts from Rogue Community College with a certificate in computer information systems.