How to Take Care of a Potted Succulent Plant

Overview

With their plump leaves and striking appearance, succulents make interesting and unusual houseplants. Because they need so little attention, they are an especially good choice for people who don't have a lot of time to spend caring for houseplants. Although they are low maintenance plants, they do have a few basic needs to keep them looking their best.

Step 1

Be sure the succulent is getting enough light. If the succulent is producing new growth that is thin or spindly, these are indications that the plant is stretching towards the available light and definitely needs more sunlight. On the other hand, if the leaves look pale and bleached, they may be getting too much light.

Step 2

Be careful not to overwater succulents. Although needs vary between different varieties, the appearance of the leaves will give you a clue. If the leaves have indentations or the plant appears droopy, it's a sign that it's time to water. To water succulents, soak the soil so that water runs out the drainage hole, and then allow it to dry before the next watering. Succulents will require less water during fall and winter.

Step 3

Add a balanced houseplant fertilizer to the water, but use the fertilizer at 1/4 strength. Read the manufacturer's label for specific instructions.

Step 4

Handle succulents with care, because the stems are often brittle and will easily break. Succulents should be repotted every year. Remove the succulent from its pot, and gently loosen the roots with a thin stick to remove the old potting soil. Put the plant in a slightly larger pot, and add fresh potting soil.

Step 5

Use a potting soil that drains well. Although you can mix half sand or perlite with half commercial potting soil, buying potting soil formulated especially for cacti and succulents is the easiest way to provide excellent drainage.

Things You'll Need

  • Houseplant fertilizer
  • Sand and perlite or commercial potting soil for cacti

References

  • Caring for Your Indoor Cacti and Succulents
  • Growing and Caring for Succulents
  • Cactus and Succulent Care for Beginners
Keywords: succulents, houseplant fertilizer, potting soil

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.