How to Care for Succulents?

How to Care for Succulents?

Succulents are the ideal plant for even the most inexperienced gardener because they can thrive in various conditions and require minimal maintenance. However, neglecting their care requirements can hinder their growth or potentially harm them. Therefore, to ensure the well-being of your indoor garden, it is important to understand how to properly care for succulents.

8 Tips to Care for Succulents

8 Tips to Care for Succulents

Give Succulents Enough Sunlight

Plants require light to survive, and most succulents thrive with four to six hours of direct sunlight when grown outdoors. It’s worth noting that certain succulents, particularly those native to southern regions like cacti and yuccas, may require more light than others. During winter, indoor succulents often lack sufficient sunlight, which can result in issues such as etiolation and fading color. To address this, use LED succulent grow lights to supplement natural sunlight for photosynthesis.

Use the Right Pot and Soil Mix

Use the Right Pot and Soil Mix

Choosing the appropriate container and potting soil is essential. When it comes to outdoor succulents, selecting a pot with a drainage hole is recommended. Adequate drainage enables moisture to escape, allowing the roots and soil to dry out, thus preventing rot. For indoor succulents, well-draining soil is recommended. This type of soil is coarser compared with regular soil, facilitating better airflow and promoting evaporation.

Repotting your succulents every two years is advisable, preferably during their active growth season. Care must be taken when handling the roots to avoid accidental damage.

Don’t Forget to Fertilize

Succulents and other low-maintenance desert plants can benefit from fertilization on occasion. It is advisable to fertilize succulents during their active growth period in spring and summer. Diluted, water-soluble all-purpose fertilizer can be used a few times a year to provide a boost to your succulents. Indoor succulents do not require fertilization during the winter months. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure they receive ample bright light for their well-being.

Water Succulents Properly

As a general guideline, succulents typically require watering approximately once a week during the summer and once a month during the winter. In accordance with the amount of daylight available, adjust your watering schedule. It’s crucial to let the plant dry out fully in between waterings. If you are uncertain about when to water, you can insert a wooden chopstick a few inches into the container to check for any remaining moisture.

Another method to determine if watering is needed is by using your finger to assess the dryness of the soil. If the top inch feels dry, it indicates that it is time to water the succulent. For novice succulent enthusiasts, it is advisable to use pots with drainage holes. This helps prevent overwatering and allows any excess water in the tray to be reused for other succulents.

Give the Leaves a Once Over

Discovering dust accumulation on the leaves of your succulents can be frustrating. However, there is a common misconception that attempting to remove the dust could harm the plant. This myth should be dispelled because excessive dust can impede the growth of your succulent. Moreover, removing the dust will enhance the plant’s visual appeal, allowing its colors to shine more vibrantly.

To address this issue, simply wipe the leaves periodically with a damp microfiber cloth. For hard-to-reach areas, a brush can be used to ensure thorough cleaning.

Keep Pests at Bay

Succulents kept indoors are more susceptible to pest infestations compared with those grown outdoors. It is vital to regularly inspect your plants for signs of gnats or mealybugs. These pests are attracted to moist soil and fertilizer, making them unwelcome visitors to your succulents.

If you notice any signs of infestation, it is crucial to isolate the affected plants and thoroughly clean the surrounding area to preclude the pests from spreading to other plants. To address the infestation, mix equal parts of 70 percent isopropyl alcohol and water and spray this on any visible pests on the leaves to eliminate them. Additionally, if you bring home a new succulent, it is advisable to inspect both the leaves and soil carefully to ensure that you are not inadvertently introducing any pests into your home.

Rotate Your Pots

It is common for succulents to experience uneven light exposure, leading to their growth leaning toward the direction of the sun.

To prevent this issue, regularly rotate your plant to ensure that each side receives adequate sunlight. By doing so, you not only improve the overall appearance of the plant but also provide better support for its growth.

Watch the Temperature and Humidity

Although succulents are generally resilient plants, most of them are unable to withstand freezing temperatures and will perish. Therefore, it is necessary to bring succulents indoors during the winter to protect them from the cold. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as sedums, sempervivums, and agaves, which have a higher tolerance for colder conditions.

In order to keep succulents thriving, it is ideal to maintain temperatures within the range of 40-80°F. Bear in mind that higher temperatures will increase the frequency of watering required by the plants.

Common Problems with Succulents

Common Problems With Succulents

Although succulents are generally low-maintenance plants, you may occasionally notice signs of poor health. Here are some guidelines to identify and address the most common problems that succulents encounter.


The primary cause of succulent deterioration is often excessive watering. Overwatered succulents typically exhibit symptoms such as mushy, drooping, yellowing, or blackened leaves. They may also experience leaf loss, and the stem might become swollen.

Remove the excess moisture to treat an overwatered succulent. It may also be helpful to remove the plant and soil from the pot, allowing them to dry out more quickly. It is crucial to ensure that the plant is thoroughly dry before watering it again. Additionally, repotting the succulent in a container with drainage holes can help prevent future overwatering issues.

Wrinkled Leaves and Stems

Wrinkled leaves and stems in succulents are typically a sign of inadequate watering, commonly referred to as underwatering. When a succulent lacks sufficient water, its leaves may become wrinkled and eventually turn yellow or brown before falling off. The stems may also start to droop. Eventually, the roots can shrink and die due to the prolonged lack of water. Unfortunately, these symptoms can sometimes be confused with those caused by overwatering, leading to confusion for many gardeners.

Check the moisture level of the soil, particularly around 2 inches below the surface, to ensure it is not damp or wet. If the soil is dry, provide a thorough watering to the plant. Establishing a consistent watering schedule thereafter will help maintain appropriate moisture levels for the succulent.

Brown or Bleached Foliage

While succulents generally flourish in bright sunlight or indirect light, excessive sun exposure can lead to adverse effects such as sunburn. This can result in brown spots and bleach spots on the succulent’s leaves. Regrettably, these brown spots are essentially scars and will remain permanently on the succulent, unable to heal or fade.

Leggy or Pale Plant

If you notice your succulent displaying weak and elongated growth, it is a clear indication that it requires more light. Similar to other plants, succulents tend to stretch toward the sun when they are in a shaded environment, resulting in weak and leggy plants. Additionally, succulents exhibit their most vibrant colors when exposed to bright light.

For indoor succulents, it is advisable to place them near a bright window, maximizing their proximity to natural sunlight. Alternatively, you can use LED grow lights to provide the necessary light for their growth. When it comes to outdoor succulents, relocating them to a slightly brighter location might improve their coloration. Additionally, pruning back leggy growth, if possible, can help promote more compact and healthier growth.

Are Succulents Toxic?

Are Succulents Toxic?

The majority of succulents are not toxic and can even be made into many delicious dishes, such as Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear) and Aloe vera. On the other hand, certain succulent varieties, particularly cacti, may have spines that can puncture the skin, so caution should be exercised when handling them.

While most succulents are safe for humans and pets, there are some varieties that should be avoided if there are small children or pets in the household. Here are some examples:

Succulents Toxic to Humans

Euphorbias: Their sap can cause skin irritation and stomach pain if ingested.

Succulents Toxic to Pets

  • Aloe vera: Ingestion can lead to lethargy and digestive issues.
  • Crassula ovata (jade plant): Consumption of this plant can cause stomach problems.
  • Euphorbias: Ingesting the sap of these plants can cause a rash and stomach pain.
  • Kalanchoes: Although rarely fatal, ingestion of these plants can make animals sick.

Use LED Grow Lights for Your Succulents at MokoLight

With the right LED grow light, you can provide your succulents with the exact amount of light they need during their most energy-demanding growth. All the LEDs are designed, manufactured, and distributed by MokoLight, thus we boast a competitive price. We have been professionals in LED grow lights for 16+ years with the aim of creating a perfect green space. Click here to learn more.

Written by ——
Scott Hughes
Scott Hughes
Double Bachelor's degrees in Architecture and Electrical Engineering, 5+ years of experience with LED lighting, intelligent moving lights, and conventional fixtures. Reach Me Now>>
Scott Hughes
Scott Hughes
Double Bachelor's degrees in Architecture and Electrical Engineering, 5+ years of experience with LED lighting, intelligent moving lights, and conventional fixtures. Reach Me Now>>
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