How to Care for Succulents Indoors
There are those with green thumbs, and others with an uncanny ability to kill the hardiest of plants.
Regardless of where your talents lay on the wide spectrum of gardening ability, learning how to care for succulents indoors can give you a great boost of relaxation, if you're looking for a way to brighten up your indoor space.
After all, caring for plants can directly reduce your stress levels.
And, if you've never grown a plant in your life, caring for succulents is a solid first step, so you can foray into the world of gardening with more confidence.
Keep on reading to learn all about succulent care, starting with picking the right types of succulents to grow indoors, and ending with all the core tips and strategies that will help you grow the happiest succulents possible.
Care for Succulents Indoors 101: Choosing the Right Succulents
Before we start our deep dive into the intricacies of growing and caring for succulents, we'll want to make sure that you've picked ones that are right for the job.
You don't want to start your growing journey already sabotaged, just because you've selected an unfit species of succulents to grow in the location you have selected. You can grow pretty much any succulent inside as long as it is in a bright enough spot. Most brightly colored succulents such as members of the Echeveria family enjoy bright light. For places in the home that get less sun, a good rule of thumb is to choose green plants with rigid leaves. These varieties tend to be happy in those environments. Here's a list of the best types of succulents that you can choose from if you do not get a lot of natural sunlight:
- Panda plant, scientific name: Kalanchoe tomentosa
- Snake plant, or Mother-in-law's tongue: Sansevieria trifasciata
- Aloe Plants- all varieties in this family do well indoors
- Haworthia- all varieties in this family do well indoors as well as in low light
- Crown of thorns: Euphorbia milii)
- String of pearls: Senecio rowleyanus
- String of bananas: Senecio radicans
- Christmas kalanchoe: Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
- Pebble plant or living stone: Lithops
- Jade plant: Crassula ovata
- Sempervivums- all varieties in this family do well
Keep in mind that your selection will mainly depend on your indoor conditions. For instance, the majority of succulents enjoy plenty of indirect bright sunlight.
So, if you're aiming to pick a succulent for a shaded corner in your place for a lovely pop of color, then you'll want to pick ones with low-light tolerance. A good one would be the mother-in-law tongue plant or any member of the Aloe or Haworthia family.
Moreover, if you're looking for the perfect succulent to hang in a planter, then you'll want something that gives you a bit of a trailing effect, like the string of bananas.
Before finalizing your purchasing decision, you'll want to read the plant labels carefully, with special focus given to the plant's sunlight needs.
Check the Temperature Needs
How hot or cold does your place tend to get? Or do you keep your space in a constant degree of temperature regardless of the season?
Generally speaking, succulents are great indoor plants because they tend to thrive in the same temperatures that humans enjoy.
Some rare types of succulents can withstand below freezing temperatures (32 °F) but if you are growing succulents indoors temperatures probably never get this low. Warmer temperatures are not a problem but you should always adjust watering according to the temperature and moisture conditions.
Identify Your Sun and Shade
The majority of succulents enjoy indirect bright sun all day but if they do get direct sun it should only be around half a day of full sunlight exposure, preferably in the morning when the sun is not as intense but afternoon can be ok as well. Make sure to monitor how the plant is reacting to the full sun and adjust accordingly.
It is important to differentiate between the intensity and duration of your sunlight, as these can vary when it comes to your latitude and elevation, as well as your current season and geography.
If you've moved succulent from the gentle sunlight of the California coast to the scorching light of Arizona, your succulent won't be able to withstand its intensity, for as much time, at least not right away. Remember plants need time to acclimate just like people do.
Equalize Your Water and Fertilizer Ratio
The general rule of thumb for watering succulents is giving them water once a week during the summer months, reducing the water amount to twice a month during the spring and fall seasons.
As for the winter months, you can water them once a month, as your succulent will be going dormant, and won't need more than that.
These are general rules but it is important to learn to check your plant's soil and observe the plant to know when it is the best time to water. Always allow the soil to become dry before watering again. Succulents like their roots to be dry in between watering's allowing them to use some of their water reserves in their leaves before they are watered again.
However, if the soil goes completely dry for too long, then the plant can detach from its roots stunting your plant's growth. Even still it is always better to underwater succulents than overwater. They will forgive you for a little neglect but too much water will kill them.
You'll want to nail down the watering schedule of your succulents to keep them happy and healthy.
Also, you can always add liquid fertilizer once or twice during the spring or fall seasons, depending on when your succulent will be going dormant. Just make sure you're diluting the fertilizer properly so that you do not burn the plant's roots
Selecting the Right Soil and Drainage
Soil is one of the most important parts of growing healthy plants so you'll want to pick the perfect soil for your succulent plants.
Pick a coarse, and fast-draining mix that allows the roots of the plant to breathe. Almost all garden centers offer succulent soil or cactus mix and both are good for these types of plants. If the soil feels too rich you can always add perlite or sand to get the proper consistency. Do not use soil meant for vegetable gardens as it is often too rich and retains moisture longer than succulents like.
Keeping a Lid on Pests
A great preventative measure for keeping pests far away from your succulents is by ensuring that they're getting good air circulation. If not, you can start seeing mealybugs burrowing into your leaves' axils.
The easiest way to get rid of any soft-bodied bug infestations is to spray the plants and it's roots with soapy water. I like to dilute about one tablespoon of dawn in one gallon of water. This will give you a nice sudsy mix that will coat the bugs and get rid of the problem.
Always isolate any infected plants to keep the pests from hopping onto your healthy plants. Then spray your plants with the mixture you've made.
Ready to Start Creating Your Little Green Family?
We know that things can be overwhelming, especially for those who are just starting a gardening project for the first time.
Hopefully, our guide has shed some light on how to care for succulents indoors and gave you a thorough look at the different types of succulents you can choose from. Remember to check out our cacti and succulents collection, you'll find what you're looking for there.
And if you're having a hard time deciding which plant would be the best for your living conditions, you can always check out our FAQs.
These will cover the majority of most people's questions and the most common problems that first-time succulent lovers tend to face. But, if you have a specialized question, you can always contact us. We'd be delighted to help out.