Tips for Planting Succulents

Photo by Jeff Sheldon

Succulents are one of Mother Nature’s perfect works of art. With their variety of exquisite shapes and unique leaf forms resembling rosettes and teardrops, they make wonderful display plants in both yard gardens and in pretty dishes adorning indoor and outdoor tables, as well as on window sills. Because of their thick, fleshy leaves and ability to survive the toughest of conditions, they are almost indestructible and therefore quite popular with both novice and experienced gardeners. But like all plants, succulents have certain guidelines that will ensure you grow healthy and gorgeous plants.


Most succulents thrive in bright light, such as that from a south-facing window. It’s important to observe your plants for indications they are receiving the correct amount of light. Some species, however, will turn brown or white from bleaching if exposed to direct sunlight. If your succulents begin to stretch, such as the stem elongating and leaves beginning to space wider apart, it is not receiving adequate light.


Although succulents have adapted to arid conditions, they still need generous watering in the summer. Soil should be allowed to dry completely between waterings and should never sit in water as this causes plant rot and will cause the plant to die. In the winter months, succulents go dormant, requiring water only once every other month.

  • Signs of over-watering — leaves become soft and start to discolor, turning yellow or white or begin to fade.
  • Signs of under-watering — the plant will first stop growing, and then will begin to lose its leaves. You may also notice brown spots on the leaves.


Succulents are extremely tolerant to cold and actually thrive in colder nights. The best temperatures for them are between 70 degrees and 85 degrees during the daytime hours, and between 50 and 55 degrees at night.


It’s recommended that succulents be potted in a fast-draining mixture that is specially made for the varieties such as cacti and agave. If you can’t locate this kind of specialty mixture, you can modify a normal potting soil with perlite, an inorganic agent that increases drainage and aeration.

Succulents are one of the easiest plants to grow. They come in a wide variety of colors and leaf types and provide lush beauty and interesting texture to any yard or bowl garden.