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How To Keep Succulents Alive: 5 Easy Tips

How To Keep Succulents Alive: 5 Easy Tips

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how to keep succulents alive

If a desert can keep succulent plants alive, SURELY you can, too, right…? Right!? It is generally accepted that succulents are the easiest plants to maintain. This is only true if you understand a few basic rules for how to keep succulents alive.

Succulents have become crazy popular recently for their supposed ease of care indoors. And they’re just so darn cute and Instagram-friendly! Surrounding your living room with a plethora of these adorable little buddies will have you feeling like Mother Earth herself.

There are many varieties and types of succulent plants, and they can be kept either indoors or outdoors. However, there are some varieties that transition to indoors better than others.

But maybe you’ve already tried to keep one alive and failed, leaving you green with green-thumb envy. But don’t give up! You are very capable of growing a succulent. But there are a few things you need to be aware of when caring for this unique type of plant. And we are here to help.

Here are 5 easy tips for how to keep succulents alive.

1. Make sure they get enough sunlight and rotate.

2. Water correctly and ensure proper drainage.

3. Use appropriate soil and fertilization techniques.

4. Keep plants clean and get rid of bugs

5. Avoid overcrowding.

1. Make sure they get enough sunlight and rotate.

One of the most essential factors to understand when learning how to keep succulents alive is sunlight. Tropical plants are used to existing in-and-out the shade of canopies. Succulents, however, come from a desert environment of all-day direct sunlight, which needs to be emulated in your home environment.

Succulents thrive on an average of 6 hours of full sunlight each day. So place them near your brightest window. Newly planted succulents, though, can scorch in direct sunlight, so introduce them to it gradually.

Once you get your succulent in the sun, make sure to rotate it occasionally. This will ensure all parts of the plant are getting enough sun. A succulent that isn’t getting proper sunlight will begin “reaching” towards it. If you begin to notice “reaching,” rotate your plant so it grows straighter. Or relocate it to an area of better, more direct light.

2. Water correctly and ensure proper drainage.

Another one of the most critical factors in how to keep succulents alive is water. The technique you use to water your succulents is another way you need to emulate its desert origins. Overwatering is one of the most common ways succulent newbies kill their plants. But underwatering should also be avoided. So how do you properly water a succulent?

First of all, make sure your plant is in a container that allows drainage. This isn’t necessary if you’re a pro, but it makes things easier if you’re still learning.

When you water succulents, water the soil directly. Don’t use a spray bottle, because misting the leaves can cause them to mold and might lead to brittle roots. Soak the soil completely until water comes out of the drainage holes, and then let it drain as necessary.

Since it’s easy to both overwater and underwater a succulent, the tricky part is knowing when to water it. The key is to keep an eye on the soil and feel it with your finger. When it becomes fully dry or mostly dry, it is safe to water your plant again.

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Another thing to keep in mind when watering a succulent is that the amount of water it needs is seasonal. They need more water as they grow and thrive in the spring and summer months. But in the colder months, they tend to be more dormant and require less water.

3. Use appropriate soil and fertilization techniques.

Most potted plants come in a standard potting soil mix, and this works well for most plants. But succulents are used to surviving in much harsher conditions than other plants. Another factor when learning how to keep succulents alive is that the soil they thrive in should reflect these conditions.

After you bring your new succulent home, re-pot it with a soil mixture. A good mix is regular potting soil and something inorganic and porous (like pumice or perlite) that encourages better drainage.

You can fertilize your succulents, but overfertilization can cause mold and attract pests. Just as with water, succulents can use fertilizers more in the spring and summer at their peak growing times.

4. Keep plants clean and get rid of bugs

A unique problem for indoor succulents is that they can accumulate dust, which inhibits growth. So another tip for how to keep succulents alive is to dust them. You can do this by occasionally wiping them gently with a damp cloth.

Another thing to keep an eye on your succulents for is pests. Gnats are drawn to moisture, so if your succulent is a little overly-watered it might attract them. Mealybugs are another blight for indoor plants, and they usually appear in overfertilized and over-watered situations. If you find you have pests on your succulents, spray a solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol on the soil. This should take care of any eggs or larvae that might be present.

5. Avoid overcrowding.

A little glass container with an arrangement of a few succulents all snuggled together can make a cute gift. But it is not good for the succulents. One final tip for how to keep succulents alive is to make sure your plants are not overcrowded. Overcrowding your succulents encourages mold and pests. It also leads to malnourishment, as each plant has to compete for nutrients. So if you purchase or receive a clustered arrangement, separate and re-pot them individually.

And that’s it! Stick to these tips for how to keep succulents alive, and you’ll have a thriving indoor desert garden in no time!
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