In general, succulents are not really demanding on light and water. They can grow well indoors with minimum effort. However, if you want your succulents to thrive, you need to remember some important things. And here’s how to care for succulents indoors.
Where To Place Succulent Indoors To Get Enough Sunlight
Besides water, soil, and temperature, sunlight is another essential element for your succulent to grow in indoor conditions. In fact, almost all succulents need at least 3 hours of full light exposure per day.
It’s ideal for putting your succulents near windows and in a corner where they can get lots of morning light and little afternoon sun. The afternoon sun is not recommended for succulents because it is stronger and more prone to sunburn, typically during hot weather in zones 9-11. Also, monitor your plants to see how they are adapting to their existing position in your house. Usually, sunny South-facing windowsills are best for your indoor succulents.
If your succulents do not get enough sunlight, they tend to stretch out to reach the light source. If you see your succulents grow taller while the leaves are starting to fall, it might be a sign of stretching. They are not growing, but etiolation, and you might need to put them in another place. In addition, they will lose their vibrant color and turn back into green color.
On the other hand, if your succulents receive too much sunlight or harmful rays, you might notice that their leaves begin to dry and wilt. They will turn yellow and look dull. In some cases, you can even see some sunburn scars on their leaves.
Just remember to rotate your succulents once every several days. This is more important for indoor succulents because light usually comes from only one direction. Thus, rotating your succulents will help distribute sunlight more evenly, keeping your succulents from stretching or growing unbalanced.
How To Take Care Of Succulents Indoors
Succulents adapted to grow well even in severe environments with very water needed. However, they don’t seem to be as easy to grow as some people think. Follow these steps to know how to take care of succulents indoors.
1. Give them breathing room
While there are some types of succulents that thrive indoors, such as kalanchoe, aloe, etc., almost all of them are tolerant of warm, arid climates and depend a lot on good ventilation to breathe. So, make sure you place your succulents in a space that has enough air circulation for them to breathe.
2. Provide them with some shade
Although widely believed, almost all types of succulents do not grow well if blown in the hottest temperatures and exposed to full sun. While they like much light, most varieties of succulents need protection from the sun, typically if the temperature reaches 90 degrees, or if they are still young. Succulents that are pale, solid green, or striped are most at risk of sunburn. And here’s a tip to take care of succulents indoors: If you’re going to grow succulents in the brightest sun place indoors, choose plants that are gray, red, blue, or covered with lots of spines.
3. Start with proper soil
It’s best to use a quick-draining succulent mix. In case you’re the DIY type, modify the traditional potting soil with coarse perlite, pumice, or crushed lava. Ideally, use one part modified and four parts potting mix.
4. Succulents also need water
If you overwater your succulents, you might kill them due to rot. However, you might get the hang of the memo, working hard at dehydrating your succulents and just asking yourself why they’re dying. Well, it might be that they need some water. Succulents prefer water when the soil dries out before being watered. That means you’ll be okay if, during dry-out times, you water the small container about once per week and the large container about twice a week.
5. Provide good drainage
You need to remember that succulent roots don’t like excessive water. So, make sure there is drainage in your pot. Sometimes we make pretty centers in pots with no drainage. But listen – you have to be typically gentle with these parts. And it’s important to follow all the other rules.
6. Succulents also need food
Succulents usually thrive in low-nutrient environments. However, fertilizer is still important when it comes to how to take care of succulents indoors.
*Pro tip: Feeding your succulents only once a year is enough. You can use any well-balanced organic fertilizer, halve the dose and feed them early in the growing season for best results.
7. Rethink propagation
Although you may be used to plucking the stems of geraniums, houseplants, or rosemary and soaking them in water to see the roots develop, it will not work for succulent propagation. In fact, you can take the exact opposite approach. Once you get your favorite succulents, pluck the branches and dry them in the shade for at least 3 days. This process, also called healing, will help to form calluses and avoid rot. Then put your new stem in the soil mix as said above, and you’re ready to go with new succulents.
8. Beware of frost
Even though some varieties of succulents, including some types of Sempervivum and Sedum, can stand up to freezing temperatures, most types cannot. So, be careful when anticipating cold weather – as succulents are mostly water, their cell walls can break easily, leaving their leaves mushy. If you are not sure about this, just assume that any drop below freezing will cause damage or death to your succulents. The simplest solution to frost protection is to keep your succulents in well-lit containers to move around indoors or under awnings in case of cold weather. Besides, unlike the rest of your garden plants, succulents really have a better chance of survival if they get dry from the cold rather than wet.
Frequently Asked Questions
This part will give you some answers to several frequently asked questions about how to take care of succulents indoors.
How often should I water succulents?
Three times a week
Succulents suck water out of the soil at an incredible rate when they produce new stems, roots, leaves, and blooms. Usually, you can water succulents around three times a week, depending on conditions, such as temperature and light. During cold winter days, succulents hibernate. They will stop growing, so you only need to water them 1 or 2 times for the whole season.
How long can succulents stay alive?
Approx. 3-4 years
The main succulents only live about 3 or 4 years, but produce many branches throughout their lives. You might not even notice the death of the main succulent due to lots of offsets occupying their places.
Why do my succulents keep dying?
Because watering is a common cause of plant rot, you should decide if your succulents have been watered more or less. If the stem is rotting or mushy, it might be waterlogged. In case their leaves are mushy, they might need more water. Don’t worry if you find drying or dying leaves at the base.
Are succulents good for the bedroom?
Yes, succulents are good for your bedroom. They continue to produce oxygen during the night. So, let them in your bedroom to create a more refreshing atmosphere while you sleep, helping you have a better night’s sleep.
Can I grow succulents in small pots?
Small succulents can completely stay in small pots for weeks to months, or even years. When they grow, simply remove it from the pot and repot it in a larger container. If you don’t want to repot the whole succulent, you can prune it to keep it small and take small pieces to propagate and plant elsewhere.
Why do my succulent leaves fall off?
One of the most popular reasons for this is watering problems. Too much water can make succulent leaves swell, become mushy and soft, and finally fall off. For those who don’t know, succulents usually respond to intense drought or heat by shedding their leaves to help maintain energy and water supply.
So now you know how to take care of succulents indoors. Don’t forget to share with me your experience in growing and taking care of your beautiful succulents in the comment box!