Cuteness? Check. A burst of greenery? Check. Perfect for indoor care? Double-check.
Succulents are one of those delightful plants that can truly flourish indoors. And the fact that looking at plants for three minutes can decrease your stress levels is a great perk. They’re also considered one of the most straightforward plants when it comes to their care, especially if you’re a newbie to gardening and becoming a plant parent.
But, if you’re completely unfamiliar with what indoor succulent care entails, no worries. We’ve got you covered. Keep on reading for our full breakdown of everything you need to know about how to care for succulents indoors.
Indoor Succulent Care 101: Understanding Succulents
Before starting our deep dive into how to properly care for your succulents, let’s make sure that you’re familiar with the basics first.
If you’re unfamiliar with what succulents look like, they are small plants that come with fleshy and thick leaves, as well as swollen stems, all of which are critical for water storage.
One of the key reasons why succulents are a great option for indoor plants is their ability to survive on minimal water intake. Basically, those are hardy plants that are tolerant of drought.
Of course, there are many different kinds of species of succulents that you can choose from. While you’ll find that a lot of people tend to associate succulents with Cactaceae (the cactus family), not all succulents are cacti.
The rule of thumb is: all cacti are succulents, while not all succulents are cacti.
Picking the Right Succulents
Sadly enough, not all succulents are best suited for indoor growing. This puts some limitations on which succulents you can choose for your indoor spaces.
However, spending some time researching and picking the right succulent will save you a lot of time and heartache when it comes to caring for your succulents and seeing them flourish.
Generally speaking, you’ll find that the majority of succulents that have brighter colors, like purples, reds, and oranges, tend to suffer when placed indoors.
This is due to their higher need for direct sunlight than your indoor space can easily provide. When in doubt, you can start with succulents that are green in color, like the Gasteria and Haworthia varieties.
For now, here’s a list you can reference on your search for the perfect succulents to grow indoors:
- Zebra Cactus: Haworthia fasciata
- Panda plant: Kalanchoe tomentosa
- Snake plant or Mother-in-law tongue: Sansevieria trifasciata
- Crown of thorns: Eurphorbia milii
- Pencil cactus: Euphorbia tirucalli
- Burro’s tail: Sedum morganianum
- Pebble plant or living stone: Lithops
- Medicine plant: Aloe vera
- Jade plant: Crassula ovata
Of course, there are other types of succulents that you can care for indoors, but this is just a primary list that will put you on the right path.
How to Care for Succulents Indoors: The Basics
In general, caring for your succulents is not as complex as it might first seem to be. As long as you can provide them with warmer and drier climates, they’re going to be good to go.
This makes them one of the most popular low-maintenance house plants. After choosing the right succulent species, you’re ready for planting. For now, you won’t need too many garden tools or equipment, just the basics will do.
But, a little further down the line, you can actually use a propagation station to start new plants from the ones you already have on hand.
Get a Well-Draining Potting Medium
The succulents you pick will probably come from nurseries. Those are well-known for their very rich and moist soils, so you’ll want to repot your succulent into something more appropriate as soon as possible.
You can begin with using a coarse potting mix that has good ratings for aeration and drainage. If you get too confused when you’re ordering the mix, you can always ask for an African violet mix, or a specialized cactus or succulent mix.
Moreover, you can improve your mix’s drainage by adding some pumice or perlite. Once you have the right mixture on hand, you can wet the mix and stir it, so that it’s evenly moist all across your pot.
Pick the Right Container
When you’re repotting, you’ll need to pick a container with a drainage hole, and around one to two inches larger than the original nursery container.
Also, we know that terrariums and mason jars can look really cute. But, you’ll want to avoid any glass-based containers, because they’re sealed shut, and won’t give the roots enough aeration to breathe.
Once you’ve got the appropriate container, start by filling in the bottom third with your premoistened potting mix. Afterward, you can place your plant inside the container, and backfill the rest of it with the remaining potting mix.
Choose a Sunny Location
You’ll find that the majority of succulents will need around six hours of sun every day.
Make things easier on yourself, and pick an east-facing or south-facing window and put your succulents there. This will give them a solid dose of sun without having to bring out the light meter.
Don’t Over-Water or Over-Fertilize
One of the main mistakes that new plant parents fall into is overwatering their succulents.
You can saturate the potting mix, then give it some time to dry out a bit before drenching them in water. If you’re noticing that your potting mix is wet every single day, that will cause your plant to drown and die.
As for fertilizing your succulents, you can do so once a year, preferably during the springtime or in late summer. Just make sure you’re not fertilizing your plants in the winter, as they’re semi-dormant in this time period.
Ready to Implement Your Succulent Plant Care Indoor Plan?
We know how excited you might be at becoming a plant parent for the first time. However, blindly buying the first succulent you see and winging it will probably result in a dead plant in a month.
Hopefully, our explainer has shed some light on the proper ways to start your indoor succulent care project. Remember, when in doubt, wait for your plant to tell you what it needs. For instance, if your succulent leaves are reaching towards the window, that means they want more light exposure.
And, if you liked our article, make sure to check out our additional tips and tricks, all available to you in our home section.