Geniuses On Reddit Shared 13 Incredible Succulent Care Tips That Are A+
Surround yourself with things that require the same neglect you show yourself
The succulent craze is here to stay and nowadays, succulents are some of the most commonly grown houseplants. Provided you follow these amazing succulent care tips, it isn't difficult to soon be known as the crazy succulent person!
Reddit has an increasingly popular subreddit known as r/succulents and the community members are seriously involved. The tips, hacks, advice, communal support, and laughter that comes from this group of 200K members (and growing) is second-to-none.
We have gathered the best succulent care tips from these expert succulent junkies/redditors so you can ensure a happy and successful succulent addiction.
1. Thou shall not use a pot without "drainage holes"
Pots without drainage holes can leave roots sitting in damp or soggy soil, greatly increasing the risk of rot or overwatering.
"Drill your own drainage hole. Adding gravel to the bottom of planters doesn't help. A lot of people in the other post are making assumptions on why the image is wrong but no one seems to be taking the time to figure out the correct answer. ("Professional succulent owner here... adding gravel is fine and I'm right because I say so." Lol)" - _prr
2. Size matters - pot size, that is....
Pot size is crucial when it comes to water retention. Large pots retain more water than smaller pots, and for this reason they do not recommend using a larger pot than is needed. Aim for a pot which allows the root ball to take up 1/2 or 2/3rds of the pot and err on the side of underpotting.
"Small pots just retain less moisture and allow for the roots to get watered without having too much media surrounding the plant." - Homko
3. A fast draining soil mix is key to success
The cactus & succulent soils you find at Lowe's, Home Depot, etc tend to retain water considerably, despite any "fast draining" language they have on the package. While plants can survive in these soils, it's very easy to overwater or lose one to rot in them as well.
- "For soil, use turface + crushed granite* in approximately a 1:1 ratio (optionally add pine bark for a 1:1:1 ratio)". - CrunchySushi Find turface here:
"I don't really recommend the Miracle Gro Cactus soil. I found it stayed wet for far too long. I've seen others mention the Kelloggs brand cactus soil from Lowe's as being a decent store-bought mix, but I believe that's only available in certain areas. If you only have a few plants, you can purchase a premade gritty mix online." - coffeekittie
4. Watering incorrectly probably accounts for 90% of all succulent deaths!
!Dry thoroughly between waterings!
The most important thing to remember is that the soil should dry completely and thoroughly between waterings. You can check if your soil is completely dry by pushing a wood chopstick or skewer down into the center of the pot to check for dampness (sorta like checking if a cake is done). With practice, you can also compare the weight of a completely dry pot against a freshly watered one to get a sense of whether any water remains in the soil.
5. Let them worship the sun ☀️
All succulents want some amount of direct sunlight each day, and many of them want "full sun" – or direct sunlight for 6 or more hours. Without the desired amount of light, plants will etiolate, or seem to "reach" for the sun. To simplify things, so let's start with a baseline: Succulents like to have about 10-14 hours of light a day.
6. Crispy and sunburned succulents?
"Your plants can definitely get too much sun. Usually too much sun is in relation to the amount of sun they have been receiving, so if they haven't been getting that much and then suddenly get a really long bright day, it is possible for them to get sunburnt. This is why you should always slowly introduce plants to their new environment, rather than just immediately moving them.
It depends on the species as well, a lot of cactus grow in area of intense, intense desert heat. As long as they're properly introduced to the lighting environment, it'd be a challenge to give them too much light without some very powerful grow lights.
I keep all my plants in around 10-12 hours of direct light from my grow lights. None of them have gotten sunburned from the lights but you can definitely see a little bit of distress on them which is always beautiful" - tuckedfexas
7. "Why is my succulent so tall?"
This "height" or "etiolation" is due to lack of sunlight. Succulents stretch out when they aren't getting enough sunlight. You'll first notice the succulent start to turn and bend toward the light source. Then as it continues to grow it will get taller with more space between the leaves.
The characteristics of etiolation can vary, but may look like:
Increasingly large gaps between leaves
Thinner stems toward the top of the plant
Uncharacteristically tall succulents
Leaves which droop, flatten, or fan out
Underdeveloped leaves at the top of the plant, sometimes leading to a conical or christmas-tree shape
8. To fertilize or not to fertilize your succulent
"IMO fertilizer is only needed for healthy plants to enhance growth. All plants really need is water (of appropriate quality), healthy roots (with enough drainage so that air can get to roots), and sufficient sunlight. If they're looking spindly then probably not enough light (etiliolation)." - boston_trauma
- Use a 3-1-2 or similarly proportioned fertilizer at half dosage at each watering.
9. Bottom watering - what is it?
"A common way to water your plants would be to "bottom water" or "bottom up water", this method involves having the plant absorb the water it needs by placing it in a vessel with sufficient water depth. Common vessels include bathtubs, storage totes, anything that allows you to dip the pot into the vessel, let the water rise to near the rim if you're in a hurry. The water will be forced up through the hole in the bottom, watering your plant and completely saturating the soil. Some will use a more shallow tray with less water and sit all their plants and letting them soak over a longer period, 20-30 minutes is common.
Benefits of bottom watering: Bottom watering is important to use if your soil is very fast draining. If the soil drains well enough, the water may not reach all the areas of the soil." - Beginner Basics Guide
10. Mealybugs and other succulent-munching annoyances
If you have mealybug destroying your succulents, you'll know it by their telltale signs: * Wispy white cotton wool-like web at base of plant * Black, sooty mold * Yellowing and dying leaves * Distorted or stunted plant growth
The answer? 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol for mealybug control!
How to apply isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to kill the mealybugs off your succulents:
Use 70% or less solution of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol in water may be dabbed directly on mealybugs with a cotton swab to kill them or remove them. Test the solution out on a small part of the plant 1 to 2 days beforehand to make sure it does not cause leaf burn (phytotoxicity). In some cases, a much more diluted solution may be advisable. Where infestations are extensive, a 10-25% solution of isopropyl alcohol can be applied with a spray bottle. You will need to repeat this procedure every week until the infestation is gone. * If you prefer to make a spray solution that kills mealybugs of all stages at once, then mix 1 cup of rubbing alcohol with 1 teaspoon of insecticidal soap or dish detergent and 1 quart of water.
Battling other common indoor plant pests? Check out this field guide to plant pest control for more info on: Spider Mites, Whiteflies, Fungus Gnats, Thrips, Aphids, and Scale insects
11. Outdoor succulents & approaching bad weather
"For light rain there is usually no worry but if it's really a really heavy rain, I'll put the smaller pots inside for protection. The pots that stay outside either don't have drip trays or I make sure to empty them as soon as the rain stops. The plants that live in ground don't get any special treatment" - CaliSunSuccs
"My setup (which honestly might be a little overkill and I will admit is quite paranoia-driven) is to use wire storage baskets and cling wrap. The wire storage basket has big enough holes to allow a good amount of airflow but is still small enough to keep out birds, squirrels, and rabbits. The basket goes upside down over my plants and I'm putting cling wrap just over the top to keep rain out. I'm also going to add a thin single layer of tissue paper under the bling wrap for the first few days or week to let my plants acclimate slowly to the light.
Also you may have heard this before but if you're worried about rain it's best not to have your pots in saucers outside. That way if they do get wet the water will drain right out the bottom instead of collecting in the pot/saucer." - ravekitt
12. Off with their heads! How to behead tall succulents
"Beheading has a couple benefits. A lot of beheading is for aesthetic reasons, but it can also be beneficial for the overall health of the plant. Etiolated plants that begin to receive more sunlight will have a lot of new, compact growth at the top of the plant. Over time, this growth can make the plant top heavy and prone to damage.
Beheading can also be done for aesthetic and recreational purposes. Aesthetically, many people (myself included) like the look of a compact echeveria rosette. Once you've beheaded the original plant, you're left with a healthy root ball, a stalk, and a bunch of leaves. Some of the leaves can be removed and propagated to make more plants and the stalk/root ball can be left to form new growth.
When beheading, you want to be sure to use a sharp knife that has been wiped with isopropyl alcohol to prevent excess bacteria getting into your plant." - iOceanLab
- Remove Some Leaves or Behead. Randomly remove a few leaves from your succulent plant, twisting gently to remove the entire leaf without tearing. ...
- Callus Off. Let the stump of the succulent dry out. Don't put it into soil right away.
- Set the cuttings aside in any type of container or tray and watch for them to grow roots (could take a few weeks to months depending on the type of succulent).
- Make sure to mist the succulents with water every couple days. You don't want them to completely dry out.
- Once you start seeing little "strings" growing off the succulent, you can re-plant in a small pot and water/feed as normal.
13. Propagating 101 - Free baby succulents!
Propagating succulents with leaf cuttings is as simple as taking off (on purpose or accidentally) an active, healthy leaf from a mature succulent plant and using it to grow a new plant. Yay!
- Some leaves will pop right off with a gentle twist, while others may need to be clipped or cut off. Use a clean knife or clean gardening sheers, you can clip off a healthy leaf from the bottom of the plant.
- Once removed, put the leaf in bright light (where it won't be touched or knocked around) for about 4 days. This will allow the leaf to "callous" over (aka dry out the part of the leaf that was attached to the succulent).
- After the leaf has calloused, prepare a new planter with soil (or tupperware, if you are going to replant the leaf elsewhere), wet it, and place the leaf on top of the soil for propagation.
Youtube on succulent leaf propagation: