How To Keep Your Succulents Alive

Posted by Julia Fields on

Hey there!

We know, we know, it's been awhile since you've heard from us! If you follow us on instagram, then you may know we just needed a little time off. This is hard as a small business because when you press pause on social media, it sort of means putting everything on pause, and that can be daunting. But, enough small talk; we know why you stopped by and we won't hold off any longer -

How to Keep Your Succulents Alive!

It's All About the Light

Often times when people tell us they can't figure out why their succulents keep dying it's in someway related to the amount of light their plants are getting. Sometimes its that your succulents aren't getting enough light, other times it's that they're getting too much light (here's a great article that explains how you can tell which is which for all your other plants too!).

As a general rule of thumb, succulents are happiest when they can get that nourishing morning light to start the day and generally need about 12-16 hours a day. This means an East facing window for optimal growing conditions. If this isn't an option within your home, don't panic! West facing will also work, as will a South facing window, just be careful as every plant is different. Depending what region of the country you're in, this can vary and be more or less true. When it comes to North facing windows, this is even trickier. Succulents love light but do not, we repeat, do NOT love the heat, which is usually the conditions given when in a North facing window. No natural light in some of the rooms you were hoping to add some greenery? Consider investing in a grow light for those dark parts of the home.

Another all too common error we see with succulents is taking them outside. Granted, this will vary greatly depending on the region of the country you're in, but if you're here Phoenix, Arizona like us, then the short answer is it is just too hot here for these plant babies. It can be tempting, but remember that bit earlier about succulents loving light and not heat? We weren't kidding; succulents are a little better adept to handle the cold of the desert, but anything below 40° and you begin playing a dangerous little game. If you're in other regions talk to your local nursery or grower and they will be able to tell you what works the best for your area. Figure out what works best for the plants within your home, and don't give up! Succulents can be tricky at first but they're worth it.

 

Easy on the Water

The next most common problem we hear out when it comes to succulents is the amount of water they're being given. Leaves looking a little droopy? Our natural instinct is to add more water, but hold off, you may actually be drowning your succulent. We know, it sounds a little extreme, but that's the reality of most cases.

The trick: let your succulent's soil completely dry out in-between waterings. Generally, this means about once a week for most succulents, but if you go to water and the soil is still moist, wait another couple of days or so. Also, when you do water, avoid adding too much water (i.e. you still want the plant to "pee" a little to know you got a good soak if it's in a big pot, but don't add too much that the water starts to pool at the top). It can be a tricky balance to achieve, but a spray bottle is a good tool to achieve the best of both worlds. We recommend a glass spray bottle since it's a little bit easier on the environment when recycled correctly, but the choice is all yours, all will achieve the same goal.

A bad sign you're overwatering? Those pesky little gnats. If those little boogers do show up, don't panic! Just make sure you're following the tips above and they should go away with time. If they stick around, you can put out a mixture of 1 part Dawn dish soap, 1 part apple-cider vinegar (or white vinegar) and 1 part water into a small bowl and they're drawn in like dirt to white furniture. 

Room to Grow

What a lot of people don't realize is that part of the watering process is the type of pot or planter that your succulent is potted in. You want to make sure that whatever planter you choose has a good drainage system to avoid drowning your plants, like mentioned above. Some planters already have a small hole at the bottom and a drainage dish for excess water, these work great! However, they are NOT your only option.

A modern way to bring a timeless touch of nature into your home is with hanging planters. Just check Pinterest, they're all the rage. This is where the spray bottle method of watering your plants will be especially true. But the real question is, how do you incorporate these into your space but still provide a realistic growth environment for your plant friends? It's simple: just put some small rocks or gravel below your soil when planting to allow a natural drainage system for your plants. This is a great trick because it ensures your plants avoid taking in too much water, but if they need the extra moisture it can still be drawn upon. If you find a wooden planter, make sure it has an interior waterproof sealant to avoid mold and rot, here are a few of our favorites, available on the site! 

Let it Grow

At the end of the day there are no "right" or "wrong" ways to caring for succulents. You may end up killing a couple of succulents and that's okay, it happens, don't be too hard on yourself. Keep trying and eventually your thumb will begin to turn greener, even if it's a slow process, it's worth it. 

 

Information provided by Ashley Marx, article comprised by Julia Fields

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