Succulent Care Guides & FAQ
Caring for succulents is intuitive. Your succulents will tell you what they need. Not the other way around. Learn their language and let your intuition take over. Your succulents will be happy and you will be too!
Frequently Asked Succulent Care Questions
Etiolation. When a previously colorful succulent is turning pale, it usually means that it needs more light. Before they get pale, they’ll usually turn green (if they weren’t already green naturally). The next thing that will happen is it will stretch from a lack of light. Read more in the Succulent Light Needs Guide.
Yes, if it is going to be a more permanent container, it should have a drainage hole so you can water your succulents properly. (Drench & Dry)
When a succulent’s leaves turn translucent, it means that they have been overwatered to the point where its cell walls have burst because they can’t hold any more water.
After the cell wall burst and the leaves turn clear they will start to rot.
Learn how to fix overwatering here.
- Chances are your succulents don’t need to be watered straight away after you get them, so don’t do that yet.
- Slowly introduce your new succulents to more sunlight so they don’t burn. Give them about a week to acclimate.
- Read about the cold hardiness of your particular plants and learn your “zone” to give you an idea of what you can keep outdoors vs. indoors. Learn about zones here.
You can repot it right away. Just don’t water it for about a week to give the roots a chance to heal.
Not enough light.
They will have patches of sunburn which can be brown or yellowish. The leaves will turn crispy. It may become completely white or sun bleached.
You may see people talking about a succulent’s stress colors. It isn’t a bad thing though. Some succulents will turn colors in more sun, when they haven’t been watered in a while or when the temperatures dip down.
Without seeing them, it is hard to say for sure. It could either be scale insects or edema from overwatering. Post your picture in the SUCCULENTdotCARE Facebook group and we might be able to point you in the right direction.
It means that particular succulent will do best with some shade during part of the day. Morning sun and afternoon shade would be the best.
If they are getting dry and crispy, that is most likely normal leaf reabsorption rather than a sign that it needs to be watered. Picking the dry bottom leaves off will allow for better air circulation and take away places for bugs to hide. In super hot/dry conditions, however, crispy lower leaves can protect the stem from sunburn. Learn the signs that your succulent needs water here.
Too much water.
You can let it flower, dry up and the simply pull the dried flower stalk off the stem. It won’t hurt the plant.
You can cut it off before it blooms. I do this because the pesticide I use will kill any bees or pollinating insects that feed on the flowers. Also, blooming takes a lot of energy away from the main plant, so cutting them off will conserve that energy.
They don’t have to be fertilized at all. They are adapted to growing in nutrient-poor, rocky soil. If you do fertilize, choose one low in nitrogen. (More on that here.)
Indirect light, or bright shade, means under an umbrella or some sort of covering that still allows light in without leaving your succulents in complete darkness. It could also be the dappled shade under the branches of a tree or under shade cloth.
Trailing plants are ones that hang or dangle from their pots like “String of Pearls” or “String of Hearts.” See types of trailing succulents here.
That usually means the roots have dies and dried up. Cut it above the dried part and treat it like a stem cutting.
It was overwatered and has turned rotten. You may be able to salvage it if any part of the stem is still alive. Use a sharp knife and cut away any part that is black or brown.
A variegatedvariegated A naturally occurring or viral induced mutation, which appears as stripes or whole sections of tissue that are without chlorophyll. Variegated varieties are often prized for the attractiveness of the markings caused by the mutation. succulent has leaves or stems that are marked with stripes or splotches of a different color. See types of variegated succulents here.
Sometimes that’s just how it goes. Be sure to take leaves from a healthy, mature plant for the best success. Read the Ultimate Propagation Guide here.
Sometimes, that’s just what happens through no fault of your own. Take leaves from a healthy, mature plant for the best success. Ultimate Propagation Guide here.
Some succulents are covered in a white powdery substance called farinafarina A powdery coating on succulents that provides protection from the sun and repels water. Also known as epicuticular wax. Succulents that are covered in farina are said to be glaucous. It can be removed or damaged by the oils from your fingers, so handle your farinose succulents with care.. It protects the plant from sunburn. The oils from your skin can damage it, so try not to touch the leaves.
Another term is ‘glaucousfarina A powdery coating on succulents that provides protection from the sun and repels water. Also known as epicuticular wax. Succulents that are covered in farina are said to be glaucous. It can be removed or damaged by the oils from your fingers, so handle your farinose succulents with care.’ which refers to a thin blue or gray waxy coating.
A stolonstolon Sucker or runner; a prostrate basal branch, above or below ground, which can root and produce new stems or plantlets. is what looks like a horizontal stem growing from the main stem of the plant. At the end of the stolon is another identical plant. These are often referred to as ‘chicks’, ‘pups’ or ‘runners’.
Too much sun or too hot.
Succulents do this to protect their tender new growth in the center.
More on what happens when succulents get too much sun here.
The soil is staying too wet for too long. Use a grittier mix with more inorganicinorganic not consisting of or deriving from living matter amendmentamendment Material added to a soil to improve its physical properties which create a healthier environment for the roots and don’t water as often.
Leave baby succulent on the mother plant until they are at least a third the size of the mother. This gives them a much better chance of surviving on their own. When you remove them, be sure to use a sterilized, sharp knife or scissors. Treat it like a cutting when planting it. Let it calluscallus The tougher tissue that forms on or around a cut wound. Letting the cut end of a stem or leaf dry before planting. for a couple of days before putting it in dry succulent soil. (More info on propagating)
You may have heard that succulents are low maintenance plants. That’s partially true, but it doesn’t mean they’re no maintenance. Succulents thrive on neglect and these care guides will help you neglect your succulents in the best way possible.
Learn their basic care requirements and how to adjust for your particular growing situation whether it is indoors in containers or outdoors in a planted garden bed.
If you’re new to this hobby, buckle up because its about to get real.
The succulent community is made up of some of the most helpful and friendly folks so jump right in and share your succulents or succulent questions on Instagram or one of the many succulent Facebook groups out there.