Shipping Succulents: How to Care for Succulents After You Buy Them Online

Succulents are a popular choice for indoor gardening and can be shipped to your home from a variety of locations. My favorite place to buy succulents online is Etsy as there are numerous succulent and cacti growers all over the country who all have shops on the marketplace. However, the shipping process can be hard on these delicate plants, and it is important to give them proper care to help them recover.

This post will include links to some of my favorite succulent and cactus shops on Etsy. I will receive a small commission from any purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you AND you’ll be supporting two small businesses at the same time!

Unpack, Check for Damage & Pot

Upon receiving your succulents, unpack them immediately and check for any damage which may have occurred during shipping. If the plants have been shipped bare root, without soil, it is important to pot them with succulent soil as soon as possible to ensure the roots don’t dry up.


Source: Etsy – Rosalina and her son, Carlos, at Rojas Succulents are truly the ones who kickstarted my infatuation with succulents. They’re local to me so I’m thankful to be able to visit them and wander through their greenhouses. They’re both a wealth of knowledge about succulents and it shows through their extensive variety of healthy succulents.

Quarantine New Succulents

Quarantining new succulents after shipping (or any new plant) is necessary for several reasons. Firstly, it helps prevent the spread of pests and diseases to your existing succulent collection. New plants may carry pests or diseases that can quickly spread to other plants if not isolated.

Secondly, quarantine allows you to closely monitor the health of the new succulents. If any issues arise, such as signs of disease or pest infestations, you can address them promptly without risking the health of your other plants.


Source: Etsy – I’ve gotten a handful of uncommon succulents from KongerGarden that I am extremely happy with. Shipping was smooth and each succulent was wrapped individually and in perfect condition once they arrived.

Additionally, quarantine provides an opportunity for the new succulents to acclimate to their new environment before being introduced to your existing plants.

Lastly, quarantining new succulents after shipping helps maintain the overall health and well-being of your succulent collection by minimizing the risk of introducing potential problems.


Source: Etsy – I recently added a really neat black cactus (Neochilenia huacensis) to my collection from SkyGardenByPhoenix. Shipping was seamless and the selection of succulents they have is really fun to browse.

Provide Bright, Indirect Light

Place the succulents in a location with bright, indirect light. Do not put them in direct sunlight right away as this can cause sunburn. Instead, gradually acclimate them to more and more light until the ideal amount of light is reached.

Succulents can tolerate a wide range of light conditions, but bright indirect light is best for them to thrive.


Source: Etsy – DoseofSucculents is another succulent shop local to me and I can’t even begin to tell you how many succulents I’ve bought from them. They’re in a super convenient location to where I’m at, so needless to say I pop in quite often and never leave empty handed.

Wait a Few Days Before Watering

Succulents store water in their leaves, so they do not need to be watered frequently. After you’ve potted your new succulents, let them settle into their new pot and give any damaged roots a chance to heal before watering.

When you’re rooting or transplanting your succulents and cacti, use SUPERthrive to help reduce the chance of transplant shock and grow a strong root system.

Watering too soon can introduce bacteria into any micro tears in the roots which will ultimately kill your succulent.


Source: Etsy – I got my Boobie Cactus from GrowMargo and it is easily one of my favorites.

Wait a Little More Before Fertilizing

Wait a week or two before fertilizing the succulents. This will give them time to adjust to their new environment and establish themselves before adding any extra nutrients.


Succulent fertilizer available to purchase on Etsy.

A good idea is to wait until the second watering to fertilize your new succulents if needed. Succulents are well adapted to nutrient poor soils, so don’t worry too much about fertilizing them.


Source: Etsy – Rosebud Home Goods makes my favorite plant pots. They’re 3D printed with plant based materials and have SO MUCH drainage which, as you know, is one of the most underrated aspects of basic succulent care that gets overlooked. Oh, and the shapes and styles are just really cool.

Monitor for Stress or Disease After Shipping

Keep an eye on the succulents for signs of stress or disease and take action as needed. Succulents may take a little time to adjust to their new environment and may appear wilted or dry upon arrival. This is normal and they should recover with proper care.

It’s important to remember that succulents shipped in a box with no light will likely go into a semi dormant state. During the shipping process, succulents will lose some of the moisture stored in their leaves, which can cause them to appear wilted or dry.


Source: Etsy

They may also experience some stress from the change in environment and handling during shipping. But with the proper care, they should recover in a few weeks.

So, just to recap: 

First things first, you should open the shipping box right away and let the plants breathe. After that, it’s time to inspect them. Quarantine your new succulents and keep and monitor for any pests that may have hitched a ride during the shipping process.

Next, you should remove all the damaged leaves. When I say “damaged,” I’m not talking about the dry and crispy leaves, but rather the translucent leaves at the base of the plant. These are no good because they mean the storage cells of the plant are destroyed and moisture is leaking into the surrounding tissues. If you leave these damaged leaves attached, they can progressively destroy the rest of the healthy plant.

Third, you’ll want to air-dry the plants if they arrived moist, but if you live in a very humid location, you’ll need to find a well-ventilated area for them. It’s best to avoid direct sunlight and air-drying indoors, as it can worsen any damage the plants incurred during shipment.

Finally, after three days, it’s time to plant your succulents in a fast-draining soil mixture. The soil should be moist to dry, but not wet. And remember, don’t water them right away!


Source: Etsy – I was lucky enough to score TWO Totem Pole Cacti cuttings from CrazyHCactus and they’re taking to their new home quite beautifully.

Hope these tips help you take good care of your new succulents!

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