Can Succulents Grow Outdoors?

by Succulent MarketOct 13, 2020


Succulents are the perfect indoor plants, from bringing some character to the bookshelf or to brighten up a boring windowsill. But can succulents grow outdoors?

Well, you’re in luck: succulents CAN grow outdoors. In fact, they can grow in almost any climate. They just take a little more care compared to their indoor cousins.

So, how do you take care of outdoor succulents?

This guide will show you how. 

Ground Vs Planters

Most succulents cannot survive the cold weather, especially the frost. There are a couple of exceptions, like hens and chicks that turn dormant when the winter rolls in, but for the most part, succulents will die during these months.

Unless you live in a warm climate, make sure you plant your succulent in a pot that you can easily take indoors when it gets cold. Potting also means you can control the exact amount of water your succulent gets. 

While they are a very low-maintenance plant, their roots are very delicate and will rot when over saturated.

Too much water is bad for a succulent. If you live in an area that rains a lot, planters enable you to move the succulent indoors until the weather dries out a bit. 

The same goes for heat waves - even succulents don’t enjoy too much sun.

How To Care For Succulents In The Ground

While pots have many advantages, if you live in a warm climate, then you should consider planting your succulent directly into the ground. Succulents are desert natives, so they can tolerate weather better than the majority of garden plants. Plus, they can take advantage of any wasted water.

If you do plant your succulent in the ground, make sure that the soil drains well. As noted above, exposure to too much water can cause the roots to rot. So, before you plant the succulent, build a small mound out of a succulent-specific soil mix. This mound is where you plant the succulent.

In the case of hens and chicks (ie succulents that like to sprawl), then make sure that you give the plant plenty of room between any others in the same area. They may be small at first, but they sure can spread out as they mature.

Once it’s in the garden bed, you don’t need to give the succulent that much attention. You may want to consider watering the leaves in the event of extreme heat. Just keep min how much you give them; little is more.

How To Care For Succulents In Planters

Pots are excellent for growing succulents. Indoor succulents can thrive in almost any pot you can think of, from terrariums to teapots - as long as you monitor how much sunlight and water they are exposed too.

Outdoor succulents are different. Because the rain can soak the plant, you must ensure any pot has plenty of drainage holes to allow the rain to run deep into the soil. Terra cotta pots are your best bet. 

Keep the soil mix lightweight too as this helps with drainage. The thicker the mix, the less water can filter out.

Potted succulents need watering just as often as those planted in the ground - so not much. But when the weather gets particularly hot or dry, it’s best to just check in with the plant. Does it have shriveled leaves? Is the soil more like dust? If the answer to these questions is a yes, then they need watering.

In terms of sunlight, while most love as much as they can get their leaves on, others grow better in partial shade. Make sure your planter succulents all have similar light requirements and place them in a location that allows them to thrive.

How To Avoid Pests

Succulents aren’t very attractive to many outdoor pests, but the mealybug is certainly interested in feasting on their leaves. Mealybugs are while, wingless insects and are common in warmer climates. Their favorite food: succulents. They can’t resist its juiciness.

If your succulent does get some mealybugs on its leaves, the best thing to do is to remove those leaves from the plant. However, if it’s turned into a complete infestation, then the best thing to do is to just get rid of the succulent before the mealybugs run riot across your entire garden.