Top 5 Questions from Succulent Rookies

by Lynn KirkSep 27, 2021


So, you bought a few succulents. Now what do you do? Take heart because succulents are fairly easy to grow. Even if you’re a beginner, you can keep these plants alive! 

Succulent Market tackled the top 5 questions from succulent rookies, those new to the gardening game. The answers might help you nurture your plants and build some green-thumb confidence, so please read on . . .

1. What soil do I use for succulents?

Not houseplant soil. Not backyard dirt. Not clay-heavy or humus-rich soil. Sure, these soil blends can work for water-thirsty houseplants, annuals, and perennials. However, succulents hold water in their fleshy leaves, so they don’t do well with soils that retain even more water. That’s why the best succulent soil contains sand, perlite, or similar ingredients that support water drainage.

Tip: Rather than guessing or trying to mix your own soil, just visit and purchase specially mixed succulent-soil blends.

2. When do I water succulents?

This one's important because overwatering is the number 1 killer of succulents. Most succulent plants originated in desert regions, so naturally they need less water than houseplants. With succulents, you should wait until the plant’s soil has dried out. You can determine this by sticking your finger into the soil about a half inch. If it feels totally dry, directly water the roots (not leaves) until excess water runs out of the container’s drainage holes. Another option is to set the plants in a flat pan of water so the succulents' roots can take up the water it needs. BTW, there is no need to mist the leaves and stems because that water never reaches the plant’s roots.

Tip: There are exceptions. If your succulents hail from a tropical climate or are hybrids from rainforest plants (like the Christmas cactus), they will require a different watering schedule. Always check the plant tag for recommended care.

3. What is eating my succulents?

Seldom is any plant safe from pests. Though succulents tend to be more resistant, they do attract mealybugs, red spider mites, and aphids. Their numbers and their damage can escalate quickly, plus they can easily spread to other plants. So, if you spot harmful pests, spray a pesticide or organic remedy as soon as possible. 

Tip: Check out these other Succulent Market blogs about pest control:

4. What is propagation and why do it?

Propagation is using parts of one plant to breed more plants, a.k.a. cloning to grow your collection. If you want to keep it simple, remove a leaf from the parent plant by carefully plucking it as close to the stem as possible. Lay it on a towel so it can dry and the "open break" can scab over. The leaf may wilt a little in the days to come, but no need to water it just yet. Once the opening scabs, place the leaf’s flat side directly on succulent soil -- or with a rosette, just set it atop the soil. Water as appropriate for succulents, and watch for roots to establish. For other step-by-step options, check out these other blogs

Tip: If you want to propagate new varieties of succulents, place an order for a bag of cuttings from Succulent Market. The variety pack is amazing!

5. Should I move my outdoor succulents inside during winter?

You need to know a little more about your succulents before making that decision. Typically, "hardy" succulents can withstand harsh winters and snow, while "tender" or soft succulents cannot. If you've lost your plant tag, just google the plant name for info.

In Plant Zones 7 and lower, it's best to bring "tender" succulents inside during winter. Before moving them, clean the pot and change the soil so outside pests  don't hitchhike in. Provide sunlight and water as usual during winter. Then when spring comes, slowly acclimate the plants back outdoors for another growing season. 

Tip:  Make sure the succulents still get six to eight hours of light daily light.

By knowing the answers to these top 5 questions from succulent rookies, you're no longer a beginner! You can thank Succulent Market, America's preferred succulent grower and retailer.