Most succulents need full sun to maintain their color and shape. You’ll want to put your succulents in a south facing window where they receive light for most of the day. You may still notice some stretching if you are growing Echeverias, which grow quickly and need lots of sunlight. If you grow Haworthias, Gasterias, and Sansevierias, however, you’ll be able to get by with just a few hours of light per day.
The best way to water succulents is to completely soak the soil and then let it dry out completely before you water again (otherwise known as the “Soak and Dry” watering method). When the soil is soaked, your succulents will soak up as much water as they can. Then wait for the soil to dry out completely – all the way to the bottom – before you water again. You can even leave your succulents in completely dry soil for several days, especially if they’re larger and have well-established roots. During the “drought,” they’ll put out new roots that are thick and healthy, so they can absorb more water when the “flood” comes again.
A watering can with a long narrow spout is typically the best/easiest way to water your succulents. Do not use a spray bottle to water! A light spray does not promote healthy root growth.
If you are worried about overwatering, or your planter has no drainage, ice cubes are also a good way to not overwater your succulents. 1-2 cubes (depending on the size of your succulents) about once a week should do the trick.
Succulents are like all other plants and perform best with added nutrients; however, they do not need as much. You can add a liquid succulent fertilizer to your weekly watering (needs to be a low analysis such as 2-7-7 NPK) or add a higher analysis fertilizer (10-10-10 NPK) once a month to your watering. Proper feeding throughout the year will result in fuller and more colorful succulents.
Succulents will rot and die if they are in wet soil for too long. You will want to plant your succulents in a soil that is specifically made for succulents and cacti, or you will need to add sand to your regular potting soil so that it has plenty of good drainage. Another great option for indoor succulent soil is diatomaceous earth. You can mix this in with a standard potting soil or use it on its own. Diatomaceous earth absorbs water but dries out quickly. This is perfect for succulents. If you find it hard to keep up with watering or a consistent watering schedule, using diatomaceous earth as the soil for your succulents will help prevent over watering.
Common Watering Mistakes
Mistake #1 – Using a pot without a drainage hole
Although your succulents can survive in planters without drainage holes, you’ll have to put in a lot more work to keep them happy. We recommend starting with a pot that has a good drainage hole.
Mistake #2 – Using poorly draining soil
The right soil is a huge part of successfully watering your succulents. Succulents prefer not to sit in wet soil for very long. In addition to getting a pot that drains effectively, you need to use soil that does the same.
Mistake #3 – Using a spray bottle for watering
Succulents like to be soaked, not spritzed! They do not like to have water sitting on their leaves and misting the soil does not promote healthy root growth.