3 Essential Tips for Growing Succulents (and 3 Common Mistakes You’re Probably Making)

Succulents are the people’s plant: Attractive, affordable and accessible (aka notoriously easy to care for). That said, there are definitely ways to keep ‘em extra happy and healthy. We checked in with Monrovia’s editorial director, Kate Karam, for the down and dirty basics of proper indoor succulent care.

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Do: Give Them Great Soil

Just because succulents are low-maintenance doesn’t mean that you should skimp on their needs—especially when it comes to quality soil. When planting in a container, use a mix of potting soil, perlite and peat, which will give the roots room for drainage (succulents like to dry out quickly after a watering). You can also just use a cactus mix soil.

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Do: Put Them In Direct Sun

Lest you forget, succulents are an arid climate plant (a sister to cacti). While they’ll probably do fine in partial sun, for best results you should place your succulent near a sunny window where they can bathe in sunlight all day long.

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Do: Pick A Breathable Container

Succulents don’t like soggy soil. So they’ll be happiest in a vessel that breathes and, preferably, has drainage. (Think: Ceramics or terra-cotta.) Terrariums, while a popular aesthetic choice, aren’t actually great long-term solutions, because the glass doesn’t allow for airflow.

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Don't: Overcrowd Plantings

Like any other plant, succulents can get too densely populated, which limits individual plant growth and also just doesn’t look the best. Repot and divide root ball clumps every other year to keep your containers looking fresh and your plants at their most productive.

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Don't: Overwater

Succulents are very water-wise plants—and overwatering is their number one killer. According to Karam, you really only need to water on the hottest days. “Otherwise, succulents are essentially a “set ‘em and forget ‘em” type plant,” she says. “They’re very tolerant if you forget their watering needs and bounce back even when stressed from under-watering.”

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Don’t: Fuss

As long as they receive a little bit of water, a good amount of sun and are planted in the right soil, you couldn’t ask for an easier houseplant. Try not to move them around too much or lavish them with attention. “Just let them do their thing!” says Karam.