If you like the idea of being a plant parent but want an easy way in, a great place to start is with succulent plants. Caring for succulents is easy because they’re hardy and store water in their leaves, requiring very little maintenance from you! 

Here’s how to care for succulents, including information on the best soil for succulents, how to water succulents, and an answer to the question: Do succulents need sun?

How to Take Care of Succulents

Examples of different succulent types.

There are many different succulent types, including aloe vera, echeveria, zebra haworthia, tiger jaws, Burro’s tail, jade plants, and various types of spiky cacti. Each plant looks different, and some might require larger or smaller pots or hanging baskets. In general, though, these different types of succulents require similar care, so you can apply the following succulent care tips to most varieties. 

If you’re unsure, do a quick search for the type of succulent you’ve bought (or speak to the staff at a garden center) to learn whether there are any tips specific to your plant. Unless you live in a dry, desert-like climate, learning how to take care of succulents indoors is probably more worthwhile.

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How Much Light Do Succulents Need?

aloe plants
Do they need sun? Yes, but they don’t always need direct sunlight.

Succulents are native to hot, dry places. If that’s not the type of environment you live in, you can still help them along by placing them beside a window. Too much direct sunlight, however, can lead to sunburn. Place your succulent in a light place where the plant will sometimes get relief from the sun.

How Do You Water Succulents?

tiny aloe plant
How to care for a succulent: only water them once the soil is completely dry.

Wondering how to water succulents? You should only water them once the soil has become completely dry. Some plants (such as aloe vera) need more water than others (such as echeveria), so do look up the requirements for your plant. A common mistake, which often leads to the succulent’s death, is to water them too much. It’s always better to under-water a succulent than over-water it, as it’s easier to save an under-watered plant than an over-watered one. Caring for succulents should be easy, and they’re often said to thrive on neglect!

How Often Do You Water Succulents?

Most succulents only need watering once their soil has become completely dry. Some don’t need much even then, and the leaves may actually begin to rot if they’re given too much water. As a rule of thumb, don’t water a succulent if the soil is still moist. Succulents should never be left to sit in water or they might start to rot.

Best Soil for Succulents

Cacti and succulent potting mix is the best succulent soil.

When transporting new succulents—or any plants, for that matter—to a pot, it’s important to use potting mix, rather than soil from the garden. Potting mix has more concentrated nutrients and shouldn’t have any of the bugs or plant diseases that can affect outdoor plants.

Potting mix specifically for succulents and cacti is available, so if you can find this at your local gardening or hardware store, buy it instead of general-purpose potting mix. The drainage is better for these types of plants.

Other FAQs for Succulent Care

wrinkly succulents
How often do you water? Wrinkly leaves are a sign it’s time.

Why Are My Succulent’s Leaves Rotting?

You’re probably watering it too much, or it’s sitting in water due to the poor drainage of its pot. Wait until the succulent soil is completely dry before watering it, or change its pot to something with plenty of drainage holes.

Why Are My Succulent’s Leaves Wrinkling?

You probably need to water it. Check whether the soil is dry. If so, give it some water.

What Are There Brown Spots on My Succulent’s Leaves?

It may be sunburn. If your plants are left in direct sunlight, they can burn. Put them in a shadier, but still light, place for a while.

Why Is My Succulent Turning Yellow?

The leaves of some succulents turn yellow if they are getting too much sun. Change where you’re placing it.

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Written by:

Elen Turner