How to care for a succulent indoors? This is one of the most common questions I often get from my beloved readers. In this post, I would do my best to answer the query.
Succulents have become the favorite of most indoor greenery lovers. This is because these houseplants are easy to care for and tolerant of indoor environments. But many newbies are not quite sure how to grow these plants indoor.
So, how to care for a succulent indoors? Succulents are versatile plants that can thrive indoors. However, make sure they receive the right amount of light, water, soil, the right pot or planter, and the right fertilizer.
Succulents are plants that only require minimal effort. As long as they got their needs, they just grow healthily without constant care.
Their ability to grow indoor comes from their special features. The leaves are thick and fleshy that are capable of storing water. The water hoarded in the whole plant structure gives succulents the ability to survive in a dry indoor environment.
Unlike other ornamental plants, succulents are more resistant to environmental changes. These plants can thrive indoors all year long.
Not only succulents are tolerant of extreme environmental conditions, but also they have incredible and amazing forms and shapes. Apart from their beautiful features, they are also easy to propagate. You can use the leaves and stems to generate a new plant.
Planting succulents indoors
If you are planning to plant or place your succulents indoor, make sure that you choose a pot with drainage holes (check the pot on Amazon). Drainage is crucial to all indoor succulents. This keeps the succulents from overwatering. And most importantly, you’ll be able to keep your house clean and organized.
Aside from pots with draining holes, you also need to have a tray underneath the pot. The purpose of this is to catch the draining water. It will help the succulents from being overwatered.
If you are growing succulents for a while, you probably already know that these plants are vulnerable to rotting if overwatered.
Aside from pots with draining holes, you also need fast-draining soil (check this soil on Amazon). Soil is also crucial to the plant’s health. It allows the water to drain freely. Compact soil retains water that may in turn cause rotting.
If you wonder what type of soil is best for your succulents, you can try the well-drained potting soil (check this potting soil on Amazon) that I am using. This soil, when watered, does not retain too much water and moisture.
What I love about this soil is that you can easily soak the plants and leave. The water will just drain without you doing anything.
How to care for a succulent indoors?
Succulents are accustomed to bright areas. They are native to semi-desert geographical location. Due to its origin, a succulent plant needs more sunlight than any other houseplants.
But this does not mean that they can’t survive indoors. You just need to place the plants in areas where sunrays are accessible. The best place is the one that is facing the east window. This area of the house has access to sunlight long enough for indoor succulents to enjoy the light.
But although succulents love sunlight, too much exposure to it will harm them. If exposed to scourging sunlight, it always a good idea to provide them with shade. Block the direct sunlight using a thin cloth or sheer curtain.
Indoor succulents need regular watering schedules too. Watering helps drain the buildup of minerals and fertilizer residue that are harmful to the plant. When watering, soak the soil thoroughly and let it dry.
The watering interval is dependent on many factors such as climate and environment. For indoor succulents, for instance, they need less frequent watering than those in outdoor.
But the general rule of thumb is that only water the succulents when the soil is completely dry. This technique is also known as the soak and dry method. It is the best strategy to avoid overwatering.
What does an indoor succulent need?
Planting succulents indoor may have different requirements from outdoor succulents. If your plants don’t get what they deserve, they will not grow healthily.
That said, in this post, I will be sharing with you the top requirements of the indoor succulents.
This is one of the most essential needs of any plant. Succulents are some of the plants that need more sunlight than others. Thus, bringing them inside can be challenging.
Indoor succulents need sunlight too. The best place for them to expose under sunlight is the area of your house that faces east. This allows the plants to capture the available sunlight.
Another way you can do is to bring succulents outside to expose them under sunlight for about 4-6 hours a day. Then bring them back inside later. This is an arduous effort though. But it is worth to your plants.
Different succulents may need different lengths of sunlight exposure needed. There are succulents that need more sun exposure than other types. It is your job to know more about your plants.
Related: Does Succulent Need Direct Sunlight?
Although succulents are tolerant of environmental conditions, they cannot tolerate overwatering. This happens when they are planted in the wrong type of soil.
What I recommend is fast-draining soil (check this soil on Amazon). I use this soil mix for all my succulent plants. You don’t have to worry about overwatering when you’re using the correct type of soil.
You know if the soil is perfect or not for your succulents. The best way to test is to take a pinch of the soil and squeeze it. If it falls easily, then you have a good soil mix.
For indoor succulents, you can use the ornamental containers. Containers can add to the beauty and aesthetic features of the plant. The size of the container may depend on the size of your plant. Bigger succulents need bigger containers.
But whatever container you choose, make sure that they have draining holes. As mentioned, draining holes allows excess water to drain freely.
Drainage is crucial for indoor succulents. This is because, in an indoor environment, the soil may take time to dry. As you already know, excess water or moisture may cause rotting to the plants.
Like any plant, succulents also need water. But not too much of it. Rotting happens when succulents are soaked in the water. Remember that succulents already store water in the leaves and stems. When overwatered, succulents would die.
There are many indicators when succulents are overwatered. The common ones are the softening of the leaves or stems and the emergence of black spots on the leaves. These signals that watering should be reduced.
On the other hand, if succulents are under-watered, you will notice the puckering of the leaves. This usually happens when the soil is dry. So give enough water for your plants.
It is very important to know when to fertilize your indoor succulents. During summer or warmer months, succulents are more active. This is the perfect time for fertilizing.
In contrast, during winter or fall, do not give fertilizer to your plants. This is because, during these months, succulents are dormant. They don’t need more nutrients.
How to take care of succulent indoors in the winter?
Climate affects succulent growth. This means that, under environmental conditions, succulents may have different survival needs.
Although succulents can tolerate cold, in extreme cases, they could be withered. It is a good idea to bring them inside the house unless you grow froze tolerant variety of succulents.
Here are the things to do for your succulents during winter:
1. Provide light source
During winter, the sunlight is normally limited. In fact, there could be days when the sun does not show up. This is not good for the succulents.
When indoor, you have to keep in mind that succulents need to be kept warm and illuminated. In this case, you can use the lighting for indoor plants (check this lighting on Amazon). This is a great way to keep your indoor succulents warm.
There are succulents though that can survive during frost. But if you are growing the soft ones, you need to give them more attention and care.
2. Adjust watering frequency and the amount of water
During winter, there would be enough moisture in the air. This delays the drying process of the soil. As a result, it takes days before the soil gets totally dried out.
During winter, succulents don’t need as much water as in summer. In effect, you need to reduce the amount of water and the watering frequency. Water once every two weeks.
However, the frequency may be dependent on the soil moisture. That said, always check the soil. Take a pinch of it and squeeze the soil by your fingers. If it is brittle, that means it is dry. You can water it then.
3. Check indoor succulents regularly
One of the common enemies of succulent indoors especially during winter is the mealybugs. These pests look like cotton balls that usually live under the leaves of the plant.
What you can do is to isolate the affected plant. Then spray the affected succulent plant with a mixture of alcohol and water. This will kill the pests. Keep the affected plant isolated until the pests are totally eliminated.
You may continue to spray alcohol to make sure that the plant is safe. If all pests are killed, you can now bring back the plant to its original location.
Mistakes that you could possibly commit with your succulents
You know you give everything for your succulents. But one day you notice that the leaves of the plants start dropping. Not only that, but you also found that black spots are forming and the leaves are wrinkling.
If these issues are present in your plants, it means something. You probably did wrong on your plants that caused the problem.
You probably heard that caring for succulent plants is easy. But that’s not entirely true. The truth is that succulents do need care. And making mistakes can take a toll on your plants’ health.
Back in the day, I made a lot of mistakes that killed my plants too. When I realized, it was too late. If you are just starting growing succulents, you might probably make the same mistake.
In this post, I will share with you the common mistakes that you want to avoid.
1. Placing succulents in a poorly lit area
Most people think that because succulents are tolerant of extreme conditions, these plants can go for weeks without sunlight. Well, as mentioned, that’s not the nature of the plant.
Without sunlight, direct or indirect, you’ll start to see problems in your plants. The leaves will change in color. The branches start to lean towards the bright area of your house.
These are indicators that your succulent plants are needing sunlight. There are two things you can do in this case. Either you occasionally bring the succulents outside or you use the lighting for indoor plants (check this lighting on Amazon).
When your succulents delivered you a message, do not ignore it. Because if you do, they will most likely die sooner.
If you are a newbie, you probably have no idea that succulents need water much like other ornamental plants. When I was starting, I thought because succulents are native to semi-desert areas, they don’t need water.
But of course, I was wrong. What I found is that succulents love to soak in water once in a while. You just need to make sure that the plants are planted in fast-draining soil mix and pot with drainage holes.
This way you’ll keep your succulents from becoming overwatered.
3. Using the wrong soil
As you already know, the soil is very important if not the most important piece of ingredient for healthy succulent growth. If you are new to caring succulents, you might probably think that the standard soil will do.
Unfortunately, my experience speaks the opposite. Succulents don’t like standard soil mix that goes when you buy a new plant. This means that you have to change the soil for baby succulents.
My recommendation is the fast-draining succulent mix (click here to check this soil mix on Amazon). I use this with all my indoor succulents as well as my outdoor plants. You can buy it on Amazon or nearby suppliers.
4. Crammed succulents together
Succulents are amazing colorful little plants. Many people, this includes me when I was started, tend to cram many varieties in one pot. The result is indeed a magnificent arrangement.
But there are three major problems with that. First, much like other plants, succulents need space to breathe. Crowding them together with other plants inhibits them to grow freely.
Secondly, succulents need nutrients. If they are crowded in one pot, they are vying the resources. As a result, not all of them get enough nutrients to supply healthy growth.
Lastly, crowded succulents are favorites of insects. Those little guys will take refuge in the plants making them stealthy. Insects will, later on, bring harm to your plants.
My suggestion is that give your succulents enough space to breathe and grow freely.
5. Growing the wrong variety of succulents indoor
Before growing succulents, make sure that your plants are suited for indoor environments. This is because not all succulents can tolerate low light or under the shade. If you want to know the variety of succulents that are perfect for indoors, you can check my related post. You’ll find the succulents that are perfect for low light on Amazon.
Some succulents are better off left outside.
Growing succulent indoors requires care and attention. Although succulents are tolerant of environmental conditions, they may need the correct amount of water, light, soil, and container while indoor.
It is important to recognize the type of succulents you are growing. This is because not all of them can thrive inside. Know your succulents.
And most importantly, be sensitive to their needs. Every season affects the succulents. I hope that the tips I shared in this post will help you grow your succulents indoors successfully.