Succulent Planting & Care Recommendations

This is a guide for attendees of our Plant Salon Potting and Propagation Class, and this post will provide some additional information for how to care for your new plants.  

Succulent Plant Care 

Your new succulent plant is thankfully very resilient, and here are some plant care suggestions to set your plant up for a great start.

Getting Your New Plant

Once you get your new plant, please put it in a sunny spot like a window sill until your class.  You do not need to water your plant until you’ve finished potting it as part of our class.  That will be the first time it will need to be watered in its new home.

Soil Needs 

When it comes time to repot your plant to a larger size pot, opt for a fast draining mix of indoor potting or succulent soil. Succulents are really efficient at storing water in their thicker, waxy leaves in order to survive periods of drought or high temps, so they really do not like sitting in very wet conditions at all. 

Signs Your Soil Needs To Be Amended

Amending your soil means to make adjustments to your soil mix ingredients.  This can mean making your soil mix faster or slower draining.  Signs your soil needs to be amended to be faster draining are if it feels like your plant’s soil is always damp, if there’s any moss growing on the soil, or if it’s in a terra cotta pot and there’s green mold growing on the pot’s surface.  If you see these signs, you should consider repotting your plant in a fresh mix of faster draining succulent or amended potting mix. 

You can amend your basic potting soil to increase drainage by adding more perlite, pumice, or small lava rock to your soil to help water move quickly down and out through the pot.  This will also help keep your soil aerated, allowing more air to get to the plant’s roots, and keeping the bad bacteria away.

If you find you’re having the opposite problem, and you feel like you have to water your succulent too often, this might be a sign that your plant’s roots have taken over the pot, and you need to repot it into a larger pot with more soil.  Or if the plant is in a super hot, sunny spot, and you’re watering it daily, you can also try repotting the plant in a slower draining potting mix with a higher content of more absorbent growing media like coco coir or peat moss.  

Light Needs

Succulents need at least 6 hours of filtered light to grow well. They do not need to bake under a hot sun, and if they get too much hot, direct sun they can also get sunburnt.  A sign that your succulent is getting the upper limit of direct sunlight is if it starts to turn pink or rosy toned.  This is called “sun stress,” and it can be quite attractive on a lot of plants, but any more light, and you may risk sun burning the plant.

Signs Your Succulent Needs More Light

If you find that your succulent is starting to get really tall or leggy, and there are large spaces between the leaves, this is a sign that your plant is etiolating, which means it’s stretching to reach more light.  This is a sign to move your plant to a spot with more light.

Water Needs

Since succulents most often have thick, waxy leaves, they are very efficient at reserving their water supply to manage periods of drought.  One of the most important watering tips to keep in mind is that all succulent plants want to thoroughly dry out between watering. This makes  a succulent a great starter plant for new plant owners who are still figuring out a good watering schedule.  

When To Adjust Your Watering Routine

The amount and frequency of how much you water your succulent is based on how dry or humid your space is, and how much light you give your plants.  The less light a plant gets, the less water it needs. Most succulents in the average home are very happy to be watered 1-2x a month.  

Signs of your succulent needing more water tend to be dry, brittle, dehydrated leaves, or the leaves getting a parched paper texture, and becoming much more thin.  If you live in a fairly dry home, it’s the middle of summer, or you have your plants in a very sunny south or westward window, these are all conditions that might mean you should water your succulents more frequently.  Also, the smaller the pot of soil the plant is in, the faster that soil will dry out. 

If you instead live in a lower light space, it’s more humid, or it’s a cooler time of year, you might find that you need to water your succulents even less frequently.  And the larger your plant’s pot size, the more soil there is vs roots  in the pot, the slower that soil will dry out.  Signs that your plant needs less water are if you start seeing very plump, but pale leaves, or anything discolored, brown, or squishy happening with the leaves. Also, if you find small black flying bugs taking over your plants, these are most likely fungus gnats, and they love to proliferate in overly saturated soil. 

If you see any of these signs of overwatering, first repot your plant with a fresh, faster draining soil mix, and either move it to a spot with more light, or start watering your succulent less frequently.

Looking for care tips for your new propagation kit?

If your class includes a propagation kit, please tap here to learn more about how to start growing some new plants. 

Let us know how your new plant is growing!

We love updates, so please feel free to comment below or email us directly at with any updates, additional thoughts, or care questions you may have for your succulent plants.  Also, be sure to follow Plant Salon, @plantsalonchicago on Youtube and Instagram, for more plant care tips, pics, and videos.