Scenic Erie Station Village

3 Simple Rules for Growing Succulents

Three potted succulents. Image credit: Esther Loewen.

November 2023


Succulents have seen a big increase in popularity as houseplants. It might be because of their quirky shapes and varied textures. And it’s probably also because they can survive some of the harshest conditions on earth. They’re capable of living through lengthy droughts and extreme temperature changes better than most other variety of plants. All of which makes them a good choice as a low-maintenance houseplant. And while they have a reputation for survival, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow a few rules if you want yours to thrive.

Lots of Light

Succulents need light—lots and lots of light. When indoors, they prefer bright, indirect sunlight. A south or east-facing window is ideal. Given their natural desert habitat, you would think they need direct sunlight. However, direct sun through glass windows can actually cause them to sunburn.

You’ll know it if it happens because they get a whitish or brown discoloration. If you only have north or west-facing windows, you probably won’t get enough light for succulents. In that case, you’ll have to invest in a grow light for them.

Moderation in Watering

It goes without saying that any plant that loves the desert probably doesn’t need much water. When it comes to succulents, overwatering is the most common problem. These plants store water in their leaves, which allows them to withstand drought.

Indoors, they require watering only once the soil has completely dried out. Use your finger to test the soil’s moisture level; if it’s dry an inch below the surface, it’s time to water. When you do, water thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain away.

Lightweight Soil

Succulents love a light, sandy, and well-drained soil to prevent root rot. You can buy soil meant specifically for succulents or make your own. Just mix potting soil with sand and perlite or pumice in a 1:1:1 ratio. This creates a porous medium that allows water to drain quickly and air to reach the roots.

It’s also important to make sure your pot or planter has drainage holes so excess water can escape. And while it’s just for looks, it’s nice to finish off the top of the soil with a thin layer of gravel or small crushed stones.

We love it when our residents add houseplants to their apartments and townhomes. Having a little more life in your place brightens the mood and can be an important element in your décor. Remember, the key to succulent care is understanding their desert origins and mimicking those conditions as closely as possible. With the right light, watering schedule, soil mix, and pot, your succulents will be set up for success!