How to Grow Succulents

Aloe there!

Succulents and cacti are native to arid places with little seasonal rainfall.  Their roots are very efficient at absorbing water quickly and their stems and leaves are able to store water for weeks at a time.  They are low maintenance and drought tolerant which are a couple of reasons succulents are popular plants in both containers and landscapes.

Important Requirements

  • Proper lighting

  • Proper watering

  • Proper soil

Favorites varieties

Mixing and matching the different colors and textures will keep your combo pots unique and fun to watch as they grow.  Some of my personal favorites include:

  • Adromischus cooperi  ‘Plover Eggs’

  • Echeveria  ‘Dark Purple’

  • Echeveria  ‘Serrana’

  • Echeveria  ‘Afterglow’

  • Rhipsalis  ‘Pilocarpa’

  • String of Dolphins

  • String of Hearts

  • String of Pearls


Aloes and Agaves can handle being in full sun outdoors, while Echeverias (the rose or cabbage shaped succulents) prefer a bit of shade, or dappled sunlight.  You can keep potted succulents indoors, but they don't do well in dim light. Make sure to keep them by a sunny window.


It is important to let the soil in the pot dry out between watering.  When you water, pour until the water soaks through and comes out of the bottom of the pot (yes, the pot needs drainage holes).  It’s important to have the proper soil mix so the bottom of the pot doesn’t get water logged.


A main ingredient for a succulent potting mix will be organic matter that absorbs water (ex: peat moss, finely ground bark, or coir).  The other main ingredient is an inorganic substance that allows water to soak into the mix and then drain quickly (ex: perlite, crushed granite, chicken grit, pumice, or insoluble cat litter).  These ingredients absorb some of the water and slowly release it, allow excess water to flow out easily, and keep air in the mix.

Here are a couple soil mix recipes for growing succulents:

  • Ex1

    • 3 parts potting soil

    • 2 parts coarse sand (turface or poultry grit)

    • 1 part perlite

  • Ex2

    • 1 part finely ground bark

    • 1 part turface

    • 1 part crushed granite

If you decide to use store-bought cactus and succulent soil consider adding crushed granite or perlite to ensure proper drainage.

Written by Kelli Bonnickson | Edited by Sebastien Serimontrikul