Stop Killing Your Succulents and Do This Instead | SHIFTING ROOTS

Stop Killing Your Succulents and Do This Instead

We’ve all picked up a cute little succulent from the garden centre or grocery store, only to have it die a horrible death a few months later.  How could this happen?  Succulents are supposed to be easy!!

While succulents don’t require as much maintenance as other plants, they’re not fool-proof.  Here’s what you need to know to keep yours alive and thriving over the winter months.

Are your succulents constantly dying indoors in containers or terrariums?  Here's how to care for them instead, plus some tips for propagating tired looking succulents into beautiful decor. #succulents #indoorgardening

Disclaimer: I garden in zone 3b on the Canadian Prairies.  While I make every effort to make my advice as applicable to as many people as possible, growing conditions in your area might be vastly different.  However, I love to hear from readers in other areas, so let us know in the comments if there’s a different way to keep succulents alive where you live!

If you like videos better than blog posts, here’s a Facebook Live I did recently that goes over most of the points I’m writing.  Scroll on if you prefer reading.

Give Your Succulents The Light They Need

Succulents love the sun!  While it’s true that some varieties need less light than others, if you live in a Northern climate and are trying to keep succulents alive over the winter, your best bet is to keep them as close to a south facing window as possible.

One of the biggest reasons your succulent will die, is that you wanted to place it on your dining room table or coffee table as a centrepiece.  Unless you have plenty of windows in the room, or your table is right up against the window, your plants will die a slow death over the winter because they simply can’t get enough light.

Are your succulents constantly dying indoors in containers or terrariums?  Here's how to care for them instead, plus some tips for propagating tired looking succulents into beautiful decor. #succulents #indoorgardening

Don’t Overwater

Succulents only need a light watering once a week, or even every two weeks.  My succulents have survived just fine for a month without water, although if I go that long without watering, I give them a lot of water to make up for it.  If you you’ve watered so much that the ground looks saturated and water is sitting on top, you’ve watered too much.  Succulents can survive a watering like that, but not if that’s how you water them every week.

Pro tip: for happier succulents, let the water you plan to water them with sit out overnight.  It will better mimic the fresh rainwater they love.

I'm in love with these rainbow succulents, but they're constantly dying indoors in my containers and terrariums.  Here's how to care for them instead, plus some tips for propagating tired looking succulents into beautiful decor. #succulents #indoorgardening

All Succulents Look Terrible in February

Sometime in February or even late January, your succulents will look like they’re ready for the compost pile.  Don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong!!  This a natural part of their life cycle.  All you have to do is clean them up, re-pot them, and use any fallen or sad looking leaves for new succulent babies.

Related: Easy Pumpkin and Succulent Centrepiece

Propagating Succulents in Easy!

Propagating succulents is one of the easiest gardening chores you can possibly do.  Take off a leaf and set it on the soil.  That’s it.

After a few days or weeks, some roots will start to grow and a new little succulent will have started to form.  Once the parent leaf dries up put your new little succulent in some soil.  Done.

Propagating succulents is easy and fun!  Here's what to do when your indoor plants are looking tired and you want to save money gardening. #succulents #care #propagating

You can also just cut off the stem of a larger succulent and set it in the ground.  The succulent will continue to grow.

Some succulents, like this one below, make it even easier to grow a new succulent–just lift off the babies when they look big enough.

Thanks to my Aunt Bev for sending me this picture of her succulent. Just lift off the succulent babies at the edge of the leaves for a new succulent.

Related: How to Propagate Succulents

Setting Succulents Outdoors for the Summer

Once you clean up and propagate your succulents for the winter, they should look great until they are ready to go outdoors for the summer in May.  If you hope to get larger succulents over the summer, leave space in-between plants so they have room to grow.  If you pack them too tightly they won’t get much larger.

Succulents like it hot, but they don’t like it burning.  The leaves can burn if you put them in a location that gets intense heat for most of the day.  I have a south facing deck that gets no shade and is very sheltered from the wind.  I made the mistake of leaving my succulents there this summer and they did not do well.

Finally, don’t put brand new succulent babies outside for the summer.  They will die.  If you’ve had better success with this, please let me know your secrets in the comments.

Are your succulents constantly dying indoors in containers or terrariums?  Here's how to care for them instead, plus some tips for propagating tired looking succulents into beautiful decor, or as filler for your garden next spring. #succulents #indoorgardening

Are your succulents constantly dying indoors in containers or terrariums?  Here's how to care for them instead, plus some tips for propagating tired looking succulents into beautiful decor. #succulents #indoorgardening

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Kristen

Welcome!

Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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