A Confession, Tips on Not Killing your Succulents

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I have a confession.  Your Plant Kween is a murderess.

I used to hate succulents.  No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many Instagram plant gurus I followed, no matter how many sacrificial lambs I slaughtered, I could not successfully grow a succulent for more than three months.  Dozens dead, wallet empty, tears shed.  Here are some tips on how you can avoid contributing to the mass murder of succulents worldwide.

Tip 1.

Use proper soil.  Yes, it matters.  Yes, your Echeveria will die if you stick it in a pot of Miracle Gro potting mix.

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Tip 2.

Don’t f#%&ing over-water it.  Succulents need to completely dry out before being watered.  Stick your finger one inch into the soil.  If it comes back clean and dry, you’re good to go.  If you see soil particles, you are going to want to wait until the soil is completely dry.

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Tip 3 (and it’s a hard one).

Succulents do not like glazed pots without drainage.  I know, I know.  I’m guilty of this rule, too.  Your new aloe plant would look so cute in that shiny new glazed pot.  You know what isn’t cute?  Death.  Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I’m 98% certain the business model of most plant stores includes selling you a death trap for your new plant that insures your return.  You’ll have to come back in four months when the root rot sets in.  Give your succulent some drainage and a find a porous, unglazed pot that won’t drown the little guy.

…Or, if you’re like me, and you have a problem buying cute pots that will most certainly kill your succulents, create a drainage system.  Take a note from terrariums, and layer gravel and activated charcoal on the bottom of the holeless swamp pot.  This will give room for water to drain and allow roots to breathe.

Tip 4.

Give your succulent adequate light.  Easy enough right?  Wrong.  Many varieties of succulents require a minimum of 12 hours a day of bright, indirect light.  Many thrive in direct sun, as well.  South facing windows work best for succulents, but be weary of cold drafts in the winter, however.

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Tip 5.

Accept that indoor gardening is a challenge and mistakes will be made.  Or start over with a fern because ferns are easy.

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