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How Does Your (Succulent) Garden Grow: Top Tips & Tricks

It’s no surprise that succulents, including cacti, are popular indoor plants. Not only do they add interest and beauty to your décor, but they’re low-maintenance and available in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Wondering how to care for your cacti? Keep reading for some top tips and tricks.



All you need is a lot of light and benign neglect to raise healthy and beautiful succulents. Place the plants near an unobstructed south-, west-, or east-facing window. Don’t let a lack of light stop you from enjoying these beautiful plants in your home though; a single desktop LED plant light, attractive plant light shelves and carts, or furniture-grade light gardens allow you to grow these sun-lovers anywhere in your home.



Grow your plants in cacti and succulent potting mix; the fast-draining mix helps reduce the risk of overwatering, which can lead to root rot. Further reduce this risk by using containers with drainage holes that are only slightly larger than the succulent’s root system. Growing them in too large of a container that retains moisture longer can result in root rot, decline, and even the death of your plants.



Water thoroughly whenever the top inch or two of soil is dry and just often enough to keep the plants from shriveling. Some gardeners check the soil moisture at the drain hole; if it’s dry, the plant needs to be watered. Always pour off any excess water that collects in the saucer. Avoid water collecting in the rosette of leaves or the cluster of prickly stems, as it can lead to crown rot. Use a watering can that has a long narrow spout and allows you to reach under the plants to water just the soil. As the seasons change, make slight adjustments in your watering regime and growing environment. Adapting to changing conditions will keep your plants healthy and looking their best year-round.



In the fall and winter, find a cool, sunny (typically south-facing windows are the brightest), draft-free location for your cacti and succulents to maximize the amount of light they receive. These changes in the growing conditions often encourage a spring display of colorful and unique flowers.



Boost your succulent’s natural beauty by displaying them in unique containers or places in your home. Create a living wall display with a three-tier vertical wall planter, grow a succulent centerpiece that can be enjoyed year-round, or plant a variety of succulents in a long narrow planter to display on a table (if needed, move it back to its sunny location between dinner parties).


Whether you’re a busy, experienced, or new indoor gardener, creating a succulent garden may be just what you need to brighten your home and elevate your mood!


By Melinda Myers

Melinda Myers is the author of more than 20 gardening books, including ‘Small Space Gardening’ and ‘Midwest Gardener’s Handbook, 2nd Edition.’ She also hosts the series ‘How to Grow Anything’ and Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program, and is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine.