Care tips – succulents

Succulents thrive in environments with little water, which explains their thick fleshy leaves in storing water.

Over-watering can kill succulents. If your succulents look mushy, shrivelled or yellow, it means you’ve over-watered.

Only water when the soil is completely dry. That would be once every 1-2 weeks but that’s dependent on other factors such as climate. The most accurate way to tell would be to insert a toothpick into the soil. If it comes out without soil bits, you may proceed to water. When in doubt, do not water.

Succulents hate it when their roots are wet for a long time. That’s why every succulent terrarium is designed with porous soil and gravel at the bottom for drainage. When watering, ensure water flows through the soil thoroughly and the excess drains off.

Use a syringe and water directly onto soil, at the roots. Do not spray water onto leaves as that will cause them to decay.

Succulent leaves dry up and die. It’s perfectly normal for leaves at the bottom to dry up. When that happens, simply pluck them off with a tweezer.

Succulents make good indoor plants since it can survive with little water, but like all plants, they crave light.

Succulents need approximately 6 hours of light in a day. If you’re having them indoors, try to place them near the window, but not under direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight can also help ensure that soil is not too damp.

If you’re having them on your office table and unable to expose them to sunlight, fluorescent lights help provide an adequate amount of light too.

If your succulents start to stretch; more space between leaves or bend towards a light source, it means they’re receiving insufficient light. But don’t worry as it doesn’t mean they’re unhealthy or dying soon.

When the succulent gets too leggy for your liking, one option would be to snip the top off and propagate it.

The further the colour of the succulent deviate from green, the more light it requires.

If you ever rehouse your succulent somewhere else, do remember to use soil with good drainage or cacti soil. Adding pumice or activated charcoal also ensures soil doesn’t stay too wet.

Succulent leaves can grow into new succulents.

If a healthy leaf falls, leave it to dry for 2-3 days, whereby calluses start to form at the area where it was connected to the mother plant.

After that, plant them in cacti soil and water when the soil is dry. Roots will start to form, followed by buds.

Not all leaves eventually grow into new succulents, but have fun propagating those which do.


If you’re wondering why there’s a layer of white powdery substance on the leaves, it’s the epicuticular wax, a natural ‘sunscreen’ which protects the succulent from direct and strong sunlight. It’s perfectly normal and not a disease so do not rub it off as it doesn’t come back. When need be, handle the succulent by the stem and not the leaves.