Growing succulents can be a great introduction to gardening as, if you follow a few basic rules, they’re super-easy to keep. The two main requirements of succulent plants are well-drained compost and a bright spot, with plenty of direct sun.
One of the most exciting things about growing succulents is the amazing range of forms and colours available. Buying from a specialist supplier will give you the widest choice.
Check out these quick tips on growing succulents.
Some succulents, such as sedums, are mat forming and can be split to make them go further or to reduce their size to fit with your display. Use a sharp, serrated knife and cut right right down through the roots.
Dividing a clump of sedums with a serrated knife
Use the right compost
Succulents need sharp drainage, so use a mix of 70 per cent John Innes No.2 and 30 per cent horticultural grit. Leave dry after potting to allow roots to recover, then water after a few days.
Adding horticultural grit to compost for succulents
Handle with care
Succulents are tough, but their fleshy leaves can bruise if poorly handled. Hold them gently by the rootball and plant at the same depth they were in the pot, making sure leaves are proud of the compost.
Gently handling a sedum whilst removing its pot
Keep leaves clean
The structure of many succulents means that compost can get stuck between leaves when potting up. This can lead to fungal disease so use a small, soft paintbrush to clean them.
Cleaning compost off succulent leaves with a paintbrush
Protect in winter
Ideally, move pots into a greenhouse or conservatory in winter. Some succulents can be left out in a protected spot (under an eave/by a wall) but bubble wrap round the pot only to guard against frost.
Moving a large pot of succulents
Adding mulch to pots of succulents enhances the arid look and prevents damp compost next to leaves causing rot. Apply carefully with a spoon and cover all compost.
Adding crushed shell mulch to a container of succulents
Flat, unusual Aeonium tabuliforme in a pot
Unusual succulents to grow
- Crassula muscosa
- Rhipsalis baccifera
- Bryophyllum daigremontianum
- Echeveria setosa
Aeonium tabuliforme (pictured)
- Stapelia desmentiana