Adding a crushed shell mulch to a succulent container

Six tips for growing succulents

Provide succulent plants with optimum growing conditions, with the help of our guide.

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.

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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.

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Check out these quick tips on growing succulents.

The exciting thing about succulents is that there are so many unique and beautiful types to grow
1

Divide plants

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

2

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.

Creating a gritty, well-drained compost mix for planting succulents in

3

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.

Handling succulent sedum to prevent the leaves bruising or falling off
4

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.

Use a soft paintbrush to keep the leaves clean
5

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 succulent plants to a drier spot over winter
6

Mulch

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.

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Adding a crushed shell mulch to a succulent container
aeonium-tabuliforme

Unusual succulents to grow

  • Crassula muscosa
  • Rhipsalis baccifera
  • Bryophyllum daigremontianum
  • Echeveria setosa
  • Aeonium tabuliforme (pictured)
  • Stapelia desmentiana