Succulents are extremely hardy plants that are accustomed to living in semi-arid to arid desert environments. That means they need far fewer resources than other plants in terms of water and nutrients, but they do need as much light as possible.
When thinking about how to transplant succulents for moving them inside it’s important to consider the type of variables you can control for your succulents to be happy.
When contemplating how to care for succulents you need to imagine a desert environment. Here’s how to go about it.
The best soil for succulents indoors is a cactus mix (contains inorganic material such as sand and/or Perlite and/or pumice.
Second best would be to use a high quality organic potting soil, and to stir in a bunch of sand and/or Perlite and/or pumice for a DIY homemade cactus soil mix.
Make sure it’s well blended - you’ll know it’s ready when the soil has more of an ashen gray look. Some folks like to add small rocks to the bottom third of their planters as well.
The key thing with your succulent soil mix is to ensure it’s well drained. Sogginess is the enemy of happy succulents.
When you bring your transplant your succulents and bring them inside in fall or winter you’ll need to replicate the amount of light they get outside. If you’re in a year-round sunny environment a bright window may be enough. If not, you’ll need an artificial light source.
To keep your succulents happy indoors during the fall, winter and spring months you’ll need a full spectrum grow light, or at the very least a daylight-balanced light bulb, LED or otherwise, with a color balance of 6500K (Kelvin).
In the desert succulents face long dry periods and then a deluge of water in a storm event. You’ll want to water your succulents in the same way at home when your succulents are indoors.
Give them a complete soaking and then leave them for a long period of time - possibly weeks.
In contrast, when propagating other plants such as basil you'll keep your cuttings in water. With succulents, not so much!
You can use a plant moisture meter to ensure that your succulent has optimum levels of moisture as it can be hard to tell by just touching the soil surface.
Sometimes the surface of your succulent soil can be bone dry while there is plenty of moisture down below. The only way to know for sure is a moisture meter.
Perlite is actually an non-organic white volcanic glass that is used as a soil additive for plants such as succulents. It is available at most major stores with a gardening section. Whether you use rocks, soil, pumice or Perlite is up to you - they all perform the same job.
If you are NOT buying a cactus blend and want to make your own succulent soil mix We recommend using 50% inorganic material to 50% organic material. In practice, at the simplest level this means stiring in some sand into your soil of choice - at the ratio recommended above (1/3 sand to 2/3 soil).
For your 50% inorganic you might choose instead to use a mix of pumice, Perlite, sand and gravel. There are many combinations of inorganic material that will work, so to each their own.
No, the recommended ratio of soil to inorganic material is the same whether your succulents will be inside or outside.
Growing succulents indoors is super easy if you have the right soil. Just remember to add some inorganic material so that the soil is not too fertile and drains extremely well so it doesn't stay soggy.
Have fun, and let us know how it goes!
Our own experience with propagating and transplanting succulents, and professionally installing succulent rock gardens... plus: