What Are the Biggest Mistakes Beginners Make With Succulents?

We love our succulents. They are such beautiful plants and so hardy. You can hardly water them for weeks at a time and they will be fine.

What other type of plant is so low maintenance and drama free?

Our passion for succulents is one thing that led us to take up houseplants and gardening as a hobby.

Perhaps you have a similar story where a friend or relative persuaded you to take up succulent gardening.

No matter how you got here we want to help you understand the mistakes beginners often make with succulents so you can avoid repeating them in the future.

And You... How to Avoid Succulent Problems/Issues?

Got a problem with killing your succulents? You're in the right place, so read on!

You're about to learn the most common things beginners do to make their succulents unhappy.

Problem #1: Overwatering

Succulents are the camels of the plant world... many of them have large amounts of water reserves.

If you overwater your succulents you will in essence drown them or possibly cause root rot due to anerobic bacteria in the soil. Succulents thrive on neglect in the water department!

Solution? Don't overwater! You only need to water your succulents sparsely every 2-3 weeks. The only exception would be in a super hot desert climate.

Problem #2: Lack of Drainage Holes

One of the biggest issues we see with beginners who have rotten succulents is that their planter or container of choice does not have drainage holes.

This causes the soil to stay damp which enables anaerobic bacteria to thrive - resulting in root rot and other nasty conditions.

Save yourself the anguish of rotting succulents and use a container with drainage holes. Second best is to drill holes in your container.

Either way, drainage holes are a must for succulents!

Problem #3: Wrong Soil Type

Many beginners acquire succulents that are already planted in a container with potting soil. This can be a huge mistake in many cases and can cause the succulent to be unhappy, or worse, die due to excess moisture. Succulents love soil that is sandy, gravelly, aerated and well-drained.

This means you'll want to either purchase high quality cactus mix or succulent mix, or create your own DIY succulent soil mix.

Here is a simple recipe for DIY succulent mix: 50/50 sand and potting soil.

You can also put some pea gravel or pebbles on the surface as succulents often enjoy the extra radiant heat (something they are accustomed to in their natural environment of semi-arid to arid consitions).

Problem #4: Wrong Type / Amount of Light

Succulents are hardy plants, but they thrive under a specific set of circumstances in terms of light.

The best thing is to give them some morning sunlight, and if you're in a hot climate e.g. Arizona bring them in the shade for the afternoon as they can get sunburned if exposed to full afternoon sun.

It's possible for succulents to have to little light, and too much light. Find a happy medium and you will get some contended succulents.

Problem #5: Poor Quality Plant

Sometimes beginners will buy succulents on sale that have wilted. A plant rescue is often possible in these circumstances - for more experienced gardeners.

As a beginner it's best to start with a high quality succulent. This will give you a hardier plant that will be more forgiving to mistakes that beginners commonly make with succulents.

And there you have it - the 5 biggest mistakes first time succulent growers often make!

For more from the Sassy Plant check out the articles below!

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About The Sassy Plant

Hi, we're Dan & Kat. We love plants and gardening and wanted to share what we've learned along the way with you. The Sassy Plant is a cheeky take on plants, gardening and home. Go here to learn more about us. We hope you enjoy!