Where do succulents naturally grow best? And which at succulent should I buy for where I’m growing? Those my friend, are great questions. And like in many cases…it depends.
There are so many succulent varieties, it can be hard to know which succulent is right for you. The first thing you should consider is where (and how) you want to keep your succulents:
- Indoor or outdoor?
- Low light or full sun?
- Humid or dry?
- Constant attention or neglect?
Things To Consider
Did you know that different varieties of succulents have different lighting and temperature needs? Yes, indeed. If you’re new to growing succulents, you will soon find out that one of the biggest obstacles to maintaining a succulent and helping it thrive, is making sure it gets the right amount of sunlight.
In my opinion, this is the most important factor to consider when choosing the right succulent for you. While it’s true that succulents don’t need a lot of water to thrive, many succulents need quite a bit of sunshine to be happy. The scale ranges from full sun to partial sun to bright shade to indoor.
Full sun succulents want sun throughout the day. They can tolerate fairly hot temperatures.
Partial sun succulents prefer sun in the morning and shade by early afternoon. They will do best if they stay cool in the afternoon but can tolerate full sun all day as long as they have well established roots and the temperatures stay below 90° F.
Bright shade means an area that gets filtered sunlight. For example, under
a tall tree. While succulents in this area may get sunlight for short periods of time, they prefer to be mostly shaded throughout the day. These succulents may tolerate some morning sun as long as the temperatures remain fairly cool, 80° F or less.
Indoor succulents tolerate low light. These babies thrive inside, although can also be grown outdoors in very protected shade. They will do best by a bright window inside or with a grow light in an area that doesn’t get natural light. Some succulents are labeled as partial sun and indoors. These will generally have more color in partial sun and stay green if grown indoors.
In general, succulents need a lot less watering than other plants. In my watering guide, you can learn that my general rule of thumb is to water your succulent about once a week.
Some succulents, however, may need less watering (10-14 days) or more watering (4-5 days). Again, your watering schedule largely depends on the succulent that you choose.
Minimum Growing Temperature
Most succulents are not cold hardy. Meaning, they cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. There are some succulents that are cold hardy that can tolerate temperatures down to -10° F. These succulents can handle cold, frost, and even snow during the winter.
Winter or Summer Grower
All succulents have a period of dormancy (growth slows down significantly). Winter growers will be actively growing during the colder parts of the year. Summer growers, just like it sounds, are active during the summer.
When growing succulents indoors, most succulents won’t experience a full
dormancy as the temperatures indoors change very little. However, winter growers will need more water than summer growers during the winter and vice versa.
Active growing season can also affect the color of your succulent. Don’t freak out if your succulent color changes to be more or less vibrant. This color change may happen even with perfect care and maintenance. Further reading in my Why Is My Succulent Plant Turning Colors? article.
Now, onto the good stuff…
So, Which Succulent Should I Get?
In my humble opinion, start with a succulent you can grow indoors. Many indoor succulents are easy to grow and beginner friendly. Before I get to my preferred list, here are a few tips for selecting indoor succulents:
- Get a green or lightly colored succulent. Most brightly colored succulents require bright sunlight to maintain their color. Green succulents don’t need as much light and will stay looking prettier even indoors.
- Choose a succulent that doesn’t need to stay compact. When succulents don’t get enough light they begin to stretch out. Succulents that have spaces between leaves will do well in low light situations because their shape won’t become distorted if they stretch out.
- Select a plant that grows slowly. A slow grower will also have less chance of stretching out.