How To Grow Succulents | Succulent Plant Care Info

HARDY SUCCULENTSSempervivum, Jovibaraba and Sedum are winter hardy from zones 3-9.


Most succulent varieties need at least half a day to a full day of sunlight. In extremely hot areas, some afternoon shade is recommended. Succulents grown in too much shade will stretch looking for more sun. Growing succulents with enough sunlight will promote beautiful colorful plants. 


Gently remove plants from their pots and plant them making sure the soil level remains the same depth as it was in the pot.

Remember that our plants, generally, have been pulled directly from cold frames, where they have been protected from intense sun and desiccating winds. Slowly acclimate your plants and garden art by providing some shade and shelter for the first week. Add a few hours more of sunlight every couple of days. This will allow for a healthy transition.

Your succulents will benefit from a layer of pebbles or pea gravel spread on the soil around the plant. This is also very decorative.


Succulents need good draining soil. When planting in the garden, make sure the area drains well and is not in a low spot that would stay wet. For container planting, you can purchase cactus soil or incorporate sand, gravel or volcanic rock into your potting soil for better drainage. The container you are planting in should have a drainage hole or you can put a layer of crushed rock on the bottom of your container before you put in your planting medium. Gravel or small pebbles spread on top of the soil can be very decorative.  


After planting, water in well and allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Succulents don’t like to have wet feet. When you do water, water thoroughly. Once they are established they will need less water.


Most succulents need very little fertilizer. Watering with a well-balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season will be all they need.


Sedum all have different bloom times and colors ranging from pink, red and yellow.

Sempervivums will bloom after the second or third year. A flower stalk will shoot up from the center of the main rosette with a cluster of flowers.The flowers on sempervivums are open, starry and usually pink and held above the plant on a stem bearing several flowers. The crown that produces the flower head is monocarpic and dies off after flowering, but fortunately, there are always chicks produced previously from the base that grow in a ring around the mother plant to carry on for future years. After the flower dies, gently twist off the stalk and plant a chick in the space.

Winter care:

Succulents that are planted in the garden and established usually do not need winter cover. Cold areas usually have a snow cover for protection. In areas that are cold but have no snow cover, you can use balsam boughs to lightly mulch for the winter, but this is usually not necessary


When your plants arrive, carefully unpack the box right away. We ship plants on the dry side, so once you have unpacked your items, water thoroughly and drain well.  Succulents shipped in early spring may appear dull in color and have some dry edges. This is normal and when placed in sunlight they will intensify in color. Sempervivums change color with the seasons and each variety has its own most colorful time of the year.


The planting possibilities for using succulents are endless. The different colors, textures, and habits make the most interesting containers and troughs. Succulents make beautiful rock garden plants. With a wide variety of bloom times, there is always something with color.


No matter what climate you live in, agaves make great container plants and these living sculptures provide incredible design opportunities.  In zones 8 and above most agaves can be grown outdoors in the ground.  For those of you in colder climates growing them in containers so they can easily be brought inside is important.  They are truly a fuss-free plant and when grown in a container will thrive with sporadic watering and can handle a variety of exposures including full sun to filtered shade. Water when the top inch of soil is completely dry.  In hot areas water once a week in the summer and in other areas once every 2-3 weeks in the absence of rainfall.  Agaves seldom need water in the winter, but you can lightly water them once a month. Agaves need to be fertilized once in the spring and early summer using an all-purpose 20-20-20 fertilizer.

EXOTIC SUCCULENTS  – ( the not-so-hardy succulents )

Grown for their beautiful colors and unique shapes, exotic succulents need a little different care than our hardy succulents. They make great houseplants and grow best in bright indirect light. They require soil that drains well and need to be watered about once a week.  Outdoors, they like to be grown in a sunny location but avoid intense afternoon sun in hot climates.  Move indoors before the first frost in the fall. We offer 2.5″ potted succulents,  bare-root succulents, and succulent cuttings.


When your Garden Art arrives, carefully unpack the box right away. We ship plants and garden art on the dry side, so once you have unpacked your items, water thoroughly and drain well. Topiaries and wreaths can be soaked in a sink or tub of water for 15 minutes or until very heavy, then drain.


Topiaries and wreaths are very easy to grow.  Water by totally submerging and soaking in a tub for 5 – 10  minutes when your topiary is slightly dry and feels lighter. This will depend on how much sun and wind your topiary receives and how hot your area is.  Usually about once a week.

Winter care of topiaries planted with hardy succulents depends on what part of the country you are in. In areas of the country that stay frozen for extended periods of time, some winter protection may be needed for turtles and wreaths.

They can be left in the garden and covered with a styrofoam cooler or rose cone. Place a heavy rock on top to hold the cooler down. Winter’s natural blanket of snow over the cooler is an added benefit. You must wait for a few hard touches of frost late in the fall before you cover. Uncover in the spring when the snow is gone usually in April sometime.  They will winter beautifully this way. Make sure to uncover before it gets too warm.

Your topiary or wreath can also be brought indoors for the winter season and put in a sunny window.  Less water is needed in the winter make sure to let your topiary go slightly dry between watering.  Remember to transition slowly a few hours at a time when you return your topiary back to the garden.

Welcome to the fascinating world of succulents.

Happy gardening!

If you live in an area with little water but lots of sun, try Simply Succulents® for an extensive selection of drought-resistant hardy plants, including an array of sempervivum (hens and chicks). One of our favorite sources for mail order succulents.

~ Garden Design Magazine ~