Indoor Succulent Basics

There are two things that you really need to understand about succulents; the first is that they require LOTS of bright, sunny light. Secondly, it is better to under-water than over-water (with some exceptions – of course!).
Succulents will thrive outdoors in Australia, or in outdoor rooms and pergolas. In the garden they like lots of sunlight (but I have found that summers in Adelaide will decimate many succulents that are in full sun).
Most of you though, will be looking for help with your indoor succulents.
Choose your indoor succulents carefully as the vast majority of succulents require a super bright, sunny spot to survive inside. Those beautiful, brightly coloured succulents you see have developed those colours outside in strong light conditions. The only way they will stay bright red, orange or bright pink is to keep them outdoors. Indoors you will find that the plants will revert back to greener shades – all the better to process light through photosynthesis.
A good rule of thumb is that the darker green the succulent the better it will do indoors. Greys and very light coloured succulents need a lot of bright, sunny light to thrive.
If you are keeping your succulents inside, put them in the brightest, sunniest window you have.

The biggest succulent killer, and even more murderous than lack of light, is over-watering. This is especially the case for those succulents living inside. Indoor succulents can be left to dry out for short periods between watering. Never water if your potting mix is still moist. Be especially careful of over-watering if your container does not have drainage holes!

Signs of succulent distress include stretching and soggy leaves. Stretching (the plant nerd term for this is etiolation) – is when the distance between leaves increases as the plant stretches out to find more sunlight. The easiest solution to this is put them in a brighter spot (but generally they won’t revert to a compact state).
Soggy leaves or jelly like leaves tend to point to rot. Stop watering and let the potting mix dry out. Remove the icky parts and hope for the best!

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