Succulents thrive in full sun outdoors. The more sun they get, the better they will look. Some varieties will tolerate lower light (see plant list). When indoors, keep in as much direct sun as possible, or consider grow lights. If your succulents are growing tall and leggy (etiolation) or lose their bright colors, this means they need more light.
A succulent that looks sad due to lack of light can be revived! Just be careful when moving plants from indoors into full sun; transition them outdoors over a few days to avoid burning the leaves. Moving an arrangement into the sun a few hours at a time or placing under shade cloth the first few days will help the plants adjust without sunburn. For more info on how to bring etiolated succulents back to their prime, register for one of our workshops!
Succulents should not be overwatered; they can survive for months with no water at all. During summer months in Delaware, succulents can get by on rainwater alone. When the weather is hot and dry, a thorough soaking once every week or two will promote growth. Succulents prefer to be generously watered once and then left to dry out in between waterings; for those arrangements with no drainage hole, water slowly and make sure there is no standing water left unabsorbed in the pot. If it rains consistently for more than a few days, you may need to move your plants to a protected area to prevent rot.
During cooler months (spring and fall), water sparingly. Tender succulents can tolerate overnight temperatures just below 40° as long as the soil is dry. Wet soil and low temperatures will lead to rot.
When overnight temperatures drop below 40°, bring indoors. Succulents go dormant during the winter and need very little water. For a medium sized pot, thoroughly water once a month. Smaller pots can be watered more frequently since they dry out more quickly.
The best rule of thumb for succulents is – if the soil is wet, don’t water!
For Delaware’s climate, we recommend using regular potting soil mix. For those varieties that tolerate less moisture (see plant list) OR if you are an over-waterer, mix about 1 part sand, gravel, or pumice for every 3 parts soil. Placing a layer of sand or gravel on top of the soil is good for keeping soil in place and the soil surface dry.
Arrangements made with tender succulents thrive outdoors all summer but need to be moved indoors before danger of frost. See below for care of certain species that will survive outdoors all year (in Delaware, zone 7).
Some species sold in Root arrangements can survive outdoors all year (in Delaware, zone 7). These plants include many sedums, sempervivums, orostachys, and jovibarba. Depending on the conditions of your yard and the type of plant, you may be successful planting them in the ground. However, the safest way to overwinter your hardy succulents is to keep potted in an area that is protected from too much moisture (screened in porch or under your eaves). Water them a few times on warmer days throughout the winter, or place outside when you are about to get a snowstorm! Snow actually insulates the plants and provides a good level of moisture; cold rain is the least desirable condition for succulents.
For all other care instructions, treat hardy succulents just like the tender species.