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Guide to Succulents

Succulents are plants with thick, fleshy water retentive leaves and structures, adapted to growing is arid climates from places such as Africa, and Central America. The word succulent is derived from the latin word “sucus” which means Juice or sap.

Succulents are a bit of a buzz word right now, and we want to be able to offer you some basic advice on how to care for your new succulents.

Compost mix-

When you receive your succulents the vast majority we post out are sent bare root which is the safest way they travel.

Succulents love a well drained soil mix to imitate their natural growing environment. This is our suggested mix-

Multipurpose compost mixed with John innes No.2  or No. 3   
30 - 40% horticultural grit and/or perlite

We would strongly recommend mixing your own recipe, rather than using the pre-mixed bags of  Cacti & Succulent compost, as there is never enough drainage, nor nutrients. If you do have this please do add extra horticultural grit and/or perlite to improve the drainage.

Avoid over potting your succulents always choose a pot that is proportional to the size of the plant, and gradually pot them up each year.

The Skill of Watering!

Succulents store their water in their leaves and stems so they can tolerate periods of drought, making them the perfect plant if you are going away on holiday !

We always use the phrase “DRENCH & DROUGHT” through the growing season; Spring to Autumn. The best method for watering is to give them a good soak, allow them to drain and then drought them, once they are completely dried out only then, rewater. Typical signs that they are thirsty can be wrinkled leaves, shrivelled dry and crispy leaves, discoloured, deflated or wilting then give them a good soak.

If you notice lower leaves are going translucent, squidgy and soggy then this is an indicator of having too much water, quickly remove the leaves and allow the plant to dry.

One thing that we like to highlight is that a small P 5.5cm pot can quickly dry out in the summer and require more frequent watering compared to a large specimen, as when a large pot is soaked it can take alot longer to completely dry out compared with a small pot.

Common questions we get asked :  “shall I just mist them every 2 weeks?”  - misting doesn’t actually water the plants roots, and can actually increase chances of creating fungal infection by creating humidity. You want the water to reach their roots rather than just their leaves and surface of the soil.

“How often shall i water my succulents?”  - We never like to put a timer on watering, and if they are growing outside then it always comes down to the British weather! Succulents can be very low maintenance and require very little watering, they can usually rely on little rainfall through the Spring, Summer and Autumn. However, If we have a period of drought then you will need to keep an eye on them to make sure they get enough water and also if we have periods of lots of rain, it may be a case of moving them out of the wet weather to allow to dry.

Are succulents house plants ? The best way of growing Succulents would be outside in the summer months and frost free in the winter months, for example kept in a conservatory or greenhouse. Living in the South, we house our collection in an unheated green house which is insulated with bubble wrap, a couple of smaller sections we will provide heat tubes on the really cold nights. If you live up north or in cold parts of the country then heat tubes in a green house would be advisable, or housing your succulents indoors where there is plenty of natural light. A cold damp dark shed is not advisable!

Succulents love plenty of natural light and ventilation, therefore we do not tend to recommend keeping them inside the house all year round, we always encourage taking them outside for a plant holiday in summer!

Failing this, some varieties will do better than others being indoors, and we would advise staying away from Echeverias as they have a tendency to stretch towards the light. Aloes, Haworthias, Crassulas are good choices to keep on window seals.

If you find that your succulents grow out of character when growing them inside you may need to increase light levels by moving them somewhere brighter, and if you live somewhere, where you don’t have access to putting your plants outside for summer you could consider indoor grow lights.

Should I feed my succulents? - We actually do not tend to feed our succulents, instead we refresh the soil yearly just like we do with our Auriculas, not only does it give the plants fresh soil with new nutrients but it is also a good organic method of minimising any pests. Some growers may feed their Aeoniums and other succulents in the Spring every other week through their peak growing season with a general multipurpose feed or even a liquid seaweed but i think this can be a personal choice.


Succulents can be very colourful, and can dramatically change colours through the season turning pinks, purples, reds, and this can be referred to as stress and a natural reaction to environmental factors. The following can acts as factors leading to stress colours –

Temperature stress, Light stress, Water stress, and Nutrient stress.

One of my favourite examples is Echeveria Elegans Raspberry Ice, she is completely turquoise in the growing season through summer, and when the cold nights with shorter day light hours come and the plant is kept dry she blushes to a pretty raspberry pink.


Succulents go into dormancy and stop growing which is stimulated by the day light hours and the changing temperatures. When they are dormant they require very little water in comparison to when they are in growth.

WINTER GROWERS                                          SUMMER GROWERS

Peak growing season Spring & Autumn      Peak growing season Spring-Autumn
Dormant mid summer June-August             Dormant through Winter months Nov-March
& the coldest parts of winter Nov-Feb                                                                  































Aeoniums are infact winter growers in their natural environment and go dormant in the summer when it’s at its hottest. However, in the UK our winters can be that little too cold for them.
For us in the UK spring and autumn is the optimum growing time, so “drench and drought” or rely on the good old British weather and let nature do the watering! Through the summer when the plant is in dormancy, which can be spotted when the rosettes close up and often we are on drought warnings, the plants need very little water. Watering them through dormancy can be harmful to their roots and can cause root rot. When the temperatures lower in autumn the rosettes will open and they will enjoy some of our rainy days! When it comes to winter we tend to recommend bringing them into a green house or conservatory around October/ Novemeber time, when there is excessive rainful. If there is no chance of frost being threatened and we have a dry Autumn/early winter you can leave them out longer. When our temperatures drop it is best to keep them protected, somewhere with plenty of light; a green house, a conservatory. We keep our Aeoniums dry through the Cold part of winter so their roots do not freeze and then resume water come March/April when they bounce back into growth with the warmer spring day. With regards to keeping them indoors through the winter, yes it is possible however the light levels are very restricted and you are providing the plant with a warm environment so the plant thinks it wants to grow, by restricting its water in the house this will restrict its growth. Encouraging it to grow indoors with low light can cause them to stretch out of character, leaf drop and be weak when they eventually go back outside in the Spring. So try to keep the plant on the drier side with the odd bit of watering. Come Spring time with a good drink they soon quickly bounce back.

Aeoniums are fantastic in changing colours through the season, with less light levels during the winter months they turn more to green, particularly noticeable with varieties such as Velour, come summer she turns an incredible deep dark chocolate colour.


We’ve tried to keep our advice brief,
Enjoy your succulent hobby!