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    6 Things You Need To Know About Caring For Succulents

    Caring for them doesn't have to succ.

    Hey, y'all! You're probably here because you're the proud owner of a succulent or because you're interested in owning one — either way, welcome!

    @jenssuccs / Via

    You've come to the right place.

    Maybe you like succulents because they're beautiful, or because you heard they're "impossible" to kill, or because they, uh, symbolize the plight of your generation.

    Whatever the reason, we're here to help, because while these lil' guys are super resilient, they still need TLC just like any other houseplant.

    There are lots of different succulents in the plant kingdom, so here are some general tips and tricks that'll help just about any of 'em:

    1. When in doubt, go with terra cotta.

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    If your succulent is still living in the plastic container you bought it in, it's time for it to move to a new home! I know, I know, repotting sounds daunting. But the small plastic pots that most succulents are sold in restrict their growth and dry too slowly — something succulents hate. Plus, sticking your hands in a little dirt is good for your mental health.

    Your succulent prefers its roots to dry out quickly, so it'll do better in a pot with good drainage and plenty of airflow. If it sits in wet soil for too long, its roots will rot and you'll be sad. That's why a terra cotta pot is a perfect fit: it's fast-drying, it's breathable, it absorbs water from the soil, and it keeps water from building up. Go for one that's one or two inches larger than your current pot.

    If you're committed to using a glass bowl or terrarium, make sure you buy some lava rocks to put at the bottom. Glass looks cool as heck, but it doesn't allow for drainage. The lava rocks will allow water to pool without drowning the roots, and they'll absorb any excess water too.

    2. Give that soil a little extra help.

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    If you're using regular potting mix for your succulents, you can ensure the mix dries out quickly by adding some sand or perlite to it, both of which will make it more porous. If you don't have potting mix yet, go ahead and buy some cactus soil, which is already formulated for ideal drainage.

    For the more ambitious plant parents out there, you could also make your own potting mix from scratch by combining pine bark fines, turface, and crushed granite. Oh, you fancy, huh?

    3. A good rule of (green) thumb: water when dry.

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    Contrary to popular belief, screaming, "DO YOU NEED WATER??" at your succulent while panicking that it's dying is not the right approach here. (Trust me, I've tried.) What you should do: Water your succulent's soil until it starts dripping from the drainage hole on the bottom, and then don't water it again until the soil is completely dry. Yep, simple as that.

    If you overwater your succulent, the roots will rot, so patience is key. Under-watering is better than overwatering, y'all. The soil will probably take a week to dry out, depending on the size of your succulent (larger ones might take closer to a month), but even then, if the soil is still moist after a week, put the water down. Wait until it's dry.

    4. And use a watering can, not a spray bottle.

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    You might be tempted to give your succulent a lil' misting with a spray bottle since it looks so tiny and gentle. But! That won't actually fill its roots with water. Instead, it'll cause the plant to shoot off new tiny roots to absorb as much of that light sprinkle of water as it can. Your succulent will survive for a little while this way, but a nice soak will keep it much healthier. Tip the watering can directly into the soil around your succulent, and be sure to avoid its leaves — if they collect pools of water, they'll end up flattened and mushy.

    Get that ivory and gold watering can (above) from IKEA for $9.99.

    5. Let your succulent soak up some sun.

    @jenssuccs / Via

    Succulents love the sun (they're mostly desert dwellers, after all). They prefer anything from bright, full sun to medium, filtered light, but full sun is best. So, find the window in your home that gets the most sunlight (preferably a south-facing one, which will give them light all day) and stick 'em in front of it.

    Something to keep in mind: Succulents in colors like orange, purple, and other bright shades are even more attracted to the sun, so those are better suited for outdoor living. If you want to keep your succulent indoors, go with green ones that can handle lower light, like a zebra, jade, or panda plant.

    6. Look out for sad succulent symptoms.

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    Good news: Dead leaves at the bottom of your succulent are nothing to freak out over! That's totally normal for these plants and just requires you to do a little pruning. Gently pluck the dead leaves from the base, keeping your succulent in the pot while you prune so you don't disturb its roots.

    Bad news: If leaves are falling off your succulent at even the slightest bump, or if they look yellow and transparent, or if they feel mushy to the touch, it's been overwatered. Let it dry out completely before you water it again, and consider cutting back on your watering schedule. Black spots can be a sign of overwatering too, in which case, you'll need to cut off the top of your plant, trim away the black spots, give the cutting three to five days to dry, and then propagate it in new soil.

    If the leaves are starting to wrinkle and look a bit dry and crispy, you should give your succulent more water. Make sure you're soaking the soil until water drips out of the drainage hole on the bottom. As long as it's not totally shriveled up, it should look as good as new after a couple of watering cycles.

    There you have it, plant parents! You and your succulent are now ready to thrive.

    @jenssuccs / Via

    We're ROOTing for you.

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