6 Tricks to Keep Succulents Alive

The past few years have seen a revolving door of plants come through our front door and out the back into the trash. While we’ve wanted to have a home with a touch of green here and there, the reality has been that we struggle with keeping plants alive. Plus, I have this weird thing about not particularly liking house plants…but that’s a story for another day.


But, this past spring, Adam and I did a succulent class where the teacher walked us through the tips and tricks to actually keep succulents alive (yes, they’re cheap at Trader Joe’s, but I’d like to only buy them once, right?!). Since that class, we’ve seen the two terrariums we built flourish—there are even tiny little succulents sprouting up between the rocks! And, if we can successfully keep plants alive, trust me, anyone can.

Read on below for my 6 tricks to keep succulents alive.


tricks to keep succulents alive



Keeping succulents alive should be easy enough, but the problem is that most of us don’t realize they aren’t like your normal plant—they don’t need water every day! And, that, my friend, is the #1 mistake we typically make. So, here are the tricks to keep your succulent from shedding its leaves and coming to an untimely demise. Note: these tips are for hot-weather succulents that thrive in a dry climate, succulents within a closed terrarium are a whole different beast that I know zero about.

  1. Let’s start from the bottom up: I’m not sure if this is a fact, but I do think having our succulents planted within glass has made a difference in allowing light to filter in and keep these things growing. So, start with a glass, open-top container.
  2. Before you get to the dirt, add in activated charcoal. This will help with filtration.
  3. Next, add in your potting soil, as well as pebbles.  The pebbles help drainage and the potting soil…well, that should be a no-brainer.
  4. Tuck your succulents into the potting soil and pebbles. Since succulents are desert plants, I wasn’t too worried about whether or not they were fully surrounded by dirt—the mix of pebbles and dirt seems to be key in mimicking their natural environment.
  5. Place your succulents in a SUNNY spot. Seriously, sun is key. Our succulents get direct sunlight in a south-facing bay window all day long—and I 100% think that’s why they’re thriving.
  6. Resist the urge to water. Succulents only need water once every other week and that water should be carefully placed into their container using a straw.

That’s it! Super easy once you know what to do. And, if you’re looking for somewhere to buy succulents, you can go bougie and go somewhere like Little Leaf Shop, or you can pick them up at Trader Joe’s or your local hardware store for a song.


tricks to keep succulents alive




  1. Jennifer Brooker
    September 12, 2019 / 9:14 pm

    I am a succulent killer….I unfortunately smother them with love.

    • hmbien
      September 12, 2019 / 9:21 pm

      Ha! Yes, that’s what I used to do…the more water, the more love, right?!

  2. Oscar
    September 13, 2019 / 10:22 pm

    Aren’t succulents notoriously hard to kill…?

    • hmbien
      September 15, 2019 / 3:18 pm

      Ha, I’ve heard that but it’s definitely NOT true based on my experience and all the people that messaged me on Instagram when I shared this post!

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