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by Abby
(Toronto, ON, Canada)


side view


I got this little succulent from ikea a few days ago. The label just says “succulent”. It looks similar to some of the categories on here but I’m not completely certain which one it falls under.

The care instructions only say that it shouldn’t be put in direct sunlight, that the soil should be allowed to dry out in between waterings and that it should be fertilized every 2 months. but then again, the care instructions on the Aloe Vera and the non-succulent plant that I got say the exact same thing. So I’m not sure how accurate these care tips are…

It’s in a small plastic pot and the succulent itself is about 15cm/6″. Right now I have it on the ledge of a north facing window and I live in Toronto so the climate is colder most of the year. I noticed that one of it’s leaves on the bottom is drying out…I’m not sure how much water it needs and how oten and whether it should be watered from below (the way african violets are…?).

In any case, sorry for rambling. Any help would be greatly appreciated!! (:

Hi Abby, your succulent is one of the Echeveria – sorry I can’t tell you which one, but they all require the same kind of care; see more about how to grow them here.

The brief care labels that most growers who are supplying big chain stores are notoriously vague, kind of like their labels for the identity of the plant. There are many different kinds; luckily, the ones you will find in those conditions are frequently very easy to grow.

If you have an outdoor space, do indeed put it outside for a bit of sun; I recommend that you start off with only a few minutes, or just keep it in a very bright place indoors – not directly in a window, which can intensify southern sunlight to unbearable levels.

North light is not strong enough, however, so see if you have a spot with medium sun exposure, preferably in an east window so the light the plant gets is not too hot and intense, but bright.

Another thing to think about soon is repotting your plant; by the time they are shipped from the grower, they are at optimum levels, and then after that quickly run out of space in the pot.

Use a heavy pot such as a terracotta clay pot, or something equally as weighty – these plants easily topple over if the pot is too light.

Make absolutely sure that the pot has a drainage hole, and use potting soil that is developed for cactus plants.

I also recommend that you pull off as much soil as possible from the rootball; this does two things; the first is that it gets rid of whatever unsuitable growing medium the nursery may have used to pot the plant into (many have polymers to absorb more water, which means that they will most likely be waterlogged and the roots will rot) and secondly, this removes roots and encourages more new ones to grow.

The leaves of Echeveria wear out after a while, and starting at the bottom, they start to dry out. This is totally normal, however, what happens over time is that the stem part gets longer and longer, and bare, with a rosette at the top, just like a palm tree. You can find out about how to behead it in the Succulent Plant Propagation E-Book when you get to that point.

Hope this helps get you started on a long and fruitful obsession!

Learn how to root your own succulents: