Finding New Hobbies: Getting into Succulents

A plant for beginners and experts.

Succulents pictured from left to right: Haworthia zebra, Portulacaria afra, and Campfire crassula.


Many people want to get into taking care of plants as a hobby, but either don’t know where to start, or are under the impression that they don’t have a green thumb. Luckily, there is a gateway plant that is both beautiful and easy to take care of for beginners, and experienced horticulture enthusiasts alike.

Succulents are a type of plant that stores water in its leaves, giving it its signature bulbous appearance. In order to keep these plants healthy and happy, they need around four-six hours of light a day, and need to be watered once a week. Overwatering is often the main killer of these plants, so it’s important to always make sure the soil is dry before watering again.

Not all succulents go strictly by the aforementioned requirements, so make sure to look up the species of plant to take proper care of it!

There are many ways to acquire succulents, and a few are totally free of charge.


This method is totally free and can be done wherever there is an abundance of succulents. It does take time and patience, however.

Many succulent sections have leaves scattered around the ground. Simply pick those leaves up, take them home, and put them in a shallow dish of soil. Dampen the soil everyday by spraying down. It takes around 60 days for the succulents to begin sprouting, and it is definitely worth the wait .

In my experience, it’s one of the most fun ways to learn how to take care of plants. The stray leaves are totally free, and if they don’t sprout it’s not that big of a deal. There is nothing more rewarding than watching a plant grow from leaf to blossom because of your hard work.

The leaves and sprouts of a variety of succulents can be grown in a shallow tray full of dirt.


Asking for Leaves to Propagate/Asking a Friend

One of the first succulents I got was from a teacher on campus; Mr. Davis. He was kind enough to give me one of the young succulents that he was cultivating. Unfortunately, back then I had no idea what I was doing, so I no longer have that plant with me. It did teach me how to be a better plant owner, though.

If you know someone who has succulents, ask them if they have any leaves to spare. I know I have a literal ton of spare leaves and would have no issue with gifting a few to people who asked me for them.

Buying from Various Stores

This is probably the most popular option, since it requires little work and patience. Buying from places like Lowes or Home Depot are completely viable options. Any place that sells succulents is fair game, even Vons. CVS also has small succulents at a great price.

If you have the money to spare, it’s always fun to find succulents in poor shape and rehabilitate them.

Pro tip: Home Depot has better succulents at a cheaper price. Most of my larger and healthier succulents came from them and have a beautiful color.

This image depicts a variety of potted succulents.


More Care Tips

While cactus soil is recommended for succulents, you can absolutely get away with normal potting soil. I’ve used it for forever and it has worked completely fine.

Succulents need to be fertilized once a month, so I bought a liquid fertilizer for cacti at Lowes. This fertilizer has to be cactus specific, unlike the soil type. Follow the directions on the back of your product in order to fertilize your plants properly.

I have grow-lights for my plants on a timer so I don’t have to manually turn them off or on, but placing your plant by a window works fine as well. It’s also equally as good to place them outside, but be careful about the location since your plant can get sunburnt.

Water your full-grown plants, do not spray them. They suck in water through their roots, not their leaves. The only reason to spray a succulent is if you’re propagating leaves.

For more information, I highly suggest the Succulents and Sunshine blog. It helped me get started, and I hope this article encourages you to start as well!