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Can Succulents Live Outside?

by Jack Grover
succulent plant
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Succulents, known for their plump foliage storing water, are generally adapted to arid, desert-like climates.

But does it mean they can withstand the potentially harsh conditions of our backyards? Can they survive the unforgiving elements of the great outdoors?

The good news is that they can, but they require certain conditions to thrive.

Below, we explore the soil and planting requirements, the light and temperature needs, proper watering techniques, and fertilizing dos and don’ts for outdoor succulents.

Let’s dive in and learn how to create the perfect environment for your succulents to flourish outside.

Key Takeaways

  • Succulents can live outside, but they require certain conditions to thrive.
  • Succulents need well-draining soil and pots with proper drainage for optimal growth.
  • They thrive in full sun conditions and should be protected or brought indoors during winter.
  • Regular watering and fertilizing are essential for healthy succulent growth.
  • Container planting optimizes care and enhances outdoor survival chances for succulents.

Soil and Planting Requirements for Outdoor Succulents

Succulents thrive outdoors when planted in well-draining soil with a loose and rocky composition. This soil type allows excess water to drain away, preventing root rot and other moisture-related issues.

When choosing a potting mix for your succulents, look for one specifically formulated for succulents and cacti. Planting succulents in a pot with holes in the bottom is also crucial for proper drainage.

A slightly acidic soil pH, around 6.0 to 6.5, is optimal for succulent growth. Avoid planting them in alkaline soil, as it can harm the plants.

Light and Temperature Needs

Placed in a sunny location, outdoor succulents thrive with ample sunlight and proper temperature conditions.

Succulents require full sun exposure to promote healthy growth and vibrant leaves. Make sure they receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day.

Insufficient sunlight can result in spindly and pale succulents.

succulents plant

Take note that different succulent varieties have varying temperature tolerances.

  • Hardy succulents can withstand winter conditions if the soil is well-drained and they have some protection.
  • Conversely, tender succulents should be brought indoors during winter or placed in a sunny window. You can use indoor grow lights to support their growth during colder months.

Proper Watering Techniques

To ensure the health and vitality of your outdoor succulents, you must learn the proper watering techniques.

Overwatering is a common mistake here. Avoid it at all costs, as it can harm your succulents. Instead, water them deeply but less frequently during the growing season.

Allow the potting mix to thoroughly drain before the next watering to prevent waterlogged soil, which can make succulents more susceptible to frost damage.

During fall and winter, reduce watering to help your succulents survive cold temperatures. Remember, saturated soil can be detrimental to their health.

Fertilizing Outdoor Succulents: Dos and Don’ts

Contrary to popular belief, many outdoor succulents benefit from regular fertilizing to support their growth and overall health. It provides essential nutrients that succulents need to thrive in their outdoor environment.

When fertilizing your outdoor succulents, follow a few dos and don’ts.

  • Do use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer formulated explicitly for succulents. It will ensure your plants receive the right amount of nutrients without causing damage.
  • Do fertilize during the active growing season, which is typically in spring and early fall. It will give your succulents the boost they need for optimal growth.
  • Don’t over-fertilize your succulents, as this can lead to burning and damage.

Exploring Different Planting Options for Outdoor Succulents

lot of pink colored succulents plants in pots

When planting succulents outdoors, consider using containers to showcase their unique foliage and allow for easy relocation. Containers offer versatility and protection from extreme weather conditions.

Here are five reasons why container planting is an excellent option for your outdoor succulents:

  • Mobility: Containers allow you to move your succulents around to find the perfect spot for optimal sunlight and temperature conditions.
  • Protection: During harsh weather, you can easily bring your containers indoors or provide extra shelter to protect your succulents from frost or heavy rains.
  • Creative planting: Containers provide endless possibilities for unique and artistic arrangements. You can experiment with different colors, textures, and sizes of containers to create stunning displays.
  • Preventing root rot: Using well-draining soil and containers with drainage holes can prevent excess water from accumulating. It will help protect your plants from root rot and other water-related issues.
  • Easy maintenance: Container planting makes it easier to control watering and fertilizing, allowing you to provide the specific care your succulents need.


While succulents may seem exotic and delicate, they can thrive outdoors. All it takes is providing them with the right conditions.

Once you make an effort to understand their soil, light, temperature, watering, and fertilizing needs, succulents will reward you with vibrant colors and unique shapes.

Follow the tips provided above to transform your outdoor space into an enchanting succulent haven!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can succulents survive in extreme weather conditions?

Succulents are fitted to survive in extreme weather conditions if they are planted in well-draining soil and provided with proper protection.

How often should outdoor succulents be watered?

Water your outdoor succulent deeply but less frequently, allowing the soil to drain thoroughly between waterings. Overwatering is a common mistake, so be cautious and reduce watering during fall and winter.

Can I plant outdoor succulents directly in the ground?

Yes, you can. Just make sure the soil is well-draining to prevent root rot. This option allows them to grow naturally and thrive in their natural environment.

What are some unique planting options for outdoor succulents?

You can get creative with planting outdoor succulents. They can be grown in cracks, crevices, stone walls, and rock gardens. Containers are also a great option, as they showcase their unique foliage and allow for easy relocation.

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