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Flowering Succulents: Outdoors vs. Indoors

by Jack Grover
assorted succulents and cacti
Reading time: 14 min Prefer to listen?

Flowering succulents bring joy to any home. These vibrant, low-maintenance plants are a choice favorite for many gardeners.

Curiously, the environment where they grow can affect these pitchers of energy in various ways.

This piece delves into the intriguing world of flowering succulents grown indoors versus outdoors.

Whether you prefer the convenience of indoor gardening or the natural beauty of an outdoor garden, we have you covered.

We’ll go over the importance of sunlight and temperature, the ideal soil composition and nutrient requirements, and how to water your plants depending on their location.

Dive in and discover how to make those vibrant blooms flourish!

Key Takeaways

  • When choosing the ideal environment for flowering succulents, consider factors like sun exposure, temperature, soil type, nutrients, and watering.
  • Outdoor succulents need plenty of sunlight and warmth. The soil should be loose and well-draining, allowing for plenty of airflow and nutrients. Regular watering is essential, as too much or too little can quickly damage the plant.
  • Indoor succulents require much less sunlight and cooler temperatures. The soil should be light and airy, with minimal organic matter and nutrients. Since they are more prone to root rot, watering should be done less frequently.
  • The key to success is selecting the right succulent for each setting.

Why Choose Flowering Succulents?

In a world that can sometimes feel overwhelming and chaotic, the simplicity and beauty of flowering succulents offer a much-needed respite. These resilient plants remind us of nature’s inherent strength and adaptability.

The flagship quality of flowering succulents is their ability to produce stunning flowers in an array of colors and shapes. From delicate daisy-like blooms to large, showy blossoms, succulents offer a wide variety of options to suit any taste or style.

Whether it’s the bright red blooms of the Kalanchoe or the elegant pink flowers of the Echeveria, there’s a flowering succulent for every garden.

These plants are also capable of storing water in their leaves, stems, or roots, allowing them to survive in arid conditions. They are perfect for minimalistic gardens or environments with limited rainfall.

Their stunning ability to adapt and thrive in harsh conditions has earned them the nickname “survivors of the plant world.”

The Uses of Flowering Succulents

a close up of an orange flower in a field

Indoor gardening enthusiasts have fallen head over heels for flowering succulents.

With their ability to tolerate low light and minimal watering requirements, these low-maintenance beauties can brighten up any indoor space without much effort.

From small pots on windowsills to hanging baskets or terrariums, these plants add a touch of natural beauty to any room.

Outdoors, succulents can be used in a multitude of ways to create eye-catching displays. They can be arranged in rock gardens, planted in beds or borders, or even grown in vertical gardens to create living walls. 

Their ability to grow in almost any type of soil, as long as it’s well-draining, makes them a practical choice for any outdoor landscaping project.

One of the most delightful aspects of growing flowering succulents is their ability to attract pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. Watching these delicate creatures flit from flower to flower, gathering nectar, is a truly magical experience.

Suggested Succulents for Outdoors

Outdoor gardening with succulents is becoming increasingly popular. These plants are adapted to arid environments and have unique characteristics that make them ideal for sunny and dry conditions.

  • Agave is one of the most popular succulent plants. Its thick, fleshy leaves store water and can withstand intense heat.
  • Echeveria is another great choice, as it has rosette-shaped leaves and vibrant colors. It requires minimal watering and prefers well-draining soil.
  • Sedum is an eye-catching succulent with drought-tolerant foliage that produces stunning flowers in various hues.

Remember to provide adequate sunlight and proper drainage for outdoor succulents. It will ensure their health and longevity in your garden.

Suggested Succulents for Indoors

Indoor succulents need special care to thrive in the drier air and lower light levels found inside our homes. If you’re looking for plants that can handle these conditions, consider the following options.

  • Haworthia is a small succulent that features thick, triangular leaves. It requires minimal watering and can survive in low-light conditions.
  • Another great option is the Zebra Plant (Haworthiopsis attenuate). Its striking striped leaves make it an attractive addition to any indoor space.
  • Christmas Cactus, known scientifically as Schlumbergera, is a serious contender for the best indoor plant. It offers a vibrant splash of color during holiday seasons, hence the name.
  • Jade Plant offers vibrant green foliage and a thick trunk resembling those of sizable trees. Even more delightful is its occasional blossoming with small white or pink clusters of flowers.
  • Aloe Vera is renowned for its medicinal properties. It boasts long, spiky leaves that add a dramatic flair to any interior decor. Best yet, Aloe Vera loves indirect light and doesn’t require frequent watering.

When caring for your indoor succulents, place them near windows or under artificial lights to provide enough light.

Succulents in Your Indoor or Outdoor Garden

a close up photo of a flower

Growing flowering succulents is a great way to bring year-round beauty and tranquility to your living space.

The aesthetic appeal of these plants is undeniable, each offering a unique and captivating beauty that enhances our surroundings in different ways.

  • Indoor plants bring a touch of nature and tranquility to our homes, offices, and other enclosed spaces. The aesthetic of indoor plants is often characterized by their lush foliage, varied textures, and architectural forms. 
  • Outdoor plants offer a scenic and ever-changing aesthetic that is closely tied to the natural landscape. Whether in a garden, patio, balcony, or park, outdoor plants contribute to the overall beauty of our outdoor spaces.

Having succulents in your home provides you with their remarkable ability to purify the air. Like most plants, succulents absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen through photosynthesis. 

Succulents can also bring a sense of tranquility and relaxation to your living spaces. Their unique forms and soothing colors have a calming effect, reducing stress and increasing well-being.

Caring for Your Succulents

selective focus photography of orange and yellow petaled flower

When it comes to plant care, succulents are astoundingly self-sufficient.

Known for their ability to thrive in harsh conditions, these hearty little plants are nearly indestructible. But that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate some TLC from their human counterparts.

Here are a few essential tips to keep your succulents looking their best.

Sunlight and Temperature

Firstly, let’s talk about sunlight. These desert natives love soaking up the sun.

While they can endure several hours of full sunshine, moderation is paramount. Too much exposure can cause them to burn, while too little will lead to undernourishment, affecting their growth negatively.

Different types of succulents have varied sunlight requirements. As a general rule, though, most thrive with at least six hours of sun each day. Morning light is particularly beneficial as it is less harsh than the afternoon sun.

Now, onto the temperature.

They may be resilient, but succulents are somewhat picky when it comes to temperature conditions. Most prefer environments that mimic their original desert habitats — warm during the day and cooler at night.

Ideal daytime temperatures range from 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit (20-30 degrees Celsius). At night, cooler temperatures between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit (10-18 degrees Celsius) are preferred.

Since they are sensitive plants, drastic temperature changes can stress them out, leading to poor growth or even death.

For flowering succulents growing outdoors, hardy varieties can be overwintered in well-draining soil or containers. More delicate succulent varieties should be brought indoors during winter months.

Soil and Nutrients

For optimal growth, succulents require a well-draining soil composed of loose, rocky material. It allows excess water to pass through quickly rather than becoming stagnant in the soil.

The perfect blend? Try a mix of potting soil, coarse sand, and pumice or perlite. This trifecta will provide your succulents with the breezy, dry environment they love.

When planting succulents indoors or in containers, a potting mix formulated explicitly for cactus and succulents is recommended. This soil type provides the necessary drainage and nutrients for these plants to thrive.

When choosing soil, keep the pH level in mind. Succulents flourish in slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 6.5. Alkaline soil can be detrimental to the plants, so it’s best to avoid it.

Now, we come to nutrients.

Amidst the myriad of fertilizers on the market, it’s important to remember that succulents favor a specific kind. They like a balanced, liquid fertilizer that offers equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. 

Try a ratio of 20:20:20. And remember — less is more! Succulents feast lightly. Overfeeding them may cause more harm than good.

Watering

Succulents are desert dwellers, so they thrive in dry conditions. They store water in their leaves and stems, letting them withstand periods of drought. Overwatering can spell trouble for these resilient plants, leading to root rot that can be fatal.

So, how often should you water your succulents? A simple rule is to let the soil dry out before watering again. Use your fingertip to check when it’s time to water.

Your watering frequency would typically oscillate between once a week and once a month, depending on the time of year and the temperature of your environment.

During the active growth period, succulents need to be watered deeply but less often. It allows the potting soil to become fully saturated and then drained, resulting in plump roots and full leaves.

If the plants become leggy or the leaves begin to wither, increase the watering frequency.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the best setting for flowering succulents, there are some vital factors to consider.

Indoor succulents enjoy controlled conditions that protect them from harsh weather elements. For instance, temperatures too cold or rain too plentiful can harm these tough yet delicate plants.

Indoor settings give room for precise care tailored to each plant’s unique needs — a factor vital for their growth cycle.

But there’s another side to the coin. When planted outdoors, succulents bask in the glory of natural sunlight, the very source of their photosynthesis magic.

It’s also outdoor growing that most closely mimics their natural habitats, letting them fully express their genetic traits and morphology. The exposure to sun, wind, and even insects form conditions that indoor settings can’t replicate.

Understanding the specific needs of each variety and providing the proper care for your plants can help you enjoy beautiful blooms both indoors and outdoors. Both modes have pros and cons; the ultimate choice rests on your goals and succulent care capacities.

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