How to Choose Healthy Succulents

Shopping for succulents, especially at first, can be overwhelming with all the fanciful shapes and amazing colors. But how do you know if the plant that’s caught your eye is a healthy one that you want to bring home to add to your garden or collection?

First, does the plant have nice, fat leaves? Many succulents have leaves that are water storing machines, so they almost look juicy.


Are the leaves droopy or are they nice and perky? If a plant has drooping leaves is that how it should look? Or does it have leaves that are shriveled? Both of these on the wrong plant can be an indicator that it has not received the necessary care it needs.

Mushy leaves are something to avoid on succulents. This is a sign of over watering. Also look for dark brown leaf tips, this can be a sign of both over AND under watering. How can you tell which it is? Break out your trusty water meter! (I’ll write a blog on my ABSOLUTE must-have garden tool soon!)


Check under the leaves for signs of insects. They love to hide, especially in the heat of the day. Signs of insect infestation include webs, tiny black/brown spots (if they shake off, it could be poop) and of course, the little buggers themselves. Also look into the base of the plant, another insect favorite spot. If you spot them and you want to be helpful, let the nursery staff know what you found.


Who doesn’t Love buying from the Sale Rack? It can be great fun and the discounts can make a plant lover swoon. It does help to know what you’re buying, but let’s be honest, who can resist a pretty plant on sale! Follow the steps above to be sure you’re not bringing home a problem.


If you're in Southern California, here’s a few succulent-specific nurseries to add to your shopping list:

  • OC Succulents

  • Cactus Ranch

  • California Cactus Center


Author: C.J. Crockett

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