How to grow succulents – A general guide

Light or “Where to put the plants?”

Succulents love strong sunshine. They prefer bright places like a greenhouse or a south-facing windowsill and during warm and sunny days they will enjoy being out on a terrace. But there are some exceptions to the rule. Plants grown in greenhouses are sensitive to sunburn. So never put a newly purchased plant close to a window immediately or outdoors in full sun. Harden them off first by gradual exposure to increasing sun intensity or put them outdoors during dull, cloudy weather.
Essential for almost all succulents is bright light, particularly for all plants with a white, blue or grey epidermis (“skin”). Insufficient light makes new growth stretched and weak and thus the plant is vulnerable for attack by insects or fungus. Therefore never put a succulent plant on a shelf two metres away from the window!
For more detailed information please have a look at our Exotica care guide under the key word “Light”.


There are various kind of soil for succulents available on the market.
They will all do a good job as long as they provide:

We use a non-organic soil mix of 100% volcanic origin (80% pumice and 20% Zeolith) which can be obtained by post from Kakteen Haage.

Potting and repotting

Use only pots with drainage holes. We recommend plastic pots because they will enable better development of the root system than in clay pots. Roots in clay pots have a tendency to concentrate near the inside surface of the pots where they easily dry out during hot days.

Repot every two years.

Repotting of plants with normal “thin” roots
Some parts of the thin roots should be pruned back. Allow wounds to dry off then pot into a slightly damp mix. Rest in a warm place away from direct sun until new roots are formed. Only then start gentle watering.

Repotting of plants with taproots
Even taproots (thick fleshy roots) have to be trimmed sometimes.


When watering make sure that the soil in the pot gets really wet – everywhere – not only on the top. Please keep this in mind! Many plants which we are selling will like more water than cacti do, above all succulents from the East African countries Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia where many regions receive their annual precipitation of 1,000 litres in five months only. For comparison: where we live it is 740 litres in 12 months. Nevertheless do not drown your succulents and never leave a pot sitting in a saucer with water.
The most important rule is: allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
And finally never forget: some plants need a dry resting season during which any watering can cause rotting. When you are not sure then simply have a look at our care guide under the key word “Watering”.


Use a liquid fertilizer low in Nitrogen like any succulent fertilizer or Guano. Fertilizing is somehow tricky. Try to find the right level for your plants. First of all make sure that your plants do not starve. One of the inextinguishable misconceptions about succulents is that succulents do not need water or fertilizer. But even succulents sometimes need food - at least once a month. The right level of fertilizing is indicated by the formation of new branches, leaves or spines, the increase of the plant body and a healthy green colour. Too much or a lack of fertilizer can lead to deformation of the plant body or leaves. Also the discoloration of leaves is a good indicator of malnutrition. Elongated or stretched plants are caused by too much fertilizer.

Fertilization should start right from the beginning of the growing season. But stop fertilizing at least one month before the end of the growing season to give the plant a chance to harden its epidermis (“skin”). This will form a strong plant with a good chance to survive the dry resting season. For further information please check our care guide.