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Movin’ Out: How to Take Indoor Succulents Outdoors for Summer

Movin’ Out: How to Take Indoor Succulents Outdoors for Summer
Movin’ Out: How to Take Indoor Succulents Outdoors for Summer

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…

Especially for your succulents! Succulents love dry, warm climates (they’re native desert pants, after all), so summer is a great time of year for your succulents to get a little fresh air and sunshine. Plus, they look amazing as patio table centerpieces, in porch planters, and as accents for any garden party or barbecue. If you’re looking to transition your babes to the great outdoors, there are a couple things to keep in mind:

Positioning: Keep the sunlight consistent

Succulents with raindrops on a porch railing.

Your succulents may be moving outside, but they shouldn’t be moving too far from their original home indoors. Assuming they’ve been thriving, move your succulents to a spot that has the same sun exposure they’d been receiving inside. Example: If your succulent lives in a north facing window the rest of the year, it should be in a north facing planter or bed when it moves outside. If you want to move your succulent to a sunnier spot, start with just a few hours a day before moving it for the entire season. This will give your plant time to acclimate to more sun and prevent sunburn.

Still haven’t found that ideal spot? We’ve got a bunch of info on what kind of light your succulent is looking for here

Fertilizing: Use granular or liquid plant food

Adding fertilizer to soil in potted plant.

If it’s been 6 months since you last fertilized, or if you’ve never fertilized your succulents, (no shame) this is the perfect time to do it! Yummy nutrients and warm weather are the ultimate tag team for a growing succulent. If you plan on leaving your succulents in their current pots and just sticking them outside, add a liquid fertilizer that mixes in with their water. If you plan on repotting your succulents for this move, we recommend using a granular fertilizer that you can mix into the soil. (Pro tip: If your succulents are still in their biodegradable pots, you can put the entire plant, pot and all, right into the new planter. The biodegradable pot will degrade over time.) 

Watering: Increase as needed

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As the temperature increases, moisture will evaporate from the soil of your succulent’s pot much quicker. While succulents like well-draining soil, they still need some moisture in it. This allows your plant to take on water as she needs it, keep her roots cool, and keep her leaves looking plump!

Prevent your succulent from withering by regularly checking its soil. Stick your finger down into the soil (at least an inch) to see if it’s retaining the necessary moisture. While you’ll probably need to water more frequently in warmer weather, the last thing you want to do is overwater it. For the first few weeks, just take note of how quickly it dries and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. It also helps to water in the mornings, to protect your succulent from the hottest parts of the day.

*Remember to water your succulent with a watering can or cup and NOT a spray bottle. Water at the base of the plant, and do not allow water droplets to collect on the leaves, as this may cause sunburn in direct sunlight.

Sunburn: Watch for brown patches

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Ouch! Just like us, succulents can suffer from sunburn when exposed to too much hot summer sun. Sunburn appears as dry brown/black patches, usually on top of the leaves. On some succulents (like haworthias) sunburn presents as a dramatic darkening or browning of the entire plant. Even though it looks pretty gnarly, it doesn’t mean your plant is dead! 

As soon as you notice sunburn, move your succulent to a shadier spot where it’ll get indirect sunlight. While you can’t get rid of the sunburn, your succulent will eventually grow out of the sunburned leaves by shedding them and growing new ones.

Prevent sunburn by…

  1. Slowly introducing your succulents to direct sunlight over time. Try adding 1-2 hours of direct sunlight every couple days until they can withstand full direct sunlight. After a week or two, your succulent will be able to tolerate full sun. If you start to see any signs of sun damage, reverse this process until you find a sweet spot.
  2. Ease the transition to direct sunlight by providing a little shade. Use a loose piece of window screen to cover the succulent for the first week to cut back on the amount of sun that gets through.
  3. Don’t expose them to more than 6 hours of direct sunlight. This is the most that an adolescent succulent can tolerate, so if you have young succulents (just propagated or fresh out of your Succulent Studios box), indirect sunlight is best. 

As always, reach out if you have any questions or concerns about your succulents!