How To Plant Succulents Outside

How to plant succulents outdoors

Are you thinking of growing succulent plants outdoors? Then you need to consider various factors, the environmental conditions being the most critical one. In this guide, you will learn all about growing and caring for succulent plants in outdoor conditions.

What are succulent plants?

Succulent plants are those that love dryness and store water in their leaves. They thrive in regions which receive very little rainfall and because of that, they grow close together and form a compact group.

Succulent plants are popular for their decorative purpose. The leaves are large and beautiful, and their thick surface helps to retain water in their core.

Succulents come in a range of sizes, colors and shapes. They require less watering than other plants and do well in arid regions. Depending on the variety of the succulents, they need different levels of moisture, tending and sunlight. 

How to grow succulent plants outdoors?

It's easy to grow succulent plants outdoors. You can do it even if you are not blessed with a green thumb. They are beautiful and will add a lovely canopy to your outdoor garden space. 

Succulent plants can survive well in cracks and crevasses. They also thrive well in sandy or gritty soils. 

Typically, succulent plants can stand up to cold temperatures during the night. However, a few things could pose a threat to succulent growth, such as too much moisture and lack of shelter. 

Here are some important things to consider before you grow succulent plants outdoors:

  • Temperature
  • Amount of sunlight
  • Moisture


Succulent plants do well in warm temperatures. They thrive in most areas, but you should ensure that the ones you choose to grow can do well in your temperature zone. Planting zones three to nine are ideal for bringing up succulents outdoors. 

Succulents like pincushion cactus, cholla and graptopetalum can tolerate some cold climates. 

Some succulents can even survive in plant zones 4, where the temperature dips down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. These include Agave, Sedum. Sempervivum, Yucca etc. 

Extremes in climate can have an obstructive impact on succulent growth. In this case, we suggest you put up your plant indoors or place it in a shelter when the temperature gets below freezing point. 

Succulent plants belong to Mediterranean climates. They can thrive even in cold temperatures and continuous rainfall. These plants require full sun and well-draining soil to grow well.


If you put up succulent plants outdoors, you need to ensure they get as much sunlight as possible. These plants require sunlight to keep them nice and dry. 

Keep the plants in a succulent garden border in full sun and in a sheltered spot. This way, the plants will receive enough warmth and will be dry. 

Some succulent plants require only partial sunlight to survive. Just ensure that they get around 6 hours of sunlight every day. This will keep them happy and thriving. 

Keeping these plants under the sun the entire day may not be the best idea. However, some succulent plants do better than others in intense heat. For instance, the succulents with colorful leaves are happier under the intense sun than those species with green foliage. 

We have another great tip for you: plant the succulents near the house to keep them away from the blazing heat during the daytime. The afternoon sun can be a little intense, so we suggest you give your plants some shade by using a shade cloth, lattice, or plants with light foliage.


Succulent plants can tolerate drought; however, they require enough water to grow robustly. Particularly during the growing period, they need adequate water to grow properly. 

When it comes to watering succulents, it's better to err on the side of underwatering. It is always better to be underwater than overwatering your succulents. Too much watering can only lead to your succulents dying. 

The general rule of thumb is to water the outdoor succulents once every few weeks during rainy months of the year. In more hot zones though, you may need to water them every few days. 

When it is winter, you may want to cut down on the watering frequency. This is to prevent overwatering and succulent root rot. It is the only way they can survive the cold weather. When there is too much rain, you could shelter the outdoor succulents or move them inside for a while.

Before watering the succulents, check whether the soil is a couple of inches dry by sticking your finger in the soil. If it is, you can go ahead and water. If not, give it a few days before the next watering session.

If you are looking to bring your succulents outdoors, it is a good idea to plant them in pots. Their roots should not be continuously hydrated all the time. You can grow them in beds as well. Just ensure that they are not saturated with too much water. The plant medium should be thoroughly dry before you water it next. 

When the climate is rainy or too cold, you can put up vertical structures to create a dry ground to prevent the rain from reaching the soil, thanks to the prevailing angle. You can even construct horizontal rain covers. These dry zones are fantastic for growing outdoor succulents with properly draining soil. 


You need to ensure proper soil conditions for succulent plants to grow well. Firstly, the soul should be well-draining. If the soil doesn't drain well, it could have a detrimental effect on the plants’ growth.

For the right soil conditions, check the soil. For this, dig a hole that is around 1 foot deep and fill it completely with water. Does the water drain within half an hour? If it does, the soil is porous enough. 

If the soil doesn't drain within that time, mix in 3 inches of sand and other grainy stuff to enhance the drainage and texture. Pertile, grit, sand, and compost all work great to improve the drainage in well-compacted soil. 

You can cover the topsoil with pebbles and small rocks to create a layer of mulch. This is a fantastic way to keep weeds out and preserve moisture. The excessive water can also be drained out through evaporation because of the air spaces. 

You need to be aware of the moisture content in your garden all year round. During the cooler months, the succulents may receive too much hydration and die out. This is where a raised bed comes in. It is an effective way to lift an outside succulent garden away from the saturated soil


Fertilizers can add a little lushness to your succulents and make them look more robust and healthy. Some of the fertilizers you can use include manure tea, balanced fertilizers or diluted fish emulsion. 

Another option is to make use of all-purpose soluble 8-8-8 fertilizer. You should dilute half or one-third with a gallon of water and fertilize once a month to keep your succulents happy and lush. Lay of fertilizing during the winter months, though.

If you notice problems with your succulent growth, adding fertilizer can help boost plant growth.

Final Words

Succulent plants make fantastic additions to outdoor gardens. Succulent plants can be grown outside in almost every climatic condition. Succulent plants are very low maintenance, but their delicate roots are prone to rot when they receive too much moisture. 

When there is too much rain or too much heat, it's a good idea to move these plants indoors. You need to provide succulents with well-draining soil if you want them to thrive well. You should put succulents in pots with draining holes to get rid of the excessive moisture. 

If you are a little forgetful, we recommend you go with succulent plants for your outdoor garden. These plants can go for a week or more between watering's. They make lovely centerpieces for your garden. 

We hope these tips will come in handy to grow whatever species of succulent you choose outdoors.

Happy gardening!

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