How to keep succulents alive: The expert’s guide

Even without the helpful hand of this summer’s blazing hot weather, we can’t say we’ve always been the most caring of home gardeners – but we can’t help but love the sight of succulents lining our walls.

We asked Gynelle Leon, founder and owner of PRICK, East London’s uber-hip cacti and succulent shop, for her top tips to keeping our dried-out succulents alive and kicking.

‘The main rules for caring for succulents is to give them as much sunlight as possible,’ says Gynelle. ‘Make sure you place them in an a dry air environment. It’s also important to make sure the soil dries out between watering.’

‘Avoid placing your succulents on mantle pieces and coffee tables where they look great but get virtually no sunlight. Also avoid placing in a super moisture prone bathroom. Finally, don’t kill your succulent with kindness by watering it every time you see it; create a watering routine when you water all succulents on the same day and always check the soil is completely dry first.

‘If they’re situated in a west facing window you’ll find yourself watering less than a plant situated in a sunny south-facing window; its all about balance.’

Getty Images

5 of the most infallible succulents, according to Gynelle

Sansevieria trifasciata. Aka Viper’s bowstring hemp, the snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue (!), this plant is said to be the most tolerant of all succulents, able to bear low light levels and drought – and can be left unattended for weeks at a time.

Echinocactus grusonii. Otherwise known as the Golden Barrel Cactus, this ball-shaped cactus produces yellow flowers in the summer.

Euphorbia ingens. A fast-growing succulent tree that is capable of reaching 15m (although that may take 20 years…).

Crassula ovata. Also known as the Jade Plant, money tree or friendship tree, caring for one of these is very simple – the most common reason for failure is overwatering!}

Aloe vera. A top pick for home gardeners due to its hardiness, coping if you do occasionally forget to water it.

For more information, check out Gynelle’s book: Prick: Cacti and Succulents: Choosing, Styling, Caring

Feature by Miranda Thompson