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Succulent Care Part 1: How to Keep Succulents Small

Bearie's Garden

All of us had that moment -- falling in love with succulents. Succulents are really the uprising indoor gardening and decor trends! They are so uniquely beautiful -- vibrant colour, perfectly symmetric rosette shape, and most importantly, chubbiness and cuteness deeply embedded in their little bodies.


No matter what species your first succulent plants were of, you must had been through that surprising journey: one day, you suddenly found out that your succulent plants no longer looked like what they used to be. Their beautiful colourfulness reverts to the ordinary green, and they had grown so much that you could barely remembered how cute they used to be -- all you had are those old pictures in your phone to remind you of their past glory.


After a few months of having your succulent plants indoor, they might look like this:

Etiolation -- Beginners' Innocence

Trust me, this is exactly what happened to my first few succulent plants a few years back! This phenomenon is called etiolation: in minor cases, the leaves appear to be more long and narrow, and become more droopy; in severe cases, the plants start to establish big gaps between the leaves and result in super stretched stalks. In contrast, in-condition succulents are both way more compact and colourful in general, such as the ones in the two pictures in the beginning of this blog.

You then blame the plants for growing so wild and not maintaining their cuteness as your wish. I am sorry to tell you: it is actually your fault -- for not understanding your plants well. However, no need to be ashamed of yourself -- as I said, we've all been there.

Strong Light Demand

Most succulents are desert dwellers, where there is abundance of sunlight. Therefore, succulent plants are bound to be direct sunlight lovers. Indoor environment usually cannot offer the ideal condition for them. But don't worry, we will dedicate future blogs to discuss how to solve these issues and fix your already etiolated plants.

While lack of sun is one major cause of etiolation, which is definitely not aligned with your goal of keeping your succulent plants small; even with the right light condition, your succulents can still grow at a much more rapid speed than your desire.

Root System Confinement

Although some succulent plants, such as the aeonium genus, are relatively fast grower, most succulents grow at an extremely slow pace compared to most other houseplants. However, this means they would STILL GROW! Eventually, they would grow into a big boy.

One important technique to guarantee your succulent plants would stay small and cute as long as possible is through root system confinement. Simply put, it means you need to make sure their roots don't expand too much. Planting them in the ground or in a large planter would encourage them to spread their roots and therefore accelerate their growing speed.

Therefore, it is not uncommon to see wild succulents growing in deserts are much larger compared to the indoor ones.

You Need Small Planters

With the above being said, if your heart pumps for tiny chubby succulents, you need to have SMALL planters, which is a necessity to confine their root system and thus most effectively maintain their small size.

For me, I love the magnificence of giant wild succulents, as well as the delicate little indoor succulent plants. I personally use the same set of small and medium planters sold in our store and they are great -- a must for miniature succulent gardens and also a promoter of quality and beauty.

The Cherry Blossoms collection


Rainbow Knights Collection -- Galahad


Rough Ceramic Cubic Planter


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  • Can you by chance email a link to the blog post on etiolated plants?
    Thank you.


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