Group of succulents

Succulents have been popular houseplants for quite a while now. Today, you can basically walk into anyone’s home and find at least one of the pint-sized plants on a windowsill, on a coffee table, or inside a terrarium. They’re even trendy additions to wedding centerpieces and bouquets, per Brides.

The popularity of succulents isn’t surprising considering they’re inexpensive, ubiquitous (check your local big box store), and aesthetically pleasing. They’re also known for being low-maintenance, requiring infrequent watering and minimal attention.

But minimal attention doesn’t mean zero attention, and not everyone can keep a succulent alive and thriving. They still require regular upkeep like any other plant, and many people without a green thumb might not understand the basic maintenance required — not to mention how to troubleshoot an ailing plant. So if you’ve found yourself liking photos of succulents on Insta and want to add one or two to your home, there are a few things to know first. Keep reading to find out why you should think twice about buying a succulent.

Succulents aren’t as low-maintenance as you’ve been told

Someone planting succulents

People should stop buying succulents thinking that they’re easy-to-grow and hard-to-kill plants, said Maria Failla, gardening pro and podcast host of Bloom and Grow Radio, via The Spruce. Although everyone considers succulents low-maintenance, "very few people have the right indoor lighting environment and lifestyle to care for them successfully," she said. Many have the misconception that succulents can be placed anywhere in the home, like a random piece of decor. But succulents need plenty of sunlight to survive. Otherwise, they’ll become etiolated (when they grow long and stretched out because they’re seeking sunlight), drop their leaves, and die.

Along with their need for ample sunlight, succulents have specific watering requirements, too, Failla said. Often, novice gardeners kill their plants not by underwatering them but by doing the exact opposite. "One drink too much, and they can turn to mush," she said. They only need to be watered once the soil has become dry to the touch. "So, unless you have super sunny windowsills and don’t want to water your plants frequently, I’d steer clear."