Make Your Bear Paw Succulent Thrive: Care And Maintenance Tips

  • By: Succulents Plants
  • Date: December 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.
Bear Paw Succulent
Photo by courtesy of Hwang Jiwonn

If you’re looking for an exotic and eye-catching addition to your indoor garden, look no further than the Cotyledon tomentosa, the Bear Paw Succulent. This plant is relatively easy to take care of and makes an excellent centerpiece for any room or outdoor space. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about setting up your Bear Paw Succulent and how to provide the best possible care and maintenance. From soil choice to light requirements, fertilizing to pruning, here are all the tips you need to ensure your succulent thrives.

Choosing A Pot

When choosing a pot for your bear paw succulent, there are a few key things to consider. First, choose a pot that is slightly larger than the plant itself. This will give the succulent room to grow and help with drainage and air circulation. Keeping your succulent in a pot that is too small can cause it to become root-bound which can lead to water-logging and cause root rot.

The next thing to consider is the material of the pot. Bear paw succulents thrive in unglazed terracotta pots. Terracotta is a porous material that allows more airflow to the roots and helps prevent waterlogging. If you want to add a bit of color to the pot, opt for a glazed pot. Make sure to choose a pot with a drainage hole at the bottom so that excess water can escape.

Lastly, you may consider where you’ll place your pot for optimal growth. Since bear paw succulents are sun-loving, pick a spot that receives indirect or filtered sunlight. If you place your succulent in a spot that receives direct sunlight, you will want to cover the pot with some shade cloth or burlap to keep the direct sunlight from scorching the leaves. With the right pot and placement, your bear paw succulent can thrive and bring a touch of beauty and color to your home.

Soil Choice

The most crucial factor is drainage. When soil doesn’t allow water to move away freely, the plant’s roots can become waterlogged and rot. This could be the death of your succulent. So it’s essential to ensure you use a coarse soil mix that contains sand and perlite. This will help the water move away freely.

You can purchase cactus and succulent potting soil that is ideal for bear paw succulents as it contains sand, perlite, and vermiculite. Or, you can make your potting soil by mixing two parts potting soil with one part coarse sand or perlite. You can also add a little compost or peat moss to the mix. Whatever you choose, make sure it is light and porous so the roots can breathe and thrive.

Care and Maintenance

When caring for your bear paw succulent, it’s important to remember that it is not a typical houseplant.

The bear paw succulent is one of the hardiest succulents, but even this resilient plant needs some attention to thrive. With the proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy the beauty of this unique succulent all year round.

Light Requirements

This plant loves bright, indirect light. If you’ve got a south-facing window, that’s the best spot for your succulent. It loves to have as much light as possible during the day but avoids intense, direct sunlight, which can easily damage the plant’s delicate leaves.

If you don’t have a window facing the right direction, a bright spot such as a living room with lots of natural light or a sunroom is ideal. You can also use artificial lighting, such as grow lights or LEDs, to provide the light your succulent needs. As a bonus, this makes keeping the succulent in a convenient spot easier.

It’s essential to ensure the succulent isn’t placed where it will get too much or too little light, as both extreme scenarios can harm the plant.

Watering Needs

These plants want to be kept evenly moist — but not too dry or too wet — to stay healthy. The best way to check the moisture content of your Bear Paw Succulent is simply by touch. Stick your finger into the soil and give it light watering if it feels dry.

It’s also important to keep an eye on the soil’s drainage. Too much water can be detrimental to the plant, so ensure you’re not overwatering it. The best way to ensure proper drainage is to water your Bear Paw Succulent from the base and avoid getting the leaves wet. You can also use a pot with drainage holes to encourage drainage and keep your plant from getting too soggy.

Make sure you’re not underwatering your Bear Paw Succulent. These plants like a moderate amount of moisture, so you’ll want to water them regularly. Although the exact watering frequency will vary depending on the conditions where you’re keeping your plant, a good rule of thumb is to water the plant lightly when the soil is dry.

Fertilizing Regularly

When fertilizing your bear paw succulent, use balanced fertilizers for cacti and succulents, such as those containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are the primary nutrients the plant needs for healthy growth, and a balanced fertilizer will ensure that the plant gets just the right amount of each.

Fertilize at half the recommended rate for succulents, and never fertilize during extreme temperatures or when the plant is dormant. You should also avoid fertilizing during the summer, as this will cause the plant to become stressed. Instead, fertilize once in mid-spring and again in early autumn.

It’s also important to remember to water after fertilizer, as this will help the plant absorb the nutrients and avoid any potential nutrient burn.

Pruning and Trimming

First and foremost, you should know that Bear Paw Succulents need very little pruning and trimming. That said, you should still remove any dead and dying leaves or stems that have become discolored or brown. This will help keep your Bear Paw Succulent, healthy, and looking its best.

When trimming your Bear Paw Succulent, you should avoid cutting into the plant’s stem. Instead, use pruning shears and scissors to trim only the leaves and stems that are discolored or brown. You should also make sure to leave a few inches at the base of the plant so that it will continue to grow and thrive.

It would be best if you also avoided over-trimming your Bear Paw Succulent. If you trim too much off, the plant will not be able to recover quickly and could suffer damage or die. It’s best to trim off a few leaves or stems at a time rather than trying to trim the entire plant down.

Rinse off any shears or scissors before and after trimming your Bear Paw Succulent. This will help prevent the spread of diseases and pests and will keep your plant looking its best.

Common Problems And Solutions

The most common problem that many succulent owners encounter is over-watering. Unlike most succulents, bear paws are not drought tolerant and need to be watered regularly. If you find that your bear paw succulent is drooping, wilting, or yellowing, it’s a sign that you may have overwatered it. To fix this, reduce the frequency of your watering and always pour off any excess water from the tray or pot.

Mildew and fungus are other issues that can occur with bear paw succulents. To prevent fungus growth, clean your plant from the bottom up, avoiding wetting the leaves. You can also increase the ventilation around your succulent by using a fan to circulate the air.

If the leaves of your bear paw succulent are turning brown or black, it could be due to sunburn. While bear paws need some direct sun, they can easily be scorched if exposed to too much heat or light. To avoid this, gradually introduce them to direct sun and move them to a shadier spot if they show signs of sunburn.

Pests are another common problem when caring for a succulent bear paw. Look for signs of mealybugs, scale, or aphids, which can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil spray.

Following these steps, you can keep your bear paw succulent happy and healthy! If you’re still having issues, you can consult a local plant specialist for advice on how to best care for your succulent.


Overwatering is one of the biggest mistakes when caring for your succulent bear paw. It’s important to remember that bear paw succulents are desert plants that are used to relatively dry conditions. Water only when the soil feels almost dry to keep your succulent healthy. A quick poke with your finger should tell you if it needs to be watered. If the soil is still damp, wait until it’s drier before adding more water.

Make sure you’re watering correctly. Bear paw succulents should always be watered from the bottom up. Fill a tray with a couple of inches of water and let the succulent sit in it for a few hours. The water should be able to soak up into the soil through the bottom of the pot. This will ensure the succulent gets the moisture it needs without becoming over-saturated.

If you notice your bear paw succulent has become waterlogged and its leaves are starting to turn yellow, it’s time to cut back on watering. Don’t water it for a few weeks to give your succulent a chance to recover. This will allow the soil to dry out and hopefully restore the plant to its healthy state.


Bear paw succulents are drought-tolerant plants and, as such, require very little water. Overwatering is the most common cause of death for bear paw succulents. So, how much water does your bear paw need?

The frequency of watering largely depends on the season. The soil should dry out during the warm summer months before the next watering. Typically, this means only once every two weeks. When the plant is dormant in the winter, your bear paw should only be watered once a month. Always check the soil before watering and only fill it with enough water to moisten it.

Brown Leaves

If your bear paw succulent is getting too much sun, you should move it to an area with more shade. Succulents love bright light but need protection from the sun’s rays to stay healthy. If you see dried or crispy leaves, that’s a sign that your succulent is getting too much sun.

If your bear paw succulent isn’t getting enough water, you should adjust your watering schedule. Succulents need to be watered about once a week, but the exact amount will depend on your climate and the pot size. Make sure to water your succulent profoundly and not allow it to sit in water. If you notice the leaves starting to turn yellow, that’s a sign it isn’t getting enough water.

Avoid watering the leaves directly in both cases, as this can cause rot. Instead, use a watering can with a long spout or an eyedropper to get water directly into the soil. Once you’ve identified the cause of the brown leaves and have taken steps to address it, you should see an improvement in the health of your succulent in no time.


Growing a Bear Paw Succulent is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an easy-care plant to bring color and life into their home. With their unique paw-like leaves and ability to survive without water, these succulents make for a great addition to any indoor or outdoor garden. To get the most from your Bear Paw Succulent, pay attention to the basics of growing one, including the type of pot, soil choice, size of the pot, light requirements, and water and fertilizing needs. Keeping an eye out for common problems and taking quick action when they arise will also help keep your Bear Paw Succulent looking its best. With the proper knowledge and care, you can easily make your Bear Paw Succulent thrive in your home. So go ahead and try it; you won’t regret it!


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