Alison Friedlander

Biomatter Plants

About Biomatter: 

I'm just a crazy succulent nut in the Philadelphia area who likes talking about and selling plants. Currently all my plants live either outside on a south-eastern facing deck or in the basement because my roommates have banished my hobbies from every available inch of window space. 

Get more specific info and images about individual succulents I've kept HERE!

If plant porn is your thing, you can also check out BiomatterPlants on Instagram.

Shop Plants Here!

In case you want to want to help a weirdo make a living and get some sweet plants doing it, I'll love you forever. 

I also offer local pickup to those who want to swing by and grab their plants. Just shoot me an email and we can work out a time to meet. 

Succulent Care

This is just a brief overview about how I care for the vast majority of my succulents (and bromeliads which I just treat like succulents most of the time).

If you head over here, you can see the majority of the succulents I have to gauge how useful the info might be to you. Hint - I mostly keep echeveria. 


Morning sun until 10-11 am and then bright shade after.


If they're outside, I just let them get rained on and ignore them. I've had them get a solid week of rain and not have any issues. Occasionally if it's stupidly hot and dry or the plants look floppy and thirsty, I'll give them a liberal watering once a week.

Most people will say not to use 

Soil Mixture:

1 part regular Miracle Grow Garden Soil (or whatever's on sale) + 1 part Paver Sand

If I'm concerned about a particular plant not draining well enough, I'll add more Paver Sand to the mix. 

I've been using this for literally all of my succulents and bromeliads for 2+ years and it's been doing fantastically, even if the succulents get rained on every day for a week. I'd use pumice or something fancier, but I have literally hundreds of succulents and this is the cheapest, easiest thing to source for mass planting. 

The only downside to this mix is that it can get heavy because of the sand. It's not a huge issue for a single pot, but if you fill a gutter with this stuff it gets pretty weighty. 

Indoor vs. Outdoor: 

Outdoor whenever I can. It saves on electricity and there's less issues with pests because of the improved air flow. Bonus points for never needing to water my plants. 

The worst issue I have with my plants being outside is squirrels walking on them and knocking them off their shelves, but this usually does very minimal damage to the plant and has certainly never killed anything. I have heard of people who have birds eat their plants, but that's never been an issue for me mercifully.  

Drainage vs. No Drainage: 

Drainage is easier to deal with, but I've successfully kept succulents in glass pots with no drainage for 2 years with no ill effects. 

If you go the no drainage rout, just make sure you water your plants like you would normally - big, thorough watering every once and a while. I hear so many people who keep no-drainage pots and give their plants a tablespoon of water once a month (or only mist them...) and then have the plant die. When I kept glass container succulents, I'd literally fill the container so there was a water line about 1/3 of the way up the pot. By the time that absorbed, the soil was pretty evenly wet, but not so wet that it was a bog. 

And speaking of drainage, I personally despise pebble layers with a deep and burning passion. In my experience, they collect a lot of algae and make a pool of water at the bottom that's effectively trapped under the dirt forever (alright, not 'forever', but at least 4x longer than without the pebbles) rather than being able to wick its way through the dirt so the plant can dry out again. Plus it's just one more thing to buy and I'm a cheap person, so we all know how that goes...