Succulents are the ultimate low maintenance plants ideal for pots and containers. Incredible varieties with strongly defined shapes, textures, and colors that offer numerous design possibilities, then the culture and care of which is easy.
I suppose you see why I believe this trend will gradually mold into a classic?
Now that we are in the succulents bandwagon, and seriously considering spicing out spaces with a piece or two...
Below are a few quick insights on succulent.
Six Quick Succulent Insights
- Newly planted succulents need some shade or protection to keep them cool as they begin to take root. Once their roots properly built they will most likely tolerate higher temperatures.
- However with temperatures substantially higher than 70F-85F during the day and 50F-55F at night leaves may heat up and dry out even in mature plants particularly when grown in direct sunlight.
- Very intense light and high temperatures conditions are overly harsh for your succulents. On days when temperatures get above 90F, you need to water the plants daily to keep the roots cool and leaves plump.
- Succulents on the ground can, however, handle higher heats than container plants. Pottery heats up faster and in turn, dry out the plants. Spike you water schedule to ensure the plant doesn't get sunburned and eventually dry out.
- Any dry climates will require more frequent watering while humid climates will require less frequent watering. Running the air conditioner and heater cause the air indoors to be drier as well. During seasons when the AC or heater is running most of the day you’ll likely need to water more frequently.
- In winter, keep succulents above freezing, some plants prefer a nighttime temperature of 35F-40F but some cacti and other succulents can endure temperatures well below freezing if kept absolutely dry.
- More tropical succulents like Adeniums, Euphorbias, Lithops, and Stapeliads prefer a minimum of 50-60 degrees.
- If you have to leave succulents outside during winter, use frost cloth, pillow cases, sheets, cotton backed plastic or tablecloths to cover them.
Succulents are especially prone to rot as a result of over-watering so when you water, water thoroughly, but allow the soil to dry before watering again.
Depending on the location and time of year you may want to water as soon as the soil dries out but at other times it’s best to wait for a few days.
As you water, avoid getting top of the plants wet as much as possible. Water sitting on the foliage will cause leaves and stem rot especially with indoor plants where there isn’t as much airflow.
During the summer water your plant every 3-4 days. Normally it will take about a day or two for them to dry out and another two days before they start to shrivel.
However, as the weather gets cooler they can go a week or longer before the soil dries out which will take three to four days on average. Take a couple of days between watering sessions to allow the soil to fully dry out.
To avoid over watering the plants learn to give the soil two to three days for the soil to dry out, but this depends a lot on where your plant is placed. In this context, the plant is indoors with ideal heat condition on the east window getting sufficient but not overly intense light.
To determine if the soil is dry insert a skewer into the soil till the bottom of the pot, wait for a few seconds, and pull it out. If the skewer is damp wait a day or two before you check again.
For the vast majority of succulents, full sun, that is, a spot directly in front of a window with a southern exposure, is ideal.
Still, most will adapt fairly readily to the more modest light found near an east or west window, as long as they receive a few hours of direct sunlight each day.
Most suffer, however, when they are away from any window especially winter, especially, with week sun and short days meaning sunlight is extremely limited.
When succulents lack enough sunlight.
- Plants will have long weak stems and smaller leaves due to longer internodes a condition called etiolation.
- There will abnormal new growth with discoloration.
- Dropping branches and leaves instead of remaining upright with leaves smaller the originally.
- Some succulents will have stunted growth despite not showing any of the other signs and will eventually die abruptly
Plants getting adequate light will have its foliage edged in red during summer.
A few succulents will handle some amount of shade especially ones with dark green leaves.If you have to place a succulent well back from a window or in front of a north-facing window, they make good choices.
Succulents prefer a well-draining soil to grow, overwatering is the greatest cause of death especially if you use the wrong type of soil.
You want the soil to drain well and only water the plants when the soil is completely dry.
Use a mix of potting soil, sand, peat moss, and perlite to make the ideal potting soil mix for your succulents. This recipe is easy to measure and incorporates both organic matter and porous materials.
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part peat moss
- 1 part coarse/play sand
- 1 part perlite
Mix thoroughly, moisten then add to your container.
Peat moss is an important coz it holds several times its weight in moisture and releases the moisture to the plant's roots as needed. It also holds onto nutrients so that they aren’t rinsed out of the soil when you water the plant.
Perlite is a natural filtration system, like peat moss it allows excess water to easily drain away while retaining a little moisture and catching nutrients that plants need to grow.Perlite also improves airflow in soil necessary both for your plant’s roots to breathe and for any worms, beneficial nematodes, and other good natural garden inhabitants.
Another way to get soil is to buy it where dirt is precisely made as succulents potting soil.
Choosing Your Plating Container.
Containers, or dishes, can be made of a variety of materials such as clay, porcelain or plastic. If your dish does not have a drainage hole, you can use a diamond drill bit and an electric drill to create drainage holes. Or, you can add a half an inch thick layer of gravel at the bottom and cover with a screen so that your soil does not settle into the gravel layer.
Pests in succulents may be due to poor cultural practices, such as overwatering. If you notice fungus or rot occurring, you may need to check the soil moisture and ensure that the plants are receiving enough light.
If insects pests, such as mealybugs or scale, become a problem, you can use general insecticides such as Neem on the plants or wipe off the leaves with an alcohol swab.
See this best practices to prevent and deal with pest invasion.
- Use mild fertilizer to keep your succulents healthy during the development and growth seasons.After Autumn fertilizer use can be reduced till after winter.
- Remove dead leaves to reduce hiding and breeding areas for bugs and other pests.
- Remember the greatest risk for you succulents is overwatering.Be sure to keep your leaves dry and the soil should not be allowed to get soggy.
- Never ever reuse soil or put dead leaves from plants that have been affected by pests into the compost pile. You don’t want any survivors or their eggs to infect any of your other plants.
- Pesticides can be used to deter or kill bugs and other pests in your plants, these pesticides come in two distinct types. The first type is contact pesticides, which must be in contact with the pest to kill it. Then there are systemic pesticides, which get absorbed into the roots of the plant to poison the bugs that feed on the plants.
- To help prevent future pest infestations, you can regularly spray or brush your plants with a natural systemic pesticide containing Neem oil which is 100% natural hence non-toxic for humans and it repels all sorts of harmful insects.
- Using a piece of cotton wool dubbed in alcohol is a sure way of dealing with bugs without causing any damage to your plant.
As with all plants, succulents need nutrients to help them grow healthy and beautiful.Though they can get some of these nutrients from the soil, fertilizer will help them grow more full and produce better colors.
You do have to be careful not to use a fertilizer that is too strong, otherwise, the succulents can burn. However, the right fertilizer used every few months can dramatically change how well your succulents thrive.
You can as well use well-composed manure in place of synthetic fertilizers.
Over-fertilizing your succulent may cause it to try to grow too quickly. Since they are much more robust plants, this can make your succulents look weedy or stringy. The stems will be weak, the leaves may be smaller and more flexible.
Six Easy Steps to Grow Your Succulents.
- Choose where you want to plant your succulents.When using a container, choose a container with proper drainage, preferably make a drainage hole if your planter doesn't have one.A container with no drainage hole can be used but then the watering plan must be beyond perfect
- Make a choice on which succulents you want to plant. Think about your design and type of plants, generally, cacti grow well with other cacti, succulents grow well with other succulents and sedum like sedum.It's good to note that cacti and sedum are still succulents and the reference is used for descriptive purposes.
- Fill your container halfway with potting mix, and if you choose to, some gravel or expanded shale. If your container has no drainage hole, you may want to add a small layer of charcoal to the bottom of the pot to prevent any rotting.
- Carefully remove your succulents from the nursery pot, holding from the base, place the plants directly in your container, trying not to disturb the roots.
- Fill all spaces between your plants with soil, being careful not to plant above the level your succulent was planted in the nursery pot. You don’t want the soil to touch the crown, or base of your succulents.Make sure the spaces are fully filled which will ensure there are no pockets to trap water and quietly rot the developing roots.
- After you are done filling the holes clean up any dirt on the succulents leaves with a soft brush.Later you can decide to add other decorative aspects like gravel or sand.
How to Choose Your Succulent
The first thing to consider if you’re buying plants within the home is whether they are best indoor or in the garden. Some succulents prefer to remain in the garden, while others perfect while indoors, so long as there is plenty of light.Green succulents are best for indoors while the colored varieties (orange and purple) do better in the garden.
Succulents are mostly hot climate plants but there are a few that can survive in four seasons climate.Before planting find out the frost hardiness of you plant to be sure they can manage in the local weather.
Sempervivums (commonly called hens and chicks) and Stonecrop Sedums mostly tolerate temperatures down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit and will do ok in four seasons regions.
- Plant seeds in a container with vermiculite and perlite mix.
- Bury seeds twice the diameter of the seed.
- Place seeds in a warm area without sunlight and cover with a plastic cover.
- Water the soil regularly till germination.
- After germination remove the cover so plants receive more light.
Cut stem and leaf sections during the summer months. Cactus produce roots on tip sections, while succulents produce roots on stem nodes.
Carefully remove any leaves on the stem below the rosette then wiggle them gently from side to side and making sure to keep the base of the leaf intact.
Once all the leaves have been removed, use shears to snip the rosette, leaving a short stem attached. Allow the cuttings to dry for a few days in an empty tray until the raw ends have calloused. Later, the cuttings can be rooted in soil or water.
Small plantlets are separated and sometimes divided from the stock plant. Succulents that produce offsets include aloe, agave, and Crassula.
Once an offset has grown for 2-3 weeks, check for root development and remove it from the main stem with a sharp knife or snips, or by twisting gently.
Following specific propagating steps in soil or water, allow the offsets to dry, form a callous over any open areas, and develop roots before repotting.