How to care for succulents? Even seasoned gardeners have witnessed succulents die under their care, despite the fact that they are sometimes thought of as the ultimate low-maintenance plant. To keep children content both indoors and outside, read our growing guide.
“Succulent” refers to thick, fleshy plants that have developed the ability to store water in order to survive in arid regions or challenging soil conditions. Succulents frequently have water trapped in their leaves, which gives them their distinctive appearance. Some succulents are geophytes, which are plants with underground organs that store food or other nutrients. Other succulents may retain water in their stems.
Succulents are frequently misunderstood as being exclusive to the desert, although they actually have a wide range of uses. Several plant families contain succulents, and there are several types that are grown all over the world.
Major Steps to Follow:
Overwatering is the most common error made by backyard gardeners.
Only water plants when the soil or other planting medium is fully dry. Place your planter on a saucer filled with shallow water, wait for the water to be absorbed into the soil, and then take the planter off the saucer to water your succulents.
Yellowing, translucent leaves that may be mushy because the extra water caused the plant’s cell walls to rupture are indications that a succulent has been overwatered. If handled, the leaves have a tendency to quickly fall off.
Even if harm has already been done, there is still hope because happily many succulents don’t mind a brief emergency relocation. With a pair of clean, sharp scissors, trim any rotting stems or leaves from the succulent after removing it from the wet planting media. You can even gently squeeze the root ball if the soil is saturated. Place it somewhere sunny to dry. Clean the planter thoroughly in the interim; it’s best to start by washing with warm water and soap, then use a 10 percent bleach solution to sterilize. This will lessen the chance of microorganisms contaminating your succulent. Replant the succulent in new soil after it has had time to dry out.
2. Drainage Hole in Containers:
Succulents can be grown in almost anything once you learn how to take care of them, including hollowed-out books, thrift store bowls, and cinderblocks. Nevertheless, make an effort to always include a drainage hole in your planter. Because standing water quickly causes root rot in succulents, they should never be allowed to sit in it.
Because terra-cotta pots are porous, they can absorb extra moisture and let it swiftly evaporate. Another excellent, breathable choice is ceramic. Self-watering pots are a beginner gardener’s best friend because they have built-in drainage trays. Both plastic self-watering planters and terra-cotta pots are often affordable.
Water doesn’t evaporate as quickly in plastic pots, which increases the risk of overwatering more quickly than with terra-cotta or ceramic pots. This is why any container garden must have enough drainage.
Before adding the succulents and planting material, add a few layers of stones to the bottom of the planter if it doesn’t already have one and you are unable to make one.
3. Well-Drained Soil:
A specialized potting mix mixture designed for succulents and cacti will work best for the majority of succulents. Regular potting soil frequently has too much organic matter, which is fantastic for many plants but not succulents because it helps retain moisture. Perlite, a white, volcanic rock that is highly absorbent and aids in drainage, may also be used in a mixture with potting soil, sand, and other ingredients.
Remember that this is only a basic advice for soil, and that the exact species of succulents you are cultivating may have different needs. Once more, the most crucial feature to check is how quickly your growing media drains.
4. Keep them Comfortably Warm:
Succulents can’t withstand intense heat, unlike their cactus relatives. Put succulents by a window indoors or outdoors in the summer on a covered patio or under trees because they thrive in temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees. They cannot survive below freezing, which is why for the majority of us, they are indoor plants.
A 50/50 ratio of sunlight and shade is required by succulents. While too little sun makes them rangy and weak, full sun burns their leaves. Succulents with green, yellow, or variegated leaves want more shade, whilst those with red, gray, and blue leaves, or those with spikes, like more sun. Put them in a location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade if they are outdoors. Put succulent plants by a south-facing window if you’re growing them indoors so they can get the bright light they require.
Aeoniums, paddle kalanchoes, several species of sempervitum, and echeveria are examples of colorful succulents that require at least six hours of sunlight per day to sustain their vibrant colors. They turn back to green and lengthen when there is less sunlight. The darkest hues are brought out by heat and extreme cold (but not below freezing), so the spring, when they have warm, sunny days and frigid nights, will be when most types are at their most vivid.
7. Let them Sleep During Winter:
During the winter, the majority of succulents cease growing and go dormant. They are sleeping in anticipation of the spring and summer, when they will grow rapidly. Because they are highly vulnerable to root rot when dormant, don’t fertilize them and only provide enough water to prevent the pot from drying out. They’ll be alright, so don’t worry. They will remain alive until they awaken in the spring thanks to the water and nutrients stored in their leaves.
8. Take them Outside:
Even indoor plants require a summer break. Spend some time outside with your succulents in the spring and summer. Rain should fall on them because it contains trace minerals and oxygen that plants cannot obtain from chlorinated tap water. They will also profit from the air movement as they cannot go inside. However, avoid placing your indoor succulents in direct sunlight because a rapid change in lighting might burn their leaves.
9. Feed them:
During their active growing season, which runs from spring to October, fertilize succulents. We advise using a 10-10-10 fertilizer that has been diluted in half. Because they are dormant in the winter, succulents don’t require fertilization.
10. Check them for Bugs:
Even though succulents are resilient, they still require a little care from you. Check them frequently for insects that could eat your prized plants, such as mealy bugs, spider mites, and aphids. The least offensive pests are aphids, which may be removed using a hose and high pressure; it may take numerous applications spread over several weeks to entirely eradicate the issue. Mealy bugs and spider mites can quickly cause harm.
Spider mites are extremely tiny, crimson, sap-eating arachnids. They spin tiny webs, just like spiders do. With a hose, you can blast them away.
Propagation of Succulents:
One of the simplest plants to generate new plants from a mother plant cutting are succulents. In fact, when fallen, broken leaves start roots directly on top of the soil, succulent owners frequently discover themselves with an abundance of young succulents. Simple procedures and a little amount of patience are all that are needed to grow a succulent.
- Cut off succulent leaves with clean, sharp scissors or by pulling them off. If you don’t acquire the complete leaf, it might not take root. Avoid removing too many leaves from the mother plant at once to avoid killing it.
- After allowing the leaves to air dry for a few days, put them in a container with cactus or succulent soil mix that drains well. Over the earth, arrange the leaves.
- Just be patient; it can take a few weeks before roots start to emerge from the leaves. Water very carefully when the roots emerge until you see young succulents emerging.
The mother plant’s leaves will eventually deteriorate and fall off as the plantlets mature. You have two options: either relocate the mother leaves with the babies still attached into new pots or gently separate the infants and place them in different pots.
Since their roots are shallow and fibrous, succulents are easy to transplant. Here are some pointers to keep in mind while replanting succulents for maximum success.
- Before replanting any dug-up succulents in soil, give them a few days to recover. This enables the roots to recover.
- In soil that drains effectively, succulents flourish. Use potting soil or add organic matter to the soil, such as compost. Pumice or other coarse debris can be added to a container to aid in drainage.
- Succulents should be replanted at the same depth as when they were first established. Before watering, tamp the dirt to support the plant and give it a day or two to settle.
For any consultation about caring for succulent plants, you can contact DUA Landscape.