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Succulents for beginners

Succulents for beginners
I want to share 10 tips on planting and caring for succulents and
this information is going to be geared a little bit more toward beginners. There are a lot of different ways and there are a lot of great tips out there but the things I’m going to share with you are those that I think helped me the most especially in the beginning so I’m really hoping that you feel inspired and encouraged to go try planting succulents yourself.

Choose a container

The first tip is to choose a container with drainage basically anything with the hole in the bottom. That way, water has a chance to escape and not pool which can cause your plant to rot.  

Use the right soil

The second tip, is to use a soil specifically blended for cactus and succulents because they prefer a soil that’s lighter, faster draining, with more aeration. I do not recommend that you use regular potting soil because it’s too heavy and holds too much moisture.  

Choose a healthy succulent to start with

The third tip is to pick a healthy succulent you want to start with. Something that’s really healthy to begin with.  So choose one that looks like it has a very nice shape and good color that’s free of insects and that alsodoesn’t have dead or dying foliage or soggy foliage.  

How to plant your succulent

The fourth step is to plant and to do that you want to put a little bit of your cactus and succulent soil at the bottom of your container and then work a little bit of it up around the sides. Gently remove the plant from your nursery container and place on top of the soil.  Then you want to add anadditional soil around the root ball and then tamp it in. Make sure that theroot ball is nicely packed in and it’s always a good idea to leave a little bitof a lip from the top of the soil surface to the top of the pot. That way, you don’t make a mess when you’re watering.  

When to water

Step number five is to water and you want to water until just a little bit as coming out the bottom of the pot but you don’t want any excess tocollect in the saucer. So if you have any extra, you want to make sure to pour it out. The rule of thumb is to allow the soil to dry between waterings and depending on your climate and the time of year, this can be once a week – every few weeks.  If the leaves begin to pucker, it’s a good sign that your plant needs water but if the leaves start to look translucent and soggy, that could mean that the soil is holding too much moisture.  Basically you just want to make it a habit to check on your succulents often to see if they need water.  

How much light is required

Tip number six is light. You want to provide your succulents with at least four to six hours of morning light.  In the summer time, you need to protect them from scorching afternoon heat, because many varieties can sunburn easily but on the flip side, in the winter time you may need to provide extra light when the days are shorter and the light is not as intense.  

Why fertilize succulents

Tip number seven is to fertilize because succulents just like all other plants need food and how often you fertilize will depend on what variety of succulents you have. I do recommend that you research what you plant but generally you want to fertilize about once a month with a succulent specific food.  You’ll always want to read the directions on the bottle but as an example, you add one dose of this one to a quart of water mixed and it’s ready to go.  Make sure not to water extra though.  Just incorporate fertilizing into your normal watering schedule.  

Look out for insects

Tip 8 is to keep your eyes out for insects.  If you see anything startling,you’re going to want to take care of it immediately. Maybe take a picture or a sample down to your local garden center so they can help you identify what you’re dealing with and how to take care of it.  Most succulents do not like to be sprayed with insecticide so I don’t recommend doing that. The insects that I deal with the most are mealy bugs which are tiny little insects that look like they’re covered in cotton. When I see those starting to form on my plants I take a q-tip and dip it in isopropyl alcohol and then just gently wipe them off.  

How to groom your plants

Tip 9 is to groom your plants. Insects and diseases like to harvest overa dead decaying foliage so keeping your plants clear of that will keep themhappier and healthier and they look a whole lot nicer and as a side note, there are several succulents that produce a really fine powder on their foliage and even though it’s not detrimental to their health. Try to refrain from touching that foliage because they look a whole lot better when they’re not marred with a bunch of fingerprints.  

Monitor temperature

The last tip is to keep your eye on the temperature.  The majority of succulents cannot handle really cold temperatures so if you live in a cold climate, you’ll want to make sure to bring them inside before the first frost.

Succulents for beginners
Tara Joy
A plant lover who loves nature and likes to share gardening tips.
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