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Tips to own and maintain succulents

Tips to own and maintain succulents

Succulents are the easiest plants to care for. They do great when they are left alone.

Few Tips For Beginners

Soil

This is one of those things that you have to get right if you want your plants to survive. The soil that succies naturally grow in is usually sandy and drains very well. Excess moisture in the soil will cause the plants to rot, as bacteria and mold love a damp environment. You can buy succulent and cactus soil mixes at almost any garden shop. If, like me, the dirt in your yard is actually sand, you can mix up your own. I usually go with a 60/40 mix of regular soil and sand.

Watering

Very very sparingly water them. They are desert plants and don’t get much water in the wild. Watering them too much will allow bacteria and mold to grow and damage the plant. It will rot out from the base and go up to the plant. Watering should only occur after the soil has completely dried out. Even then, you should only put enough water to moisten the soil. NEVER drenched.

Lighting

This is going to vary based on where you are and what kind of plant you have. Do a google search for the plant you have and find out if it like shade or direct sun. Even then, you may have some trial and error. Here in Florida, even the plants that like a lot of sun usually need to be at least partially shaded. They did great in direct sun in Ohio, but started wilting in the hot Florida sun. I also have to move my plants throughout the year to account for the difference between the winter sun and summer sun.

Patience

Succulents are slow growing and can take years to reach any appreciable size. Cacti are especially slow to grow when they are young. I have a few that I planted from seeds 2 years ago and they are only a few inches tall. Be patient, don’t try to give it extra water or fertilizer hoping it will grow faster. My wife wiped out a batch of succies that we had propagated because she wanted them to grow faster so she could give them as gifts. Bad idea.

Other than that, you should read up on the specific types of succulents that you want to grow. If you can, find out where they naturally grow and what type of conditions they grow in. Then try to replicate those conditions as best as possible.

Also, learning to propagate from leaves will net you many more plants than you paid for. You can buy entire plants just so you can rip all the leaves off them and grow more of that type of succulent. You can effectively got about 10 plants for the price of one. It’s not difficult once you figure it out, but again it is going to take some trial and error to get the conditions right and be able to tell when it is time to transplant them from the propagation tray into dirt.

The basic process is to remove the leaves from the plant, place them somewhere dry so they don’t rot, wait for roots and new leaves to sprout, lightly water them, then let them grow a bit before putting them in soil.

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

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