Today you will learn how to care for succulents, i.e. a handful of tips for happy owners of these magical plants. Succulents are a group of plants that have adapted to life in harsh conditions and can store water inside their structures. I am talking about structures on purpose because sometimes they are leaves and sometimes the plant itself (e.g. a cactus).
How to care for succulents? Provide them with well-drained soil, water a lot but rarely, and remember to have plenty of light.
However, it is not always that simple, so I invite you to read my guide ?
How to care for succulents?
Hello and welcome to all of you on my blog. This is the first entry, so please forgive me if there are any shortcomings.
For some time now, succulents have been very popular and allow you to create wonderful compositions combining stone, glass and wonderful greenery. Pinterest and Instagram are full of advice on how to create these compositions.
You can make them yourself or use ready-made solutions available in stores, but nothing can replace the pleasure that comes from creating your mini gardens from succulents.
When you have your dream glass garden or an ordinary pot bought in a garden store, it’s time to ask yourself how to care for succulents?
And here I come to the rescue ?
Choose the right succulents for you
It seems quite obvious, but if you are just starting your adventure with succulents, you can skip this important element. There are various types of succulent plants available on the market that must be cared for in different ways.
Some like to be outdoors in summer and we can plant them freely in the ground, but some species should only be kept indoors. This is of great importance, especially in our climate zone.
Before you buy succulents, try to read a bit about the specific species you own. Check what temperature is the best for them. Do they like sunny places all day long or do they like the sun until noon and then they feel better in the shade.
Also, pay attention to where you are going to put your succulents.
Remember that succulents most often come from Africa, so they will not survive the frosts. It is easy to imagine what will happen to leaves that are filled with water if the temperature around them drops below freezing. However, they are perfect for houses, flats and recently I see more and more of them in minimalist doctor’s offices or at the hairdresser’s.
Also remember that very colourful succulents feel best outdoors, in sunny places.
If you are just starting your adventure with succulents, then haworthia, echeveria or common aloe vera will be a good choice.
Provide sufficient light for succulents
All succulents need a lot of light. This group of plants has evolved over the years and adapted to the climate in which there is a lot of sun and little water, therefore such conditions serve them best.
If you plan to place succulents in your home or apartment, pay attention to whether you use sun blinds that are lowered during the day when you are away from home. If so, it is better to choose an attic with skylights for your succulents or just remember to leave the blinds raised.
When you notice that succulents lose their colour or their leaves stretch unnaturally, it signals that they don’t have enough sun and you need to take better care of your succulents.
When looking for a location for succulents, choose the window that has the most light. Also remember that if you do not have enough light in your rooms, you can always use artificial lighting. Succulents grow well in glass aquariums that use artificial light.
Use a suitable substrate for your succulents
Good soil is probably one of the most important elements that make up a good and growing plant.
In the case of succulents, it is not so much the abundance of minerals that is important, but also the water permeability. Succulents grow well in well-drained soil, but soil alone is not enough. Succulents grow best in finely crumpled soil mixed with fine pine bark and crushed granite.
Since great plants cannot stand in water, choosing the right soil is crucial to maintaining the growth and colour of these wonderful plants. Such a mixture guarantees an easy flow of water during watering and at the same time some of the stones and bark will absorb water and gradually give it back to the succulent.
In the next entries, I will describe in detail how to prepare the soil for succulents, but if you do not have time to prepare them, you can always use ready-made mixtures that are available.
Water succulents a lot but rarely
Succulents, like all plants, need water to grow but remember where they come from and don’t water the succulents too often. I guess that’s why I see more and more of them in offices or shops – they are perfect plants for the forgetful. Of course, there is also the other side of the coin, namely if you limit the amount of water too much, succulents simply stop growing, so choose the amount of water carefully.
The best advice seems to be to water succulents heavily but rarely.
The most important thing is to water the roots so that they are fully irrigated, but the next watering takes place only after the soil is completely dry. Such watering will allow succulents to create a deep and strong root system. Remember about this because if you limit the amount of water, succulents will not create a proper root system.
Too little water will make the roots weak and shallow, which will limit the plant’s growth.
One more note. Adapt the amount of water to the season. In spring and summer, plants grow more intensively, therefore they will need more water. In turn, in the fall and winter periods, you can reduce the amount of water.
If you have difficulty watering succulents or you just want to learn more about them, read my article on how to water succulents. There you will find a handful of useful tips to help you care for these wonderful plants.
Choose the right container for your succulents
This is another item that needs your attention.
The most popular succulent containers are:
- Ceramic flowerpot.
If you plan to plant succulents in such a container, you must choose one with drainage holes. Without them, every time you water your succulents, their roots will stand in the water. Sooner or later it will end up uninterestingly for them.
- Glass jar or aquarium.
It is more difficult here if you plan to plant directly inside such containers. You need to properly plan the individual layers of soil in such a way that it is as permeable as possible and that the roots do not stay in the water.
You need a bit of experience to do this, but I do not recommend this method to amateurs. It is much easier to put succulents in small pots (necessarily with drainage holes) and only then put them in a glass jar. You can then mask the pots with dry moss, grass, straw or simply sprinkle them with stones. You can also create your own glass desert using multi-colored sand. Here I leave you with my own fantasy ?
Remember to fertilize your succulents
Like all plants, succulents need nutrients. This is especially important when you use soil consisting of a mixture of granite and pine bark, which I wrote about earlier. For such a mixture, I recommend using the fertilizer once a year. There is no need to do this more often. You can use regular cactus fertilizer that I recently saw at Castorama or another garden store.
The best time to fertilize is summer when succulents are growing intensively.
Turn the succulents over
Succulents love light so they will direct their leaves towards the sun. If you turn them frequently enough, you will enjoy succulents that grow straight, which is especially important in the case of e.g. cacti.
It may seem a bit strange to you, but you will still water them anyway, so what is the obstacle to invert the succulent every time you water it?
Let your succulent sunbathe on the other side ?
Take care of your plants!
All plants need light, and succulents and cacti even more. If you don’t turn them over and they have too little light, their leaves can become stretched and even deformed.
How to care for succulents in glass?
Succulents in glass are becoming more and more popular both in our homes as well as in offices and shops.
It’s no wonder as they are easy to maintain and don’t require too frequent watering. Unfortunately, succulents in glass are a bit of a different story.
The problem in their case is the lack of drainage or outflow of water, so the roots may be exposed to moisture that is unfavourable for them.
So how to care for succulents in glass? Here are some simple tips for every terrarium owner:
1. Provide adequate amount of light
For succulents to thrive, they need a lot of light. In addition, practically each of them likes direct sunlight for several hours only.
In the case of succulents in glass, you need to pay special attention to the rays of the sun. Remember that a glass container that you use can concentrate the sun’s rays and damage your plants.
Therefore, choose the brightest place for your succulents, but one where the direct sun is only for a short time. This way you will avoid problems with damaging the leaves.
Succulents feel quite well in dry conditions and the lack of drainage in a glass vessel combined with too much water can lead to rotting of the roots.
This is a very dangerous process because it is quite tricky and when you can already see its effects, it is often too late to save the plant.
To avoid such a problem, water the succulents in the glass less often than their colleagues, who grow in pots with drainage.
Let your succulents tell you when is the best time to water. Take a good look at the leaves and when they start to wrinkle, they are starting to use up the water stored in them.
This is the best time to water.
How to take care of succulents in winter?
Winter is a special period in the life of all succulents. Most of them then go into a period of limited growth and that is why we – their carers should adjust our care accordingly.
The first thing you should pay attention to take care of succulents in winter is the reduced amount of water.
In winter, succulents should be watered once a month, and sometimes even for two or three months. It all depends on the specific species we deal with, so I always encourage you to read the appropriate guide.
The second very important thing is fertilizing. Succulents can be fertilized only during the period of intensive growth, i.e. in spring and summer. In winter, fertilization should be stopped altogether.
This will create the right conditions for the plant to grow and give it time to rest in the winter.
Succulents – sample species to take care
Aloe vera is a wonderful plant that comes in many varieties. You can decorate your home with woody, bristly or many other ales that will work perfectly in our conditions.
In addition to its aesthetic qualities, aloe has many health benefits. You can prepare your cosmetics, masks or hair gels that will naturally strengthen your bulbs.
Havorsia is another great succulent plant that is very good for budding succulent lovers. The most common varieties are the haworthia fasciata and haworthia cooperi.
They are easy to grow, not very demanding and do not grow too large, therefore they are perfect for any window sill. Well-matched with the substrate will also form the basis for creating a glass garden.
Eszeweria is an amazing succulent that grows in the shape of a rosette. It is often used to create succulent compositions for weddings, and sometimes I saw a groom with a blazer or tuxedo.
People who are unfamiliar with this species often ask if it is artificial because it has such perfectly formed leaf edges that it looks as if it was made of plastic ?
Crassula is a huge family of succulents that are different from aloe or haworthia. This family includes varieties such as:
- crassula ovata, which has funny tubular leaves with red tips
- woody crassula (Crassula arborescens) some people call it the tree of happiness
- crassula helms (Crassula helmsii), i.e. an underwater crassula used to decorate aquariums and ponds
There are of course many more species that can be bought in Poland and if you want to know more of them, I invite you to my library of succulent species, which is constantly evolving and is supplemented with new wonderful specimens ?
That’s it when it comes to answering the question of how to care for succulents.
Hope I didn’t scare you too much with all these demands ?
Succulents are beautiful plants with unique shapes that I have loved for years. They are not difficult to cultivate if all of their surroundings are well prepared (soil, container, sun, watering).
They can delight with colours and some of them are a treasure of health, such as aloe, so it is worth having them in your home.
Until the next post – see ya?