Well… Succulents are one of the plants that I have been able to to nurture and keep green! So I thought I would share some background and tips on How To Grow Healthy Succulents. Wishing you tons of fun!
Succulent plants are native to hot and arid areas of the world. Thus, healthy succulents do very well indoors and out. They need only the bare minimum and will happily grow just about anywhere. They are easy to propagate and provide interesting colors and shapes. While they may be tough to kill, you still want to have healthy succulents. Here are some tips on keeping your succulents happy and healthy.
First Things First
First and foremost, you want to be sure you pick the right plant for where you want to grow it. There is a huge variety of succulents, so it is possible to grow succulents just about anywhere. However, some like full sun, while others can tolerate minimal sun exposure. Some don’t mind a bit of extra water while others will wilt and die if you over-water them. Most don’t tolerate colder temps so if you live in a zone where it gets colder, be sure to pick a plant you can bring inside in a container. Simply look at the plant’s info before purchasing to decide if it’s the right plant for your conditions!
Succulents actually like water at their roots, but the soil must be well-draining. You can use cactus soil for well-draining properties. If in hotter months the soil dries out too quickly you can mix in some regular potting soil to balance it out. If you’re planting in a non-draining container, line the bottom with pebbles or mix sand into your potting soil.
Coconut Coir is a great option for areas where the soil dries out quickly. Mix it into your soil to help retain water, but keep the soil well-drained. If you tend to over-water your plants, plant your succulent on pumice. It drains well and dries out quickly, removing the excess moisture that could harm the plant.
While succulents are drought-tolerant, they really do love water. Water them regularly and they will grow and thrive. You do not want to water the plant itself as it can lead to rot on the stems and fleshy leaves. Water the soil so it gets down into the roots. In gardens, and draining containers water until it drains out the bottom or it’s well soaked. Don’t water again until the soil feels dry when you stick your finger 1-2” down into it.
In non-draining containers like mason jars, only provide a sip of water. You’ll know if your plant isn’t getting enough if it stops growing or starts to shrivel. Succulents will start to sag and rot if you are over-watering them.
Some succulents love indirect sun and want as much of it as possible. Others are more tolerant of low-light settings. They can burn in direct sunlight so it’s best to keep them in spots that get a lot of light in the shade. Think of windowsills, or shaded overhangs. Some of this comes down to experimentation. If your plant looks leggy or starts growing toward the light, it needs a bit more. In containers, rotate them frequently so the plant continues to grow straight up. Healthy succulents will be full with thick, fleshy leaves and be appropriately colorful.
Healthy succulents can be planted in just about anything so long as their soil is well-draining. However, a container that drains is best. Terra cotta pots are wonderful as they are fairly porous and allow more airflow through to the roots. These might not be good for very hot climates though as they heat up and dry the soil out much quicker. In this case, ceramic pots are good just about anywhere. They stay cooler and still allow water to drain out the bottom.
Once you have your healthy succulents happy, you might want more! It is easy to propagate succulents. You can do it from cuttings or offshoots. If you plant has grown too leggy, cuttings are an excellent way to trim back the plant and start new ones. Pick a stem and remove all the leaves below the rosette but gently wiggling the leaf back and forth until it comes off. Then remove the rosette with a little bit of stem with sharp shears. Let the cutting dry out a couple of days. You’ll see the end of the stem dry out and look calloused.
Once it’s ready you can root it in soil or water. In soil, simply place the cutting on top of the well-draining soil. Only provide minimal water until the roots appear. Then you can water once per week. Eventually, the rosette or parent leaf will wither. Remove it without damaging the roots. Once the roots are well established and new plants and leaves are starting to grow, the succulent can be planted. The root systems are quite delicate on succulents so be very gentle with them.
If you propagate the cutting in water, simply place the calloused stem above a thing of water. After a while the roots will grow down, reaching for the water. The plant can continue to grow in the water or you can then transplant it where you want.
A number of Succulents will grow offshoots or new growths of the plant at the base of the existing plant. To propagate it, let it first grow for 2-3 weeks on the parent plant. Then check for roots. Simply cut with sharp shears or gently twist to remove it from the parent plant. Be careful again not to damage the roots that have grown. Then it can be placed in soil or water like above.
When it comes to healthy succulents, experimentation is the name of the game. If you don’t know what your plant wants it’ll often be tough enough to live through you trying to figure it out. The same plant will react differently in different places depending on temperature, humidity, and soil conditions. So if you can, look at the info for the plant you want and if it’ll be suitable. If you have an existing succulent that you know little about, try making it’s soil better draining, water regularly, and provide a sunny spot for it. See how it reacts and go from there. Soon you’ll figure out what keeps it happy and you can have an entire succulent garden if you wish!
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