This week we are going back to the basics and discussing succulents. Whether you are new to the plant world or learning how to do more for your succulents, keep reading for a brief guide on how to ensure they can thrive.
What is a succulent?
The difference between succulents and your other plants is how they store water in their leaves, stems, or roots. Because they are indigenous to the desert climate, they hold water to make it through droughts.
Fun fact: All cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti. The rounded indentations along cacti, which are called "areoles," produce their spines and are what differentiate them from other succulents.
The most important factor to a succulent's success is light.
Succulents need 6+ hours of direct light every day. During the hot summer. morning sun is best, as afternoon sun potentially can burn them if in direct sun. If you keep your succulents inside, ensure they are right by a window. You can tell your succulent is not getting enough light if it becomes leggy, or reaching for the light. Loss of color is another indication.
On the left is an example of a leggy succulent and the right is a good indoor location for succulents.
Use the Soak & Dry method when watering your succulents.
When thinking about how to properly water your succulents, think about the desert. Succulents like to receive a good soak of water followed by a complete drying-out period. Depending on your own circumstances, water once every 2-3 weeks.
The "dry sponge" analogy is helpful in ensuring your succulent's soil is fully saturated. Just like a dried-out sponge, when you run water over dry soil the water runs right through, not allowing enough water to be absorbed for the plant. So after dousing your plant when dry, return in 5 minutes or so and give it another drink. Soil, like sponges, reaches its full capacity of absorption when already damp.
Make sure your succulent has well-draining soil.
Soil that doesn't hold any water is necessary for succulents since they are holding water on their own already. In order to ensure good aeration, you can add pumice, perlite, or expanded clay to your potting mix. Because succulents need plenty of drainage for their pot, make sure there is a drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Succulents are slow growers, so they likely do not need an upsize for a couple of years.
Fertilize during the growing season.
Make sure to feed your succulents during the spring and summer. Because the winter days don't receive as much light, refrain from fertilizing during the colder months to allow your succulents to go dormant. Slow-release and liquid fertilizers are both great to use, they just have different benefits. Slow-release pellets last about 3-4 months, but are much slower to show progress. Liquid fertilizer must be applied every other watering cycle and shows quicker results.
When given the proper lighting, succulents are easy plants to take care of and our succulent arrangements make great gifts. Visit our outdoor patio to shop our large selection of succulents.