Getting Into Succulents – The Basics

Assorted-color Flowers

Ah yes, succulents. Those ever so easy to care for uniquely sized, shaped, and textured plants that are the perfect complement to any garden, whether on the yard or your window sill. Not to mention, they’re so easy to grow and can handle a bit of neglect. For those getting into gardening and who want to bring exotic twists to the barrage of foliage plaguing your beds at the moment, succulents offer a great entry into a very deep sinkhole. 

Today, we’ll be looking at a few tips to get your succulent garden blooming and keep it that way.

Pick a healthy succulent 

This seems obvious, but you should look for succulents with full shapes, good color, and with healthy foliage. Avoid plants with insects or signs of damage.

Choose the right soil 

Succulents like to be dry and need well-draining soil. Choose cactus soil or mix potting soil with sand, pumice, or perlite. Succulent roots are very fragile so be gentle when repotting.

 

Five Succulent PlantsUse the right containers

Succulents can be planted in almost anything that allows for proper drainage. Make sure containers have a drainage hole for water to flow through. Succulents don’t like to sit in waterlogged soil, so drainage is important to prevent rot. Your container should have a drainage hole to allow excess water to escape. Terra-cotta pots are ideal for beginners.

Don’t neglect it too much.

Succulents with leaves that pucker aren’t getting enough water and ones with soggy leaves are holding onto too much water. Get into a regular watering schedule to help plants thrive. Water succulents when the top inch of soil feels dry by pouring water into the pot until it flows through the drainage hole. Remove all excess water. When you water your succulents, soak the soil until water runs out of the drainage holes. (If your container doesn’t have drainage holes, use less water.) Don’t use a spray bottle to water your succulents—misting can cause brittle roots and moldy leaves. You can also place pots in a pan of water and allow the water to absorb through the drainage hole. Once the top of the soil is moist, remove it from the pan.

Soak up the sun

Green Cacti in Pots Near Window

Most succulents love light. Place them in spaces where they’ll receive four to six hours of sun. Succulents love the direct sun, but if yours is sitting in the same spot day after day, only one side is likely getting enough light. Langton and Ray suggest rotating the plant often. Succulents will lean towards the sun, so rotating them will help them stand up straight. 

Keep plants looking neat and tidy

Remove dead or decaying leaves to keep plants looking nice and insects at bay. To get rid of eggs and larvae, spray the soil with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Mealybugs are another pest succulent owners have to deal with. Overwatering and over-fertilizing are the common causes of mealybugs. Move infected plants away from other succulents and spray with 70% isopropyl alcohol.

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