Succulents are some of the most attractive, easy care plants in the plant kingdom. They need very little attention, and can survive quite a bit of abuse. However, these little Super Heroes of plants do require a little bit of care to keep them healthy. Here are some pointers for taking care of potted succulents.
Succulents and Water
The reason succulents look so plump is because they are full of water. This means that they need regular watering. However, keep in mind that these are typically desert plants! So, you need to find a balance between enough water and not too much. One of the best indications of whether or not your succulent needs water is its appearance. If it looks droopy, wrinkled, or limp, it probably needs a drink of water. They are one of the few categories of plants that can recover once they actually show symptoms of a problem.
Saturate the soil when you water the plant, and make sure it has good drainage. You’ll need to let it dry out before you water it again. In fact, one of the most common problems with succulents is overwatering. In addition, they will go dormant in the fall, and won’t require as much water during the fall and winter.
Succulents and Light
Succulents actually require quite a bit of light. However, not all of them can handle direct light. If the plant’s new growth is spindly, it probably means that it needs more light. If the plant looks pale, it may be getting bleached out by the sunlight. They’ll even get sunburned, with black spots on them. They also respond better to actual sunlight, rather than artificial light. My succulents do best on the south-facing porch, under the eaves of the house. They get hours of indirect sunlight.
Succulents and Fertilizer
Every houseplant needs food, and succulents are no different. You can use the same fertilizer with succulents that you use with other plants, but use just ¼ as much as you would for your ivy or fichus tree. It doesn’t have to be any special mix, just regular plant food.
Succulents and Handling
Your succulents should be repotted about once a year. Handle them carefully as you repot them, because they are fragile, and will break easily. Rather than pulling on the plant to get it out of the pot, cup the plant in your hand, with the top of the root ball in your palm. Tap the container to loosen the dirt, then upend the container.
Succulents and Soil
Your soil should be specially mixed for succulents, either by you or commercially. You can make your own soil by mixing one part potting soil with one part sand or perlite. Succulents, due to their very nature, will easily rot if they have constantly wet roots. They are not tropical plants, but, rather, desert plants. So, plenty of sand in the potting soil will enable the extra water to drain out without damaging the plant.
With these care tips, you can keep your potted succulents and cactus plants healthy and happy. This makes them great plant gifts, even for people who don’t have “green thumbs”!