If you’ve recently looked at a home decor magazine, walked into a garden center or spent any time in a craft store you will agree that “Succulents” are booming in popularity. We all have been told that the are low maintenance and practically indestructible which make them all the more attractive. Unfortunately that is not entirely accurate if anything we have been lead astray. For like any other plant they too have their strengths and weaknesses which can be a very costly lesson to learn when investing in these little gems. There are a few guidelines to follow when caring for your succulents indoors.
Through trail and error and great advice form our local garden centers and suppliers I will share with you some general rules that can be applied to those beautiful little Succulents and Cacti.
When planting your Succulents and Cacti use Cactus Soil which is a specially blended mixture of sphagnum peat moss, composted forest products, sand and perlite. This will provide the necessary combination to assist in draining your planter in the most efficient manner.
Succulents are quite sturdy and flexible but too much intense sun or shade will suffer. Too much sun and they will appear off color or bleached out look turning yellow or orange-ish. Too little light and they will get leggy, thin and brown reaching out for light wherever they can find it. So choose your location wisely.
Daily watering is a No-No. Water only when the soil has dried out. A misting bottle can be used as well to keep the tops moist but don’t overdue that either.
The Climate, whether dry or humid will effect frequency of the elapsed time. This is where the durable plant reputation comes in to play. If you find that you went longer that usual between watering and the soil is very dry do not fret they will be just fine providing they are located accordingly. Like most plants in the winter they do go dormant so they don’t require as much water you could go 2 weeks or longer between watering depending on the plant. You want to let it dry out, wait a week, then water.
Another sign of over watering will be BUGS! This could be a topic in its self! Yes, little gnats will suddenly appear floating around the plant and your home. When that happens I suggest you do your do-diligence and search for remedies such as dish soap and water or deluded alcohol. The recipes for such are easily available and abundant.
Feed it! Yes I know it sounds like a money making ploy but it does work. Buy Cactus Food it’s cheap and will last a long time. The soil in a container will not have the nutrients they need so you have to provide them. All it take is 1 drop of food to 1 gallon of water and you are set.
Let them Breathe
Air flow is especially important for succulents. In order for succulents and cacti to thrive they need space to grow and to allow the air to circulate around them. Glass containers (enclosed terrariums) pots without drain holes and container that does not allow for water and air to circulate are the kiss of death for those little beauties. Air and proper drainage will give them the fighting chance they deserve.
As a general rule, succulents like to be warm during the summer and cool during the winter. If you can, keep the temperature in the summer between 70 and 80 degrees. During the winter, you’ll want your succulents to be a little colder, between 50 and 60 degrees. Succulents respond very much like people a perfect summer day to be outdoors would be 70-80 degrees, a nice fall day is 50-60 degrees. But go below freezing? Well I don’t know about you but I find it unbearable and require warmth from the sun and lots of simple comforts. Same with our little succulent friends it causes damage to the leaves which alerts you to a problem.
Hopefully you are feeling better prepared to take care of your succulents. They are so easy to care for yet can be the most frustrating. But once you understand them they will reward you with beauty and natural art year round.