Succulents have long been a favorite among beginners learning how to care for plants, as well as busy home gardeners who don’t have the time to care for their collection. These attractive potted beauties are easy to grow and neglect tolerant, adding to their reputation as one of the most low-maintenance houseplants.
These hardy plants’ beautiful foliage makes them a real show stopper. You may put them in any area of your home to add color and texture, or you can put them on your workstation to make your business environment a little more lively.
There are roughly 10,000 different types of succulent plants found globally, with many more being crossbred by plant breeders. Though you can purchase a succulent in practically any color and size to match your home’s décor, most homeowners and interior designers prefer the smaller, potted kinds over the bigger, sprawling ones.
It is also worth noting that succulents are found in approximately 60 different plant families. As a result, different varieties of plants may have significantly varied appearances, adding to their appeal.
Succulents are also native to many parts of the world. They do, however, predominate in Central America and Africa. The dry climate in these places gives good growing conditions for a variety of species.
Let’s discover more about these fascinating plants and what distinguishes them from other types of flora.
Introduction to Succulents
Succulents have an unmistakable appearance. Their distinctive leaves are broad and meaty, and the majority of cultivars have white or clear sap. These leaves act as water storage organs for the plants, letting them to retain moisture for extended periods of time and survive in arid environments. Water is also stored in the stems and roots of some types.
Because not all succulents are made equal, each species has a unique leaf structure and growth pattern. Some plants grow in the form of tight rosettes, while others have trailing foliage. These various plants have leaves that are short and flat, long and narrow, or compact and paddle-shaped. Succulents are most commonly found in desert environments, but they are incredibly versatile and may grow in practically any habitat.
Some of the most common succulents are agave, aloe vera, jade plant, orchids, and snake plant, each with its own distinct characteristics and appearance. Cacti are also considered an amazing succulent plant kind because they require less water to survive.
Most of these plant species grow slowly and require little to no pruning, although others grow quickly and require annual repotting. However, almost all kinds require only a small amount of moisture and will continue to thrive even if you don’t water them for a few weeks.
Depending on the type of houseplant you want to grow, you can either grow it indoors or outside in your garden. It is also critical to determine whether your chosen plant requires direct sunlight to thrive or whether it will thrive in a shady position.
One of the benefits of growing succulents inside is that they don’t attract a lot of bugs. Furthermore, because they rarely overgrow, you won’t have to worry about cutting and repotting them all the time. Some kinds also produce beautiful blossoms, which adds to their visual value.
Did we also mention that succulents like aloe vera and snake plants are among the greatest natural air purifiers? By creating oxygen and eliminating pollutants from their surroundings, they can play an important role in improving indoor air quality.
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How to Grow Succulents
Let’s take a look at some techniques for growing succulents, one of the most cooperative houseplants on the planet.
Planting and Positioning
You don’t have to wait for a specific planting season if you want to cultivate succulents indoors. If you wish to cultivate succulents outside, however, it is best to do it during the summer or spring months.
Some succulent species necessitate many hours of direct sunlight every day, so position them near an east or south-facing window in your bedroom, living room, or another part of the house. Meanwhile, plants that demand shade can thrive in any corner of your home.
Furthermore, if you intend to cultivate succulents for ornamental purposes, you can easily group several species together for improved aesthetics.
Despite the fact that they are generally native to arid regions and flourish in hot weather, most succulents are quite cold tolerant.
These fascinating plants flourish at temperatures ranging from 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Some cultivars may withstand temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Like temperature, certain succulent plants require highly humid settings, while others thrive under low humidity. As a result, it would be beneficial if you considered researching the unique growing requirements of your chosen plant in order to avoid any ambiguities.
Nonetheless, most succulents like an average of 80 percent humidity in the air.
Some species of the popular houseplant require at least five to six hours of direct sunshine every day to thrive. Other types, on the other hand, flourish in the darker corners of a home. Prolonged exposure to bright sunlight, in any situation, can cause the leaf to burn and sear, harming the soft tissue and eventually killing the hardy plant.
In contrast, if a succulent does not receive enough sunshine, it will become leggy.
Agave, desert pinwheel rose, prickly pear cactus, pencil cactus, and blue chalk sticks are some prominent succulents that thrive in strong light. Aloe vera, on the other hand, demands filtered light and partial shade. Snake plants, mistletoe cactus, and ponytail palms, on the other hand, do well in low light situations.
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Succulents should be watered once every two weeks in the summer and once a month in the winter when cultivated inside. Water the plant only after the top inch of the potting medium is fully dry. Furthermore, water the plant liberally so that the roots and leaves can store as much moisture as they require. Avoid overwatering the plant as this might cause root rot.
Outdoor plants are great at absorbing water from the soil. If the weather is excessively hot and sunny, you can water your succulents up to three times per week. Consider cutting back on watering when the weather turns colder.
Planting succulents in well-drained specialty soil is preferable. The succulent-specific potting mix is available at practically every local nursery or garden center. However, if you are unable to obtain the needed soil, you can consider constructing your own potting media by combining regular soil with perlite.
How to Propagate Succulents
Each succulent has a unique mechanism of propagation. Some plants produce offsets, while others can be propagated through stem or leaf cuttings. Succulents are among the easiest plants to grow and propagate in either circumstance.
Propagating Larger Succulents through Cuttings
Here’s a step-by-step approach to propagating succulents from stem cuttings:
- Step 1: Using a clean and sanitized knife, select a healthy stem and cut it at an angle. Please leave roughly five to six inches of stem to promote fresh growth.
- Step 2: Plant the cutting in the dirt and fill the container with water.
- Step 3: Allow the cutting to take root before transferring it to a little larger container once it has begun to grow.
Propagating Smaller Succulents through Leaves
Here’s how to reproduce succulents using leaves.
- Step 1: Spread the succulent mix out on a flat pan.
- 2nd Step: Select a healthy rosette and carefully remove some of its leaves, beginning at the base.
- Step 3: Arrange the leaves on the soil, leaving some space between them. The leaf node must be above ground.
- Step 4: When the cut end begins to develop a little rosette, place it closer to the soil to allow the roots to grow.
- Step 5: When the tiny plant’s leaves begin to get larger, transfer it to a new pot.
Succulent Care Tips
Here are some of the most crucial succulent care guidelines that every home gardener should be aware of:
Because most succulents grow slowly, they do not require frequent pruning. If your plant becomes excessively leggy, you should pinch back the stems. Similarly, you can trim the leaves with sharp and sterile scissors to make the plant look symmetrical.
Succulents may be cleaned by cleaning them with a gentle cloth. Pests will be kept at bay as a result of this procedure. Furthermore, this succulent care strategy will keep your plant looking fresh and bright at all times.
During the growing season, most succulents can be fertilized once a month. Please, however, discontinue feeding the plant when the season changes and the temperature begins to fall.
You should ideally repot your succulent plants once their roots begin to poke through the dirt, suggesting that they have become root-bound. Some succulents need to be replanted every year, while others can live in the same pot for longer periods of time.
Choosing the Right Container
Terracotta pots with a drainage hole at the bottom are the finest solution for succulents of all varieties. Because of its high porosity, this substance can absorb excess moisture from the potting medium, lowering the danger of root rot.
Are Succulents Toxic?
The majority of succulents are not hazardous to both humans and animals. However, because the majority of these plants include latex, they may cause allergies in some people.
However, it is best to keep your children and pets away from your houseplants because their stiff and spiky leaves can cause physical harm.
Common Succulent Problems
Each succulent type may present its own set of obstacles. Nonetheless, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most typical concerns you could experience while caring for this easygoing plant.
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Overwatering frequently causes root rot, which eventually kills the plant. As a result, if you suspect you have overwatered a succulent in your home, turn the container on its side to enable the excess water to drain.
If it doesn’t work, gently remove the plant from its container and clean the soil surrounding its roots. Place the plant in a bright position to allow the roots to dry.
Please re-pot the plant in fresh, well-drained soil after the foliage has improved.
Succulents are drought resilient, although they nevertheless require water to survive. As a result, if you fail to water your plants for several weeks in a row, their roots will begin to collapse. Ideally, putting a modest amount of water to the pot would let the roots strengthen before increasing the amount.
However, if the plant has been dry for an extended period of time, its roots may collapse and begin to rot once you begin watering it again.
Sun damage is the most typical cause of succulent browning. While most species of these eye-catching houseplants demand strong but filtered light, overexposure to the sun can result in burned patches and brittle leaf margins.
To solve this problem, remove the dead leaves and relocate your plant to a slightly shaded place.
Pests and Diseases
Cacti and other succulents are not susceptible to pests or illnesses, however, they may develop a fungal infection as a result of overwatering. They are occasionally sensitive to mealybugs and scales.
If you see any aberrant growth or bugs in your plant, the best cure is to move the container to a brighter and warmer spot. In addition, you can treat the infestation with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
How Long do Succulents Live?
Some succulents can only live for two to three years, while others can live for 20 years or more.
To summarize, succulents are among the greatest plants to grow because they require little care and attention.
Their intriguing colors and stunning shapes may bring a touch of intrigue to any area. You may also use the smaller potted varieties of the plant to add color to your windowsill, bedside table, coffee table, or console table. Larger succulents, on the other hand, thrive in backyards and gardens, where they have more room to develop.