No Green Thumb? Use these 7 Tips for Growing Succulents

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7 Tips for Growing Succulents

I don’t know about you but I can’t keep a houseplant alive to save my life. On a whim I purchased some succulents and WOW and I am in love. Not only are they neat looking but it’s been a few months and mine are still alive!

Succulents are easy-to-raise houseplants or outdoor plants. Since they store water in their leaves and stems, they’re popular for growing pretty much anywhere as they are hard to kill.  They can even grow in cracks and crevices given the right conditions.

These plants can brighten any home, no matter the climate. They also help purify the air by adding fresh oxygen to the environment. Since they release water in the air, succulents can enhance the humidity of your home and increase moisture, thus improving sore throat, dry cough, common colds, and even dry, itchy skin.

They are also inexpensive to grow as they need less water, fertilizer, and attention than other plants.

If you want to start growing succulents, here are 7 tips to make the most out of your plants and avoid the common mistakes others have made.

Use The Correct Potting Mix

When you buy succulents in pots, they come in a standard soil mix. Once you transfer them to their own containers, make sure to change the potting mix.

Succulents are designed to withstand the most extreme environments. Due to that fact, a standard potting soil is not enough.

During the transfer, change the soil to a desert-dweller potting mix. You can buy ready made ones or you can also make your own: Mix half of the potting soil with inorganic materials like perlite.

Provide Enough Shade

Contrary to common belief, most succulents do not thrive in the hottest temperature. They might die when exposed to the fullest sun.

Most succulents, especially the smaller varieties, need sun protection. Once the temperature hits 90 degrees, you need to place them in a cool, shaded place.

If you are keeping the succulents outdoors, they need at least six hours of bright and indirect sunlight every day. If they’re indoors, you can place them near a window where they can get light all day.

Watering Them

To make your succulents happy, you need to water them. The biggest problem that most new succulent owners face is watering their succulents.

Succulents need water to grow. However, compared with most indoor plants, you don’t need to water them as frequently.  After all, remember they come from the desert where it rains in a deluge and then nothing for long periods of time.

These plants like to have their roots soaked in water. You can lightly spray succulents with water but if you want them to grow better, you need to follow the “soak and dry” method.  Give them a good soaking and then let them dry out completely before giving them another good soaking.

Also a small tip about which plants to grow indoors and outdoors: Bright colored succulents like orange and purple like even more sun, so they do better outdoors.  Whereas green succulents, such as the panda plant can take lower light making them ideal for indoor growing.

Avoid Using Glass Containers

Succulents in glass containers can be pretty to look at, but letting them live in these containers long term can affect the growth and life of your plants.

These plants do not like sitting in soggy soil so a terrarium, which doesn’t have enough drainage holes to drain the water out, can make the succulents unhappy.

Since succulents need good airflow to maintain their healthy roots, stems, and leaves, you need to use a container with enough drainage holes.  They don’t like wet roots, they will rot and kill your plants. Terracotta is a good choice, as is plastic, or ceramic provided there are enough drainage holes.

Propagate Succulents From Leaves

Propagating succulent is a breeze. You may start from seeds but it is faster and a lot easier to use the plants you already have to produce more succulents.

There are four ways to propagate succulents:

  • Removing and drying the leaves. Taking the healthy leaves at the bottom part of the plant and letting them dry for three to seven days.
  • Sprouting new roots. By dipping the leaves in rooting hormone like honey, you can start laying the leaves on a bed of soil and you will notice that the roots will start to sprout.
  • Transplanting the new succulents. Check the mother leaf. You will notice that there are new plants starting to grow at the roots of the mother leaf. Take these new plants and transplant them in their own pots.
  • Cutting the stems. If the succulents have branches, you can propagate with stem cutting. Using a sharp knife or razor blade, choose a stem that is active then cut it cleanly from the parent plant.

Feeding The Plants

Like other plants, your succulents need food too. A once a year feeding is enough.

You can use a well-balanced organic fertilizer. Feed the succulents at the beginning of the growing season.

Avoid Crowding Them Together

Succulents that are placed in containers together can be very pretty to look at. But overcrowding can encourage mold and insect infestation.

If you buy a succulent arrangement in a crowded container, pluck them out carefully, then transfer them into their own containers. Allowing a succulent to grow in a separate container allows them to get enough food and water for their needs, to thrive.

Even beginners find succulents super simple to grow and succeed with, they make a great stepping stone into more advanced gardening.  So get out there and start your own succulent garden. Then share your successes and failures with us in the comments below.

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