People who don’t have a green thumb often turn to grow succulents in their homes thinking that they don’t need much attention or special conditions. Some don’t, but many do. Not every succulent plant is cactus that can survive the harshest temperatures and is drought-resistant; the kind of plant that just won’t die.
Whether you’re growing succulents for décor or air purification, you’ll find them to be a beautiful addition to your living space. Still, the plants do need some minimal care which makes them perfect for business people and students who don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to their indoor garden. There are only a few rules that should be followed so that your plants can flourish. Here’s how to do it the right way and turn your room into a magazine-worthy space.
1. Choose the right pots
In commercials and home magazines, we can often see succulents in beautiful glass containers that accentuate their unique shapes. However, this might not be the greatest idea since such pots don’t have the draining holes needed to get rid of the excess water. If plants are sitting in soggy soil they might start to deteriorate quickly, rotting away their stocky stems, leaves, and flowers. Succulents need less water than average room plants but that doesn’t mean that they can absorb every drop. This is the reason why you always need to choose regular pots with holes on the bottom.
If you still insist on growing your succulent plants in non-draining pots, there are a couple of things to pay attention to. Well-draining soil is an absolute must when planting succulents in glass containers. This will ensure that the excess water can quickly and easily evaporate without damaging the plant. Further, water the plant carefully – pour water equal to half the amount of the soil. For example, if you have 2 cups of soil, pour 1 cup of water. If you overflow your plant, soak in excess water with a towel.
There is a wrong assumption that succulents don’t need water and that they are very tolerant to neglect since they are mostly used to harsh habitats. The truth is, they are easy to keep but some effort is still needed for plants to bloom. When and how much to water the plants is one of the most common questions. There is a simple method to follow – soak and dry, meaning that you should water the plant well until the water starts coming out of the holes of the pot, and then wait for the roots and stems to soak it up. Once the soil is bone dry, you should repeat the process. On average, every plant is going to need watering every 3 to 4 days.
Spraying the stems or leaves from time to time will help them maintain moisture and produce sap. It will also keep them looking fresh since they are known to attract dust and debris. In all, some attention is needed regardless of their endurance.
3. Choosing the right soil mix
Most plants need rich soil in order to bloom and grow healthy. Succulents are different due to their natural ability to withstand dry and broiling temperatures, high altitudes, and chilling winds. Standard soil is packed firmly in the pots and is loaded with nutrients. Such conditions are great for ordinary room plants, but succulents don’t do so well in them. Firstly, the soil needs to be loosely potted so that the water can drain or evaporate. Mix potting soil with minerals, like perlite, to keep the airflow. This is absolutely crucial if you want your succulent plants to thrive.
The source of natural light is something that succulents live off of. It is also one of the trickiest conditions to simulate indoors since there aren’t many places where your plant can get hours and hours of light and warmth like it would in the natural habitat. Most plants are used to the sunlight at one period of the day, but succulents are used to getting the light from sunrise to sundown. For your plant to survive, place it on the south window sill where it can soak up all the sunlight. If you place it on the north, or east, your succulent will dwindle fast. In case you don’t have a source of sunlight in your home or an apartment, go for the super-sturdy plants like aloe or pothos.
Although succulents can look adorable all packed together in one pot, it’s actually not good for them. When there are too many plants in one dish food and water usually don’t get distributed equally leaving one plant soaked while the other is fighting for a few water drops. Furthermore, when plants are crammed together, they are more vulnerable to all sorts of pests attacking them and eating away their stems and leaves. Transfer of different illnesses is also quicker and more damaging. So, if possible, pot every plant in its own soil, so that they can get enough water and air.
6. Choose sturdier plants
If you’re still practicing gardening skills, go for the sturdier succulent plants like aloe, agave, or Jade plant. They don’t ask for a whole lot of maintenance and do very well even when they lack basic life needs like sunlight and water. Remembering to water them, and putting them on the sill to get at least some warmth and light will be enough for them to survive. Saguaro cactus has beautiful flowers, and you might be tempted to try and grow them indoors but don’t. They are just not meant to be trapped in the apartments; you will only be setting yourself up for failure. Choose plants wisely and practically; be honest to yourself about how much time you have to dedicate to growing them and if you have a demanding job or family commitments that take up most of your time, pick plants that are, from time to time, taking neglect well. Succulents have great tolerance for lack of water, for example, just try not to forget them altogether.