Everyone says that if you do not have a green thumb, you might rather start your gardening vocation by first starting to care for succulent plants. It is true that even if you forget to water them for a couple of months, you might still be able to bring them back to life, but it is also true that you will probably have a weird impression of « My plant is not well, and I can feel it ». Here is a little guide on how to care for your succulents.
Keep a plant alive versus keep a plant healthy
Succulent plants do not need much attention in order not to die. But if you decide to start caring for a plant, your intention is probably not to keep them hardly alive, but actually to keep them well and healthy. Even if succulents can come back to life after a long time of lack of care, they do need some special attention if you want them to remain robust and start flowering… Yes, most succulent plants flower is they get the care they need !
How often do you water succulent plants?
But careful ! Not giving enough care to a succulent plant can be as harmful as giving them too much care, especially regarding watering. What you need to understand in order to give them the perfect amount of water, is that succulent plants go through different phases depending on the season of the year:
- During warmer months, they enter a « growing phase », during which they are more active and need more nutrients. At that point, you should water them once a week.
- On the other hand, during cooler months, they go into a « dormant » phase, during which they need much less water: something like once a month should be enough
So, not watering your succulents for a few months in winter should not harm them too much, while doing so in summer could have irreversible effects.
The best technique to water succulent plants is to try to reproduce their original climate, which is very dry most of the time and very wet once in a while. For that reason, avoid pouring a cup of water now and then into the pot but wait until the dirt is completely dry to soak the pot in water for a few minutes.
Do they need sun, and if yes, how much?
Given the origins of succulent plants, most of them coming from the desert, you might think that they need as much sun as you can give them, which is actually wrong. Indeed, succulents will probably burn if you leave them under a full high-beaming midday sun. This is especially true if you grow your plant indoors as windows panes can create a magnifying glass effect and intensify the rays of the sun. This usually leads to leaves turning from green to black. The best option is then to place them in brightly lit areas with lots of sunlight, but not somewhere with full midday sun.
Soil, pot and re-potting
Regarding what kind of soil to use, remember that succulents are usually found in gritty or sandy soils. You should then try to reproduce its soil consequently. Also, do not try to plant your succulent in a teacup or anything undrained as such. Indeed, in order to reproduce their tropical climate, succulent plants need a perfect draining so that their soil can wet and dry very fast.
If you manage to care properly for your plant, you might come to a point where it looks uncomfortable in the pot. This is a good sign: it means you managed to grow it that far ! Succulents are quite easy to re-pot as they are quite robust plants. You should proceed it about every year, best during dormant phase where they are less inclined to be harmed.
Pay a special attention to your plants
Although most succulents need the same kind of care, specialists would say that each plant is different and the best way to give them the best attention you can is to pay a special attention on how they are growing: yellowing leaves could mean too much sunlight or overwatering while leaves leaning towards the light source can mean not enough of if.
Indoors or outdoors
There is no specific rule about where to plant your succulents. Indoors or outdoors, both can bring them a perfect environment as long as you follow the above advices. Still, if you live in a snowy region, you may cover them with a net in winter to protect them from extreme weather conditions.
What kind of succulent do I have ?
Small, tall, colourful, with or without flowers… There are so many kinds of succulent plants that it would be just impossible to name them all. Most common ones are jade plants and jasmine plants, but echeveria is also well spread. If you wonder of what type is your succulent, you may have a look at this Pinterest page.
Wishing you the best with your little guys !