From starter plant to floral wedding fashion, succulents have stepped beyond trendy into the established category of versatile, collectible and downright addictive plants.
You may have been strong up to this point and resisted the boldly textured and subtle pastel-colored plants, but how long can you hold out? Give in to the temptations of echeveria with vibrant rosettes, compact and colorful sedum, durable aloe known for its medicinal properties and tough crassula, popularly known as jade plant.
Know What You Grow
Succulents are heralded as low-maintenance plants, but that designation doesn’t necessarily mean “no maintenance.” For success with succulents right off the bat, go with some of the easier-to-grow varieties such as jade plant.
Generally speaking, a greener leaf indicates an easygoing temperament, which is caused by more chlorophyll. Begin with the verdant varieties and then move on to the grays and blues as you gain confidence.
For landscape plants, try sedums like "Lemon Coral" groundcover and sempervivum, the stonecrop known as “hens and chicks.” For all your succulents, read the plant tags for the best planting tips and care instructions.
Pick the Right Planter
The right planter gives succulents the best chance of success in your landscape. Terra cotta and unglazed ceramic containers are natural choices. These materials are porous and will help pull moisture out of the soil, allowing for more air around the plant roots. Add extra protection in rainy climates by filling the plant saucer with small pebbles before placing the planter on top.
Succulents may outgrow their containers. When they do, it's simple to divide and repot the plants.
Use the Right Potting Mix
Place in the Right Light
We imagine that succulents like desert conditions and that means lots of sunshine, correct? Not necessarily. Full, direct sunlight can burn the leaves of some plants. The best light combination for most succulents is bright morning light and filtered afternoon sunshine.
Indoors, place succulents near a sunny window. If you notice the plant getting leggy and stretching for light, move to a brighter location. You can also rotate the plant every few weeks for balanced growth.
Learn About Heat and Humidity
In some growing regions, like the Southeastern states, humidity and high temperatures can be a challenge. Succulents are very forgiving plants, and although they prefer a dry environment, most will survive in high humidity. Aim to keep indoor temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Succulents store water in their leaves and, for this reason, the thicker the leaf, the less water the plant will need. Look for varieties like jade plant, aloe, euphorbia (spurges) and agave.
Give Succulents Breathing Room
Succulents need fresh air and ventilation. Layered succulent arrangements are as pretty as any bouquet of roses, but that’s not an ideal environment for the long-term. Give your plants space to breathe and soak up sunlight. Terrarium-style projects are popular with succulents.
Keep in mind that a true terrarium is a sealed environment with plants that produce all the water and nutrition to survive, which creates a moist atmosphere not suitable for succulents. Choose an open container for a terrarium-like home for succulents.
Know When to Fertilize
Succulents are adapted to poor soils and harsh climates and don't require a lot of fertilizer. If you're used to growing roses and colorful annuals, this can be an adjustment. But keep in mind that just like the temptation to overwater, you can over-fertilize succulents, too.
Essential tips for fertilizing succulents:
- Add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil with new plantings.
- Fertilize during the growing season, after last frost in spring, and stop about a month before the first frost in fall.
- Use a balanced, liquid plant fertilizerr mixed to half-strength for monthly treatments.
- Look for organic fertilizer spikes that you insert in the potting mix and slowly release nutrients for up to a year.
Whether you need the right planters, plants or potting soil, The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them