Ideas & Inspiration
Tips for Growing Succulents
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.
Succulents are known for tolerating a bit of neglect. This means give them the right location, meet their sunlight and drainage requirements and they will thrive. In the garden, they are hardier than many other perennials. Indoors, find the right spot and be consistent with temps and humidity.
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.
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 or rotate every few weeks for balanced growth.
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, euphobia and agave.
Succulents have shallow roots and require well-draining soil, but not sand. A potting mix formulated for succulents and cacti is the best option.
An unglazed pot will pull water away from the roots and a layer of gravel between the saucer and the pot will help with any overflow of water.
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. See our project on a terrarium made from an old fish tank.