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Every day, customers ask me how to care for their succulents. I struggle to answer these questions, because there are so many factors that lead to the correct care of succulents – the container, the type of soil, the lighting situation, and most importantly to water or not to water. Here are some tips on caring for your little succulent friends.
Succulents need the proper mix of soil. Ordinary houseplant soil is too rich and holds too much water for succulents. A mix of soil and sand is what we use, but you can also use a mix of soil and dolomite – generally a 1:1 mix. If you squeeze the wet soil and it falls apart, it’s the right consistency.
While most succulents have shallow roots, all succulents hate to sit in water. If your container has a hole in the bottom, you’re pretty much all set! Just put in a thin layer of gravel so the hole doesn’t get clogged with soil, then add your soil mixture and the succulent.
If your container doesn’t have a drainage hole, add a thicker layer of gravel to give any excess water a place to go, then add your soil mixture and your succulent. If your container does not have a hole, be careful no to over water.
Succulents enjoy a well-lit room. But on hot summer days, they prefer the shade or dappled sunlight. So, while a sunny window might be great most of the year, in the heat of summer, you may need to relocate them out of direct sun. Succulents also enjoy a sunny trip outdoors occasionally, but don’t leave them outside if it gets colder than 40 degrees.
If your succulents are getting to much light they will have a scorched look to their leaves. You may see brown, black or white patches and leaves will appear burnt and withered. If your succulents aren’t getting enough light, they will begin to stretch to find it. This will cause your succulents to get very leggy.
Healthy succulents will have plump leaves, which is where they hold water. They do not search for water with their roots, like many plants, and should not sit in water. Overwatering is the fastest way to kill your succulent. Signs of overwatering include squishy leaves, plants that are pale in color, and are rotten at the base of the plant. If you over water your succulent, remove it from the pot and let it dry out.
Dried out, withered leaves are sure signs that you are not watering enough. Always let the soil dry out between watering, but do water. If you forget to give them a drink, they will usually plump right back up, which is what makes succulents such great houseplants – they are forgiving!
Succulent Class April 9th
The Market of Choice Floral Department at Cedar Mill is offering a class on how to create and care for your own indoor succulent garden on April 9, 2016 at 10 am. The cost is $20, and you get to take your garden home with you! Stop by your Market Floral Department to register in advance.
Succulents are typically low-maintenance, come in a vast variety of colors, shapes and sizes, are drought tolerant and easy to maintain. Just follow these simple steps and enjoy your succulents year round.