Succulents are striking, low maintenance plants that are available in a wide variety of colors and shapes. The popularity of succulents is on the rise due to their sleek and savvy appearance. They have quickly become the botanical star of the Instagram world since they’re cool looking plants with interesting features.
In addition to their beauty, succulents are known for being highly self-sufficient. They are able to fight off long periods of drought by storing water in their thick and fleshy leaves. As a result, succulents are versatile plants that can survive in a variety of climates. Their drought tolerance also allows them to thrive on neglect. Anyone can grow them, even if they don’t have a green thumb.
Succulent Types and Uses
Succulents are available in a broad range of tender and hardy varieties and can be purchased from most local garden centers. Popular tender types include aloe, crassula, jade, and kalanchoe. They are usually grown in containers and placed indoors or outdoors on a patio/porch during the summer. Examples of hardier outdoor varieties are sedums and sempervivums (hen-and-chicks). These types are able to withstand frost and can be used to add some interest to outdoor gardens.
The artistic beauty of succulents makes them especially appealing as indoor plants. Experimenting with these charming plants can relieve the winter doldrums. It’s fun to mix and match them in funky containers that complement their unique look. They are commonly used as ornamental plants in order to add pizazz to a room. Smaller succulents can also be grown in an open terrarium as a miniature garden (closed terrariums are too humid of an environment for them).
Basics of Succulent Care
The key to succulent care is understanding when to care for them vs. when to leave them alone. Too much attention given by over watering is a common problem. Listed below are some basic rules to follow when caring for succulents:
- Use well-aerated soil – buy soil that’s especially designed for succulents and cacti. It’s important that the soil medium provides good drainage to prevent water retention. Adding a layer of pebbles to the top of the soil after planting also adds a nice finishing touch.
- Water succulents carefully – don’t over water them since the roots will rot, killing the plant. Water plants enough to dampen the soil so that it’s as moist as a wrung-out sponge. Wait until the soil is nearly dry before watering them again (about every 7 to 10 days is usually good enough).
- Choose the right container – if possible, use a container that provides good drainage at the bottom (mesh tape can be used to cover drainage holes in order to keep the soil in). For containers without drainage such as mason jars or glass bowls, be sure to water sparingly. You can also add small stones at the bottom to improve drainage.
- Place in a good spot – place plants in a bright location, preferably near a south window. They need about 6-12 hours of bright, indirect light a day. Stretched stems and leaves are indications that they aren’t getting enough light. It’s also a good idea to rotate containers for even light exposure.
Following these simple rules will allow your succulents to flourish. Let your creativity flow and have fun experimenting with these sleek and savvy plants!
For more information about succulents, contact Floral & Hardy of Skippack at 610-584-0797.