This past March, I had an opportunity to teach a workshop...
Succulents are beautiful and I love them! They are hardy, drought tolerant, colorful and forgiving. They come in all sizes and shapes and will grow well in most climates. The word “succulent” comes from the Latin root “succus” meaning juice or sap. Succulents have a thick waxy dermal layer that holds in water and allows succulents to thrive in dry arid climates.
Succulents require well draining loamy soil. You can purchase special succulent and cactus soil from a nursery, but I prefer (because I’m cheap) to mix my own. To do this, mix 2 parts organic potting mix with 1 part all natural sand (think playground or sandbox sand.) Make sure you’ve got gravel in the bottom of any pots you may be planting to ensure proper drainage.
Succulents require VERY little water. If you have ever killed a succulent, it is likely that you watered it to death. To properly water a succulent, allow the soil to COMPLETELY dry out, then water GENEROUSLY. I’m talking, let the water run out the drainage holes on the bottom, type of generously. Then, wait a week or two, check the soil to see if it is good and dry, and repeat. It is so easy to smother your adorable succulents with your well-intentioned attention, but I promise you, these plants thrive on neglect. Don’t kill them with kindness!
Succulents are largely found in the dessert and love sunshine. There are very few species that thrive in the shade. That said, they can get sunburned too. 6-8 hours of sun a day is all they need, especially once it gets really hot! (Think August in Utah.) If you’re growing your succulents inside, a sunny windowsill will be more than adequate to keep them happy.
Most succulents will benefit from a light occasional feeding. Mix your standard liquid plant food to half it’s regular strength, then feed your plants no more than once every 4-8 waterings. I typically feed mine once in the spring to give them a boost from the long Utah winter, and that’s it. If I remember I feed them again about halfway through the summer, but once yearly has been adequate for me.
Beware of Frost!
Some succulents will grow just fine in places with occasional freezing temperatures. Think Sedum, Hens & Chicks and Sempervivum. If you want to grow succulents outdoors that are not meant for your planting zone, simply put them in a pot that you can bring inside when it gets too chilly for them.
Mushy, transparent, yellow or pale leaves: OVERwatering STOP watering so often. Succulents are dessert plants and only require watering once a week to once every two weeks. Often times plants that are severely overwatered do not survive.
Wrinkly upper leaves: UNDERwatering Easy fix, plants often survive this, just increase the DEPTH of your watering, not necessarily the frequency.
Bleached, beige, or dark patches on leaves: Excessive sun exposure Replant in a shadier area, or simply move the pot somewhere else.
Elongated, stretched-looking leaves; flat or downward-curving rosettes: Not enough light, move plants into the sunlight!
Bulges, discolorations, holes, or tiny bugs on the leaves: PESTS! Cut out the bulbous growth, Spray with ½ rubbing alcohol, ½ water solution, isolate from other plants.
Succulents are so much fun to grow, and very forgiving to even the blackest thumb. Follow some of these easy guidelines, and you’ll be propagating your own little succulent forest in no time!
Hi! I’m Holli, avid lover of dogs, family, gardening, and all things crafty. I’m a nurse by night, Mom by day, and jack of all everything in between.
Subscribe to Blog via Email
Connect with us
What’s even prettier than an adorable terrarium of...
It’a summertime! BBQ’s, fireworks, Kids home...
Terrariums are adorable. Seriously? Tiny pudgy bright...