Succulents are hardy, low-maintenance plants that are capable of tolerating high amounts of sun and low amounts of water. They are excellent plants to buy, whether it be for home, for the workplace or as gifts during special occasions. If you learn to care for them in the right way, and give regular maintenance for them where it is needed, they will prove to be beautiful and interesting purchases for any situation.
Succulents CAN survive with very little water; however, this doesn’t mean they will necessarily thrive in such conditions. It is ideal when watering succulents to water enough so that the roots are completely soaked, but are then allowed to dry out between waterings. To get the best results from succulents, it’s best to water them thoroughly once a week so that the entire soil is wet and water is starting to pour out from the drainage hole (see below)— but not wet enough so that the soil floods. However, make sure that the soil is dry before watering them again, as damp soil can lead to rot, insects, or eventually death. In short, make sure your succulents do not receive too little or too much water.
Water quality is also something a new succulent owner will need to take care of. Hard water will cause minerals to deposit on the plant which will eventually require re-potting. Rainwater and springwater work best when watering succulents.
SOIL AND POTTING
Succulents naturally grow in gritty, sandy soils that are commonplace in the desert, and this is the kind of soil you should get when buying one. It is also important that this soil is easily drainable for reasons noted above. Cactus soil can be readily purchased for this purpose, or you can also add sand, gravel, and/or pumice to your pot as you wish.
It is also recommended that you buy a pot with a hole at the bottom to allow for easy draining, even with well-draining soil. Unglazed terracotta pots work best for this. An alternative method is to also put gravel and crushed rock at the bottom of the container. This will help the water drain out from the roots of your plant.
Proper lighting is another important aspect of succulent care. Succulents do best when given lots of light: at least six hours is needed, and even better is a full day of indirect sunlight. However, leaving them in the full light of an afternoon sun, may actually burn some of the more delicate succulents and others will start to take on a yellow or orange look. The best place to put them are east or southwards facing windows with full exposure to the sun.
Grow lights are a good option when growing succulents indoors during the winter, or if you’re unable to grow succulents by a window. The best lighting for succulents are 6500K Fluorescent, Daylight-spectrum lamps. Keep your succulents 6-12” away from the lamp and light them for some 6 hours.
Succulents don’t need to be fertilized that much; once a month is fine. The best fertilizer to use is one that balances nutrients equally. Make sure to dilute them 4:1 in water before fertilizing your succulent.
Succulents are easy to care for, but difficult to care for well. However, using a bit of common sense: not watering or lighting them too much or too little, they will flourish and even blossom. With good advice and the right equipment, a succulent can be bought for any occassion, whether it be graduations, weddings, Christmas, or even just looking for a plant to green up your home. They will surely be plants, you, your friends and your family will love.