3 Must-Know Facts To Care For Your Succulents

Succulents are widely known as one of the most low maintenance plant families. If you don’t have the luxury of a big backyard or garden to indulge your “green thumb”, succulents are perfect as they can fit seamlessly into any small space like an apartment and help to greenify a room.

However, if it is your first time caring for a succulent, here are some important tips and tricks that may be useful and 3 must-know facts to help your little plant companions thrive!

3 Must-Know Facts to Successfully Grow Succulents in Any Environment

The majority of succulents are drought tolerant because of their built-in, water saving system. Their broad, shallow roots make the most of any water they have access to, while their thick leaves hold water and release it when the plant needs it. Other features like fine hairs on the leaves also help the plant retain water.

If you're considering growing succulents for the first time, follow these steps to successfully care for your new plants.

1. Right environment for proper growth

Succulents tend to thrive in warm, dry climates and don't mind being overlooked due to their exceptional ability to preserve water. This ability makes them ideal for indoor growing, and perfect for those who want low-maintenance houseplants.

All succulents grow best in well-drained soil. In hot and humid regions, it is sometimes easier to grow succulents outdoors in containers to ensure good drainage. As long as the plants are hardy, they can even spend the winter outside.

2. Watering succulents properly

The best way to water succulents is the "soak & dry" method. At first, soak the soil completely with water, then let the soil dry out completely before choosing to water again. And make sure the succulents are in pots with drainage holes in well-drained soil (more on that later).

All succulents (all plants for that matter, by the way) benefit from a full soaking until the water comes out of the bottom of the pot. For succulents, wait until the soil is completely dry –- not just slightly dry -- before watering again. Be sure to keep the leaves dry to prevent mold.

3. Making the right selections

Choose the right succulents for your home. Most succulents grow in direct sunlight, but if your house has shady corners, choose low-light-tolerant plants like mother-in-law's tongue. If you want to grow succulents in hanging pots, hanging varieties like banana chains or string of pearls are a great option.

There are many reasons why succulents are considered garden favorites – not least because they're beautiful and fairly hardy. But just because they're known to be easier to care for than your garden plants doesn't mean there aren't rules for growing succulents.

How to Prune Your Succulents Properly and Get Rid of Brown Leaves?

Pruning succulents

Sharp, clean scissors or similar cutting tools should be used for pruning succulents. Pruners or razor blades may be needed when trimming some of the thicker parts of the stem. Pruning is good for your succulents, ensuring your plant is resilient and it's a necessary part of their care.

When pruning succulents for propagation, you should preserve plump, healthy leaves. In the case of stems, the best candidates are those with a woody look and feel. The leaves should simply be twisted or cut cleanly with a sterile sharp knife. Cut the cuttings with a clean, sharp device, carefully removing the attached leaves to avoid damaging the nodes.

Removing brown leaves from succulents

To remove brown leaves, gently lift the healthy leaves of the plant, and then pull out the dead leaves from underneath. They should come off easily. If they don't, you can let them dry out, or if they're fading and unappealing, you can try cleaning them out.

Carefully remove the succulents from the pots before trimming the roots. The safest way is to turn the pot upside down and use your hands as a safety net for the plant. In my experience, potted plants are easier to remove when they are dry, so avoid removing plants that have just been watered. 

Bonus succulent care tips and tricks

Succulents are often featured as props in architectural magazines and furniture galleries. They can also be grown in some creative and eye-catching places, like rock gardens, or even hidden in sandbags in stone walls. It can be fun to use unique succulent pots. Mix and match succulents of different shapes, colors and textures in one pot. Here are some extra tips and tricks for your succulents:

  1. If you grow mostly desert succulents, reduce the amount of compost and add coarse (large-grain) sand, such as construction sand or rotting granite. If your native soil is poorly drained (typically loamy), avoid flooding the roots by planting in loamy soil in a raised bed or mound.
  2. Caring for succulents in winter is very similar to caring for succulents in summer. You still need to make sure they get enough sun and not too much water. The only difference is that you need to adjust the frequency of watering.
  3. The best soil for succulents is one that drains quickly. You can buy a succulent or cactus soil mix from a plant store or make your own. You can do this by adding sand/perlite to the soil. This will ensure that the water drains quickly and your succulents are not overwatered.

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