ucculents are the rage right now and everyone is interested in how to grow them both indoors and out. There are a few basics that need to be understood before you embark on your succulent gardening experience.
Succulents get their name from the fleshy leaves and stems that store water. This characteristic allows them to survive in low-rainfall areas. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy weekly downpours provided they are planted in well-draining soil that dries out quickly. Soggy soils kills a succulent off in record time!
What about soil? Since it is imperative that succulents are planted in a well-draining soil, you should use a cactus and succulent soil that has excellent drainage.
Additionally, you can add some fine gravel at the top of the soil to keep the base of the plant from rotting. It is also very attractive!
Pots for succulents: In general, succulents like to be planted in pots that drain. Then they can be thoroughly watered once a week and any excess water will flow through. During the winter, the watering may be reduced because of less light and warmth. Make sure you check the soil to ensure it is dry before you water. If you are a beginner gardener, I would stick to pots that have drainage holes.
That being said, many of the succulents displayed on Pinterest or in magazines are in pots or various containers that do not have drainage holes. So you will need to have more awareness of what is happening with the soil. Instead of watering automatically once per week, you need to stick your finger in the soil to ensure that the soil is dry, then water a little less than what you would do with a pot with drainage. Again, after the water has absorbed, check with your finger to make sure it has gone down to the roots. You want to give them a good watering and then let them dry out completely before doing it again. They will forgive you for not watering them but they will not forgive you for over-watering!
What about grouping succulents together? Succulents look great in a combination but there are a few things to think about when grouping them in the same container. First off, some succulents like more sun that others and may not be happy when combined with more shade tolerant varieties. Additionally, all succulents do not grow at the same rate. Therefore if you have a fast growing plant mixed with a slow growing plant, it will overtake the container. So, the answer to this is to know your varieties- sun or shade tolerant or fast or slow growing? Plant like varieties together. Another option is to put all the different varieties in separate pots and group the pots together in an arrangement. Then when one plant grows faster you can shift it to the back of the group.
What about sun? Despite widespread belief, most succulents do not thrive if blasted with the hottest temps and the fullest sun exposure. While they appreciate a lot of light, most succulents need sun protection.They prefer 5-6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight a day. That means putting them in your brightest window. Now here is where you need to use common sense in determining how much sunlight is enough and how much is too much. In the dead of winter, direct sunlight will be fine because the sun is not as intense but in that same window in the summer, your succulents may get sun-burned.
If not enough light is your problem, you can supplement with Grow Lights. There are also varieties of succulents that tolerate less sunlight- many Agave varieties as well as Aloes and Hawarthias.