Keeping Your Succulent Alive and Happy

By Erna

Succulents are the darlings of contemporary gardening. These beautiful plants have a striking aesthetic unlike anything else in your garden. It’s no mystery why their look captivates trends so easily! The unique beauty of succulents is matched by their habits, which play by different rules than some of your other favourite houseplants. You aren’t alone if you’ve brought home a new succulent, only to have it struggle. Fortunately, the succulent code isn’t hard to crack, and a few guidelines will have your plants thriving in no time. It isn’t hard to have healthy succulents to brighten your home all year – from houseplants to living DIY decoration.

Succulent Rule of Thumb

Green thumb or not, the guidelines for succulent care are simple. You’ll always have the healthiest and most attractive plants if you try to replicate the environment that they are adapted to survive in. Succulents have become super successful at growing in their native, arid habitats. By creating growing conditions they are comfortable with, it’s incredibly easy to keep your succulents looking their best.

Watering

One of the most common succulent problems is also the easiest to fix. A lot of complaints come from people who end up doting on their plants much more than they need to. What succulents actually need is some neglect, so put down the watering can! They won’t like to be on the same watering schedule as your tropical houseplants. When you do water, be thorough. Instead of a small trickle, drench them until water flows out the bottom of the container. This will help to wash accumulated salts out of the soil. You’ll then want to let the soil dry out before you water again. In the summer, you’re aiming for watering once a week. In the winter, your plants will be dormant and only need water about once every two weeks.

Soil

Even the best watering schedule relies on the right soil as a foundation; we are still trying to copy the natural habitat of your succulent. You should aim for something that has great drainage, but isn’t pure sand. Your plant still needs some soil for the nutrients to grow. Our favourite happy medium is peat moss, or a specialized succulent or cactus soil mixed half and half with sand. Too much soil can choke the roots of your plant, but too much sand will starve your plant, so a healthy balance is important. If you don’t think that your soil is a good fit for your succulent, repotting is a simple fix. Take extra care with the delicate roots of your plant as you move them from one medium to another. While succulents certainly don’t need fertilizer to thrive, some prefer it to give their plant an extra boost. A half-dose of all-purpose fertilizer during spring and summer is the best choice to feed your plant without overwhelming the roots.

Location, Location, Location!

Like any of your other plants, your succulent has its preferences for sunshine and temperature to be comfortable. Room temperature is great for your succulent. If you feel like taking your succulent care to the next level, place it close to a window during the winter. The drop in temperature by a few degrees could encourage your plant to bloom in the spring. The more important guideline calls for 6 hours of light a day minimum. This can be a tall order in our dark winter months. Placing your succulent close to an East or North-facing window can squeeze a few extra moments of sunshine into the day. With South or West-facing windows especially, take care to keep your plant a few inches off the glass. The UV rays from the sun are magnified by windows and can give your plant a sunburn, even in the winter. Less than 6 hours of sunlight certainly won’t kill your plant, however, it could cause your plant to stretch, changing the look of the plant that you originally brought home.  

These popular plants are easy to take care of once you know the secrets to meeting their needs. There are so many fun options for things to do with your succulent that are open, once you know what to do! A quick look on Pinterest or Instagram can provide all the inspiration you need – feel free to dream big in your container designs or decorating at home. A happy home includes healthy plants with your own personal flair!