Succulents are among the most beloved group of plants in different parts of the world. They are so popular that you will never have difficulty finding the world’s best hanging succulents or any other variation of these plants, like premium purple succulents.
Generally, succulents hold the unique ability to store water in their leaves. With that capability, expect their leaves to be fleshy and thick. However, there are a few species and genus with thicker leaves compared to the others. These plants also tend to survive better in dry climates. As a matter of fact, they are not fond of places with plenty of humidity.
Like other plants, succulents also need proper watering to make sure they grow and bloom flowers well. However, one thing to note is that while they require water for survival, waiting until the soil is dry before watering is still a must. The reason is that succulents are capable of enduring even prolonged periods of drought. It is because they can rely on the water and nutrients stored in their leaves.
Benefits of Growing Succulents
What makes succulents incredible plants to grow in your home or garden? Here are just a few of the benefits that you will definitely enjoy from growing these amazing succulents:
Purifies the Air
With that said, it is safe to say that succulents can improve the air quality in your surroundings. Like the Aloe Vera and snake plant, some species are effective in getting rid of toxins lingering in the air. They can even purify the air from volatile organic compounds like nitrogen oxides, xylene, and formaldehyde.
Apart from that, they can release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, which can be considered respiratory waste. With that, expect the succulents to make the air around you pure, clean, and fresh. They can even deliver a generous dose of refreshed air at night, resulting in better sleep.
Easy to Care For
Succulents are among the easiest plants to care for and look after. Just make sure to commit to understanding the requirements for growing succulents from seeds. That way, you will know exactly how to care for them. In most cases, though, these plants do not need too much care and attention. They do not even need huge amounts of water.
Ensure that you grow the right succulents at the perfect places, though. Low-light ones, for instance, need to be indoors, while sun-loving ones should be outdoors. By doing that, you will not experience any problem caring for them.
What is even better about succulents is that they are capable of adapting even to major changes quickly. As they come from arid places, there is a high chance that they will thrive well in environments that have extensive sunlight and minimal water. Despite that, you can still bring them to places with humid and wet climates.
The reason is their capability of adapting to damp climate circumstances. However, preventing succulents from getting exposed to the sun is something you should avoid. You have to expose them even to small amounts of sunlight. If you can’t give them enough sunlight because of the usual weather in your place, then supplying your succulents with artificial light is the answer.
How Do Succulents Work
Succulents work by growing into impressive blooms through their unique capability of retaining water. Their uniqueness also stems from their ability to survive dry and warm climates. With that, succulents work perfectly well for those interested in growing plants that do not require too much attention and time.
Succulents are also well-adapted to indoor growth, making them perfect for those who want low-maintenance plants for their house. Just study the different techniques for transplanting succulents from the beginning, so you will also know how you can make them survive even with the least care and maintenance.
Pros and Cons of Succulents
- Easy to care for and maintain.
- Improves the quality of air in your surroundings by cleansing and purifying it.
- Can easily adapt to various circumstances and environments.
- Calms the mood and improves concentration when placed in different parts of a home.
- Capable of brightening a home regardless of the climate.
- Prone to getting overwatered. You may also find it tricky and challenging to grow in places with a type of soil that they do not prefer.
Types of Succulents
Another great thing about succulents is that they are available in various types, meaning you can make your choice based on what you truly think is suitable for you, your lifestyle, and your present environment. Here are a few of the different types of succulents:
Aeonium is one famous type of colorful and stunning succulents featuring fleshy and thick leaves growing in rosette patterns. It is rose-like waxy foliage capable of growing on woody stems. The rosettes it has a look similar to the huge and fleshy-petalled daisies. This succulent comes in several fascinating colors with leaves that can be black, variegated, yellow, deep purple, red, and green.
A native to America, this succulent boasts of a rosette shape. You can find several agave species, particularly the small ones perfectly suitable for growing and cultivating in pots. You can expect these succulents to grow similar to a soccer ball’s size eventually.
It is also capable of producing a flower spire with breathtaking blooms shaped like a cup. It is a great succulent since it is also a perennial aside from being tolerant to drought. With that, it thrives well even in mature arid gardens. It can also easily adapt to even colder climates.
Aloe is also another succulent that a lot of people prefer. It has flower spikes with a hot color of either yellow or orange. It is a huge group of succulents boasting of its rosettes and its juicy and thick leaves and bloomy spires that have attractive clusters consisting of yellow or red flowers on top. Most of the Aloe species are actually capable of tolerating short or frost freezes.
This type comes from desert climates. It has spines that can be described as modified leaves capable of radiating from the aureoles or central points. Some cactus species are columnar. You can also find those that are round. Others feature stems that resemble ping-pong paddles.
If you plan to have this type, then make sure to use golden barrels. The reason is that they are capable of providing an impressive textural enhancement. Many cacti can handle some frost, but remember that not all of them can do so, which is why you have to study them first before growing them.
Crassula refers to an extensive and diverse genus of succulents with hundreds of species in total – the most famous of which is jade. Most consider crassula as a houseplant. However, when grown in places with warm climates, you can grow it into a shrub. The plants that fall under the Crassula category include annuals and perennials, woody or herbaceous plants, and shrubs, groundcovers, and small trees.
Crassula is perfect for those who do not have a lot of time to care for their plants. The reason is that aside from being extremely difficult to kill, you can also easily propagate it from cuttings.
Echeveria is another famous type of succulent. As a matter of fact, you can see it is often featured in floral arrangements, artwork, succulent gardens, and terrariums. It is even used in wedding cakes. These succulents feature amazing rosette shapes, a wide range of colors, and plump leaves. The variety of colors they offer promotes ease in decorating them. All Echeveria species can thrive well when grown and cultivated in containers. Growing Echeverias outdoors is also possible as they suit garden beds.
One distinctive feature of Euphorbia is its milky sap, which is quite irritating and toxic. It grows flowers that are beadlike. Around 1,200 of the total number of Euphorbia species are succulents that feature wide and fleshy leaves and bizarre shapes. Some of them also look similar to cacti, complete with spines. The majority of its variations are capable of tolerating hot temperatures. They prefer warm environments that have daytime temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit on average.
Haworthia succulents thrive indoors and in pots. It has around 160 species, with the majority of them easily recognizable through their rosette-like leaves that tend to grow away from their stem axis. It is crucial to stick to growing them indoors. The reason is that they are not suitable in an outdoor garden since they get easily sunburned. They are also quite small, that they are prone to get stepped on. Despite that, it is not a secret among plant lovers that Haworthia is one of the most attractive succulents out there.
Ice plants can be identified as ground cover succulents boasting of their impressive blooms. What is great about ice plants, aside from their impressive looks, is that they only need the least maintenance. They do not even require mowing. Once fully established, you can prevent weeds from developing.
Ice plants are incredible substitutes for the lawn. Just make sure that they are capable of handling too much foot traffic. Still, remember that it is possible to grow and cultivate ice plants on rocky and steep slopes, which you cannot do when you are on a lawn.
One thing that makes Kalanchoe, so well-loved is that they have felted or colorful leaves and flowers. You can also see a few variations of this species in various sizes and shapes. Kalanchoe is a native of arid parts. You can also find modern hybrids of it known for their impressive flowers. Some colors of the flowering Kalanchoe are yellow, white, pink, and red. Similar to other succulents, you will not have a difficult time growing this type. Just make sure you are extra cautious when watering them.
Sedum is also another prominent name in the succulent industry. It is a trailing succulent plant, which features concentric and stacked leaves capable of producing star-shaped blooms during the summer. You can plant it in a rock garden. You will find the sedum useful as a filler for the container.
Aside from that, they work as ground cover. One thing to note about sedums, though, particularly their smaller versions, is that they are more in favor of cool summers and the winter season. It is even capable of handling below-freezing temperatures.
Also called hen and chicks, sempervivum is an attractive, hardy perennial supplement. Its name specifically means live forever. It is well-adapted to the point that it can survive drought conditions and lean soils. You can distinguish this succulent from the others with its low-growing rosettes of leaves available in various colors, textures, and sizes. Every rosette spring is also capable of producing new chicks and offsets. As a result, you can expect the clumps to spread in beautiful dense clusters, boasting amazing growth.
The last type included here is the Senecio, which boasts of its daisy-like flowers as well as its red-orange or yellow puffs. You will also notice its blooms drying to clumps that resemble dandelion. It generally has fleshy and thick leaves that are deep green, striped, or bluish. However, expect to find a significant variation in their individual shapes. Some of the leaves are round, while the others are shaped like a banana. You can also find those that tend to stand upright.
How to Grow Succulents
Step 1 – Take out a leaf from the succulent
You can do that by gently pulling the leaf and twisting it off the stem. Ensure that it does not have any stem left. You may also want to buy a leaf that you can use for propagation, especially if you do not prefer to remove the leaves on your own. Proceed to the second step if you intend to do the cutting yourself.
Step 2 – Prepare a pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears
Use these tools to take out a cutting. Just cut one piece of your chosen succulent from the stem. There are two methods to do so – cutting a new offshoot and cutting the top. Basically, it is similar to when you cut one piece or part of an Aloe Vera.
Step 3 – Dry the cutting or leaf
Right after you extracted the cutting or leaf, let it dry completely. Ensure that it is fully dry before moving on to the next step. There are even instances when it takes up to three days to finish this step. The actual drying time will greatly depend on the intensity of the heat and the sunlight. It should be dry that it scabs over.
Step 4 – Plant in your chosen pot
If you have leaves, then put them atop the soil. When positioning the leaves, one thing you have to avoid is their ends touching the soil. You may also position the leaf’s cut end in the soil. If what you have are the cuttings, you will be pleased to know that they are easier to work with. The reason is that they are almost completely grown. The only thing you have to do in such a case is to plant them in soil.
Step 5 – Water the leaf or cutting
Remember that you have to water them daily, making the process different when you are already dealing with fully grown succulents. However, you should still avoid overwatering as it may only prevent them from growing the way you want. It may even put them at risk of browning and dying. In that case, you also need to brush up on your knowledge on taking care of your dying succulent so you will know exactly what to do in that scenario.
How to Care for Succulents
Step 1 – Provide them with enough light
Note that whether you plant your succulents indoors or outdoors, they still need bright lights. They even need a minimum of six hours daily. Succulents can stretch if they don’t get enough sunlight, so make sure to provide them with sunlight. Check the leaves as they will let you know whether they are receiving enough light.
Step 2 – Give them just the right amount of water
The most basic guideline is to water such plants thoroughly every week during the summer, two times during the fall and spring, and once every month during winter dormancy. Also, make sure to keep them dry while providing their roots with incredible drainage.
Step 3 – Rotate them
Note that while succulents like being exposed directly to the sun, it is not advisable to make them sit in a similar spot every day. The reason is that it may only cause them to get exposed to the light they need on just one side. With that said, it is advisable to rotate these plants frequently. Keep in mind that succulents can lean to the sun, so it is a wise idea to rotate them. That way, they can stand straight. Also, remember that learning often indicates that the succulents need to be in a sunnier spot.
Step 4 – Clean the succulents
If you have indoor succulents, then there is still a possibility for them to gather dust on the surface slowly. If left unmanaged, it may stop their growth. With that, it is necessary to wipe its spines and leaves gently using a damp cloth every once in a while. For hard-to-reach areas, you may want to clean them up using a soft paintbrush.
Do’s and Don’ts With Succulents
- Introduce new succulents to complete sun exposure slowly. If you have just newly planted your succulents, take note that it is possible for them to scorch when exposed to direct sunlight. With that, slowly introducing them to it is necessary. You may also want to use a sheer curtain to provide them with sufficient shade.
- Use a container featuring drainage. Keep in mind that succulents are not fond of sitting in waterlogged soil, which is why proper drainage is necessary. In addition, it can prevent them from rotting. With that, you need a container that has drainage holes designed to let excess water escape.
- Use a fertilizer during the summer. While you do not need to provide many fertilizers to succulents, feeding them with it lightly is necessary during the summer and spring. Avoid overfertilizing, though, as it may lead to the extremely rapid growth of succulents. In addition, it is not a great idea as it may only weaken the plants.
- Do not water succulents with a spray bottle. The reason is that misting may lead to moldy leaves and brittle roots.
- Do not use pre-bagged soil with fertilizers. It is because it does not have the correct nutritional balance that is ideal for succulents. It may also have excessive amounts of organic material for quick drying.
FAQ About Succulents
Are succulents indoor or outdoor plants?
Succulents can thrive well as indoor and outdoor plants. They are incredible indoor plants since they are capable of adapting and surviving dry conditions. With their juicy leaves, roots, and stems, they are definitely perfect indoor houseplants that you can easily care for. Aside from working great indoors, succulents are also amazing additions to any outdoor garden.
What are succulents used for?
Succulents are among those plants with a wide range of uses. Apart from being amazing home decors, you can also use these plants to improve the air quality in your home and surroundings. They can purify the air, allowing you to breathe only the cleanest one. In addition, they are known for being effective stress relievers. Finally, their presence can help improve your focus and concentration.
Are succulents the same as cactus?
The two are different, though they are closely related. Both are the same in the sense that they flourish in dry climates. They do not also need a lot of water to thrive. However, take note that while cactus is recognized as part of a botanical family, succulents refer to a broader group consisting of a kind of plant that belongs to a few botanical families. This means that while you can consider all cacti as succulents, some succulents can’t be considered as cacti.
Does touching succulents hurt them?
Yes, it might. Those with a dusty coating will even feel more hurt when you touch them. The reason is that each touch on the leaves may remove the farina, a powdery coating that is supposed to protect them from sunburn. This powdery coating also protects the plant from intense sunlight, pathogens, and pests. With that, you should avoid touching them unless you are sure that they will not react negatively.
How long do succulents live?
You can expect the primary succulent to live for around three to four years. During that period, the plant will be able to provide you with several offsets. As a matter of fact, you will no longer notice the death of the primary plant due to the number of offsets that it has already produced. Also, take note that the succulent can live for several more years before blooming, depending on the speed through which it matures.
Can you use sand to plant succulents?
Yes, you can. Note, however, that succulents tend to survive longer and grow healthier if you plant them in potting soil. The reason is that it can provide the succulent with the proper nutrients and moisture it needs. Succulents can grow in the sand, but you can’t expect them to live longer than those planted in potting soil.
Succulents are among the most beautiful plants that you can add to your garden or cultivate indoors. This makes them a famous choice among home gardeners. In addition, they are almost indestructible and easy to care for, making them truly great investments.
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