Whether you are just starting with house plants or have been growing them forever, succulent plants are a fantastic plant to have around the place. There are lots of different varieties, but regardless of the type, you have succulents that require a similar style of care. This guide gives you some helpful tips about how to grow healthy succulents indoors so that you don’t have to worry about them.
What Are Succulents?
Succulents are plants that have thick, fleshy leaves or large stems that retain water. The word “succulent” derives from the Latin word sucus, which means juice or sap. Because succulents have thick, fleshy leaves that can retain water, it means that they’re a perfect option for people who are out of the house a lot or just aren’t green-fingered!
Common types of succulents
Succulents can really make a home pop. There are plenty of fantastic succulents that can thrive indoors including;
- Jade plant (Crassula ovata)
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
- Medicine plant (Aloe vera)
- Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi)
- String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
- Burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum)
- Pebble plant or living stone (Lithops)
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How to Grow Succulent Plants Indoors
Growing succulents indoors is easy, even for someone who isn’t an avid gardener. Because of their ability to keep water in their leaves, succulents tend to do best in warm, dry areas of the house with a good amount of sun exposure.
If you have recently purchased succulents and want to ensure you keep your succulents alive, follow these steps below.
Choose the right succulent for your property
Succulents tend to thrive in dry climates with plenty of direct sunlight, but if you are planning to put a succulent in the corner of your house which barely gets any direct sun then we advise you to opt for a succulent that thrives in cooler, shaded areas such as a snake plant.
Water Succulents seasonally
We don’t mean only water them once a season, but rather you should water your succulents more in the hotter seasons and less in the colder months. If you notice the topsoil is particularly dry, it is time to consider watering your plants.
The main mistake people make is watering succulents too much. Although you might be thinking you’re helping the plant, you are actually killing it. The right approach is to water more but less frequently. You want to water the soil properly (ensuring that water flows out of the drainage hole) and allow the soil to dry out before watering again. If the soil is always wet, this can lead to root rot and you can wave bye-bye to your lovely indoor plants!
Water the Soil
When watering your plants, you want to water the soil until it runs out of the drainage holes on the bottom of your plant pot. If your plant pot doesn’t have drainage holes, consider using less water as succulents don’t like to sit in excess water as this causes root rot.
As tempting as it can be to use a cute water spray bottle, you should refrain from watering anything other than the soil as this can lead to mouldy leaves that brown and fall off.
Plant succulents in the right soil
When you purchase succulents from DIY stores or garden centres, the soil that they are in is far too rich for the plants. It’s for this reason that you should re-pot your succulent plants as soon as possible.
The best type of soil is one that is coarse and has good drainage. We recommend either using a specific cactus or succulent mix with added perlite or pumice to help improve drainage and aeration.
Place in a sunny location
Most succulents thrive in warm and sunny conditions, and like about six hours of sun per day, so ensure that you position your succulent near a window that gets the most light. If you begin to notice that after a few months your succulent is growing in a certain direction it usually means it’s not getting enough sunlight and you should move it further towards the window.
Bugs are usually not an issue for indoor succulents, but sometimes bugs can make their way into wet soil and cause a problem. Mealybugs are a particular cause for concern as they can cause the plant to decay over time and eventually die.
If you notice fuzzy white substances over your beautiful green leaves, you should treat this immediately. By spraying 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol on the soil you can ensure that you get rid of eggs and larvae. Ensure that you move plants infested with mealy bugs away from other plants to stop cross-contamination.
User fertilizer annually
Fertilizer is incredibly important for encouraging healthy growth in succulent plants and although each plant varies when is best to fertilize, a good rule of thumb is to do it in the spring or summer, when the days are longer and you can help to promote new growth.
You want to ensure you are using a well-balanced, water-soluble fertiliser and dilute it to the manufacturer’s specifications before adding it to your soil. You should never add fertilizer to the soil when it’s dry as this can burn your succulents and cause them to die.
Causes for concern with Succulent plants
If you notice your succulent has soggy leaves, then you are watering it too often or you need to change the container it’s in to one that has better drainage.
If you notice brown spots on your succulent leaves, this is its way of telling you that it’s getting too much sun exposure. To prevent this, move your plants to a more shaded area away from full sun exposure. Once your succulent leaves are burnt, you won’t be able to bring them back to life, but your succulent will still grow despite this.
If you notice that your plant has started to rot and die, then there is a problem with your soil. Where possible, you should consider cutting off any healthy leaves and propagating them in the appropriate soil so that you can continue to get plenty of joy from your Succulent plants.
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