Very similar to cacti, succulents are a type of plant that thrive in warm and dry environments. They are known for their thick, fleshy leaves and are found in a diverse variety of forms. Because they require less attention than other indoor plants, succulents are generally incredibly easy to take care of and are ideal for the frequent traveller or less-attentive owner. Below are just a few basic guidelines to follow to make sure your succulent stays happy and healthy.
Natural, filtered sunlight from a south or west facing window.
Certain types of succulents are prone to scorching or burning from intense direct sunlight. When this happens, you will see brown areas develop on the leaves. Too little sunlight will cause succulents to lose color or turn yellow. It could also be the source of what is called etiolating or “stretching”, which is when the stem continues to grow but leaves become sparse. You may have to go through some trial and error before finding the perfect spot to place your succulent.
Allow soil to dry completely between waterings.
During warmer seasons, succulents will remain happy when watered once every week or two. It is very important to avoid over-watering, which will cause the roots to rot. During cooler seasons, succulents go into a dormant phase and require far less watering, sometimes as infrequently as once a month. Keep an eye out for leaves that are shriveling or shedding. This may be a result of under-watering but be cautious, as a plant that have been under-watered is easier to rehabilitate than one that has been over-watered.
Check your succulent regularly for early signs of disease or infestation.
Some signs to watch out for are mold, rot, and small eggs or bugs. Rescuing a plant that has been infected may be a matter of simply removing the diseased area or repotting the entire plant. If you notice something strange, you should quarantine the plant immediately. Pests and diseases are easily spread to neighboring plants. Click here for a helpful list of common succulent diseases and appropriate treatments.
If you are taking great care of your succulent, you will eventually need to repot.
A growing succulent is a happy succulent! Depending on how quickly your plant grows, this may not be necessary for a year or two. Make sure to prune your succulent regularly, including removing any dead leaves. When you notice that your succulent is looking crowded in its container, it’s time to find a larger home. When repotting, find a container with drainage holes on the bottom. To create another terrarium in a closed container, include a few inches of gravel or small rocks at the bottom. After repotting, be sure to wait a few days for broken roots to heal before the next watering.