Succulent plants are hearty and beautiful houseplants. How do you take care of them? Here are 5 tips for taking care of succulents.
Succulents seem to be one of the easiest types of plants to grow, but are they truly? While it’s not uncommon to see them growing in rock gardens, on wreaths, and in other spots where they seem to need only air, if you’re planning on growing succulents indoors you may face some challenges. Here are a few tips that will help your succulents thrive.
1. Choose the right type
Most succulents prefer the outdoors, but Gasteraloes (“Little Warty”) and Haworthias (zebra plant) do well indoors. Little Warty is a drought tolerant aloe hybrid. It resembles its popular cousin but with a variegated leaf of dark green with trails of light green.
It thrives on a windowsill as part of a container garden or a centerpiece. The zebra plant resembles the aloe in structure but has striking, raised, white “zebra” horizontal pearls on its leaves. It, too, is drought hardy and is at home in a container garden.
2. Give plants lots of sun
Succulents need at least six hours of sunlight a day. They love a sunny windowsill, but before you place a bunch of them in your south-facing window, know that succulents can get “sunburned.” If the sun’s heat is too much, they will develop brown/black spots on their leaves.
Too little sun and they’ll stretch. Stretching is when the plant starts to grow gangly with lots of space between its leaves. This causes your prized succulent to look like a child who’s outgrown his pants over the summer. If you notice this happening, move your plant to a sunnier spot. An east-facing window is ideal because it can receive morning sun and stay out of the afternoon’s scorching heat.
3. Know the growing season
Succulents go dormant in the winter, like many of us. This means they don’t need the same amount of water as they do during the summer. Water them once every two weeks or so. In the summer, you’ll want to increase that amount when the soil is dry.
4. Disobey the design magazines
You may observe succulents in design magazines because their appealing shapes add interest to a room. In these magazines, you’ll often see them in glass containers. They look lovely, but these moist conditions only work for succulents in the amount of time it takes the professional photographers to take the shot. The preferred container for a succulent is a terracotta pot. It absorbs moisture and allows the soil to dry out. Excessive moisture is one of the few things that will kill your succulent.
If you insist on keeping your succulents in a glass container, you’ll need to add a layer of pebbles below the soil to allow for proper water drainage. Also, be careful when watering. Pour in just enough water to wet the soil but not so much that it can’t be absorbed.
5. Adjust the temperature
Succulents prefer temps between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer; in the winter they thrive between 50-60 degrees. If you place them on a window sill, keep in mind the temperature there may be different from what your thermostat reads.
Succulents make a beautiful statement and although they prefer the outdoors, you can successfully grow them indoors if you keep these tips in mind.