Succulents care is not a difficult task, these plants are tricky and require good observation skill to keep them happy year along. Succulents also known as water storage plants, word “succulent” comes from the Latin word sucus which means to juice. These plants are available in lots of varieties all over the globe and included in the family of flowers, but they are quite different in their structure from their family members. Succulent is capable of staying fat and fleshy even with exposure to extremely high heat levels, these are known for storing water in their leaves which makes them perfect survivor in hot and dry weather conditions. These plants require the least amount of water to survive because they retain their own. They are one of the best plants to be grown in the garden as they require less maintenance and give an authentic touch to gardens too. Though these plants can survive extremely heat conditions but flourish in temperature range of 15 to 30 degree celsius.
Succulents Technical Details
Scientific Name: NA
Common name(s): Succulents
Family: Aizoaceae, Cactaceae, and Crassulaceae etc
Origin: Slightly cooler climates
Height: Typically 3 inch to 15 feet
Light: Needs bright light to moderate or full sun
Soil: Well-draining soil
Moisture: Less moist soil is preferable
Temperature: Not less than 30°F/1°C
Pests: Mealy bugs, Red spider mites, Scales insects, Leaf Cutter Bees etc
Propagation: Leaves, cuttings and seeding
Uses: Mostly ornamentation purpose except aloe
Succulents are drought tolerant plants that are easy to care for and require very little. There are three points of care you want to keep in mind when caring for your succulents.
Potting Medium: good potting mix is extremely required to keep succulent plants healthy. There are two must points when preparing potting medium – first good drainage and second air circulation. When the soil becomes impenetrable to air the roots of succulents literally suffocate.They will die and start rotting soon afterwards and the rot will spread upwards to the plant body above ground. Both above essential requirements are easily obtained by simply adding coarse drainage material to the mix. Composition of a good soil mix:
40% nutritious substance (peat, coir, sifted potting soil or sifted topsoil)
60% drainage materials (coarse sand, pumice, perlite or gravel.)
There is one additional recommendation that need to be mentioned here and that is the addition of a layer of top-dressing of coarse gravel or even bark chips if gravel is not available. It protects the lower part of the plant from mud splashing against it when watered and it improves the water penetration into the soil. It reflects heat from the sun and helps to keep the roots cooler. It also prevents a surface crust to develop on top of the soil mix.
Water: The most important part of succulent care is when and how to water. Only water the plants when the soil is completely dry. If the soil has any moisture, do not water them at all. If it takes three weeks for the soil to dry out then water in three weeks, if it takes three days then water in three days. This is the most important part of proper succulent care. When you water your plants be sure they are being watered in the evening or late afternoon. Succulents best absorb water and nutrients from the soil during their rest period. Also, water acts as a magnifier and will certainly help burn your plants in the hot months if they are watered in the morning or during the day. Over-watering succulents is the easiest way to kill succulents. It is also important to address under-watering, an under-watered succulent will show signs of stress with drooping or withered leaves, leaves can also start to develop brown spots. A good watering will perk the leaves right up. Succulent plants need to be watered thoroughly when the soil is dry so that the water reaches the entire root system; then they need to dry out.
Sunlight: There is a very tricky line when you first receive your succulents in regards to how much sun the plants should receive. All Shop Succulents plants are greenhouse grown which means they need to acclimated to sun gradually once you receive them especially in the hot months. When you first receive them keep them in soft sun or indirect light only and slowly introduce them to direct sunlight. Not being careful with proper sun introduction can cause the plants to sunburn. Be cautious here especially in the hotter months of the year. Conversely, succulents and cacti need ample sunlight to look their best. This is where it can get tricky. It will probably take some testing on your part to figure out the optimum solution for your plants in regards to where you live. You will know your plants are not getting enough light when they start to grow and stretch out. This is called getting ‘leggy’. A succulent does this when it is not receiving enough light and is stretching toward the light to receive more. Indirect light for the first few days is ideal. The next step is typically giving them direct morning light only. Morning light tends to be softer. This is a great way to ensure your plants are getting the light they need in a timely fashion but not over doing it. Continue in this manner to ensure your plants receive excellent light but do not burn.
Ventilation: Ambient moving air is essential to succulents and, as mentioned above, particularly overnight. When succulents are grown inside an enclosed greenhouse then it is absolutely necessary to install fans to create air circulation. They may survive the stale air situation for a long time but such a situation is just a drawn-out death sentence to such a plant.
Temperature: Succulents are very tough plants but they are not indestructible. A good rule of thumb is to not allow your plants to be in temperatures below -1 degrees without protection. Succulents truly thrive between 15 degrees and 45 degrees. It is ok if the temperature gets above this mark, you will just need to take extra precaution to ensure your plants do not burn. You will want to keep your plants out of direct afternoon sun if the temperatures are rising above 45 degrees. If the temperature is dropping below 1 you will want to keep them indoors/greenhouse to ensure they do not freeze.
Succulents Propagation methods
Succulents can be propagated with any of below three methods:
Leaves- It is most common method of succulents propagation.
Cuttings- Succulents can be easily propagated by cuttings.
Seeding- Its very uncommon method to propagate succulents, seeds take months in germination.
Common Problems with Succulents
Tips for Healthy Succulents
The vibrant color of succulents is mostly maintained with proper light and water. Most succulents will get more vibrant with more sun but some will want diffused sun to offer their best color, watch your plants and try different light to maintain the perfect look!
Reference : Experience, Internet and http://www.gerhardmarx.com/p/succulent-cultivation.html