So, you’ve fallen in love with succulents. Either you, like many people, figured out that they are much easier to keep alive than other live plants, or you just like the way they look, or both!
Whether succulents simply jive with your vibe, or you live in a warm weather place where they can thrive, it is critical to understand that caring for succulent plants is not completely hands off.
Indeed, you might even have figured that out by now after watching a succulent or two die off. Yes, taking care of live or artificial succulents still requires some work.
Fortunately, you will find the top 5 tips for doing that work here.
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Live Succulents Need Just the Right Amount of Water
The most common cause of succulent death is overwatering. It happens. You might have left it out in the rain. Perhaps you did not realize the soil was already moist when you watered it.
Or maybe you were just a little too attentive to your sun worshipping plant. Either way, you will notice your succulent has been overwatered if the leaves start losing their color, feeling squishy, and falling off.
This overwatering effect is called root rot.
To remedy the situation, simply dig up your succulent and check its roots. You can then remove excess soil, squeeze the root ball for excess water, rinse out your container, and replace the soil with fresh, dry soil.
If the rot in your roots has gone all the way to the stem, you can even cut all the way up the step, snipping away lower leaves that have rotted and shriveled as well, and replant the top part of your succulent, which is usually easy to treat as a cutting for propagation.
What to remember with overwatering vs. underwatering succulents:
- Water succulents only when the soil is dry
- Check your succulents by touch, both the soil and the leaves
- Watch for signs of rot
- Signs of overwatered succulents include falling off leaves, soggy leaves, and loss of color
- Underwatered succulents suffer, too, so be sure to check for dry soil!
- Signs of underwatered succulents include wrinkled and shriveled leaves
Live Succulents Also Need Fertilizer
Like any plant, succulents also need fertilizer. Especially if your succulents are in your house, they are deprived of direct sunlight and natural nutrition from rainfall. Your job is to replace those nutrients with fertilizer.
You can use a fertilizer specific to succulents and be sure to look for one that has a higher ratio of phosphorous to nitrogen, as too much nitrogen can encourage fungus and insects. You don’t want that.
In terms of how much fertilizer for succulents is enough, think of springtime as the ideal time for planting and feeding. Succulents don’t need a ton of plant food, so you can plan for one to two times a year, maybe spring and fall, right after and right before a winter dormant time.
Also plan to fertilize your succulents when you water them as dry soil will not absorb the nutrients. Mix the fertilizer with water and add both together.
Consistent Lighting Is Also Important for Live Succulents
One of the reasons succulents are so easy to care for, so low maintenance, and probably one of the reasons you love them so much, is they are light lovers! You are unlikely to find succulent plants hiding away at the base of trees under hours of daytime shade.
We find succulents in deserts and other super sunny, hot areas. They love dry arid spaces. So, you will need to be sure to mimic this environment as best you can to keep your succulent happy.
Three types of light exist in the plant world – direct light, indirect light, and full sun. Direct light means the plant is getting light at some point of the day without any filter.
Indirect light means the plants gets sunlight only indirectly, either through some sort of filter like a shade or bouncing off another object like the leaves of a tree. Full sun means many hours of direct sunlight hit the plant.
Most succulents enjoy at least four to six hours of full sun.
The best spaces in your home for a succulent would be either a south facing window or an east facing window. South facing windows will offer the full range of the sun as it passes its zenith.
If you notice your plant getting too much sun, you can always adjust it a few inches to the left or right. An east facing window will at least allow the morning sun hours to hit your plant without being too harsh on its leaves.
In most cases, you can catch enough sun through your windows and will not need to go to great lengths, like getting grow lights, to keep your succulents happy.
Artificial Succulents Are Easier to Maintain, But Still Need Dusting and Rinsing
If you love succulents but have not figured out how to keep them alive, either because your home is not bright enough or you are still working on the watering situation, artificial succulents are a great option.
In order to make sure you artificial succulents have a nice long life, be sure to keep a few things in mind:
- Purchase high-quality UV-resistant plants. You don’t want to sun to ruin your babies before you’ve had a chance to enjoy them.
- Rotate your plants. This will allow you to evenly expose your plants to the sun over time.
- Keep them clean. Simply rub the leaves and stem with a wet cloth a few times a season to keep them fresh looking!
- Minimize direct exposure to light. Damage from the sun can destroy your entire aesthetic by wearing down your plants.
Store Your Artificial Succulents Property When Not Using Them
If you want to pack away your artificial succulents for the Fall and Christmas seasons, simply be sure to wipe them down with a damp cloth and store them in a large plastic storage drawer or tub.
One thing to keep in mind is to space them out so they don’t get squished or crumpled. If you have a plant that is rather large, consider giving it a shower and storing it on its own cloth bag.
Store them in a cool, dry, dark place for the seasons, and you and expect them to be good as new when you return them to their places in your home once the festivities have passed!
How Do You Care for Your Succulents?
In the end, succulents are always a good way to go for those of us who crave a light loving, low maintenance plant. How do you care for your succulent plants in your home?
Do you prefer live or artificial, or both? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!