Succulent plants are hardy, colourful plants, easy to grow, that are happy indoors or outdoors. They are definitely a plant to be considered for more environmentally-conscious, plant-filled living spaces.
I’ve always loved these beautiful plants and their plump little leaves. There are so many different varieties to admire. Notice the different shades? … green, pink, purple, red, orange..
Succulents aren’t only pleasant to look at though, like all plants they bring wellbeing. Biophilia is the term used to describe the connection we feel to nature. Plants make us feel happier. You know that feeling when you’re sitting among trees and flowers.. that energy? Maybe we should bring more of that energy outdoors indoors or just fill up a balcony or terrace with them.
1. GROW FROM STEM CUTTINGS
There isn’t any need to buy these plants as you can grow houseplants from stem cuttings. If you have a friend that has one growing , ask if you can take a cutting. You can also find them growing in the countryside or in people’s gardens. To make a cutting pull off a small stalk from a larger stalk or remove the smaller plantlets that have sprung up alongside the mother plant. I took these stems from the succulent plants that my mother in-law has on her terrace.
Important: Put the stems on a tray and let them dry for a few days. This allows the roots to emerge.
2. USE A GOOD SOIL
If you can use a peat-free potting compost as an eco-friendly alternative to other composts. Most peat-free composts are carefully blended to provide optimum growing conditions. Where necessary, a liquid feed can be used in conjunction with a peat-free compost to boost nutrient levels (when before summer?)
Peatlands contain one of the world’s most important carbon stores. Through commercial peat extraction the carbon is released back into the atmosphere where it contributes to global warming. Peatlands are also important water stores, holding about 10 percent of global freshwater. Furthermore peat takes so long to form that it cannot be regarded as a sustainable material. (Source. bbc.co.uk/gardening/ethical-peat)
For some reason commercial European nurseries refuse to join the anti-peat movement.
Adding some gravel to the soil will help with drainage. You can also buy soil purposefully mixed for cacti and succulents.
To plant the stalk or plantlet just make a whole in the soil with your finger and place it in. Then gently pat and push the soil around the plant to hold it in place. Try not to overcrowd them. Obviously they need space to grow.
Another way to pot succulents is using pumice which are very small stones. This looks nice in glass pots.
3. MAKE SURE THEY GET SUNLIGHT
Most succulents grow in sunny, dry areas. Although you don’t need to live in a hot place for them to grow they do need lots of light. When they are young it’s best not to leave them too long in the direct sunlight but as they get older they get tougher and prefer to be in the light for at least 6 hours a day.
4. WHICH POT AND WHEN TO WATER
You can use pots that have no drainage; you just need to water them less.
The word succulent comes from the Latin word sucus, meaning juice or sap. The leaves soak up and store the water so they don’t need much watering. It’s best to only water them when the soil is dry, especially if they are planted in pots without drainage. If the soil is damp, don’t water them. Instead wait a few days until the soil is dry. They may rot if watered too much.
When the soil is dry and it’s time to water them, give them a good amount of water. You won’t need to water them again until the soil is once again dry.
In the case of using pumice and a glass pot without drainage, water only when you can visibly see that there is no water at all.
As they don’t need to be watered frequently you might be tempted to spray water on them. They don’t generally like to be sprayed with water as this can cause them to rot. The best way to keep the leaves looking at their best is to wipe them gently with a damp cloth. keep an eye on them just as you would any other plant. Respect their needs and enjoy them.
Succulents don’t need much care, they are just naturally succulent. They will thrive in pots indoors and out if given sunlight, good soil, only watered when dry and lots of love.
let us know how your planting went. Maybe you have a tip or two yourself. Comments welcome below. xx