Echeveria succulents in our glass planters
How to look after succulents
Here, we give you the complete run-down of everything you need to know about how to care for this it-plant. So whether you’re picking one up a succulent for yourself, or as a gift for someone else – we’ve got you covered.
The succulent is the saving grace for many a serial-plant-killer. They grow endemically in some of the harshest conditions on the planet and, like a more beautiful, millennial Rasputin of the plant world, that means it can take a lot to kill these guys. Their love for dry air and their diverse and unusual forms make succulents the ultimate home accessory. So if you’re guilty of letting your house plants go a little crispy and thirsty now and again but yearn to enjoy their lasting green beauty, maybe a succulent can be your new perennial pal.
Persephone Violet’s succulent window
Why do succulents make good indoor plants?
Succulents have developed some pretty nifty adaptations in order to survive naturally in harsh environments. Succulents are commonly found in places such as South Africa and the Central Americas where there are long dry seasons followed by heavy rainy seasons. Their fleshy leaves, stems and thick and extensive roots are perfect for storing water which means they are perfectly adapted to survive periods of drought. These characteristics handily also make them wonderful houseguests!
Where dry air and forgetful plant parents can often be the death of the humble houseplant, due to their remarkable adaptations, succulents can survive well in your home.
How to be a good succulent parent – the 5 step care plan
Generally the greener the plant, the better they will survive indoors. This is due to a greater chlorophyll percentage that will allow more effective photosynthesis. As indoor plants don’t get as much light, that extra bit of powerful green pigment in the leaves can make a real difference to their prosperity.
However, if you’ve got a perfect perch near a south facing window, by all means try the purple, red and orange coloured beauties – they need more light but they’ll reward you with their rainbow hues and won’t be so susceptible to sun damage.
Succulents do not like having wet feet. Make sure they drain well by planting them in soil that incorporates sand, gravel or pebbles. Purpose-made cactus soil works well for this. If the soil is porous and light enough to ensure good drainage, they will be happy succulents.
Succulents are most happy in pots with holes in the bottom that allow thorough drainage through their lodgings. Housing your succulent in a terracotta or unglazed ceramic pot can allow for good drainage. Consequently, the soil is less likely to get over-saturated as these pots are “breathable”.
However, don’t despair if you’re set on housing your succulent in glistening glass or glaze. Just be sure to pop a layer of gravel around the bottom of the pot to increase air movement through the soil and don’t water too frequently.
The climates succulents naturally prefer are often prone to prolonged heat waves followed by intense rain. Consequently, succulents can go a while without a drink – but when they do drink, boy do they drink.
Depending on the type of succulent, the type of pot and the conditions of your home, you should be water your succulent once a week as an absolute maximum.
The best technique for watering your succulent is to make sure it is absolutely saturated with water. Though essentially, ensure you drain the soil afterwards so the succulent is not left sitting in wet surrounds.
TIP: Use a strong stream of water rather than a spritz or a sprinkle. Step away from the trigger sprayer. I repeat: step away from the trigger sprayer.
Some succulents don’t like being watered for a month or so in their “dry season”, then like frequent big drinks for a couple of weeks. It really is dependent on the plant, which leads us onto the next piece of advice:
Signs and Symptoms of Succulent Health
Owning a succulent is an intuitive, emotional experience. So if you can tune into their signs of happiness, you’ll ensure they live long and happy lives:
- Pale, thin and droopy leaves mean they need a good soak and you should perhaps increase your watering frequency.
- Yellowish leaves with black spots, or mushy leaves that fall off at the slightest touch can mean they are over-watered. Give them a break from the watering and maybe think about their soil drainage. Planting them in gravelly soil or sand can really help with this.
- If they are getting a lot of sunlight and their leaves have black or brown spots on them, they could be sunburned! Move them to a more shady environment.
- If they are “Stretching” (getting taller and thinner with space between the leaves) they could be searching for more sunlight. Place your succulent on a south facing window ledge to catch the morning rays.
Succulents make the ultimate housewarming gift or birthday present. After-all, they are longer lasting, more understated and compact than a bouquet and come in so many glorious shapes and sizes. We’ve had lots of students snapping them up to brighten up their uni dorms. Pop into our shop and have a chat or explore our online shop for your perfect succulent!
Psst – we even have some special succulent baubles in for the festive period!