Succulent Care indoors
What exactly is a succulent? A succulent is a plant that has outstanding water storing abilities, with roots close to the soil surface, to make the most out of mist, dew and light rain. Typically from an arid terrain, succulents have adapted to their drier environments by metabolizing carbon dioxide at night to save on water, which is stored in distinct, thick and fleshy leaves and stems. So, if succulent care indoors isn’t about retaining water, what do they need help with?
The allure of the magnificent succulent has seen it swiftly progress from the outdoors to indoors. Although the movement hasn’t always gone without a hitch. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like a unique, exotic-looking succulents in one’s bathroom or, on a dresser? Who could pass up on that in vogue, succulent plant terrarium. You know, the one you made while out with your friends, after a few drinks at a plant night!
Terrariums, are as unnatural as binding someone’s feet. Give your succulents room to breathe and grow. They do get a lot more air circulation out in the wild than your terrarium could ever give them. To assist with drainage and aeration, always plant them in planters with drainage holes. Provide a tray underneath to collect the overflow of water or place them in a exterior display pot. That way you won't have to move them each time you water.
Temperature and light requirements, are usually where most of the trouble begins indoors. Succulents, come from hotter, sunnier and drier climates than your bathroom, dresser or mantelpiece. Place them in a spot where they will get indirect sunlight for most of the day. I've seen plants do well in north facing spot with low light, as long as they are edged right up against the window, they will get enough light. Sunbeams of light are just too much and may burn the plant.
When you buy a succulent from the store, it usually comes in a smallish, crammed, plastic pot. When it stays in that smallish plastic pot longer than it should, it’s uncomfortable for the plant. So, when’s the best time to re-pot? The best time to repot your succulent is, when you first buy your plant and then each year after that.
Since succulents don’t need assistance in retaining moisture, moisture-conserving mediums like peat moss and vermiculite, are not ideal soil mediums for them. A good succulent soil has perlite, coarse sand or gravel and an equal amount of silt, or dirt. A commercial cactus, succulent or bonsai mix, are all ideal soil mixes for your succulent plants. You can make your own succulent soil mix, if you're game.
Succulents originate in rocky or sandy hot soil, that drains quickly and easily. A soil high in sand contains silica, which is a needed trace mineral, but sandy, rocky soils, generally don’t hold onto to many other macro or micro nutrients. These nutrients are needed by succulents, especially indoors. Plants out in the elements are nurtured by nature, indoor plants need more care. Succulents love a good feed, give them a small dose of plant food each time you water. Once a week to once a month, is a good rule of thumb, the watering frequency depends on the species and where the plant is placed in the home. Less light, less water, that's the golden rule.
SUCCULENT care indoors and Watering
I tend to err on the side of less frequent when watering my succulents, as they do better with less H20. Succulence isn’t the only trait these plants have to maintain moisture. Leaf shape, size and root position also play a role. Over-watering is the biggest killer of succulents indoors. Water less, try a frequency of once every 2 weeks to once a month. I have noticed a succulent that doesn't get enough water tends to stand still and not grow, until the right amount of water is received. Observe your plants and read for signs on the right amount of water needed.
Indoor succulent care doesn't stop there. It’s crucial to pick the right container. I prefer glazed or unglazed terracotta pots, with drainage holes and a pebbled base tray. Plastic pots preserve water, where terracotta pots allow it to evaporate. Terracotta pots are also better suited for temperature hikes and aeration. Again, your succulents need good aeration, you're choking them in a display pot without drainage holes. Don’t do it!
The Ultimate Succulent Care indoors Guide Cheat Sheet
If you liked what you read about succulent care indoors, download your free succulent care indoors cheat sheet PDF guide and make all the right moves with your new succulents.
All Cacti are Succulents but not all Succulents are Cacti - Why? It’s in the guide. Get it here.
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