Secrets for growing and displaying succulents
Part one: How to grow succulents
(See Part 2 Finding the right container or garden spot for succulents)
Using “juntique” and recycled containers is one of the best ideas for the garden when it comes to succulents. As gem-like accents to the landscaping in your garden, they add a beautiful contrast to rustic and rusty or galvanized containers. Hen’s and chicks, or Echeverias and sedums do just as well planted in the ground and they fill a space between rocks and edgings charmingly.
However some gardeners have trouble growing succulents and say they just fail to thrive. So what are the secrets for success with succulents? Here are some tips from the experts:
- Succulents love sun and heat.
- Make sure there is good drainage. Drill holes in the container you use and add sand or gravel half and half.
- Do not over water. Barely splash them with water in the summer. A succulent should never be allowed to sit in water, even in winter.
- Signs of watering problems:
- Yellow leaves
- rotted stem
- brown spots on the leaves
- leaf drop
- Signs of watering problems:
The Succulent Garden says, ” If you are unsure as to how often to water your new plant, leave it until the plant starts to shrivel slightly or go limp, then water well. Repeat this process. You will soon learn the pattern.”
- Trim off leggy stems for a bushy plant. Some tall forms of sedum like ‘Autumn Joy, can be cut to the ground in fall. They come up again like George Weaver’s below.
- In the case of Hens and chicks, the name for some Echeverias, the mother ‘Hen’ will sometimes die out and can be removed; the chicks that multiply around the ‘mom’ will continue to fill in.
See more fun examples of succulents:
Debra Lee Baldwin, author of two books on succulents says she uses a half an half mixture of potting soil and crushed pumice, called “Dry Stall”, sold at feed stores. Here’s a video showing her potting table and tools used specifically for succulents and cactus.
Now, your tricks and tips:
Sharon Krizan: When I get them I don’t give them much attention except put them outside in the summer—-they grow.
Nancy K. Meyer: ….waiting for part two, great info. If I can grow them, I think anyone can.
Sue Poirier: I have a rock wall and wherever there is a crevice I plant my hens and chicks there. I keep on moving the “babies” to bare spots. Some of them grow where there is hardly any soil. They get plenty of sun and warmth from the rocks. They have multiplied over the years and I can’t find any more places to put them. So now they will start going in fun containers.
Colleen Gau Toney: My FAVORITE succulents— I have now lost count of how many varieties I have , I live in Central Fla. – SUN – LOW water – Drainage – and when you re-pot NO water for at least 10 days, and let cuttings scab over before putting in soil…
Terresa Stoll: Give them sun, a little water once a week and then ignore them.
Wanda Hobbs: Never over-water and make sure soil is well-drained not packed.
Cj Mort: Drowning is number one problem! On my Jade tree I pinch a leaf and when it’s not real firm I give in a small drink of water.
Felicia Anne Brown: Do you have them in bright sun? Some can become floppy in partial shade. Pinching in early spring can keep them shorter and less floppy.
Nancy Henry Johnson: Ignore them except to look at them! They need very little water and sunshine!
Kelley Gaffney Rowe, from Indiana: I’m with Nancy! I do bring mine inside during winter.
Marie Niemann, from Utah: I brought mine into the garage, which isn’t real toasty either, so time will tell on the few that were still alive in the fall. I did have good luck with one called ice plant. It seemed to be happy wherever I planted it. I’ll try to ignore the ones in my containers and see if that helps. They get plenty of sunshine.
Karen Amacher: Yes lots of sun, a sandy gritty soil, and no need for much water.
Nanette Franz: Full blasting sun, excellent drainage and almost no water. Areas of constant high humidity/rain will cause them to rot. Make sure your succulents are rated for your outside zone. Tropical succulents will not live outside during winter. I have a hanging trough of succulents that have lived outside for 5 yrs, no supplemental water. Some succulents spread wildly, some are very demure, well behaved. Most will go dormant in colder zones. I have grown succulents from Chicago to Florida and they have always performed well with the less is more philosophy.
Indoor, tropical succulents need the brightest, hottest window you can provide along with a shallow container with a very well drained soil mix. Don’t over water! I normally use a cactus mix with a lot of rock/stone underneath, same with outdoor succulent containers. They are easy, low maintenance, and have very interesting textures. If you have a friend/neighbor with success in growing them, ask for a chunk or two of the plant, they are normally very easy to propagate. Just make a hole in the soil, and pop the root end in a little, lightly cover end with soil. Water a little and let ‘er rip.
Dee Ballew: Bright sunshine, no added water or food, benign neglect–they thrive.
Myra Glandon: Normally very low maintenance preferring lots of sun and little water. I have several varieties of sedum and love them.