Succulent Care

General information

Most succulents are very hardy and, unlike many other plants, thrive on neglect!

They require minimal care and, by following a few simple guidelines, will do well.

Planting Guide

Your new succulents may appear slightly dry and shrivelled on arrival.

Don't worry, succulents store water in their stems and leaves and can tolerate lengthy periods of dryness without harm.

Plant your new succulents in well draining potting mix - try a blend of regular potting mix with cactus mix, coarse sand or perlite/vermiculite to improve drainage. Water well then allow the potting mix to dry out before re-watering.

After a couple of days your plants will be looking plump and healthy and, given some sun, will have regained their characteristic colours.

Light

Succulents can be grown inside or outside but they do need plenty of light. Most require either filtered sun for most of the day or at least 1 to 2 hours of direct sun.

Many will survive quite well in full sun but they need to be introduced in stages - 1 to 2 hours the first week, 3-4 hours the next week, then all day. If you introduce new plants to a sunny spot in winter they will harden to the sun as the days warm up. 

Water

When in doubt, don't water! It is better to underwater than overwater!  

The amount of water required depends on many factors - the type of container (terracotta dries out faster than other pot types), the size of the container, the height of the container, the time of year, position, heat, humidity etc

During the warmer months water thoroughly then let the soil dry out completely before rewatering. Push your finger a couple of centimetres into the soil to see if it is moist.

During the cooler months water less frequently and less deeply. Try to water in the morning when a sunny day is expected so that any excess water will evaporate faster.

If you have purchased a smaller succulent it will, in most cases, be a 'baby' and require a little more care. It will dry out fairly quickly in summer and will need watering more often until its roots are fully grown.

If you are unsure as to how often to water your new plant, leave it until it starts to shrivel slightly or go limp, then water well. Repeat this process. You will soon learn the pattern! 

Fertiliser

Feeding is necessary for vigorous and healthy growth. All commercial fertilisers ahve an NPK reading (nitrogen : phosphorus : potassium). Look for one with a low nitorgen reading like African Violet or Orchid fertiliser. Use only half the recommended strength once at the beginning of the growing season, usually spring.

Pests and Diseases

Many succulents are prone to:

  • Mealy Bug (small white fluffy balls)  appearing between the leaves towards the stem
  • Aphids (tiny black insects) usually on the flowers
  • Scale ( a Mealy Bug relative

 A regular spray with an isecticide like MaxGuard (the best we've found so far) during the warmer months will control both Mealy Bug and Aphids.  

There is a wealth of information regarding the pests and diseases to which succulents are prone at The Succulent Plant Page, well worth a visit!