Plant of the Week: Succulents
By: Christina Timm
Houseplants are all the craze and succulents are no different. Succulents are the cute, little, unique plant that brings a sense of tropical into our home. With so many different colors, textures, and shapes it’s no wonder they are so addicting. Succulents can be planted individually in their own containers or they can be planted up together in a larger container, combining different varieties. Succulents do prefer full sun and can be a very easy plant to take care of once you get to know what they like: lots of sun, allowed to be dried out between watering, and to be enjoyed. They don’t mind a bit of neglect. So sit back and enjoy your little succulents, and love them from afar.
Light: Full sun. Succulents like as much sunlight as they can get. In Minnesota sometimes that can be hard. However, placing indoors in a sunny window for 6+ hours will do the trick. If sun is hard to come by, try using a heat lamp. If you start to notice your succulents getting leggy or stretching towards the light this is a sign they are not getting enough.
Water: Minimal is best! As plant lovers we sometimes love our plants too much, meaning we over care for them. Succulents are okay with a little abandonment. When watering they prefer to dry out between a thorough watering. Think of the desert. It’s hot and dry most of the time, then there is a sudden downpour, and then it’s hot and dry again. This is how watering at home should be like. Just like any plant, succulents do not like to be sitting in water. Make sure when you are watering that your container has proper drainage and that it’s not standing in water. If your succulent is always wet, it is likely to die.
What type of potting soil should I use for succulents?
The best type of soil to use for succulents is a nice, light soil designed for succulents and cactus. Your favorite local nursery (Lynde) will have soil recommendations you can use. Some people have questioned using sand, and while that might make sense seeing how they come from the desert, succulents do need additional nutrients that a potting mix can provide. Be cautious not to use all sand. With continued watering sand can compact and become very heavy.
Why are the leaves falling off my succulent?
It is perfectly natural for the bottom leaves to shrivel and fall off, just like any other houseplant. If more leaves start to fall off it may be caused by too much watering or a type of bug that is causing damage.