Sep 07, 2015
4 Things To Know About Caring for Succulents
Whether it's perched on a window sill, neatly tucked away at a desk, or brightening up a home, succulents seem to be everywhere these days.
Succulent is actually a broad way of classifying any plant that stores an abundant amount of water in either their stems or plump, fleshy leaves. As a matter of fact, some cacti and aloe actually fall into the succulent umbrella and more than 60 different plant families contain succulents. So now that we've got that cleared up, we can move onto the important aspects of taking care of your succulent. While these gorgeous plants may be quite hearty, they do require some care. Here are four things you need to know about caring for your new succulent.
Make It (lightly) Rain
While succulents are meant to endure their share of a dry stretch, they still require water! That being said, the primary cause for many a succulent homicide comes from overwatering. Here in Hawai'i, because the air is humid, the plants can actually pull moisture right out of the air. "Don't stick to a watering schedule, but rather wait until the soil is fully dry," says Yayoi Nishitani, of Luna Amante, who grows and sells succulents on O'ahu. "This can take a couple of days to a week or so, depending on the environment you live in." She also recommends watering your succulent until the entire soil is moist, while ensuring that whatever pot you keep your succulent in can drain any excess water. Just don't soak the soil and you'll have a happy plant.
The Dirt on Succulents
If you're purchasing your succulents from Mori or Red Pineapple, they'll already have the perfect soil base to keep them healthy, which is a drier soil. If you're looking to fertilize your succulents, we recommend using a Miracle Grow fertilizer specifically made for cacti, which you can find at most garden shops. If you're of the DIY mentality, you can make manure tea, which isn't nearly as stomach-churning as it sounds. Typically, a small sprinkling of fertilizer (dependent on the size of the plant) once a month should be plenty to keep your succulent thriving and healthy.
Let There Be Light
When caring for your succulent, ensuring that the plant receives the right amount of light is paramount. According to Yayoi, most succulents need a good three to four hours of direct sunlight every day. However, "indirect sunlight is actually better for them as you don't have to worry about them getting burned in Hawai'i." In short, if you keep your succulent indoors, make sure you place it next to a window with ambient light. As a general rule of thumb, if the stem of the plant begins to elongate and the plant reaches toward the sky, that means that your succulent needs more sun.
Breathe On Your Plant, Or At Least Chat Them Up
While it's more of a novelty than hard science, Yayoi says talking to your plant can actually have a positive effect. "While we do exhale carbon dioxide that's essential for plants, you would have to talk to their succulent for a good amount of time every day to emit a high enough level of CO 2 for it to actually have any effect on the plant at all. Science aside, plants are living things so it doesn't hurt to chat it up with them and tell them how beautiful they are...anyone would appreciate that once in a while, right?"
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