If you are new to gardening, keeping both indoor and outdoor plants alive must seem like a difficult task. But learning the skill isn’t that hard either. One eventually learns the tricks of the trade with practice and a little patience.
Beginners may choose succulents that can be maintained both outdoors or indoors according to their variety. Besides they are noted for being low maintenance and easy-to-grow nature.
Succulents are drought-resistant plants that store water and food in their leaves, stem, and roots, which in turn help them in surviving extreme weather conditions and environments.
According to Priya Agrawal, a gardening expert from Jaipur, Rajasthan, succulents can be propagated easily in different ways. “There are certain succulents that can be propagated using their leaves and there are others that can be propagated from stem cuttings. Besides, succulents can also be grafted to make a new succulent variety,” Priya tells The Better India.
Even though they are easy to grow and maintain, certain things need to be kept in mind while nurturing them.
Here are some tips from her, to be noted while growing and taking care of your succulent buddies:
1. Identify healthy plants to grow
As beginners, it is important to understand how to identify a good quality or healthy succulent before buying it from a nursery.
Succulents are usually bright or vibrant in colour, therefore, the first thing to do is to check whether the plant is looking dull. Also, succulents are known for their plump and full leaves, so touch and make sure that the plant leaves are firm and intact.
“It is almost like buying grapes, where we touch them to see if they are bright and tight to make sure that they are good. Likewise, touch the plant and make sure that they are healthy,” adds Priya.
2. Plant in a well-draining container
Once you buy the plant from the nursery, it is advised to repot them into a container as soon as possible, unless it comes with a proper pot with drainage holes and porous soil.
While repotting the succulents, it is essential to plant them in a pot or container with proper drainage holes for the excess water to leave. Otherwise, it might lead to the rotting of the roots.
Besides, these plants require porous and well-draining soil too.
3. Porous potting mix or soil
The porous soil helps in the fast drainage of water helping the succulent to thrive well. Therefore it is important to fix the right potting mix for these plants.
“You can blend some sand, gravel, coco peat, and manure to form a perfect mix for the succulents. The mix can be made using equal amounts of all of these ingredients,” suggests Priya.
4. Requires sunlight
Succulents need sunlight as much as any other plant. But though they are generally sun-loving plants, certain succulents can thrive indoors even without much light source. It is suggested to let those plants receive some direct sunlight once in a while.
“Unlike other plants, succulents can be even kept in a closed room or on your work table. But make sure that you keep them in sunlight at least once a month or once in 10 days. It helps in its growth and revival,” explains Priya.
Succulents can also be kept outside but make sure that they don’t get sunburn due to too much heat.
5. Rearrange succulents
Though succulents can be kept outside under direct sunlight it is important to note that they might not tolerate extreme heat and sun, resulting in sunburn and eventual death of the plant.
Therefore, it is advised to rearrange the plants to different locations according to the season from the sun to shade and vice versa. Even the same can be followed during the rainy season, where the plants can be kept in shade rather than letting it soak in the rain, as too much rain can also spoil the plant’s growth.
6. Do not overwater
As succulents are drought-resistant plants, it is not necessary to water them frequently, and if watered it would result in the rotting of their roots.
“These plants store water in their leaves and stems. Therefore, unlike other plants, it doesn’t require much water to thrive. It is better to water them once in 10 days or whenever the soil dries out completely without any moisture content,” suggests Priya.
It is also advised to water the plants directly onto the soil and not over the plants.
7. Avoid fungal attack
Succulents are mostly pest resistant as their thick and firm leaves are often difficult for bugs or pests to penetrate.
But it is also suggested to avoid showering succulents as the water can get collected in the leaves and stems thereby leading them to form fungal lesions and sometimes even letting them rot.
8. Clean the succulents
Though they are low maintenance, they sometimes require little attention and care. As they pick up dust and dirt like any other indoor plant, it also needs some cleaning.
“To clean the succulent you can use a spray bottle to spray on its leaves and then wipe them using a muslin or cotton cloth,” suggests Priya.
Succulents don’t usually require any special fertilizer to grow. “Nitrogen content in the soil is good for its growth. Therefore make sure that the manure that you add into the potting mix has a decent amount of nitrogen in it and that would be enough,” she says.
Learn how to grow and care for Haworthia zebra (zebra plant) — a common succulent:
Edited by Yoshita Rao