How to grow succulents, plant, take care and propagate

How to grow succulents, plant, take care and propagate A2Z

A complete guideline on how to grow succulents: In this article we'll know introduction of succulents, the types of succulents, how to plant succulents, how to grow succulents, How to Care for succulents, Watering schedule, Light & temperature preference, Indoor & outdoor planting, and Propagation of succulents. So, let's go for it.

What is Succulents plants?

There are various type of plant around the whole world. Plants are blessing of God for mankind. It impossible for us to survive without plant in the earth atmosphere. Plants provide us with food and mostly oxygen. Plants are of so many categories exist around us. Among these so many categories one is succulent plants.

Succulent means juicy. From the latin word ‘succus’ this succulent word came. Succus means juice or sap. Succulent plants are those who have thick, fleshy leaves, carried by thick, swollen stems. In these thick structures water is stored in abundance. Succulent plants can survive in such conditions where water is in scarce. For example like desert area. In desert the sun is too much strong, dryness is at tip. Water is pretty unavailable on those areas. There succulent plants can survive for long time. They are very much deep rooted, for this they can uptake water from so deep region of the soil.

At places where water resources are limited as mist and dew available succulent plants can survive at those places very easily that is impossible for normal terrestrial plants. They are tolerant to drought. Example: cactus. Cactus store water inside the leaves and stems and to prevent water loss the modify their leaves into throns. They are the most common plant found in desert. And there are many more succulent plants. So indoor decoration can be done with such plants very easily. As they will store water inside them and less management will be required for taking care of them.

Types of Succulents we may choose for our home decoration

  • String of bananas (Senecio radicans)
  • Burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum)
  • Pebble plant or living stone (Lithops)
  • String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
  • Hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum or Echeveria elegans)
  • Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi)
  • Panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)
  • Crown of thorns (Eurphorbia milii)
  • Medicine plant (Aloe vera)
  • Zebra cactus (Haworthia fasciata)
  • Jade plant (Crassula ovata)
  • Christmas kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)
  • Mother-in-law tongue or snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
  • Pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli)
  • Faucaria Tiger Jaw
  • Crassula Mini Jade
  • Aloe Black Gem
  • Echeveria Blue Atoll
  • Crassula Baby Necklace
  • Sedeveria Sleepy
  • Sedum Coppertone
  • Kalanchoe Chocolate Soldier mainly brown color
  • Adromischus Cristatus Key Lime Pie
  • Crassula Morgan's Beauty

These are some best choice succulent plants that can be chosen for indoor designing. Cost effectiveness, easy maintenance are very common for this plants. Listed plants are mostly available in the normal nurseries. Also these plants have easy propagating materials. Plants can be multiplied from one at simple terms.

How to grow succulents?

Succulents have special characteristic of not minding negligence. They can grow in extreme dry condition or in extreme winter. As they can store water inside their leaves and stems, they can tolerate the drought. For indoor decoration succulents are very simple to maintain because they don’t need that much care to survive. They can live in slight misting condition. So succulents are very much demanding. The growing procedure of succulent is too calm. Let us know about it.

1. Choosing an appropriate succulent for indoor condition

Succulents mostly need direct sunlight condition but if one has a shaded house no sunlight penetration then the succulents who prefer less sunlight might be chosen. For example like Mother-in-law toung. It is a plant which doesn’t demand so much sunlight, can grow under shade. Mother- in-law toung can be simply standed at one corner of a room.

On the other hand if one wants to hang the succulents from ceiling or a copper pipe for decoration then trailing succulents can be chosen. For example like string of banana. They trail and and hang from the upright and create a great look inside the house. It is very important to know the need of sunlight, space of a particular succulent plant before choosing them for decoration.

2. Preparation of a proper growing medium

Succulents are moisture retaining so they need a medium which is not over moist. The nursery holders create best medium for best growth and development of succulents. They use moist medium which match perfectly with a particular succulent plant. For indoor medium having balanced moisture condition and a fruitful aeration is preferable. Otherwise the root of succulent will not be able to respire normally. And it will make it suffocated as a result death.

The used soil medium must be pulverized and well textured so that the water do not stand in it. Properly drainable soil has to be used for succulent culturing. And for special succulents special mixes might be needed. For example for better growth of cactus African violet mix might be added to the growing medium. It accelerates the betterment of cactus.

3. Choice of container for succulents

The container choice for succulents is another important step for succulent rearing. Glass pots must not be chosen. As they do not allow the roots to respire properly. As a result root rot happens. Container should be mud made. Mud made containers are very good to for root health of plants. When repotting from the nursery pot this type of containers should be used.

Containers must provide good drainage of water as succulents are not well adapted to the water logged condition. At least 1-2inch hole should exist at the bottom of the container from which excess water will be removed. When repotting it is very important to be concerned about the safety of the plant. It must not be injured at any instance. If injury occurs it can be infected with various microorganisms that will lead the plant towards death. So owner must be careful about the consequences.

Placement of the potted succulent

It is a very good idea to place the succulent pot at a sunny place after repotting. It will help the succulent to establish itself in the new location. Adaptability is a crucial need for any plant to survive. They move from location to location at the same time they need some personal time to be stunted and observe the new place and its occasions. This is called acclimatization of plant. By this they got adapted.

So for succulents acclimatization occurs when it is placed under the sun for some time. Then if the plant is sun loving it should be under a sunny place if available inside the house for decoration. Otherwise if the succulent type is shade loving then it can be placed at a corner of any room where shade is abundant.

How to Care for succulents 

After planting succulents need proper care.


Allow the resting of soil between two watering schedule

As succulent plants are very well at water retaining. They do not prefer frequent watering. They should be watered after a certain period of time. Normal plants need water once by a day some plants need water twice a day. But for succulent plants need water when the medium if completely dry. By tapping one finger the soil doesn’t allow the finger to insert into it. When it happens it means the soil is dry.

Watering is needed. And tentatively this happens after every 3or 4 days, if the weather is wet then 5 days. If succulent plants are watered everyday eventually the plant dies. Over watering is not a good practice in succulent maintenance. After watering it must be ensure that the soil is saturated and the excess water is removed by the hole at the pot bottom.

Food supply to the succulents per year

Succulents also need food supply. Not like the normal plants but need some. Where normal plants are supplied with food after every 3 months or may be more or less, one supply of food per year is enough for the succulents. Plant food means nutrients and nutrient means fertilizer. When the day length is longer that night that is the blooming period for plants. At this time they perform new growth of plant parts. New flash, new flower, new branches are grown at this time. And so plant needs enough energy to activate itself as per the activities. So enough food supply is important at this time to energize the plant.

Succulents do not want food in winter. Because winter is their dormant condition. They use to keep silent at winter. Fertilizer with balanced NPK is perfect for succulents. The ration can be 8-8-8 or 10-10-10. A balance mixture causes proper growth and development of succulents. They actually want less but in proper time. If time is maintained properly they can ensure bunch of beauty inside the house.

Now we will know about the requirements of succulents inside the house for their proper development in detail. This detail will help us to care about the succulents inside our house at utmost level.

Watering schedule of succulents

Succulents are excellent at making a little drop of water going a long way. So they are mostly found in deserts. If a leaf or stem of a succulent is cut and squeezed by hand we will see that it is excreting water from it. That means it stores a lot amount of water inside it. It has the desert nature inside it. For succulent activities there is a term used for the succulent plants that is ‘less is more’. They survive for very long by using a very little potential. So when we will water our succulents it will be in our mind that ‘less is more’. Little water is far enough for the succulents.

In summer season the weather is hot. And evaporation is very common at this time. Succulents transpire less as it holds the water in it characteristically. If we see the normal plants in summer they are watered apparently every day. Because they loss water due to excess heat. For this reason they need water every day. But as succulents abide by the term less is more they need little water in summer also. They are watered after every one week or ten days. They go along with it.

Again in winter they need more little water. In winter season the owner follow a watering schedule of one month gap. That means succulents are watered after every one month in winter season. They go along with it.

Frequent watering is a threat to the succulents as it cannot stand excess water. So it should be kept in mind that succulents do not get angry if they are less cared. Perhaps they enjoy this negligence of owner.

Now the question is how to know about what is going on that means how can we know if we are watering too much or too less. The plant response is a very accurate answer for this question. As we all know plant responses to the activities we are doing to them. When we are using a succulent plant for our home decoration we should learn to observe the responses of the plant to us.

At any case if the plant shows rotten particles at its base, which means watering is getting too much. Because of excess watering water is logging at the bottom and the plant perishes being at stake. So immediate steps should be taken. The rotten portion should be observed, if the portion is totally rot and hampers the plant root to perform then the plant won’t survive for very much long. But if partial rot happens then the rotten portion can be cut of and thrown out. And proper aeration at root zone must be ensured after that, removal of excess water is also must.

Again if the soil become too dry and too light in color and still not watered, after some time the plant will be faded away. It will be wilted and withered. Then immediate watering should be done. The amount of water and the timing of watering if maintained then the succulent will be a happy plant. Succulents are best choice in enhancing the beauty of the interior of our house. Interior designers have huge demand of succulent plants in their decorative plan setting.

Living area of succulents     

Succulent are water storing plant. So the space they actually need is the proper growth medium. Succulents must be grown in such soil that can drain well. Do not make the water standed after saturation. And the holder of the medium and plant. That means the container. If the container is not made of appropriate material the plant will not have healthy environment inside the soil. Plants performs respiration 24 hours like human. They produce oxygen not only for human and animal but also for own self. They also produce carbon di oxide from carbon burning. So they need proper aeration full of oxygen in their shoot zone as well as their root zone.

So proper choice of container is very important in the succulent survival. Container of glass is very dangerous for succulent roots. Owner must avoid the glass container in succulent growth purpose. Glass container holds water inside, are not good at drainage. So the accelerate the root rotting. An open terrarium containing holes at the bottom, made of mud are very good for succulent cultivation in indoor decoration. Various designer pots are available in the market places. They can be chosen and purchase.

Now the medium for succulent growth have to be very much pulverized. Not clots of clumps are allowed in the soil. Not to be compact at any instance. Pulverized soil ensures good root penetration in soil. As succulent plant grow roots so far, it is very important to use pulverized and well tilted soil. Also this type of soil ensures perfect drainage condition. For succulents special mix in the soil may be included. By some commercial nursery holder, special mixes are added to the soil. This is for better growth and development of succulents.

Light preference

Placing the succulent pot at the window side is a good idea. If the plant is too much delicate it won’t be a good idea to place it under the direct sunlight. They need sunlight but if they are just a baby plant they should be taken under soft sun. For example baby plants are shown too the morning sun which just arises and release a soft light. But the strong sun light will burn the delicate plant. Mostly succulents are kept under partial sunlight or in a shady corner of the house.


If the plant grows very tall then it is a sign that it is exposed to a strong sun light. It should be move to a less light place. Or if it is just growing to one side where it is facing the light then it should be placed to an even lightening place of the house. Moreover if it is exposed to extreme sunlight condition plant will show burn spots on its leaves or stems, or it will go dry and faded. At this case the destroyed portions are to be removed and plant should be rescued from the sun burn.

Again if the plant started losing its natural color appearance then it is a sign that it’s not getting proper light intensity. It’s in little lightening condition. Then it should be placed to a brighter lightening.     

By managing this procedures succulents are able to develop a happy looking face inside the house. Or it will be very difficult for the succulents to survive inside the house for a longer duration.

Temperature preference

Succulent are desert plant. So they can stand very extreme temperature. In very high temperature like 55-65 degree centigrade can be tolerable to the succulent plants. For this type of extreme temperature case they store water inside them. So that they can keep cold and have water when needed. As the heat amount needed to heat the water is very high, that means the relative heat of water is very high so the succulents can keep themselves cool in excess temperature. In high heat succulents can survive uncomplicatedly.

But it is difficult for the succulents to stay in the cold condition. They cannot survive in freezing temperature. Under the freezing temperature the water inside them get frozen. Then the cell of the plants are burst because of extra pressure. And ultimately the plants die. So it should be taken care in the winter to move the plants from the cold site to the warmer site of the house. So that the plant can keep warm and can perform the normal physiology of it.

Otherwise in winter the plant become very much vulnerable to weather. Adaptability is harder in this situation.

Indoor and outdoor planting

The succulents can be plant in both indoor and outdoor condition. If indoor they can be situated at the corners of house, on the study table, on the floating shelves on wall, can be hanged from the ceiling or from the copper pipes of can be hanged directly on walls or may be placed at the window sill.

Window sill is a great site for decoration purpose. If it is at the outdoor condition they can be placed at the doorstep, at both edges of the door to have a fresh welcome entering into the house, or can be placed at the balcony by making various steps. Small succulents, medium succulents and large succulents can be added to make a pattern at the balcony. 

Small succulent pots at the front line, then the medium succulent pots after the small ones and at the last line large succulent pots are situated. It also ensure proper light penetration to the plants, as they do not shade one another. It creates an elegant look to the balcony of the house. Owner can have a charming feeling sitting at the balcony and starring at the plants.

Propagation of succulents

The succulents are propagating units at its own. The leaves of the succulents are propagating particles. If they are placed at the soil after some days small roots are seen forming form the leaves. And generating a new plant.

Again from stem, if indulged in the soil they initiate new roots and form a new plant. So it is very easy to have multiple plants from one.

If the total plant is removed except the root of the succulent a new plant will generate from that root. But for this root has to be healthy. No injuries should happen to it.

Succulents are very much beneficial for their beneficial ways. At very low maintenance and low cost they can be reared and multiplied. By buying one plant ten more plants are secured. So indoor decoration with succulent plants is a good idea.

Abraham M. Johnson
 

Abraham is a professional gardener and his hobby is indoor and outdoor gardening! He has been gardening for the last 5 years and he loves to decorate the home by gardening as well. Based on his experience with different types of gardens; he is sharing his thought and opinion about various gardens care tips and tools so that a beginner can get started right away. Find him on twitter here. Happy reading!

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