This blog post was written by Bonnie Grant and originally appeared on Gardening Know How. It was reposted with permission.
One of the most diverse and easy-to-grow plant groups are succulents, and they are en vogue recently. These low maintenance darlings come in a wide range of sizes, colors, flower hues, shapes and textures. They are gracing wedding tables, roof gardens and even vertical walls. Their diversity and laissez faire attitude lend them to many types of displays, both as individual focal points or immersed in a cacophony of cousin plants.
Succulents are not fussy plants provided you give them appropriate growing conditions. The most important of these include:
- Lighting – Most, but not all, succulents need bright, indirect light. Outdoor plants love sunny locations but can get sunscald in areas with searing sunlight. Choose an area with plenty of morning or afternoon sun but some protection during noontime high light. In the home interior, situate plants in a bright location, but avoid placing containers right in front of southern-facing windows, as they can burn.
- Drainage and Soil – It may seem like these two items are separate requirements but they go hand in hand. Soil should be slightly to very gritty to allow excess moisture to percolate through the soil, avoiding soggy roots and stems which can cause rot. Succulent or cactus mixes are often the best option for these plants. Drainage in container bound plants is essential, as extra water is trapped in pots, creating a dangerous situation for succulent roots.
- Moisture – Succulents have fascinating adaptations that allow them to store moisture that will carry them through periods of drought. The chubby leaves of a jade plant contain extra moisture, and the rotund body of a barrel cactus is filled with water laden tissues. Leaves and stems of succulents are water conserving organs, which means you can tell when a plant is in dire need of water by puckering plant tissue. Contrary to popular belief, succulents can’t survive without moisture. They will grow and perform best with regular, deep but infrequent irrigation. During the cooler months, succulents become dormant and require half the water necessary during the growing seasons.
- Temperature – Hardy succulents can thrive in USDA zones 3 to 9 in most cases. Tender succulents need to be in a warm location and most are not suited for outdoor growing except in summer. It is important to read your plant tag and give the succulent the temperatures it needs for optimal growth. Avoid placing succulents in drafty areas but protect them from summer heat in regions with sizzling temps. Additionally, do not plant or place containers where they will experience freezing unless the zone information indicates the species will not be damaged.
- Container – Succulents rarely have a large root mass and seem happiest when in small containers. Most houseplants need a little room to stretch their roots, but succulents can really be crammed into low soil areas. This situation helps prevent excess moisture buildup, making happier plants. Studio M has a line of small containers called HousePlants that are perfect for succulents. Designed by artist Jennifer Orkin Lewis, these artistic containers mimic charming homes of yesteryear. Studio M makes HousePlant containers that accommodate anywhere from one to three succulents.
Photo credit: Lokey Designs
The gardener who provides the right level of each of these needs will be delighted with the magical nature of succulents, whether they are cacti, aloes, jade plants or any other member of the family. Succulents are perfect for new gardeners or devoted collectors but do have very specific growing requirements. These unique plants also deserve a one-of-a-kind container that displays them to best effect while adding an artistic and personal touch to your home.
If you’re looking for more garden products like HousePlants, Studio M also makes larger planters, decorative garden Art Poles, and tons of other art-inspired products. Every item they create is an exceptional work of art designed by licensed artists to put a distinctive spin on outdoor and indoor décor. Their vision is paired with quality and remarkable innovation, and almost half of their products are made in the USA! Check them out at studio-m.com.