I really love plants! And I try to dedicate as much time as I can to care for them. But it does get complicated sometimes, especially when I travel and stay away from home for a few days.

Then I met succulent plants! I bought my first batch along with other small cacti at a garden center. They came with a tag that simply said, “Little water, lots of light.” It seemed easy to do and there was no additional information on their care. So I transplanted them to a flower pot with ordinary soil.

You don’t need to be a mind reader to figure out what happened next.  Obviously my little plants died. (Although it did take a time.) I did some research — not enough — and used special cacti soil (which is more acidic and sandy) in my second crop of succulents. Well, nothing happened! The moral of this story is this: We need to do appropriate research before planting. All plants are different and even though my friends tease me for letting a cactus die, they do need more care than you can imagine!

Succulent plants store water in their leaves, stems or roots. This is why they have a soft juicy look. These plants have adapted to survive in dry conditions around the world with incredible varieties and designs! Some even have curative properties like Aloe Vera and Agave.

Although there are many varieties of cactus and succulent plants going around, the majority require the same type of care:

Light

Succulents like dry weather and brilliant light. So a window turned towards the south is more convenient. Some can handle direct light but others might burn, especially tender sprouts. In this case, they will get brown and soft. If they lack light, they will get long in the center and the leaves will space out. You will need to prune them and provide enough light to heal.

Irrigation

It is true they require little water but it is not true they don’t require irrigation. They need to get more water in the summer. They also need less water during the latency period in winter. You will need to adjust the irrigation and space it out for a longest time until the soil is dry, preferably once every couple of months.  

If you give them too much water, they will rot. It’s that simple. You can check to make sure the roots are healthy and cut off the brown or rotten ones. Then transplant to a dry flower pot, appropriate for the plant. Use special soil for succulent and cactus plants. You can also use a branch of your succulent to start a new plant.

 If you do not water enough, your plant will lose leaves, drop them and eventually dry up with big brown spots.

It is preferable to avoid faucet water as it contains minerals and other harmful substances for the plant. Rainwater would be so much better!

In the same way, you must fertilize them during the active plant season — spring to summer, never in winter. At garden centers, construction supplies and home improvement stores, you will find good soil for your succulent or cacti plants. You can also purchase flower pots with good drainage and special fertilizer for plants with acidic soil requirements. You should transplant them every now and then to renew the soil and nutrients your plant receives.

 

Temperature

Succulents can handle the cold much better than you think. Just like in the desert, where temperature fluctuates between night and day, succulents can survive temperatures of 40º F. Ideally, they prefer daily temperatures between 70º F and 85º F and nightly between 50º F and 55º F.

With these tips, you can enjoy beautiful succulents to decorate your home and brighten up your life!

See you soon!