5 Tips for Growing Succulents Indoors and Outdoors

This video has an interesting description of the damage to young succulent roots when not watered properly.  If you live in a winter freeze zone, she describes how to reintroduce your succulents back outside when spring arrives.  These tips for growing succulents will help you have healthy plants.  It never hurts to learn new ways to successfully care for succulents.

Hey Guys, Lauren with Garden Answer and we are here again in southern California at OASIS Water Efficient Gardens.  It’s gorgeous today and it’s really warm.  It is – this is our second video with Cindy Davis and the founder and owner of the Succulent Perch.  So if you missed the first video click here to watch Cindy teach us how to incorporate live succulents into a fresh flower arrangement.  But we had a great time together and you do not want to miss it in this video.  Cindy is going to give us the top five tips for succulent care and I for one am really excited to learn these from an expert.  So Cindy, take it away.

Great Tips for Growing Succulents

Alright, the first tip is to choose the right succulent for your area.  Soft succulents refer to those that are not cold hardy.  They come in a variety of shapes, colors and textures making them extremely attractive choices for succulent container arrangements or planted directly in the ground throughout the garden providing you don’t have extended periods of temperatures below freezing.  Ideal temperatures for soft succulents are typically from 55 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit although they can tolerate temperatures as low as 37 to just over 100 degrees.   An example of soft succulents are Echeverias, Crassulas, Aloes and Aeoniums, but are they a good choice for the climate zone that receives snow? They can be if planted in containers.  When planted in containers that are easily transported to a heated and well-ventilated greenhouse or brought indoors to overwinter in the extremely cold weather until spring when the threat of frost is over or they can be treated as an annual.  Cold hardy succulents such as sedum are typically low growing spreading succulents good for ground covers and in rock gardens.  Sempervivums, also known as Hens and Chicks, are available in a variety of colors and are typically rosette-like in shape and Jovibarba are similar in appearance to Sempervivums.  Some of the Agaves are cold hardy and can be planted in your garden without the need of being sheltered indoors during winter.

Tip number two:  pick a good growing medium.  Typically I’ll use a cactus and palm mix that is readily available at most garden centers.  I also add perlite to the mix at a two to one ratio.  In addition, I use the commercially prepared mixes that come with a succulent in its nursery container.  If I’m planting it a container I’ll choose one that has a drainage hole and if it doesn’t I’ll create one using a drill with a diamond tile drill bit.  Then cover the hole with a screen mesh but do not add pebbles to the bottom of the container as this can lead to root tip rot.  You can also grow succulents in sphagnum moss only which is seen as succulent wreaths or on succulent rooftop bird houses from the Succulent Perch.  Some growers will add a time release fertilizer.  Personally, I like to garden with organic nutrients and I’ll use either fish emulsion and half the strength recommended on the container in the spring and autumn or a minutia every month during the succulents growing season.  I like to use authentic Haven Brand manure tea.

Tip number three:  give your succulents the correct amount of light.  A minimum of four to six hours of bright light daily if outdoors and areas that receive extreme heat I recommend morning sun with dappled midday bright light.  Otherwise, the hot sun may burn the leaves of the succulents.  In areas that are cooler throughout the year south-facing midday sun is advisable.  If you live in an area in which your non-cold hardy succulents need to be overwintered indoors you’ll need to place the nearest south-facing window or supply artificial height with an LED tube for 10 to 12 hours per day.  Place six to eight inches above the succulents.  In the spring after the threat of frost slowly acclimate your succulents to the outdoors by increasing the amount of sunlight they receive by an hour per day.  Your succulents will tell you if they’re not receiving enough light by elongating from their centers and the leaves will become further and further apart from the central stem.  Unfortunately, this can’t be reversed once it has started.

Tip number four: use the right amount of water.  This will depend on the location of the succulents; if they are in a container or placed in the ground and if they are growing in moss only.   Typically succulents in south-facing environments will receive more sun than those that are in an east-facing location.  Also, succulents in containers will dry out sooner than those planted in the ground.  Moss will dry out sooner than soil.  The key is to water when dry.  If the soil is wetter than a damp sponge don’t water.  When the soil is dry, water and water thoroughly.  I like to pulse water what I mean by this is water, wait a few seconds, water again and repeat.  I do this several times.  Sphagnum moss can become so dry that the water will just run off and not thoroughly wet the moss or the roots of the succulents.  The same can happen with containers too.  The water will penetrate only a small area and the roots won’t receive enough moisture for the succulents to thrive.  If your succulent container arrangements are receiving too much rain move them to a covered area that has bright light.  Allow the soil to dry.  Don’t allow the soil to become dry for extended periods of time because small roots can desiccate and die.  Succulents may take on a wrinkled appearance when in need of water.  As mentioned in tip number three succulents have a growing season, therefore, they’re considered dormant during part of the year.  Some are dormant in the summer and some are dormant in the winter.  When they’re dormant they don’t require watering as often.  To find out when a particular succulent is dormant or not please refer to dormancy tables found online.

Tip number five:  practice preventive bug control.  Succulents aren’t prone to a lot of problems from insects but on occasion, you may find small cottony bits in the crevices of the succulent between the leaves along the central stem.  Typically this will be the result of mealy bugs.  Try to catch it early before it’s become a full-blown infestation.  Use full strength rubbing alcohol on a Q-Tip.  Dab on top of the white cottony bits.  You can also put it in a spray bottle and spray it on the infected area.  If the plant is covered with mealy bugs it’s best to isolate the plant and discard it.  Also, check the soil for any infestation.  If present, contain the succulent and then discard it.  If your succulents are planted in several containers allow enough air circulation between them to help prevent or reduce mealybug infestations.

For more information on succulents, I suggest your local affiliate of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America found online at the link below.  There are numerous books available online as well.  To purchase a variety of succulents that may not be readily available at your local nursery please visit altmanplants.com

I love it Cindy.  Thank you so much for sharing all those tips with us.  I’m always learning something new from you, never fails.

Okay guys; remember to check out Cindy’s Facebook page the Succulent Perch and her website.  I also want to thank OASIS Water Efficient Gardens for being so accommodating and welcoming to us today.  They opened up their nursery on their closed day so that we could do this and I also want to thank Altman Plants for supplying us with such beautiful succulents for our videos today.  So be sure to check out their website altmanplants.com and their Facebook page.  All the links for all the pages will be down below in the description.  That wraps up this video.  Thanks so much for watching.  See ya.

The five points, succulent types, soil, light, water and bug control, are clearly discussed with handy suggestions.  Some informative links are also included.  Every plant and every environment is different so it may take some experimenting to help your plants do well.  Don’t give up.  Keep using the tips on our site to grow healthy succulents indoors and outdoors.

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