Recently, I’ve received several inquiries from folks wondering how much room should exist between the succulents in their arrangement. The reply is, “It depends.” Succulents are perfectly capable of being planted quite near to one another.
Succulents grow more slowly when planted closely together, helping the arrangement to better maintain its original layout. When they are close together, watering them can be more difficult. But this is a really fantastic approach to plant your succulents, particularly if you’re creating the arrangement as a present or for an event.
A nice illustration of succulents that are firmly packed together is this clam shell planter at Waterwise Botanicals.
Succulents are generally slow growers, but if you give them a bit extra room to spread out, they’ll grow a little faster and eventually fill the space. If you want your plants to grow larger or reproduce more readily on their own, this is a fantastic alternative. I suggest using this slightly dispersed strategy if you are just getting started with succulents.
It is simpler to water the succulents correctly when there is room between the plants. The soil will dry up more quickly due to the improved air flow. We are aware that succulents thrive in rapidly draining soil!
Remember that you don’t want the succulents to be too close together or in a pot that is much bigger than they are.
Succulents will prioritize generating roots over growing larger if they are given too much room. A good distance between plants, in my opinion, is between 1/2 and 1.
Can you fit as many succulents in a pot as possible?
I suggest investing in a pot or planter that you can stand to look at every day if you’re growing succulents indoors! After all, indoor plants play a significant role in the dcor of your house.
Personally, I absolutely adore keeping my succulents and indoor plants in pots that are either ivory-creme or crisp white, like the ones in this post. I believe it highlights the succulents while blending in nicely with our furnishings and other elements.
Always keep in mind how crucial it is for the root system of your succulents to choose a pot with a drainage hole. Succulents may last for days, even weeks or months without water because they store water in their leaves and stems. They are resistant to drought because they can store water in this way.
In order to prevent the roots of your succulents from sitting in moist soil, a drainage hole allows excess water to flow from the pot.
Actually, one of the main causes of dying succulents is too much moisture. Succulents’ roots will eventually decay if they are left to sit in wet soil, which will result in a dead plant. Simply put, succulents don’t require that much water.
Planting succulents in a container with a drainage hole will benefit them. They’ll repay you by developing into thriving, healthy plants!
A excellent place to start is with a decent cactus mix or soil blend designed specifically for succulents. Succulents require good drainage and air circulation to thrive, and this soil will offer both.
It’s time to fill your container with your succulent or cactus mix once you have it on hand. (If you want to prevent soil from leaking out, you can cover the drainage hole with some mesh.)
Fill the pot with enough dirt to allow your succulents to protrude above the rim. Simply add extra dirt to raise it if the leaves touch below the rim.
TIP:I almost never remove soil from a succulent’s roots before planting it. This isn’t required in my opinion. I just remove the plant from its plastic container and place it, soil and everything, in its new pot.
I’ve been doing it this way for years and don’t see any reason to alter. I’m aware that many gardeners remove the roots from their existing soil, but I find that my plants do better when I don’t. Only when I’m doing crafts with live succulents do I do it.
One of the most fascinating aspects of gardening is that everyone develops their own preferred method of doing things, even if there are undoubtedly some rules you should abide by. If it functions for you, that’s fantastic! Continue your wonderful work. To each their own, as the saying goes.
Simply plant each succulent near apart if you want to create the appearance of densely packed succulents. As long as the base of the plant is sitting over the lip of the pot, as seen in the photo, tuck in each plant wherever it looks good. (The image is from my Instagram page, where I share pictures of succulent arrangements and gardening advice.)
Consider this process as being artistic. It takes art to make lovely succulent or flower arrangements! It’s best to mix and match your succulents while paying attention to color, texture, and height if you want to create a pleasing arrangement.
Succulents don’t seem to mind growing so closely together, so I never worry about that. Additionally, they remain compact when grown in this manner, which I appreciate. They can continue to grow in this manner in the same pot for up to a year before you need to consider relocating them once they outgrow it.
Particularly for my indoor plants, I particularly prefer smaller succulents than ones that appear overgrown. You have a choice: you can plant one, two, or a lot of succulents in a pot. I have engaged in each one and have enjoyed it equally.
Before planting, try arranging your succulents above the ground to see if you like how they appear together. After that, you can start planting or moving things around.
Simply dig a hole in the ground for each plant and surround its root systems with soil to plant it.
How to Water Succulents After Planting
Don’t water your succulents right away after repotting them, despite what you might assume. Before giving them their first drink of water, I advise waiting about a week.
Any roots that were harmed during the transplant or who previously had damage could get infected or rotten if you water them after planting. It will take a few days for those roots to callus over or heal, preventing them from absorbing water that would cause them to decay.
Use a tiny watering can to hydrate your succulents if you only repotted one or two of them. However, if you planted them the same way I did in the image above, you’ll benefit more from using a watering squeeze bottle because it will allow you to apply water more precisely.
To make sure the succulents in the container receive adequate water, you should water them regularly using a watering syringe or a watering squeeze bottle, as seen in the image below.
TIP: If this is your first time growing succulents, you should know that you need ONLY water the soil, NOT the actual leaves.
The soil requires moisture, not the leaves, because the roots will absorb the water and transfer it to the leaves, where it will be stored.
It’s acceptable to get the leaves wet if you’re growing succulents outdoors and have them planted directly in the ground because the sun will soon evaporate the water. You don’t need to be concerned about your leaves rotting from too much water exposure.
Can a pot of succulents be overcrowded?
Speaking with individuals about succulent care or watching succulent care “in the wild” has made me aware of some of the misconceptions around succulent plants in the horticultural community. Just stroll through the nurseries in garden centers, where staff members are highly qualified. There are numerous excellently kept ornamental plants, fruit trees, and beautifully managed bedding plants, all of which have been nourished, watered, and maintained. then go for the section with succulents. You’ll find plants that have been improperly labeled, overwatered, underwatered, and generally neglected. In response to requests for assistance from merchants and landscaping contractors, I pondered this for a long time.
Successful succulent care is a synthesis of numerous elements, just like taking care of other plants. soil, water, fertilizer, exposure, control of pests and diseases, upkeep, and most importantly, observing and asking questions about the health of the plants.
Observing the plants and wondering what is going on with them. Yes, I believe that this is the most crucial element in keeping succulent plants healthy and beautiful. Applying what you have learnt to this group of plants will go a long way toward success with them if you are a gardener with prior success cultivating other types of plants. A plant is most likely not healthy if it does not appear to be so. Like any other plant that does not appear to be healthy, a plant that is unhealthy is likely dealing with challenges relating to soil, water, fertilizer, pest and disease control, upkeep, or a combination of these issues.
Due to their adaptation to places where water is scarce for extended periods of time, succulent plants differ somewhat from normal herbaceous perennial plants. As a result, their relationship with water plays a significant role in what makes them special. When it comes to gathering and preserving water, succulent plants are particularly effective. Additionally, they are more vulnerable to issues if exposed to excessive water. One of the most important determining aspects in maintaining the health of succulents is water management.
Here are some general care instructions for succulents, including everything from water to soil to sunlight.
The secret to soil mix in containers and in the landscape is good drainage and aeration. The majority of commercial soil mixtures are a little too dense and hold a lot of water for succulents. Adding coarse perlite, crushed lava, or pumice to conventional potting mixtures will usually be sufficient to transform them into effective succulent potting mixtures. Normally, I advise mixing 1 part amendment with 4 parts potting mix. For succulents like cactus that require even more drainage and aeration, the proportion of amendment can be increased.
There are a number of high-quality choices available on the market if you want to purchase pre-mixed soil, including the E.B. Stone Cactus mix that we carry at the nursery.
Thick stems and leaves that effectively gather and store water are characteristics of succulent plants. Traditional plant varieties have thin leaves and require more frequent hydration and watering. Even though the soil is damp, a plant like a coleus may wilt on a hot day. For the coleus to have more humidity and water availability, more regular watering is required. The succulent is less prone to wilt since it has water stored in its leaves and stem. Before being watered, succulent plants prefer to get close to being dry. The plant’s root ball stores the rest of the remaining moisture when the earth dries out. It’s time to water when this area is almost completely dry. Water the plant thoroughly so that the soil is completely saturated and some water runs out the bottom of the plant. Watering a succulent is very much the same as watering any other plant, only not as frequently.
When the environment is unfavorable, there is an exception to how you water a succulent. Poor air circulation, cloudy, dark days, and inadequate lighting may be examples of this. The plant will dry out extremely slowly in these conditions, so it will require controlled watering—giving it tiny doses of water—to prevent being overly wet for an extended period of time. Again, keeping plants healthy requires paying attention to what they need.
Like most plants, succulents like being fed. Succulents vary from other plants in that they require less fertilizer less frequently since they are so effective. I do not suggest giving succulents any particular fertilizer. As you develop your plant-growing skills, experimenting with various fertilizers may improve the quality of your plants and/or blooms. Use a balanced fertilizer in the interim, such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. To maintain a healthy, growing plant, a fertilizer that is well-balanced is essential. There are a variety of all-purpose fertilizers that will work; at the nursery, we carry and advise Maxsea All-Purpose Plant Food.
An overabundance of fertilizer will promote excessive growth, which gives the plant a weedy appearance. Insufficient water will cause the plant to go into suspended animation and appear to be motionless. I advise halving the stated dosage rate and fertilizing no more frequently than once per month. Since most succulents become dormant throughout the winter, it’s usually not required to fertilize them.
Succulent plants, like the majority of plants, prefer a climate with plenty of sunlight and clean air. Many people have misconceptions about succulents. One of the topics that people misinterpret is sunlight. When the topic of succulents is brought up, many people immediately think “desert.” In actuality, succulent plants grow most attractively when given a little sun protection. Succulent plants can develop good color and form without being dried out by the heat of the midday sun if they are grown in a few hours of early sun throughout the warmer months of the year. Shade fabric, lattice, or even the partial shadowing offered by a tree will help break up the heat of the sun in a southern exposure when the sun is shining on the area all day. More light exposure will aid the plant in preserving its good shape and color as winter draws closer. The plant will seem parched and burnt out if it receives too much sunlight. Too little sunshine causes the plant to extend out in search of more light, losing its beautiful compact structure.
Information on the cold tolerance of several succulent plants was lacking until recently. If you don’t know a plant’s resistance to cold, I advise thinking it will freeze or suffer harm if the temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or freezing. Plants can be protected from light frost using inexpensive materials like frost cloth. These materials work well to increase your level of protection by 4 to 6 degrees.
Pest and Disease Control
Aphids are always going to be aphids. Like other plants, succulents will be attacked by insects. The idea is to observe your plants, look more closely, and explore anything that seems abnormal. Like any other plant, succulents require the ideal exposure or location, as well as decent soil, appropriate watering, and fertilizer. You are less likely to encounter bugs if these factors are properly balanced.
Succulent plants are susceptible to the same bugs and diseases that affect other plants, which is a fact of life. Succulents require the same level of pest and disease monitoring as other plants. As with other plants, aphids typically target the blossoms and new growth on succulents. Like other plants, measly bugs live on the roots of the plant and lodge between the leaves near new development. They can also infest the soil. Earwigs and snails both eat on the leaves. Succulent leaves may get powdery mildew, especially after extended periods of bad weather. Not to mention the ants, of course. Farmers are ants. Ants use plants like succulents to develop bugs that will help feed all of their ant companions, just as you may rototill the dirt and plant carrot seeds for your habit of drinking carrot juice. Any ants you see on your plants, get rid of them.
Therefore, these so-called succulent plants are not bug-proof. Although they are hardy and can endure an infection for a long time, healthy, attractive plants must be watched over, and when an infestation does arise, it must be treated with.
You decide how to handle an infestation. To help identify the bug or disease, you may speak with someone at your neighborhood nursery or your acquaintance who is an avid gardener. You decide whether to utilize organic materials or nuclear weapons, water, soap, q-tips, or chemicals. The most important thing is to address the issue as soon as you become aware of it.
Succulent plants are subject to the same pruning, dividing, transplanting, deadheading, etc. procedures as other plants. The ease with which succulents can be dug up, transplanted, etc. sets them apart from most other plants. When the root structure is disturbed, succulent plants do not experience the shock that other plants do. This is due to the fact that succulent plants can store their own water and do not suffer from the root disturbance-induced leaf wilting that other plants do.
Succulent plants typically don’t mind being crowded, whether they are grouped together in a container or are alone and completely filled out. When a plant is transplanted after it has grown to the top of its container, it usually experiences another growth surge. I often advise increasing the size of the container for each plants by 2″. A change in soil every two to four years is also beneficial to succulents. Plants that have crowded out one another as they have grown together will benefit from being thinned out and given a little more room. When the plants are just starting to grow, which is typically in the spring, is a dependable time of year to undertake transplanting.
In conclusion, take a look at your plants and, if one doesn’t appear to be in good health, treat it with the same curiosity you would any other plant. Apply your newly acquired plant knowledge to these particular plants, since they are only plants. The right soil mix, watering, fertilizing, exposure, controlling pests and diseases, and care are essential for thriving succulent plants.