Plants with thick, fleshy stems and leaves, such as cacti and succulents, have evolved to store water in arid areas. They have shown tremendous growth in popularity as indoor plants in recent years. They are for sale everywhere, including the majority of big-box retailers. Aloe plants, jade plants, sempervivum, kalanchoes, agaves, echeverias, snake plants, and Christmas cacti are just a few of the hundreds of kinds that are available. Due to their low watering needs and natural adaptation to dry soils, they are popular due in part to how simple they are to maintain. In actuality, overwatering cacti or succulents is one of the simplest ways to destroy them.
Succulents and cacti are in many respects ideal plants to grow in a greenhouse. The light that a greenhouse provides, which ranges from mild to bright, is ideal for almost all of them. They don’t outgrow their station because many of them tend to stay very little. Additionally, the most are relatively simple to propagate, making it inexpensive to build a sizable display of them. I had received some cuttings from a friend who maintains more than 500 different types of cacti and succulents in her greenhouse. I currently have a beautiful collection made entirely of these cuttings, some of which are potted separately and others in mixed cultures.
The majority of cacti and succulents grow in grittier soil because it permits plant roots to dry out quickly while still holding some moisture, as might be expected. Not your typical potting soil, this. To suit your plants, you’ll need to either buy or make such a medium. I’ve discovered that the grit in the cactus/succulent combinations that are sold are generally pretty huge and pricey. Therefore, I prefer to prepare my own blend of around 70% grit measuring about 1/4 (6mm) in diameter, 20%–25% crushed pine bark, and 10%–15% vermiculite or perlite. If desired, you can use peat moss or coconut coir (for a more alkaline mixture) in place of vermiculite or perlite (for a more acidic mix). In any case, the plants will only require watering every two weeks or so thanks to this mixture of chemicals, which drain swiftly while holding onto enough moisture.
Most succulents and cacti do best in large, shallow pots, trays, or dishes. Due to these plants’ present popularity, a wide range of sizes of highly appealing pots are readily accessible. However, some succulents and cacti are better suited to a different type of pot. For instance, the rattail cactus grows best in a hanging basket or a large dish held in the greenhouse high enough for the “tails to hang down. The weight of the tails can occasionally drag the pot over and cause it to fall if you try to grow it in a shallow dish that is set on a shelf. It is definitely not advised to grab the falling plant by its long, extremely prickly tails, as I once did! Although rattail cacti don’t typically bloom, when they do, their vivid pinkish-red flowers create an impressive display.
Succulents and cacti typically don’t require much care, including watering requirements. Only water them when the earth seems completely dry. Use a squeeze bottle or a watering can with a spout that is no wider than about 1/4 (6mm). Avoid soaking the plant’s leaves or crown, as this might lead to rot in some species of plants. Don’t water again until the soil is completely dry when the earth is thoroughly moist. With little amounts of water every time, repress the impulse to drink more frequently. You often end up with a plant with a shallow root system if you water it sparingly, and it could perish if you don’t water it again.
Succulents and cacti don’t require special care when it comes to fertilization. They often only receive a small amount of fertilization in the wild from stray bird or animal droppings. You can infer from this that your greenhouse plants don’t require a lot of fertilizer either. In fact, the majority of experts advise fertilizing them just once a year with an all-purpose, balanced fertilizer that is quite weak—a 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 at around half strength—and for all purposes. Of course, you can use a weak manure tea if you want to seem more genuine (made by submerging a bag of horse manure in a 55-gallon pail of water for a few days). However, even this should only be applied at about half strength. The fact that cacti and succulents require little maintenance is a big factor in why so many people are now growing them in greenhouses and homes.
Succulents should be planted in a greenhouse when?
To prevent plants from becoming overly wet from rain, a greenhouse is the ideal solution. It is a great way to catalog and identify your succulents. If you reside in a region where there are several months of below-freezing weather, a heated greenhouse can keep them alive throughout the winter.
Winter succulent care
There are various reasons why succulents may suffer throughout the winter, but by heeding some essential tips, you may help your plants survive during these trying times.
It’s critical to get your plants ready for winter when the air temperature is forecast to fall below 5 C and a ground frost is possible.
Due to the amount of water held in their leaves and stems, the more delicate succulents may be damaged by a light frost at this temperature, and anything below freezing has the potential to kill them. When water freezes, it expands and can rupture plant cell walls, harming or even killing your plants.
Succulents that are kept in the cold and are exposed to moisture may suffer greatly, but plants that are kept in the cold and are exposed to dry circumstances may have a better chance of surviving.
For your plants to survive, especially when temperatures drop below freezing, horticultural fleece is a necessity. Horticultural fleece comes in a variety of categories, from light frost to heavy frost. We employ and market a strong horticultural fleece that was made specifically to provide protection down to -10. By covering your plants with horticultural fleece, you may assist retain the heat emitted from the earth, providing a safe atmosphere for your plants similar to that of a blanket. Utilizing the fleece has the additional benefit of helping to preserve your plants from decaying during this cold, rainy time of year by deflecting excess rain away from them.
By having an open weave, this horticultural fleece is made to still provide light and air movement to the plants.
You can help your plants get ready for the winter by doing certain necessary tasks. During the winter, a wide range of factors can harm succulents.
The best chance of survival will be provided for them, though, by good housekeeping. Remove any dead or dying leaves because they may decay and spread fungus and disease.
Moving your plants
In a greenhouse, porch, or conservatory, you can also transfer your plants indoors. In the event that this is not feasible, there may be dry areas near your residences, such as carports and lean-tos, roof overhangs, or even microclimates in front of glass doors and windows. In addition to being a warmer location, this will aid in keeping the rain off your plants during this rainier time of the year.
Succulents should be raised off the ground on ledges and shelves to avoid ground frost; this is especially important in unheated greenhouses. It is a great approach to winterize plants without using greenhouse energy to elevate and wrap them in fleece on benches.
If you can’t move your plants once they are in the garden, you may also safeguard your outdoor succulents by covering them with some horticultural fleece.
A top dress layer is a great technique to keep leaves and stems from rotting in pots or gardens. 20 to 30 mm of Cornish grit, gravel, or stones will be more than enough. During the winter, holding your plants off and above the soggy soil will assist to keep them dryer as more air can circulate around the plant. Additionally, top dressing can serve as a plant-light reflector.
It’s crucial to make sure your succulents receive as much light as possible over the winter, even if you decide to move them.
Since you want your plants to cease growing and run out of food by autumn, feeding them over the winter is not advised. When there is less nourishment available, plants halt growing and develop stronger, more resilient plants that can survive the winter.
What kind of setting is ideal for succulents?
Exotic succulents, which are grown for their striking colors and distinctive shapes, require slightly different maintenance than our hardy succulents. They thrive best in strong indirect light and make excellent houseplants. They need well-draining soil and watering roughly once per week. They want a bright environment for growing outside, but hot climates should avoid afternoon sun that is too powerful. Before the first fall frost, move inside. Succulent cuttings, bare-root succulents, and 2.5 potted succulents are all available.
Can succulents survive the summer in a greenhouse?
The exotic varieties of succulents, which make wonderful container examples, are among my favorite plants.
Succulents are a good option to grow if you enjoy gardening but lack the time to give your plants the required care. Succulents store moisture in their thick stems, roots, and leaves, which is why they are so low maintenance and can endure lengthy periods of drought. Some succulents have the appearance of smooth stones, while others have beautiful rosettes or look like strings of vibrant green beads.
The side of my main greenhouse where I put a lot of my smaller succulents in pots has a lot of light. The majority of kinds require a full day of sunshine or at least half a day. It is advised to find some afternoon shade in excessively hot locations.
Because of their eye-catching shapes, succulents are frequently planted as attractive plants. Because the containers dry fast and keep water from accumulating, it is better to plant them in clay or terra cotta pots with adequate drainage holes.
As many of you are aware, I like Guy Wolff’s wonderful ceramic creations. They are incredibly nicely built and gorgeous. I own a large number of his watercraft. In fact, Guy claimed my collection of his ceramics is the largest he has ever seen when he visited my property last year.
Haworthia coarctata is what you see. It is a vigorous succulent plant with long stems that can reach heights of up to eight inches. Normally dark green, it can occasionally turn a rich purple-red under direct sunshine.
The magnificent hanging basket plant Sedum morganianum, sometimes referred to as burro’s tail or donkey’s tail, is one of the best. It has short, thick leaves that are densely arranged on wiry stalks.
This is a different kind of sedum. A huge genus of blooming plants called Sedum is also referred to as stonecrops. They quickly spread.
If you recall, I filled my new Martha Stewart fake bois planter boxes from QVC with a lot of succulents. The planters feature a realistic bark texture that I created. Each is roughly 30 inches long by 15 inches wide, and it has three drainage holes in the base to let excess water out. Additionally, it has a stand of its own. Check it out on the QVC website, please. goo.gl/QZe4zc
Mostly echeveria is found in the planters. Echeveria is a sizable genus of flowering plants that are native to semi-desert regions of Central America, Mexico, and northwestern South America. They are members of the stonecrop family Crassulaceae. I have echeveria in purple and green tones.
This is the Echevaria runyonii variety known as “Topsy Turvy,” which has pale leaves that curve upward, are highly inversely keeled on the bottom surface, and have leaf tips that point inward and toward the center of the plant.
Previously known as Haworthia fasciata, this now Haworthiopsis fasciata. This succulent grows slowly and heavily sucker, forming dense clusters. On the underside of its leaves, it features silvery white elevated pearly tubercles that unite to form bands that resemble “zebra stripes.”
The genus Agave belongs to the broadly defined family Asparagaceae’s subfamily Agavoideae of succulents. This agave is called “Queen Victoria.” This graceful, dome-shaped plant features deep green, dramatically white-edged, and patterned leaves. Many of you are familiar with the enormous agave plants I keep in my tropical greenhouse and display during the summer on the farm and up at Skylands.
It’s Aeonium “Kiwi.” This succulent produces rosettes of spoon-shaped, fleshy leaves in vibrant colors.
Another succulent grown for its ornamental foliage is the senocio. The leaves of the Senecio haworthii, or cocoon plant, have a dense coating of silvery white hairs and are fashioned like cocoons.
This is Senecio radicans, sometimes known as the fish hook plant or banana thread. The plant looks beautiful trailing over a planter.
Succulents can take on a variety of fascinating growth patterns. When I have company over, I frequently bring succulents inside the house; they enjoy discovering the various species.
These resemble pearl strings. Senecio rowleyanus, often called string of pearls or string of beads, is an Asteraceae-family perennial creeping succulent vine.
Cacti genus Rhipsalis contains about 35 different species. In my greenhouse, I have a variety of rhipsalis species growing.
One of the most unusual indoor cacti is the ric rac cactus. It boasts unusual foliage; the thick, leathery texture of the stems, which are lobed and serrated like a backbone, nicely complements the dark green color. The ric rac cactus will blossom with lovely pink and white flowers that resemble orchids if it receives adequate light.
During a trip to Phoenix for work last year, I purchased this most unusual cactus.
I bought this one too when I was there.
This cactus resembles a flat rock formation.
In a subsequent blog, I’ll show you more of my fascinating collection of cacti. Which succulents are your favorites? Let me know in the comments area. I take the time to read all of your stories and comments.
How cold should it be for succulents?
Whether a succulent is a soft or hard succulent determines what temperature it can withstand.
Anything warmer than 32 degrees F will be enjoyable for soft succulents. preferably over 40 degrees.
These plants cannot endure colder than freezing temperatures. Their hefty, thick leaves, which serve as water reservoirs, will freeze and destroy the plant.
Succulents that can withstand the cold can sustain -20 F. The best it can manage is a zone 4 to 5, and let me tell you, that is very impressive.
You must keep in mind that even if they can withstand temperatures below zero, they still like dry soil. That remains constant.
The majority of winters in the contiguous US will not only be dry but also wet and snowy.