When Planting Succulents

Make sure you have all the necessary supplies on hand before I begin the step-by-step planting guide. See my post for a list of the materials you need to plant succulents.

This includes selecting the right pot or planter for your succulents. Check out this post for my advice on selecting ceramics for succulents.

You’re prepared to begin potting once you’ve gone through those posts and acquired your materials.

You can see in the step-by-step pictures that are included below how I re-pot a recently purchased succulent.

Succulents should be planted when?

In most places, the spring and summer, when plants are actively growing, are the greatest times to plant outdoor succulents. You can plant outside at any time of the year if you live in a region without frost. You can also plant succulents indoors at any time.

How deeply should succulents be planted?

You can add additives to up to three-fourths of your succulent plant soil. Pumice has been used alone in some tests with successful outcomes, however this is in the Philippines, where regular watering is required. Those of us who live in less ideal climates might need to try new things.

Along with coconut coir, pumice, perlite, and Turface, coarse sand is frequently employed (a volcanic product sold as a soil conditioner). For this project, use Turface, and purchase the medium-sized stones. For outdoor succulent beds, expanded shale is used to improve the soil.

Additionally, pumice is a component of the intriguing product Dry Stall Horse Bedding. Some people use this directly into the ground when making a bed for a succulent garden. This product should not be confused with another one named Stall Dry.

Although river rock is occasionally added to the soil, it is more frequently used as a top dressing or decorative element in your garden beds. As an amendment or mulch, horticultural grit or a variant is utilized, just as aquarium gravel.

Consider the layout and have a plan when setting up a succulent garden bed, but be flexible once you start planting. While some sources advise preparing the soil three inches (8 cm) deep, others advise doing so at least six to eight inches (15 to 20 cm) down. When adding outdoor succulent soil to your bed, the deeper, the better.

Create hills and slopes where you can plant various specimens. Elevated planting not only provides your garden bed a unique aspect, but it also elevates the roots of your cacti and succulents even more.

Is it better to grow succulents in the ground or in pots?

All cacti and succulents require sufficient drainage to keep their roots from rotting. No matter where you decide to plant your succulents, you’ll need to ensure sure the proper kind of soil is used and that there is a method for any extra water to drain.

Succulents in containers undoubtedly benefit from better soil. You can pick the right kind of soil and a container with a drainage hole when you plant a succulent in a container. Drainage holes are obviously not strictly necessary, although they are advised.

The ability of succulents and cacti to drain excess water depends on the type of soil they are placed in. If you reside in a warm, dry climate, your soil might already be suitable for cultivating cacti and succulents. If not, before planting succulents you might need to make improvements to your garden or landscaping.

Succulent plants should be planted where?

The optimum soil for succulents is highly well-drained sunlight. Because of the ability of their thick leaves to store water, they can survive times of drought. The majority favor a very mildly acidic soil.

Succulents will have a difficult time growing in heavy, poorly drained soils. Many people frequently die during a chilly, wet winter. They are perfectly suited to containers because of this. Winter waterlogging is considerably less likely to occur with these, and in exceptionally rainy places, they can be brought indoors until spring.

Although agaves are beautiful, it is recommended to place the larger varieties, such as Agave americana, away from paths since their spiky leaves are particularly dangerous to youngsters because they are frequently then at eye level. Succulents thrive on a ledge with a south or south-east exposure when grown indoors.

How to plant succulents

Improve the drainage of the soil before adding succulents by adding horticultural grit. As fleshy leaves will perish if they come into contact with moist soil, avoid planting too deeply.

Choose unglazed clay pots with lots of drainage holes on the bottom when planting in containers, and add grit to the compost. Terracotta pots are porous, so the compost dries up quickly after watering, making them ideal for succulents that thrive in drought conditions. They also quickly warm up in the sun. Most succulents may be planted in relatively shallow pots since they have fibrous roots.

When planting huge succulents like agaves, choose a compost that is based on earth because these plants require a heavier compost to attach their roots. When handling spiked agaves, wear gloves because the leaves are quite pointy. Observe your eyes.

Monty Don from Gardeners’ World demonstrates how to plant succulents in the following clip:

To grow alpine succulents, do you? Here, Monty shows how to assemble an alpine succulent stone pot:

Caring for succulents

Succulents in containers should only need weekly waterings during the summer. A decent watering less frequently is better than a little-and-often approach. Reduce watering significantly in the fall and winter and place sensitive plants growing in containers in a bright, frost-free area. If it’s not possible to do this, bring them beneath the house’s eaves and cover them with a garden fleece for protection.

Once a year in the spring, repotted specimens. It won’t always be necessary to pot them into a bigger container, but new compost will be helpful. Although succulents are not gregarious plants, growing large specimens often benefits from a sparing application of fish, blood, and bone during the potting process.

Pruning is not required for succulents. Carefully remove any damaged or dead leaves from the plant or trim it off with secateurs.

How to propagate succulents

Alpine sedums and sempervivums are two examples of the smaller, rosette-forming succulents that rapidly generate tiny offspring (offsets). Simply cut them from the plant and pot them on.

Growing succulents: problem solving

Succulents grown in containers frequently experience issues with vine weevils. Growing in a compost that is based on soil rather than peat is thought to lessen the issue. Additionally, mulching the compost with gravel or stones can cut down on infestation. Repot in the fall and take out as much soil as you can to fix the problem. If you find the grubs, quarantine or remove severely affected plants. Use a biological control in the fall, such as nemotode applications. If necessary, repeat treatment in the spring.

Aloe vera’s healing properties

For its ability to heal, aloe vera is highly appreciated. A gel found inside the leaves is used to treat sunburn. This succulent indoor plant is used to make a variety of pharmaceutical items. In order to have it on hand to heal minor burns, it is frequently planted on the kitchen windowsill.

Can succulents endure direct sunlight?

Due to their drought tolerance and water-storing properties, which enable them to tolerate high heat and very harsh sun exposure, succulents have become well-known. This is true for the majority of succulent plants, however some cannot survive direct sunlight without protection, and if exposed to excessive heat, they may suffer sun damage. &nbsp

The best 10 succulents and cacti that will thrive in full sun are listed below. Some of these plants can withstand full sun exposure better than others.

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Do you use potting soil while planting succulents?

Every soil mixture contains both organic and mineral components. Mineral matter, such as clay, silt, and sand, support soil drainage, whereas organic matter, such as humus and decomposing plant tissue, serves to retain moisture in the soil and give nutrients to the plant.

Because succulents can withstand drought and don’t require constant watering, their potting soil should be permeable, well-draining, and contain less organic matter than typical indoor soil mixtures. Ideal soil is a loose, granular mixture with a good amount of sand and perlite or pumice.

Can you use ordinary potting soil with succulents?

I’ll address some of the most prevalent queries concerning succulent soil in this section. Ask your question in the comments section below if you can’t find it here.

Can you use regular potting soil for succulents?

For succulents, you could probably use ordinary potting soil. It might work quite well, especially if you frequently forget to water your plants or if they are small. However, make sure the soil thoroughly dries out in between waterings to prevent them from rotting.

What happens if you plant succulents in regular potting soil?

Succulents planted in normal potting soil run the danger of being overwatered. Your succulents may quickly decay if the soil absorbs too much moisture.

What is the difference between potting soil and succulent soil?

The components and consistency of succulent soil and regular potting soil are different. Succulent dirt is permeable and created to drain very rapidly, unlike regular potting soil, which is composed of organic ingredients that hold onto moisture.

Making my own potting soil helps me save a ton of money, plus my succulents thrive in it. Your succulents will flourish now that you are aware of the ideal soil to use and have my formula for creating your own.

Can succulents be grown in just rocks?

It should be obvious that succulents will thrive when planted in rocks given these circumstances. They drain very well and do not retain water, which eliminates the possibility of root rot. This does not include another component of soil, though, since all plants need nutrients.

Although succulents are not particularly hungry plants, they do need certain nutrients to grow. Other micronutrients like zinc or iron are needed in smaller levels, whereas macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are essential. The plant won’t grow at all or last very long without these nutrients.

By their very nature, rocks don’t release nutrients quickly enough to keep the plants alive. They are composed of minerals, but since they decompose so slowly over time, they are not appropriate for growing on their own. Additionally, they often don’t retain enough moisture, allowing the roots to quickly dry out after draining practically instantly.

Sadly, this means that succulents cannot thrive permanently without soil in rocks. If not given regular care, they may survive for several weeks or even months on the nutrients found in the stems and leaves.

How frequently do succulents need to be watered?

During the months that are not winter, when the temperature is above 40 degrees, you should water your succulents every other week. You should only water your succulent once a month in the winter (when the temperature falls below 40 degrees), as it goes dormant at this period.

A few situations constitute an exception to this rule. Because their tiny leaves can’t hold as much water as other varieties with larger leaves, some varieties of succulents need to be watered more frequently. In the non-winter months, feel free to give these small leaf succulents a water if they appear to be thirsty. When they are thirsty, succulents generally exhibit a wrinkled appearance. But always keep in mind that being underwater is preferable to being overwater.

Do succulents require larger containers?

Succulents should be planted in pots that are about 10% broader than the plants themselves. Choose the shallow pot whenever the choice is between a deep or shallow pot. The pot’s depth should be 10% greater than the plant’s depth.

Let’s clarify using instances from real life:

  • Grab a 2.5 (the best option) to 4 inch pot (the exact maximum size) for optimal outcomes if you have a 2 inch succulent.
  • Grab a 4.5 (the best option) to 6 inch pot (the exact maximum size) for optimal results if you have a 4 inch succulent.

Are succulents tolerant of crowds?

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.

Soil

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.

Water

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.

Fertilizer

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.

Exposure

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.

Cold Tolerance

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.