Let’s talk about Succs baby

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, you are well aware that succulent gardening is now all the rage. Whether indoors or out, gardeners across Canada have been turned on to growing and decorating with succulents …. and for many good reasons. Do you worry when you hear that succulents are the easiest plants to grow? You’re not alone, trust me. But don’t worry, even though succulents play by their own rules, they are still fun (& easy) to enjoy and grow.

Here is a brief guide of tips and tricks to keep in mind as you start your own succulent collection:

Room to Breathe Please …..

Most succulents originate in warm, arid climates and depend on good air circulation to breathe and remain disease-free. So, in spite of how cute a succulent terrarium may appear, don’t bother! Moving, dry air is what succulents seek – indoors or out.

A Bit of Time Away from Sun please …..

It’s a widespread belief that succulents do not do well unless they are blasted with the hottest temps and the fullest sun exposure. While they appreciate a lot of light (and very few survive in full shade), most succulents need periodic protection from the sun, especially if the temperature hits 30°C, or when they are small. Varieties that are solid green, pale, or variegated are most in danger of sun burn. If you are planning to expose your plants with the brightest sun possible, opt for plants that are red, gray, blue, or covered densely with spines, which help to reflect the sun’s rays.

Even the Soil is Important …..

This part is easy. Every garden centre sells good quality, locally sourced cactus/succulent mixes. If you prefer to make your own mix, amend a traditional potting soil with coarse perlite, crushed lava, or pumice. A good recipe is one part amendment and four parts potting mix. The key here is good drainage!

Water Very Little – But, Still Water! …..

Simply put, over watering causes irreversible rotting of the roots, leading to death. Never watering (despite what you may have been told) is not the answer either.  Succulents like it when soil approaches dry before being watered. This means you’ll likely be ok if, during dry times, you water small pots about once a week to 10 days, and large pots about every two – three weeks. If you end up with a succulent plant or assorted container that has no drainage,you’ve got to water especially lightly.

Feed Me …..

A once-yearly feeding is enough. Use any well-balanced organic fertilizer, cut the dose in half, and feed at the beginning of the plant’s growing season for best results. My preference is good old Schulz Instant fertilizer (the one that comes with the eye dropper).

Making New Babies? …..

While you might be accustomed to plucking a stem of your favorite geranium, rosemary bush, or houseplant and dunking it in water to watch roots grow, that won’t work for propagating succulents. You can actually practice the exact opposite method. When you’ve got a plant you like, pluck a stem and let it dry out in the shade for at least 3 days. This process, known as healing, helps form a callus, preventing rot. Place your new stem in the soil mix mentioned above, and you are good to go.

Not too Cold please …..

While some succulents, including certain types of Sedum and Sempervivum, can withstand freezing temps, most cannot. If you’re not sure, assume that any drop below freezing will call damage or kill your plant. Move plants indoors over night when a cold snap is predicted. Succulents actually have a greater chance of survival if they’re dry before a cold snap, not wet.

If you are new to succulents, here are a few starter tips:

  • Go green - the greener their leaves, the greater the chances your succulent will thrive indoors. In the beginning, pass up on the grey, blue or purple ones.
  • Old Faithfuls - Jade (crassula), Aloe Vera, Haworthia and Echeveria provide easy-to-grow varieties for beginners that are still quite stylish!
  • Purple and orange varieties generally do better outdoors or in very warm, bright interiors.

Bylands grows high quality succulents in 5 different formats. These plants are available throughout western Canada. All our succulents are grown in stylish containers with a blend of plants that is very attractive, easy to maintain and of course very decorative. Your local garden centre can help you make the best choice for your unique growing situation.

What does a Succulent plant wear to a business meeting?

A Cac-Tie.

 

Happy Gardening!

 

For more ideas ask your local garden center professionals and make sure you follow us on FacebookTwitter,YouTubePinterest and Instagram for other help tips and hints.

 

 

Jan

Guest post by Jan - Bylands Account Representative

I’m very proud of my 4 children.  All 4 of them, worked many summers in the garden centre, they love plants and gardening too – but opted for totally different careers.  Jan loves living in Winnipeg and adds extensive plant knowledge to our team at Bylands.  You can sometimes find Jan as a guest on ‘The Gardener’, a radio program in Winnipeg on Sundays.