Gardening: Are succulents new to your home?



Tips from the North Haven Garden Club’s Cindy Golia:

Succulents do love direct sunlight, but just putting them in a sunny spot and expecting them to grow might not be enough.

Light

Make sure your succulents are getting enough light. Depending on the type of succulent, they need about six hours of sun per day. Avoid putting newly-planted succulents in direct sunlight; this can scorch your plants. So, gradually introduce them to full sun exposure or provide shade with a sheer curtain.

Rotate

Rotate your plants. Succulents love direct sun, but if they’re sitting in the same spot, only one side is getting enough light. Succulents will lean towards the sun, so rotating them will help them stand up straight. Also, a leaning plant may be a sign that it needs to be in a sunnier spot.

Water

Water according to the season. Succulents need more energy when they are in the growth stage. In spring and summer, your plants will thrive and drink up more water then in the fall and winter when they are resting. Test the soil with your finger. If the top 1.25 inches are dry, it’s time to water. But don't over-water, it can kill your succulent. So, make sure you let the soil dry between watering.

Make sure you soak the soil until the water runs out through the drainage holes. If your container doesn't have drainage, water less. And don’t use a spray bottle to water your succulents. This can cause brittle roots and moldy leaves. You can also place plant pots in a pan of water and allow the water to absorb through the drainage holes. Once the top soil is moist, remove the plants.

Clean

Keep your succulents clean. Leaves can get dusty, like the rest of our homes in the winter. Wipe off the leaves and spines with a damp cloth. Be gentle. You can use a soft paintbrush to get at hard-to-reach spots.

Container

Choose a container with drainage. Succulents don't like to sit in waterlogged soil; this will prevent root rot. So if you can, use a pot with drainage holes.

Soil

Succulents need soil that drains. Cactus soil is perfect for planting. Dirt from your yard or regular potting soil will not do. Succulent roots are very fragile, so be gentle when repotting. You can also use a blend of organic potting soil and volcanic pumice for maximum drainage.

Bugs

Pests shouldn’t be a problem for indoor succulents. Sometimes, though, you may have to deal with bugs. When the soil is too wet or has improper drainage, you can attract gnats. To get rid of eggs and larvae, spray the soil with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. Common causes of mealybugs is over-watering and over-fertilizing. Move infected plants away from other succulents and spray with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.

Fertilize

Fertilize your succulents in the summer. They don't need too much fertilizer; light feedings during the spring and summer growing season will do. Over-fertilizing can cause your succulent to grow too quick and become weak.

Good luck growing this wonderful addition to your indoor gardening.

You certainly have a lot of choices!



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