“My fake plants died because I didn’t pretend to water them.”-Mitch Hedberg
So lets talk succulents. The often soft, waxy cacti that have quickly become one of the biggest trends indoor gardening has seen in years. Modern design shows, pinterest and hipster-esque terrariums are practically teeming with succulents of every shape, size and color. Most succulents are drought resistant, storing water in their leaves and stems. There are hundreds of different varieties but the most commonly found ones include jade, aloe and Christmas cactus’s.
Being trendy, these little green jewels can be hard to find and when you do they can be greatly over-priced. I found an air-plant at a local market for over twenty dollars and little non-potted varieties for as much as thirteen bucks a plant in local flower shops (!!!!). I have also found succulent workshops which look amazing but the price tag of seventy odd dollars is a little daunting to make a centrepiece. You can imagine my surprise when I found just what I had been looking for all along at the Superstore this weekend. In the floral department they had oodles of succulents in adorable lime green and white pots for only $3.99! I picked up three and took them home. When I got home I hunted in my pantry and found a small, oblong plate I had purchased at the dollar store that just so happened to fit all three tiny pots. What resulted was an adorable little centrepiece that is modern, on point with trends and that takes up the empty space where my tulips usually sit during tulip season (which sadly, has just ended). This cute little display cost about $17 dollars and I couldn’t be happier with it!
Now that I am the mother of some new plants, I had to do a little research on how to keep them happy and healthy. Here are some tips to keep your succulents alive….
- Don’t over water them, they don’t like the TLC we are used to giving to many of our other house plants. Only water them when the soil is completely dry. Over watering can cause the roots to rot and your lovely, plump succulents to shrivel and die.
- Don’t place them in extremes. Extreme sun, extreme heat, extreme darkness and extreme cold can be damaging to the little guys. Reasonable temps and light is what these guys want, you may have to move them around to help achieve this. General rule is a foot or two away from a window that gets good light (not on the window sill), they can sunburn!
- Feed ’em. This one surprised me a bit in my research. They love a little extra nutrition and succulent food is cheap at flower markets and on line.
- If your little plant isn’t growing, it may be pot bound. They need a little room to expand and grow, sizing up a pot may be exactly what they need. If you do re-pot, try to make sure the new soil is damp before you transplant. This will allow all of the roots to have access to moisture from the beginning.
- Lastly succulents require pots that have good drainage. Whether it is a pot with a drainage hole or a good, thick layer of gravel before the dirt goes in, they really do hate saturated soil. Remember many of these little gems are desert plants, they get a soaking from the rain and then they dry out and the cycle continues. They won’t dry out efficiently if there is no drainage.
Happy planting all!