Welcome to the Succulent Series Archives
Below is a comprehensive list of all our Succulent Series posts. We have included general care tips and information to help you best look after your favourite succulents with information on the different succulent varieties available…
Some Misconceptions About Succulents:
Succulents will survive in any soil
Many succulents hale from dry desert environments, some scattered as far as Mexico, some as close at the South African west coast. This leads many to think that sandy soil is sufficient for succulents. This could not be further from the truth.
Succulents want soil that drains well. It needs to have components of aeration, with less water retention. Good quality cactus and succulent mix soils are the perfect combination of theses properties and offer the correct mineral and nutrient content.
Succulents will all grow in full sun:
There is a vast myriad of types of succulents. some prefer Full sun, click |HERE| to find out more, some partial shade, click |HERE| for more, and some prefer no sun at all! Click |HERE| to read more about succulents that appreciate shade.
The fact is that fleshier, softer succulents, often those with pale tones and powdery leaves, want shade. The succulents with spines, those with brighter colours and waxier coatings, love full sun. Those coloured grey, and those with adapted leaves and stems (they have thinner leaves to reduce evaporation, or spiny stems) appreciate far more sun and will do well with more heat.
General Care Tips for Succulents
Succulents are not fussy, but they do need some care to get established. Here are the basics:
They do not like to be over watered. Soggy or swollen leaves which are translucent in colour indicate over watering. As a general rule- give your succulent some space. A time out. When you feel like speaking again, after a few days, give them a bit of water. But less then you think you need to!
Soil- as mentioned above- must be aerated and well draining. If your soil is clay-like, add some river sand. Adding perlite, crushed granite or pumice will suffice too. If your soil is too sandy, add potting soil. The resulting soil needs to drain well, as succulents don’t like wet feet. (Wet roots). As a rule of thumb, water should run freely out of any potted succulent and should never pool on top of succulents planted in the ground. Digging sand into clay soil to a good depth will serve your succulents well.
Indoor vs Outdoor?
Trendy magazines and shop windows will have you believing succulents want to live indoors. The truth is that many do not thrive in these conditions. Succulents want outdoor light, heat, and minimal water. Most Echeveria, Graptoveria, and Sedum will elongate along the stem and become unsightly tall leggy plants, without sufficient outdoor light. For more on Echeveria click |HERE| and Sedum click |HERE|
Etiolation is the term coined for the elongated, pale, stretchy succulent that is reaching for light and air. This is a cry for help from the plant and an obvious sign that it is unhappy indoors. Some Succulents will manage better indoors. Many Haworthia make an excellent office plant and Jade varieties such as Crassula Ovata are common plants for the entrances of businesses, as they are known to bring prosperity. But as a rule, if it has a rose-like floral shape (like Echeveria) it wants to be outdoors. For more on Jade, read our Crassula blog |HERE|. For more on Haworthia read |HERE|
The good news is that if any of your succulents have reached the point of Etiolation, they can be cut just below the floral head and placed into soil in a pot or in the ground. They will continue to grow normally.
Other examples of succulents which will NOT do well indoors are Sempervivum, Aeoniums, Lithops, and Aloes. Blog posts on all of these succulent species are listed below.
Propagation of Succulents
Whether by division or by leaf, propagation is generally easy achieved. To propagate by division, remove leaves from etiolated stems, having removed the rosette. Place onto a small plate with soil on it. Allow individual leaves to callous over. The same process can be followed when propagating leaves from any succulent, from which leaves have been removed in order to propagate.
Once calloused, start to lightly spritz with water every other day. This encourages root growth. Slowly roots form, small leaves emerge and the original leaf withers. Once a new plantlet is big enough and has some roots, it can be planted in a protected place to allow it to grow bigger.
Propagating by offset is when small plantlets are removed from the mother plant. These offsets are also allowed to callous over before planting. It’s that simple! The reason a callous should form is that, especially in wetter weather, planting a recently severed offset into a wet environment will allow too much water to be able to permeate into the succulent. It will simply rot.
Plants that form beautiful offsets which can be cut and propagated include Aeoniums and Echevaria. For more on Aeoniums click |HERE|
What is the difference between Cacti and Succulents?
A cactus is defined as a fleshy plant which stores water within itself, be that in it’s leaves, trunk, petals or stem. All cacti are hence considered succulents, as all cacti store water.
But not all succulents are cacti.
Cacti are termed cacti when they possess Areoles, which are raised fleshy areas on the body of the plant from which spines, leaves or flowers grow. Succulents on the other hand never possess spines. In the hardier species such as with Euphorbia Milii, some stems may have thorns, but these are adaptations of the stem to decrease water loss and are not spines.
Cacti also typically have barrel or elongated shapes which stretch skyward, without additional (some may say unnecessary) shapes. This is to reduce a cacti’s water loss. The function really follows form.
Succulents, especially those found in cooler areas, are generally more aesthetically pleasing, with more intricate floral formations and interesting growth habits.
Growth Habits of Succulents
Each succulent variety grows in it’s own unique way. Some reach great heights and are suited to large outdoor hedging- think Euphorbia Firesticks and Cotyledon Orbiculata (elephants bush). For more on Euphorbia click |HERE| and for more on Cotyledons click |HERE|
Most Echeveria and Aeonium species are floral in appearance, they have rosettes, and depending on the species, these rosettes grow into wider dish shaped florettes. Aeonium Zwartkop has a large thick trunk which develops over time and may grow very tall, up to a meter, so consider moving it if it starts getting tall. Sempervivum and Graptoveria species, as well as many mat forming Sedums, spread in clusters to form interesting, chunky, textured spaces which are low lying. Euphorbia Milii can grow tall and hedge-like so allow space for that, or move it when it gets really big.
Aloes and Agaves have a habit of forming large specimen heads and then growing up! Offsets form at their base, which adds to the volume of the plant, and continues their life cycle, as (in the case of Agaves) once it flowers, the main plant dies. This is not the case with aloes which will flower year after year.
Some Kalanchoe species such as the Copper spoon, and Cotyledon species such as the White lady or chalk fingers, and Senecium species, can grow bushy and tall, and are excellent space fillers.
For a comprehensive list of all the blogs, scroll down. We have included links to certain blogs within the above post.