Whether you’re an experienced or novice gardener, you can never go wrong growing succulents in your backyard.
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These thick, fleshy plants are known to grow and survive in drought conditions and are very easy to maintain as house plants. Succulents’ ability to store water in their leaves, roots or stems is what enables them to survive in hot and dry environments.
In countries like the US, succulents are so popular that they account for at least 15 percent of garden center sales in the Midwest alone, according to the University of Illinois.
So, if you’re a gardener that wants to add texture and charm to your garden scene but with little attention, chances are succulents are what you need.
In this article, we will familiarize ourselves with the various ways gardeners across the US can grow succulents in their gardens by diving into the following areas:
- How to grow succulents
- How to grow succulents indoors
- How to grow succulents from cuttings
- How to grow succulents from leaves
- How to grow succulents from seeds
So, let’s begin with the first one.
How to grow succulents: the general tips
Even for an experienced gardener, starting to grow a new type of plant in your garden will often seem like a challenge.
However, that is not the case with growing succulents.
Succulents are relatively easy to grow and maintain, as they thrive in any type of climate, even inside your house.
To understand how to grow succulents, here are some general tips:
1. Select the right soil
Unlike most plants, succulents grow very well in porous soil that is well-aerated and freely draining.
So, you can either buy an already mixed succulent soil or simply mix your succulent soil by using clay, gravel rocks, pumice and coarse sand to grow your succulent.
2. Prepare a proper drainage
Whether you’re using a clay pot or a plastic material, succulents require a good drainage system for the plant to grow properly.
This can be achieved by making sure the container or material you’re using has drainage holes to allow water to pass through.
3. Water appropriately
Unlike other plants, succulents require very little water to grow. So, excessive water will likely kill them.
However, since succulents survive in environments with 70 mm to 150 mm precipitation per year, it is recommended to water them once a month.
4. Expose to sunlight
If you want your succulent plant to grow faster, place them next to a place where there is direct sunlight. Succulents need at least 3 hours to 4 hours of direct sunlight every day for them to blossom.
5. Spread some fertilizers
Like any other plant, succulents are vulnerable to bugs and diseases that can inhibit growth. But the good thing about succulents is they don’t need a lot of fertilizers.
So, a quarter strength of a 20-20-20 house plant fertilizer once per month will do a fine job keeping the bugs and diseases away.
If you can follow these simple tips, be sure to witness a well-grown succulent plant within a matter of a week or more depending on the type of succulent.
How to grow succulents indoors
With the general tips on how to grow succulents in mind, you may be wondering, isn’t it the same process as growing succulents indoors?
Well, it’s not really the same. There are some factors to consider when growing succulents indoors.
Using the illustration below, let’s take a look at these factors that influence the growth of succulents indoors
Step 1: Select the right soil composition
- Sand and perlite are ideal soil for indoor succulents.
- With a 2:1:1 ratio, mix sand and perlite into potting soil with a layer of gravel underneath.
Step 2: Identify a sunny location
Place the potted succulent plant next to a window where there is natural sunlight for at least 6 hours a day.
Step 3: Set the right room temperature
As long as they do not freeze, succulents can tolerate cooler temperatures of between 60ºF and 65 ºF.
Step 4: Ensure the right humidity
Indoors with humidity of around 40 percent to 50 percent is ideal for indoor succulents.
How to grow succulents from cuttings
Even without the entire succulent plant, do you know you can grow succulents from cuttings alone?
Well, succulents are very fascinating plants. Cut the stem and you will see a new succulent plant grow in just a matter of weeks.
With enough love and care, it doesn’t take much to grow succulents from cuttings.
Here is how to grow succulents from cuttings:
- Find a healthy succulent plant and cut the stem about 3 inches to 5 inches in length.
- Plant the succulent cutting in potting soil with good drainage and ensure there is moisture in the soil.
- Place the succulent cutting pot next to the window where it will get at least 3-4 hours of sunshine in a day.
- Water the succulent cutting regularly when the soil starts to dry out but take care not to get the soil soggy.
- Wait for at least a week or two for the succulent cutting to grow.
How to grow succulents from leaves
Similar to growing succulents from cuttings, a novice gardener can also grow succulents from leaves.
It is a fun way to propagate these beautiful plants into at least two new ones for each of your friends. Examples of succulents that can grow from leaves are Echeveria, Crassula and Sedum.
So, how do you grow succulents from leaves? Well,here are the steps:
- From your favorite succulent, gently remove a leaf from the plant by twisting it off.
- Carefully clean off any debris from the leaf and allow the leaf to dry to prevent fungus and rot.
- Take a small pot with drainage holes at the bottom and fill it with potting soil mix.
- Make a hole in the potting soil mix and plant the leaf into the hole without covering the leaf with the soil.
- Water the soil with little water, just enough to avoid the soil being mushy.
- Place the succulent leaf pot in a spot where there is indirect sunlight and ensure the spot is at room temperature.
- In less than a month, the succulent cutting leaf will grow into a new succulent plant.
How to grow succulents from seeds
Unlike other methods of growing succulents, growing succulents from seeds is very common for most experienced gardeners.
Also, this is the most practical way to propagate succulents from their natural environment to the garden, especially in the US.
Follow these steps to grow succulents from seeds:
- Collect succulent seeds from your favorite succulent plant and pour the succulent soil mix into the seed tray or pot.
- Moisten the succulent soil mix slightly with at least a quarter cup of water and plant the seed by placing it an inch into the soil.
- Place the seed pot in a nice warm place, preferably under fluorescent light to avoid direct sunlight.
- Wrap the seed pot with a plastic dome to retain the moisture and water the soil frequently with a spray bottle.
- After a few weeks and once there are signs of germination, remove the plastic wrap and expose the succulent plant to natural sunlight for proper growth.
How long do succulents take to grow? Although some succulents take time to grow, others are known to grow in less than a week if the conditions are right.