Succulents basically refer to cacti or - as some gardeners like to call them - plants that you absolutely cannot kills or plants that survive at all cost. If you are trying your hand at gardening for the first time, caring for succulents can give you the boost of confidence you need to grow some of the more demanding types of blooms.

Where to Find Succulents

The first thing to remember is that succulents are actually not a scientific term. Gardeners just use them to refer to all kinds of plants - including but definitely not limited to cacti - that have fleshy parts which are able to function as its storage area for water, thus preventing it from suffering during drought.

Many types of succulents can be found in the desert but there are also those that can be found in normal growing conditions. If your local gardening store does not sell succulents, you can easily order for them online.

Do Succulents Still Need Water?

Succulents not needing water is more of an urban myth or a popular misconception. Certainly they can survive without periodic watering but that is only what they will do: survive. If you want them to thrive or grow beautifully, then naturally they do require being watered occasionally.

They do not need deep or regular watering the way most plants do but they still have to be watered. But it will not hurt either if you do take the time to water your succulents once a week. In

fact, they may well love it.

Here are other quick tips to keep in mind when watering succulents.

  • Remember not only to water the plant itself but the soil as well.
  • Make sure that soil is well drained; in the case of potted succulents, make sure there are sufficient drainage holes present.
  • There should be greater intervals between watering sessions when succulents enter a period of rest or dormancy. Potting mixtures should be allowed to completely dry out during this time before they can be watered again.
  • Make sure that succulents are watered sufficiently during dormancy to prevent them from shrivelling.
  • Avoid using tap water as they can have high levels or alkaline or other types of dissolved minerals, which your succulents do not like.
  • Re-pot regularly and especially if you do get to use tap water when watering succulents from time to time.
  • Never use water that has been softened with a salt in a recharging system.
  • If you want the best water for your succulents, then rain water is what you need. You just have to figure a way to collect abundant quantities of it.

In most cases, succulents are best watered and fertilized during spring and until fall, when their growing period takes a back seat and they enter dormancy. This would persist from the last days of fall and well into the first days of spring.

Fertilization

Speaking of fertilization, here are some things about fertilization that could help your succulents enjoy good health throughout the year.

Use balanced fertilizer during growth season. Make sure that they are diluted to have only 25% strength. Balanced fertilizers are basically those that have equal amounts of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen.
Never fertilize during dormancy. It will not do much good.

How Much Light Does It Need?

Lighting is a vital need for your succulents but one you should take great care of when giving. Whereas succulents would not mind if you give them more water than what they normally receive, it is different with lighting.

Here are some things to keep in mind when arranging for your succulents to receive sufficient lighting.

Avoid exposing them to a combination of intense lighting (e.g. direct sunlight) and extreme levels of heat. This will cause your succulents to feel and look stressed. A happy succulent that receives sufficient lighting would, on the other hand, look very much unstressed.

Not all cacti will grow in your lifetime. Do not blame yourself when a Giant Saguaro seedling does not grow any flowers even though you do your very best giving them as much water and lighting as they need. Their flowering stage is something that will just not coincide with your lifetime.

Succulents are “fat” plants that take up and store enough water so they don’t need intense tending. These plants can adapt well with the climate and the environment. Some examples of succulents are agave, cactus and aloe. These plants can survive even during the dry season because they retain ample amount of water to help them grow.

To plant succulents, it would be best to look for a place where the plants can be exposed to almost half a day under direct sunlight. They thrive in the sun and they love the heat. The agave plant normally grows in the Mexican desert where there is enough sunlight to make it grow into a large succulent.

Make sure that you create a good drainage system because as much as succulents love the sun, they also love water. You can improve your drainage system with gravel, sand or small pebbles. It would also be a great idea to keep an eye on the succulents to prevent them from frosting during very cold months.

Water your succulents regularly during the summer. This will allow the plants to suck up all the water that they need for the entire dry season. Winter is the season when it is best to leave them alone to rest. Remember that they have stored enough water to help them survive the cold season. Over watering your succulents will eventually “drown” the roots and they will not grow well.

Watering your plants in the morning is a great practice. But before their morning shower, you need to check the soil if it’s dry enough that it needs water. Using a slow-releasing fertilizer is great for succulents because they do not need feeding all the time.

Do not worry about snipping excess leaves or stems because the cutting can be used to grow another batch of succulents for your garden. This is one of the more unique and best characteristics of succulents.

You can also be really adventurous when it comes to growing succulents. You can use glass containers to grow them and even small pots that you can inside the house. Just remember to spray them lightly with water and take them out to get enough sunlight as well.

Another way of taking care of succulents is to control their shape by cutting the leaves and branches of from time to time. You can also create a terrarium or an aquarium for plants where you can use good planting soil, gravel, sand and even moss to keep the soil loose and moist enough.

Keep the pots clean because mealy bugs may also thrive in between the leaves. Spray eco-friendly pesticides to take care of your plants properly. If you are not sure as to what kind of insect repellent you have to use, you can always go to your local garden supply shop or even nursery and ask the best kind they can recommend.

Succulents can be replanted into new pots should they grow to be very huge plants. Do this process at the start of spring or the end of winter. These would be the best seasons to grow new succulents as well.

Of course the best way to know if you can be great at planting succulents is to try. These plants are very friendly because they don’t easily dry out and are not very choosy in terms of climate when already planted. So if you want a touch of art in your home or garden, succulents would be the best plants to use. Surely, your success in the garden will be the envy of everyone who visits your home.