Admit it, we are all guilty of doing it at one point or another… involuntary plant-slaughter. You buy some low maintenance plants that not even the brownest thumb could kill, pot them with only the purist of intentions, and then GASP! How could this be?! You managed to kill a plant that almost is not even capable of being killed. Take heart friends, we are here to show you the error of your ways, and paint that thumb green after all.
There is such thing as too much of a good thing, and when it comes to succulents, water is it. This is one of the biggest mistakes that people make, mostly because on the surface, the plant might look perfectly fine, while in actuality, underneath the roots are waterlogged and rotting, the stems are becoming squishy, and eventually you will see the leaves taking on a slimy, yellow look. This is overwatering friends. It makes sense to think that to make something grow and thrive, we must give it plenty of water, but succulents actually only need to be watered once every 1-2 weeks during their active growing times, which is in the Spring and Summer, and only once every month or so during their dormant growing period in the Fall and Winter. Succulents do not absorb water through their roots like most plants do, but rather through water molecules in the air, and because your plants are not readily sucking up water through their roots, your soil is staying wet for much longer, which can lead to problems such a the previously mentioned root rot, gnats, and even mold. Which is probably not quite what you are going for. A good rule of thumb is to water once the soil is completely dry.
Using the Wrong Container
Do you have them in a well-draining container with well-drainging soil? No? That could be a problem. Containers with no drainage holes run the risk of retaining too much water and and are also susceptible to overheating which brews unwanted bacteria. Wood, terra cotta, or hypertufa are good options to help the plants breathe a little easier. You can also easily add a drainage hole to any container with a diamond tip drill bit.
Using the Wrong Soil
In addition to having the right container, you should also pot them in a desert dweller mix. Another alternative would be to use a normal potting soil mixed with an inorganic agent like perlite which will increase aeration and drainage and they will do just fine.
We know, we know… they looks so cute all bunched together! The tight knit Succulent arrangement is a popular trend that would make anyone swoon, but that’s really best as a temporary decoration. When we are talking about their long term living arrangement , these puppies really like their personal space. Sure, they can take some squeezing, but they do reach a size threshold when they no longer can compete for nutrients and if you see any of them begin to wither, its time to give them some space of their own.
Not Enough Light
Most succulents need full sun to maintain their color and shape, at least 6 hours. South facing windows where they will receive the most light is always your best bet. If you put a plant that is used to experiencing a full 12 hours out in the broiling hot sun on an east-facing sill, you might be disappointed with the results. You can monitor their leaves to gage if the sunlight is just right. Some plants with scorch if suddenly exposed to direct sunlight. Their leaves will turn brown or white as the plant bleaches and the soft tissues are destroyed. If you are dealing with not enough light, you will notice the succulent begin to stretch and elongate with widely spaced leaves.
Just like any other plant, succulents can benefit from a good fertilizer. A variety of macro and micro-nutrients can go a long ways when helping your little plants survive. While they get along just fine without it, sometimes a bit of fertilizer can be the key to having lush and green plants. If you’re going to fertilize your succulents, be sure to use organic fertilizers such as bone or blood meal, or a manure or compost tea. By avoiding chemical fertilizers like Miracle Grow, you are more likely to avoid nutrient burn– which succulents are highly susceptible to.
All that being said– don’t let the worry of killing your little plants stop you from getting them in the first place. In truth, succulents can be a great addition to any space, and many of them have practical uses as well. Succulents are great for beginner gardeners, and experienced gardeners alike.
Another word of advice– it’s natural for your succulent to have dying leaves. As plants grow, the old leaves die off, and new leaves replace them, no need to stress, Just pluck the dead leaves off and enjoy your lovely succulent!
We offer a beautiful variety of succulents that can be used as a fresh addition to your home decor, planted in your outdoor spaces, or incorporated into floral arrangements for an event. You can shop with us at brownfloral.net or call us at (801) 278-4800. For more great tips and tricks, follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram!