Succulents look like figures from another world. With their fleshy leaves and shoots, they form striking silhouettes from a few centimeters to several meters in height. You can find out here how to properly care for the juicy survivors.
Where to buy succulents online
Succulents are perfect for plant beginners, for people who are often on the move or have little time to water. Because of their ability to store water, they can cope with care much better than most other houseplants. For the best place to buy succulents online, do check out the reviews by Succulent Alley.
How to water succulents the right way
The majority of succulents come from regions of the world where water is in short supply. In order to survive there, they have learned to store water inside them for bad times. The ingenious survival strategy is recognizable by the fleshy leaves, shoots, trunks and roots. Watering should be tailored to this property, because the plants cannot cope with excessive moisture. How to do it right:
- From spring to autumn , do not water until the soil has dried noticeably
- Before each watering, put your finger into the substrate to check the moisture content
- Do not water in winter or only water in small sips
Use mainly rainwater or stale tap water, as most succulents cannot tolerate lime. The thumb test is not always enough to correctly estimate the moisture content of majestic succulents. With a simple moisture meter you are always exactly in the picture whether there is a need for watering or not.
When and how should succulents be fertilized?
Be just as cautious about the supply of nutrients as you would when watering. From May to September, fertilize your succulents every 3 to 4 weeks. For this purpose, add a special cactus or succulent fertilizer to the irrigation water.
In the bed, the plants gratefully accept a portion of leaf compost or horn shavings. Rake in organic fertilizer only lightly and pour in soft water. In the open field, stop applying fertilizer at the beginning of August so that hardy succulents can mature before the first frost.
Cutting succulents – is it possible?
If the mighty columnar cactus hits the ceiling or a leaf dies on agave, you can solve the problem with a courageous cut. The vast majority of succulent species can cope with pruning without harm. Use a sharp knife that has been disinfected with alcohol. Dust the flow of sap from a cut with charcoal ash or rock flour. Alternatively, dab the cut briefly with a cloth that you dipped in hot water.
How do succulents hibernate?
Succulents ideally do not spend short days and lack of light in winter in a well-heated living room. If the normal supply of water and nutrients continues seamlessly during the cold, dark season, thin, rotting shoots can develop and break off. It is better to overwinter the plants like this:
- Set up light and cool from November to February at temperatures around 10 degrees Celsius
- Pour less or not at all
- Do not fertilize from October to February
Which diseases are to be feared?
Fungal infections are the most common succulent killers. This is especially true when a plant is weakened as a result of neglect in care. These diseases can occur:
- Burning spot disease (Gloeosporium): sunken, brown spots, hard and crusty epidermis
- Fusarium wilt (Fusarium verticillioides): brown shoot tips, red-purple spore coating and wilting
- Root and stem rot (Phytophtora): softened body, rotten roots
Diseases are always easy on succulents if the plants are excessively watered. Likewise, nitrogen-emphasizing fertilization with conventional flower fertilizers often causes problems. If, on the other hand, the water and nutrient balance is correct, the plants develop robust defenses against all kinds of pathogens.
Which pests target succulents?
Various pests target succulents both indoors and outdoors. Most of the time, the pests lurk for weakened plants and even the thorny dress of cacti cannot deter them. The following pests are at the top of the list:
- Spider mites : mostly in winter, speckled leaves and shoots as well as white webs in the leaf axils
- Mealybugs and scale lice: in every season, small bumps on the epidermis, white, woolly coating
- Vine weevil: adult beetles and their larvae in the bed eat the plants
As a rule, it is not necessary to use chemical insecticides to combat pests. The classic soft soap solution has proven itself against spider mites and lice. Repeated spraying of the pests in the early infestation stage can put an end to it. Furthermore, ecological products based on neem oil kill the insects. Vine weevils and their larvae can be effectively fought with nematodes.