I’ve been on board the succulent train since before it was a thing. I’ve loved succulents and indoor plants for a while now, and I’ve learned how to care for them better through a couple of losses. I’m here to share some tips I’ve learned about improving your green thumb.
1. Do your research
Don’t fall into the belief that succulents “literally can’t be killed” because they can. A common misconception about these plants is that they are super easy to care for; while this is mostly true, they can be killed if cared for improperly. Honestly, when I got my first few plants, I neglected them because I was under the impression that they required low maintenance. After a couple plant deaths, I realized this wasn’t true, I did my research, and I’ve learned what kind of care my plants need.
2. Get special soil
Over the summer I made a succulent planter. In it I used a special succulent potting soil, and I honestly believe it has benefited my plants. These kinds of plants don’t require the same nutrients that most plants do, and it can be hard to figure out what they do need. This soil is blended perfectly to nourish your plants.
3. Rotate your plants
Succulents need direct sunlight. If your plant sits in the same spot all the time, only one side of it will get enough light. You may be able to see this; plants reach towards the sun, so your plants may begin to lean to one side to reach the sunlight. By rotating your plant often, you can ensure that every side of your plant gets enough sunlight.
4. Don’t re-pot too often; if you do, choose an appropriate pot
The most recent cactus that I killed probably died because I re-potted it. I found a super cute tea cup at my grandma’s house, and I replanted my cactus into it. In the process, my cactus lost a lot of root and stem support; my tea cup was too shallow to support it. Also, just as with any other plant, re-potting it too often or too soon after purchasing (the plant may be young and not strong enough yet) can damage the roots and the plant’s overall well-being. I recommend only repotting it once, into an appropriately sized pot.
5. Don’t water too much
The main thing succulents need is water, but not too much water. A good rule of thumb is to give the soil a good soaking and then let it dry out completely before watering again. Succulents also require different amounts of water, so make sure to research how much water your specific plant actually needs. Succulents also need different amounts of water at different times of the year, so make sure to consider that too. Also, as a rule, I tend not to water the body of the plant. A lot of people mist their plants, but what succulents need is direct soil watering so the shallow roots can absorb it all. In addition, water on the leaves may create mould.
A good book to check out is Prick: Cacti and Succulents: Choosing, Styling, and Caring by Gynelle Leon. It can be purchased on Amazon or at most bookstores (I bought it at Chapters). It contains information on a variety of plants, their history, and how to care for them. I’ve been able to find most of my plants in it!