Growing succulents along with your other plants can give you great variety in your indoor or outdoor garden and can add color and texture right where you need them. Because succulents are generally easy to maintain, they can be smart choices for beginning gardeners as well as for those who do not have loads of time for caring for their plants daily. Learn more about what succulents are and how they can benefit you to determine if this addition to your garden could be right for you.
The term succulent generally refers to something that is tender and juicy, and this is exactly how a succulent plant is described. Succulents usually have thick, tender leaves that are filled with water to protect them in times of drought. While they still need some water occasionally to survive, they can live for many days and occasionally many weeks without being watered.
You may immediately think of a cactus as fitting the definition of a succulent. While cactuses are succulents, not all succulents are cactuses. There are many other types of succulents that come in a range of sizes, shapes, and colors. They grow in a variety of areas of the world, including jungles, beaches, mountainsides, and deserts. Although most thrive best in more temperate zones, some can live as far north as Canada and survive below-freezing temperatures.
Most succulents grow very well with very little care. An occasional watering that does not leave the roots sitting in water for days and an even rarer application of high-quality plant food will allow some succulents to grow for decades as long as they have ready access to bright light. Succulents that are left in an area of low light are apt to appear dull and dark green while those placed in bright sunlight may “blush,” which refers to a change in color on the leaves.
Benefits of Growing Succulent & Cactus Plants
Succulents and cactuses could be the perfect choice for your indoor or outdoor garden thanks to their numerous benefits to you. These easy-to-grow plants can help you feel like a gardener whether or not you have the proverbial green thumb.
Growing any type of plant indoors is good for your body and soul. Seeing something that is green and living in your home can boost your mood and make you happier thanks to its beauty. However, succulents can also provide solid health benefits as well. Just like all plants, succulents purify the air by using excess carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. However, they do something truly unique by removing dangerous volatile organic compounds from the air as well. In addition, they can improve your home’s humidity level, which is particularly important in the winter when you may struggle with dry skin, a sore throat or a nagging cough. Some studies have even shown that having plants in your home can improve your pain tolerance as well as your memory.
If you prefer to keep your garden outdoors, succulents can still provide you and your landscaping with rich benefits. By mixing succulents in with your other plants, you can create texture and a colorful backdrop for your yard and landscaping. They come in a mix of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them easy to fit in anywhere. Plus, because they are incredibly easy to grow and require very little care, you can always count on them to bounce back from drought, low light or your own forgetfulness. Finally, these little plants are incredibly affordable in most instances, and once you purchase several of your own, you can easily propagate new plants from stem or leaf cuttings in most cases.
Find Your Perfect Succulent
If you are ready to discover the perfect succulent or cactus for your home or for your outdoor landscaping, you can find exactly what you need at Decker’s Nursery. Serving the entire Greenlawn, New York, area, we offer a wide range of popular succulents and cactuses of all shapes and sizes along with plenty of advice to help you get a successful succulent garden started. From miniature plants to pre-potted gardens, we have just what you need to beautify your space!
You can create a unique and inviting garden by adding succulents and cactuses to your design. If you have never grown succulents before, you may be unsure of how to care for them to ensure that they thrive for years. This handy guide will give you the basics of what succulents are as well as how you should plant and care for them.
What is the difference between a cactus and a succulent?
Although you may have heard the terms succulent and cactus thrown around loosely, you should know that the terms do not refer to the same type of plant. A succulent is a type of plant that stores water in its leaves or stems. These plants are generally fleshy and tender.
On the other hand, a cactus is merely one type of succulent. While all cactuses are succulents, not all succulents are cactuses. A cactus can come in nearly any shape and size, but it typically does not have leaves. Instead, it has areoles, which are rounded areas from which spikes, hairs or flowers grow.
How often should you water succulents?
Succulents are incredibly drought-resistant and can typically go for long periods without being watered. However, every succulent does need occasional watering to continue to thrive. If you overwater these plants, the roots can quickly rot, causing the entire plant to turn to mush. To avoid this problem, be sure to plant your succulents in pots with proper drainage holes, such as the ones we offer at Decker’s Nursery. In addition, let the soil around the plant completely dry out before you water it again.
To water your succulents correctly, you must soak the soil completely. Lightly misting the leaves or branches will not be enough. In dry or very hot climates, a weekly watering may be in order if the soil has dried all the way to the bottom of the pot. However, in humid or cooler climates, some succulents may be able to wait two or more weeks between waterings.
How often should you fertilize succulents?
Although succulents certainly do not need to be fertilized as frequently as other plants do, they do require occasional nutrition to thrive. Indoor succulents usually do quite well with only one feeding per year, which will keep them from getting burned from strong fertilizers. When fertilizing outdoor succulents, opt for an instant fertilizer rather than a slow-release option, and be sure to dilute the fertilizer sufficiently before using it.
One good option for outdoor succulents is a manure tea, which is packaged in a tea bag and needs to steep in several gallons of water before being used. This fertilizer is very mild and can help sparse succulents branch out.
How do you plant succulents?
To plant your new succulents, choose a pot with a drainage hole, and place mesh over this hole to prevent gravel and dirt from running out of the pot. After removing your new succulent from its nursery container, remove as much dirt as possible because nursery soil is typically denser than what most succulents prefer. Instead, use a special succulent soil in your pot, or combine the nursery soil with gravel to allow for better drainage. Next, place your succulent in the desired spot in the pot, and cover it nearly to the top with gravel-filled soil. Finally, add some aquarium gravel or pebbles to the top to cover the soil.
Do succulents need sunlight?
Succulents, like aloe vera, do best with some direct sunlight every day, but too much light can cause scarring on the leaves. If you are moving a succulent into a brighter location, make the move gradually to avoid this complication. Without sufficient sunlight, colorful succulents may lose their red or purple hues and become green again, and the plant may begin to look sparse.
Do succulents clean the air?
One of the top benefits of planting succulents indoors is their ability to purify the air. Not only do they add oxygen to your home, but also they can remove volatile organic compounds that can injure your body over time. These plants can absorb numerous harmful chemicals, such as those that are given off by paints, furniture, oven cleaners, and glue. Aloe vera, jade, snake plant and various types of Dracaena are particularly good at purifying indoor areas.
How many varieties of succulents are there?
There are around 60 succulent plant families, and many of these families have numerous plant varieties within them. For example, the Aizoaceae family has 2,000 different succulents while the Crassulaceae family has 1,300.
What succulents grow well indoors?
Many succulents grow particularly well indoors because of the temperate, dry environment, especially in the winter. Plus, they are incredibly low-maintenance and can perk up your space with unique colors and textures. However, some of these plants are easier to grow than others are and will make your gardening life particularly easy. Some of the best options for indoors include the following:
- Burro’s tail
- Zebra cactus
- Aloe vera
- Christmas cactus
- Ponytail palm
- Snake plant
- Panda plant
How many succulents can I put in one pot?
One of the most beautiful ways to use succulents is to plant several varieties or colors together in one plant pot. In general, succulents can be planted very close together. While this will keep them from growing quickly, the arrangement’s shape will be easily maintained. However, if they are planted too close together, it will be difficult to water them. Your best bet is to keep a minimum of half an inch of space between each plant.
How much will succulents grow?
Compared to other plant types, most succulents grow quite slowly. For example, Haworthia and Gasteria take a year or more to grow only two inches. However, the environment the plant is in also impacts growth. Plants that get the right amount of sunlight and water and are planted in well-drained soil in a good temperature will benefit from ideal growing conditions.
Some succulents do grow faster than others and may increase by four or more inches in a single year. Some examples of this include the following:
Where’s the best place to buy succulents near Greenlawn, NY?
There is no better place to find healthy succulents in and around Greenlawn than at Decker’s Nursery! Here you can find all types of plants, including those ideally suited for growing indoors. Plus, our experts can help you understand how to best plant and care for your new succulents. Visit our full-service garden center today to find a single succulent or to plan your next potted arrangement.