5 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Succulents

Succulents: You discovered them in interior design magazines as part of elaborate wedding centerpieces and even across Instagram. Succulents are currently very trendy. The often pronounced proclamation that succulents are easy to grow is indeed far from the truth. Sure it can Be simple, but it requires some mental adjustment. You need to immerse yourself in the desert mindset: imagine the relentless sun, monsoon-like downpours, and the boomerang temperature changes that characterize the days of the desert – and you might be a little luckier.

If you can’t figure out why your jade is dropping leaves or how you can prevent your sedum from becoming wrinkled day by day despite regular watering, you can follow some practical tips. Here are five of the most common mistakes juicy newbies make and how to make these beauties thrive.

1. Not giving enough light

5 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Succulents
5 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Succulents

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The natural light of a plant’s natural habitat is possibly the most difficult environmental variable that can be emulated indoors. It is easier for ordinary houseplants. Many are located in tropical jungles and are used to the changing shade and sun periods in your home. Of course, this happens when the sun moves over a forest roof.

However, if you place a plant that is used to spending a full 12 hours in the scorching sun on an east-facing threshold, you are begging for failure. Your best choice: choose the sunniest south-facing window, and if all the windows face somewhere else, choose a more forgiving succulent like aloe or throw in the towel and opt for a sturdy pothos.

2. Don’t understand your irrigation needs

5 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Succulents

In the Chihuahuan Desert, it rains a little more than 20 cm a year – a drop in the bucket compared to the green landscapes that most of us call home. In the desert, however, when it rains, it is pours. To make your own desert dweller happy, try emulating the rainfall patterns native to their home habitat. Don’t treat your cacti with a trickle. Turn on the taps and let go of a deluge.

All succulents (and also all plants) benefit from a complete soak until water emerges from the bottom of the pot. With succulents, wait until the ground is bone dry – and then some – to water it again.

3. Opt for a standard potting soil

Pot of succulents

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Most potted plants come in a standard soil mix that is suitable for almost any type of plant Ferns to violin leaf figs. The problem: succulents are designed to withstand one of the most extreme environments on planet Earth. Standard potting so does not cut them.

When you’ve brought your juicy baby home, transform his or her floor into a desert inhabitant mix by combining half potting soil with something inorganic like perlite. This super-well drained, nutrient-poor soil is suitable for most succulents, regardless of whether they are used to thriving in the high and dry Andes or in the breeding ground areas of Death Valley.

4. Overcrowding

Succulents in the geometry glass terrarium

Polina StrelkovaGetty Images

Succulents are usually packaged in adorable little dishes, all crammed from cheek to cheek. There are not many plants that like this arrangement, including succulents. Overcrowding is one of the best ways to promote mold and insect infestation.

The second problem is that succulents get along well with lean picking, but still need food and water. Too much competition means they are likely to miss something. When your succulents arrive in a crowded arrangement, carefully pick them out and give them their own spacious mini desert dune.

5. Growing impractical types

Close-up of potted cactus

Markéta Lesniakova / EyeEmGetty Images

I know it’s really hard to resist growing Saguaros indoors, but please NOT. Some wild things are just not meant to be tamed, no matter how pretty their flowers are or their shape. Instead, stick to the hard little cookies that the windowsill likes to accept as their cute home.

Crassula is a good genus that you should explore if you are working with indoor conditions, as is Sansevieria (aka snake plant). The Mammillaria cacti (so-called for their wool hair, see above) are another good choice if you are looking for a prickly plant companion.

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