Over here at Pigment, we have been doing quite a bit of planting. Succulents are our favorite plants to make an array of awesome and unique planters. Succulents come in so many different shapes and sizes and are pretty easy to care for, so kinda the best plant friend you can have. Here are some tips on how to care for them once they're home with you and some inspirational photos of some of the plantings we've been creating.
While succulents have a reputation for being low maintenance, these species still need some caring for - they need protection from scorching sun in the summer, and freezing temperatures in the winter and prefer dry environments to those that are rainy or humid. So pretty perfect for Southern California! Planting your succulents in pots and keeping them indoors during hot hot day and super chilly nights gives them a little protection from those elements.
Did you know that cacti can serve as a fire break? In "Succulents Simplified" Debra Lee Baldwin recalls her father planting cacti around the perimeter of their family ranch to serve both as a fire break and a security fence. Who needs barbed wire when you have prickly pears?
If you find that your succulents have distorted growth at it's leaf axils or you see cottony bits in the centers of the rosettes, the cause is more than likely Mealybugs, a common critter that attacks many indoor plants. To get rid of these annoying pests, remove or isolate the affected plant(s) and spray or wipe with diluted isopropyl alcohol and improve the air circulation.
How can you tell if you have been overwatering your succulents? Succulents retain water in their leaves, so they like to almost completely dry out between their waterings. So overwatering can be done easily. If they have a squishy stem or trunk, that's usually a sign your succulents are a little too wet. Their roots are super soaked! You can remedy this by taking cuttings from healthy tissue and replant. Remember to discard the old soil with the plant.
What about under watering? Yes, succulents are meant to be drought tolerant plants, but they still need to be watered. If your succulents have lost their sheen or are shriveling at the tips, then it's a sure sign that they are thirsty. Be sure to water your plant thoroughly and that the soil is about as moist as a wrung-out sponge. You can read more about succulents and how to care and maintain them, and find tips on basic designs in the wonderful and informative book "Succulents Simplified" and here's a video from the author Debra Lee Baldwin on making your own succulent container garden.
Happy planting! - Pigment