How to Take Care of Succulents
Succulents are easily identified by fleshy or swollen (hence the the term succulent) leaves and stems which are a result of higher water retention compared to other plants. Some of them bear flowers while others have vibrant colors on their fleshy leaves. These plants are generally drought resistant and only only need water between every one to three weeks.
Photo Credit: www.sandiegopremier.net
As you can see in the example above, these large and colorful succulents resemble the vibrant colors of the under-sea world. What’s more amazing is that something as pretty as this needs very little maintenance. Here’s a few things to remember about succulents:
Among other things, using the right type of soil for your succulents will definitely determine their fortune. Succulents prefer less water compared to other plants so they need to be planted in a type of soil that drains water well. Ideally, you can achieve this by mixing one-third grit, one-third garden sand and one-third compost.
Most expert horticulturalists would advise to avoid peat-based compost as it can do more harm than good to many plants. For the sand, make sure it’s garden-grade instead of fill sand or other types of commercial sand. Fire clay products are a great alternative for the grit component in the mix.
Alternatively, you can use cactus soil mix which works just as well and also saves time from mixing.
For succulents, it’s necessary to use pots with good ventilation and drainage. Compared to other plants, succulents don’t like too much water so excess needs to be drained from the soil through pot holes. Too much water will cause your succulents to wilt and eventually die.
Succulents have two important seasons where water plays an important role – the growing and dormant season. Also some succulents have sensitive leaves so it’s better to water them by soaking the soil.
When the weather becomes cooler during late Autumn to early Spring, succulents go into a dormant stage and need to have less water. During this period it’s ideal to water every two or three weeks and let the soil completely dry before watering again.
Succulents grown indoors in a heated environment may need a little more water. Some hobbyists suggest the shrivelling of the leaves is a good indication that the plant needs some water.
Spring to Autumn is the growing period for succulents. During this time they should be watered at least once a week. When watering during this season, the soil should be drenched thoroughly until the water flows through the drainage holes.
During the growing season, succulents benefit from fertilisers diluted to ¼ strength in water. An equal proportion of Potassium, Nitrogen and Phosphorous mixed when watering the plants is a good practice.
Perth Weather and Succulents
Succulents’ preference for low amounts of water is ideal in a warm and sunny climate. Perth’s Mediterranean weather is perfect for this type of plant and will give them a great chance to bloom and propagate.