THE JOY OF SUCCULENTS
All indoor plants grow successfully outdoors somewhere in the world. To make them content in your home, it is useful to find out where they flourish naturally and the climatic conditions they enjoy. You must then do your best to replicate those conditions in your home. However, a full-scale desert installation may be taking things a little too far.
Succulents evolved in the dry semi-desert areas of the world. They have fleshy leaves which enable them to store water and survive periods with little and no rain. They are well suited to modern centrally heated homes, and let’s face it they look gorgeous!
Some sunshine is vital so a window sill is a good location. South facing would be ideal. I once read that succulents can burn in direct sunlight, but mine have thrived on my south facing window sill all summer long. Some have even doubled in size. Hello, triffids!
Water from spring to autumn and allow the soil to almost dry out between watering. In the winter water every 1 or 2 months. I over watered one of mine and noticed two of the leaves turn yellow. In true plant SOS style, I put a piece of kitchen roll under the pot to drain the excess water and repeated until dry. The yellow leaves dried up and dropped off and the plant is now as good as new.
Plants love fresh air and a calm breeze so do open your windows on hot days. I’m pretty certain they also like the movement of people and the vibrations of music. I always like to make sure my succulents aren’t getting lonely and I treat them to the very best rock music.
To flourish and stay healthy succulents need to be fed. Apply a liquid fertiliser and follow the recommended quantity on the bottle.
Succulents may need occasional cleaning as dust accumulates on the leaves. Use a damp cloth or, for the smaller plants, a wet cotton bud.
You should repot succulents as soon as the roots reach the sides of the pot or grow out of the bottom. This is usually every 2 or 3 years. A sandy, gritty compost is required to replicate the arid conditions they’re accustomed to.
There are many ways to display succulents, from groups in individual pots to dish gardens. Miniature gardens of succulents in varying colours, textures and heights look delightful. And if you live in an apartment like me it enables you to enjoy a spot of gardening in your own home.
While admiring your pretty plants, it’s good to monitor their appearance. If they’re looking a bit sad or the leaves are turning yellow look at where they’re positioned and how much or little water you’re giving them.
Enjoy your plants. They are inexpensive to buy and will give you endless joy.
For those who like to indulge, here are some more house plants.
Do you have any succulents?