A succulent is a fleshy-leafed plant that is tolerant of drought due to the retention of extra water in the leaves or stems. Succulent plant varieties include:
In general, the term “succulents” is used to categorize plants that have fleshy parts and a similar need for some water, bright light, and a tolerance of drought. While there are about 60 families of plants that fall into the category, not all plants in all those 60 families are succulents.
As you can imagine, it is difficult to have a care standard for “succulents” as there is a wide range of plants that fall into the category.
Three categories of Succulents
We tend to separate succulents into three categories and use those guidelines to care for the plants. The three categories are:
- Cacti – hardy for outside, tender for inside
- hardy succulents – landscape/ garden plants
- tender succulents – indoor/ houseplants
No matter what kind of succulent being growing, the guidelines are pretty similar between the different species. Here are the general rules for growing top-quality succulents:
Succulents prefer bright light, such as found on a south-facing window. Watch the leaves for indications that the light level is correct. Some species will scorch if suddenly exposed to direct sunlight. May need to acclimate them over a couple of weeks. Many kinds of succulents will thrive outdoors in the summer. Plant growth will get spindly under low light conditions.
The soil should be allowed to dry between watering’s, but do not underwater. Overwatering is the single most common cause of plant failure. Under watering will limit potential plant growth.
A succulent should never be allowed to sit in water. They do not need frequent watering since they store it in their leaves. If they are left to sit in wet soil, their roots will rot. During cooler months, give them a good drenching and then allow the soil to dry out, before watering again. Sometimes they go dormant when the temperature gets hot in summer and need even less water.
Feed sparingly. You can give it a little fertilizer in mid-spring, as it starts actively growing.