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Easy Tips for Identifying and Growing Succulents

Caring For Your Succulents

Succulents are low maintenance and really easy to care for if you get the basics right. They all need well-drained soil, a little bit of water and bright light

Drainage

One of the most important things when it comes to growing healthy succulents is drainage. These gorgeous plants have spent centuries evolving into a green machine that’s meant to store and conserve water. Why mess with all that work. They hate it when their roots are drowning. When I see all those perfect little succulents for sale in pots with no holes in the bottom it breaks my heart. Those babies are going to turn yellow and squishy and probably die and you’ll end up thinking you have a brown thumb. Trust me you don’t. Some idiot decided to make a quick buck and sell succulents in a pot with bad drainage. If you do want to display your succulents in a pretty pot without holes, please remember to drain the old water regularly.

Know your succulents. Easy tips for growing, identifying and propagating succulents and cacti

Adequate drainage is a must

Soil

Succulents thrive in well-drained soil. We normally make our own mix using 1 part bark chips (coconut hair and peat moss work too), 1 part perlite, 1 part small stones and 1 part common old garden soil, with a dash of the original soil mix, just for luck if we’re dividing the succulents.

Know your succulents. Easy tips for growing, identifying and propagating succulents and cacti

Rehoming a few succulents

Water

Succulents are not drought resistant, they’re drought tolerant. So they still need to be watered. Make sure to allow the soil to dry out between watering. Overwatering will make the succulent too fleshy and the colors will start to fade.

Light

Contrary to popular belief, succulents do best in bright but indirect sunlight and they don’t mind a little shade either, especially during the hottest parts of the day. In fact, a few of ours thrive in full shade. You can always tell if they’re not getting enough light. They become leggy and scraggly and stretch around to try and find some. If yours are doing that move them to a brighter spot.

Making Succulent Babies

Most succulents are extremely easy to propagate. You only need a small piece of the stem or even one leaf to grow a new plant within a few weeks. Most of our succulents were grown from cuttings that our friends and neighbours shared with us. To propagate, take a cutting, remove any dead leaves, and allow it to dry out a little in a shady spot for a day or two. This allows the cutting wound to heal and form a callus, which prevents rot. Place your cutting in the soil mix mentioned above and you’ll have a new baby plant in no time.

Know your succulents. Easy tips for growing, identifying and propagating succulents and cacti

Leaf-cutting

You can also propagate succulents by dividing the roots of any overgrown clumps. Simply pull the whole clump out, shake off the soil and gently pull the stems and roots apart, before planting the individual clumps in their new home.

Know your succulents. Easy tips for growing, identifying and propagating succulents and cacti

Divisions and cuttings

I always add a bit of the original soil if they’re going into pots. I’m convinced it makes the plants settle quicker 😀

Adding Succulents to Your Home Décor

Succulents are such an easy way to include a bit of Mother Nature in your home décor. All they need is enough light and some water when the soil is dry and they’ll give you many years of pleasure. Please don’t put your succulents near an aircon. They don’t like it at all. There so many different ways to display them too. Place a single Aloe or Agave to make a minimalist statement or combine lots of different succulents in a container to create layers of interest. Repeating similar shapes, colors or textures give continuity, while different colors and shapes add variety and contrast.

Know your succulents. Easy tips for growing, identifying and propagating succulents and cacti #succulents #gardening

And just like any other container garden the concept of “Thrill, Fill, and Spill” applies.

Succulent Thrillers

Choose members from the Cacti, Didierea and Euphorbias families for the showpiece thriller.

Succulent Fillers

Aizoaceae, Portulaca and the smaller Crassulas make lovely fillers and don’t take away from the thriller. Rocks, stones, pebbles, driftwood, and other natural items are great fillers too.

Succulent Spillers

The final component of creating a beautiful succulent planter with loads of interest is adding some trailing and creeping succulents that will spill over the edge. Once again you’ll find a whole bunch of creeping Crassulas that will do the trick. Just remember when planting a whole bunch of succulents together that you won’t need to water as often since the air won’t flow so easily and the soil will stay damp for longer.

Know your succulents. Easy tips for growing, identifying and propagating succulents and cacti from acraftymix.com #succulents #gardening

Pinny Please

Okay, that’s about it for now. Sorry, the post was so long, but I really wanted to share as much information about succulents with you guys so you can feel comfortable about growing your own. And if you’re still not convinced that you can care for them, you can always make these wooden faux succulents.

Please don’t forget to go see what my friends from the IBC have done for this month’s garden challenge. Their link should be down there at the bottom. Oh and if you’re itching to add to your succulent collection, I’ve got you covered Disclosure: If you click on the links below, we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us fund our ever-growing succulent collection.

Sale Sun-E 2.5 Inch Owl Pot Ceramic Flowing Glaze Base Serial Set Succulent Plant Pot Cactus Plant Pot Flower Pot Container Planter Bonsai Pots with A Hole Perfect Gift Idea 6 in Set
Pumice - Small Grain - 4 Quart (PM137-4)
Fat Plants San Diego Cactus Plants in Gift Box | Rooted in 4 inch Planter Pots with Soil | Living Indoor or Outdoor Plants (Microdasys)


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Categories:   Home Decor Crafts, Int'l Bloggers Club, Our Round House, Party Time, Planters

Comments

  • Posted: August 3, 2019 06:23

    Megan

    Wow I bet you get to see some beautiful succulents in their natural habitats and I'm envious. I bought one succulent a year and a half ago, fell in love, became a propagation addict and today have about 100 succulents in various stages of growth. My dream is to turn this hard work into a nursery in the future. These plants are so fun and it's really satisfying seeing them thrive. The only real pain is mealy bugs but I've started adding worm casting to my soil and I've not had an outbreak since. Informative article to help identify and add if it's a rosette shaped succulent you've probably got an echeveria, sedeveria or something along those lines. If it looks like a flower it's only a few options too. Narrowing it down is the best way but that doesn't mean you will identify it but then more you learn the easier it becomes and it's a challenge sometimes too. Thanks!
    • Posted: August 3, 2019 08:09

      acraftymix

      Mealybugs can be such a pain, we had a few on our succulents at the bottom of the garden. I wasn't watching and didn't catch the first few in time. Spraying the plants with rubbing alcohol seemed to do the trick for us, but I think I'll try worm castings next time. It sounds far more eco-friendly. Thanks for that Megan and your wonderful tips on rosette shaped succulents. There are so many variations out there, one could create a whole blog that just focuses on succulents. I wish you everything of the very best, your natural passion and love for succulents is the best building block for your dream of a nursery and I hope one day you can come visit here in South Africa and take a few of our indigenous beauties home with you. 💞
  • Posted: January 21, 2019 18:20

    Debbie

    Hi Michelle, I am blown away by all the info. you just dolled out about succulents. I have 2 both seem to be doing OK but need to be repotted. I found a good recipe for the soil. Unless you can enlighten me more on that subject. I live in zone 3 so my succulents will always live indoors. I have limited sun but nice bright windows. They seem to be doing OK. One is very tall but needs support. New babies are growing the same way. Thanks for the info. packed tips..!! ...Deb
    • Posted: January 22, 2019 04:43

      acraftymix

      💌 You're most welcome Debbie. I'm so happy you found the information useful. My personal opinion tas long as the soil mix drains well, and has enough nutrients the succulents will grow. We usually add some bark chips and small stones to our garden soil and our succulents love it. We're very fortunate to stay in South Africa, so all our babies can grow outside. As long as they have bright light they're happy. Thanks so much for popping in for a visit, enjoy your succulents
  • Posted: May 15, 2018 12:10

    Linda at Mixed Kreations

    Wow you really know your succulents. I never knew there were so many different types. I've just recently fell in love with them little over a year ago. I killed the first couple I bought. But I gave them another try, because their so pretty. So far so good!
    • Posted: May 15, 2018 14:52

      acraftymix

      Thanks Linda. Succulents are the best and I think we're really lucky staying in South Africa, we have such a wide variety to choose from and the climate is just right for them too. I'm sure your succulents will do great once they're settled
  • Posted: May 11, 2018 14:31

    Laura Ingalls Gunn

    This was such an inspiring post. I love that you can plant succulents in such fun containers.
    • Posted: May 11, 2018 14:37

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Laura 😉
  • Posted: May 8, 2018 17:41

    Christina Makri

    I used to be a black thumb for all my plants. During the years I made a lot of progress and I am proud of it... but succulents still is a problem for me. You know so many secrets... I have to study your post carefully... thank you my friend for all these informations
    • Posted: May 9, 2018 05:41

      acraftymix

      It's a huge pleasure Christina, I hope it helps
  • Posted: May 8, 2018 01:34

    FLORENCE

    Wow Michelle! You really know your succulents! I had no idea South Africa was a mecca for succulents. I love Portaluca & usually grow them every year b/c they're easy to grow and are drought tolerant, and pretty too. I've had Aloe before, but didn't know about Agave and the similarity between them. The plant that makes babies is sure cute. I enjoyed your post! I can't work in the yard anymore...I really miss it.
    • Posted: May 8, 2018 05:32

      acraftymix

      Awww, I'm sorry to hear that Florence. Working in the garden is always such a big stress reliever and I'm sure you miss it lots. Perhaps you'll be able to find some place with a smaller, balcony garden when you downsize to get your fingers dirty again.
  • Posted: May 3, 2018 19:03

    Samuel frodo

    I am the worst gardener there is, but my mum owns a majestic garden, with these beauties. I agree with you succulents are easy to care for. I know there is much variety, I am not really aware of them all, but I love the ones that grow flowers.
    • Posted: May 6, 2018 08:28

      acraftymix

      Thanks for coming to say hi Samuel. I love the flower ones too, they always look so other worldly.
  • Posted: May 3, 2018 04:07

    Julia - Vintage with Laces

    Thank you for all this great info, Michelle! Wow, I had no idea that there are so many species of succulents and I always thought that agaves and aloes were related. I've seen beautifully blooming succulents on the beach. Next time we go there I'll take some leaves and try to propagate them to put in the garden.
    • Posted: May 3, 2018 05:42

      acraftymix

      Aloes and Agaves do look so similar and it's sometimes hard to tell them apart, unless you break off a leaf 😉 Let me know how the ones you find on the beach do in your garden Julia, I would love to know
  • Posted: May 2, 2018 18:51

    Katie

    I love succulents and they are totally low maintenance. I also like that you can separate them into more and more pots as they spread.
    • Posted: May 3, 2018 05:36

      acraftymix

      I agree Katie, they're such easy and rewarding plants
  • Posted: May 2, 2018 16:53

    Tiffany Yong

    I will love to have my little own mini garden in future, but for now, I can't have it as I'm staying with my parents. You have green fingers and have a flair for gardening!
    • Posted: May 3, 2018 05:38

      acraftymix

      Thanks Tiffany, maybe you can get a teeny tiny one for your bedroom in the meantime to keep you company 😉
  • Posted: May 2, 2018 14:50

    Nati

    I love all the succulents you showed us! I am such a plant killer LOL, I managed to let a succulent die (that was long ago, when I had two jobs, and was bearly at home). now that I'm a stay at home mom, and became more thoughtful about routines and taking care of others I might give succulents another try ;)
    • Posted: May 2, 2018 15:20

      acraftymix

      😀 That happens sometimes, but I'm sure that you'll do fine if you get another one and the best thing about them is that they won't mess with you allergies Nati. Perfect little house plants
  • Posted: May 2, 2018 05:51

    Sam

    This is perfect timing, Michelle! I’ve been thinking for a while that I wanted succulents, but I’ve only really looked into it over the last week. I looked at some at Home Depot over the weekend and they were all so lovely! They had the cobweb houseleek, cacti, & a couple others. One had a little garden with both cacti and the one that looks like a flower (but doesn’t actually have flowers...I’m not sure what it’s called, but it’s the one I see most commonly that isn’t aloe). Looks like I need more investigating before deciding what to bring home!
    • Posted: May 2, 2018 06:21

      acraftymix

      The one that looks like a flower is probably a member of the Crassula family. They're the most common and the easiest to propagate and come in loads of different colors. Hope you have fun looking for your succulent Sam.
  • Posted: May 1, 2018 19:41

    Elizabeth O

    This was a really interesting post, I learned a lot about succulents and how to grow them. I really like having them around they are so lovely!
    • Posted: May 2, 2018 06:22

      acraftymix

      Thank you Elizabeth, I'm glad you found it interesting
  • Posted: May 1, 2018 18:29

    Debbie-Dabble

    Interesting post. Love the succulents!! Thanks so much for stopping by!! Hugs, Debbie
    • Posted: May 2, 2018 05:50

      acraftymix

      Thank you Debbie, aren't they just beautiful. We're very lucky here in South Africa to have such a big indigenous variety to choose from
  • Posted: May 1, 2018 16:15

    Ithfifi

    These are so on trend! I am loving the weeny little mini ones I see around. I don't do much gardening at all but I'd really like a little friend for on my desk, a creative little buddy I can talk to while I paint (Odd, I know.) I will have to look into getting one so I can test out all your knowledge!
    • Posted: May 2, 2018 05:54

      acraftymix

      That's not odd Ithi, that's awesome and plants love it when we talk to them. 😉
  • Posted: May 1, 2018 15:30

    Tanvi Rastogi

    Succulents are the only plants that I don't kill ... haha - I didn't know much about them until recently. I want to add more to my collection this summer. Appreciate all the information. God knows I need it :D ❥ tanvii.com
    • Posted: May 2, 2018 06:07

      acraftymix

      😉 I'm glad you found the information useful Tanvi and hope you'll find some lovely ones to add to your collection
  • Posted: May 1, 2018 12:57

    Carolann

    I love succulents and agree, the names always confuse me! This post really does a great job of breaking things down and makes it so easy to understand. Thanks so much for this. It's a huge help! Pinned!
    • Posted: May 2, 2018 05:48

      acraftymix

      I'm so happy you found it useful Carolann and thank you for pinning too 😀
  • Posted: May 1, 2018 02:46

    Leanna

    Such beautiful native plants, I imagine they can get quite large in their natural habitat? I always think of your yard as warm and thick with vegetation. I bet it smells like heaven.
    • Posted: May 2, 2018 06:17

      acraftymix

      We're very luck that our garden is well established and it does smell like heaven, especially after the rains and at the beginning of Spring. WRT to your question, some succulents do get really big. We've seen some Pachypodiums that are over 6 meters tall in the Northern Cape and they make the most beautiful flowers that are yellowish on the outside with a deep wine-red on the inside. Such a stunning sight
  • Posted: May 1, 2018 02:44

    Mary

    Michelle I had no idea there were so many varieties of succulents. I remember in Greece we had lots of aloe veras because they were so easy to grow and also loved the sun. I even remember being surprised when they flowered every year. Thanks so much for this great lesson I really learned a lot.
    • Posted: May 1, 2018 04:59

      acraftymix

      I'm so glad you enjoyed it Mary. We have lots of Aloes growing wild on the sides of the road here too and when they're all flowering it's just beautiful.
  • Posted: April 30, 2018 21:09

    Marie-The Interior Frugalista

    This is such an informative post, Michelle! Like Mary, I have a brown thumb leaning towards the dark brown variety and I've killed every succulent brought into this house. Buuuuut, what I learned in this post is that I quite enjoy the agave variety from Mexico, especially the medicinal coffee and pistachio flavored Mezcal. I also learned and did the happy dance when I discovered that I can quite successfully grow the Crassulaceae variety of hens-and-chicks and they propagate as rapidly as the other bunny dwellers in my flower garden. Pinned :)
    • Posted: May 1, 2018 05:12

      acraftymix

      😀 Those medicinal Agaves are the best 😀 Thanks for pinning my friend
  • Posted: April 30, 2018 19:56

    Debrashoppeno5

    I have had a few succulents for years. I love how I don't kill them. Just give them a little drink and forget them. Your tips are very useful and I will be referring to it.
    • Posted: May 1, 2018 05:08

      acraftymix

      I'm real glad the post was helpful Debra. Enjoy your succulents
  • Posted: April 30, 2018 18:41

    Pili

    Interesting post Michelle, I wasn't a fan of succulents until I realized I killed the rest of the flowers so succulents were the only option, but now I love them. Thanks for all the tips!
    • Posted: May 1, 2018 05:07

      acraftymix

      Aren't they just the easiest little plants and they come in so many lovely colors too. Because we often have droughts here in South Africa, many people have decided to just plant succulents because they're so water-wise and look stunning grouped together
  • Posted: April 30, 2018 13:10

    Katrin

    Michelle, I have finally figured out how to care for these beauties and I am so happy since they are growing and growing in my garden. I didn't know many of the facts you stated, or the different kinds so Thank you for all the info!
    • Posted: April 30, 2018 14:39

      acraftymix

      It's a huge pleasure Katrin. I'm glad you found the tips useful. Succulents rock!!!!

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