08 August 2018
Succulents and Cacti are popular for two reasons: they're beautiful to look at and nearly indestructible requiring very little care and attention. This makes them ideal for warm, sunny summers. They are easy to look after but the main thing is to make sure they do not get over-watered.
Technically, a succulent is any plant with thick, fleshy (succulent) water storage organs. Succulents store water in their leaves, their stems or their roots. They have adapted to survive arid conditions throughout the world, from Africa to the deserts of North America.
At PARKWOOD Florists we always water prior to delivery so plants should be fine for at least the next 4 weeks. After that, check the compost before watering and only water if it is completely dry. Best way to check is to stick your finger into the compost. Here are the general rules for growing top-quality succulents:
Succulents should be watered a little more in the summer and less in the winter. The compost MUST be allowed to DRY OUT between each watering. During the winter, when the plants go dormant, cut watering back to once every other month. Overwatering is the most common cause of failure. A succulent should never be allowed to sit in water. The following are signs of under- or over-watering:
Overwatering. Overwatered plants are soft and discolored. The leaves may be yellow or white and lose their colour. A plant in this condition may be beyond repair, but you can still remove it from its pot and inspect the roots. If they are brown and rotted, cut away dead roots and repot into drier potting compost, or take a cutting and propagate the parent plant.
Underwatering: Succulents prefer a little more water during the growing season (Spring and Summer). An under-watered plant will first stop growing, then begin to shed shrivelled leaves. Alternatively, the plant may develop brown spots on the leaves.
Succulents prefer bright light, such as found on a south-facing window-ledge. Watch the leaves for indications that the light level is correct. Some species will scorch if suddenly exposed to direct sunlight. The leaves will turn brown or white as the plant bleaches out and the soft tissues are destroyed. Alternatively, an underlit succulent will begin to stretch, with a straggly stem and widely spaced leaves. This condition is known as etoliation. The answer is to provide better light and prune the plant back to its original shape.
Succulents are more cold-tolerant than many people assume. As in the desert, where there is often a marked contrast between night and day, succulents thrive in colder nights, down to even 40ºF. Ideally, succulents prefer daytime temperatures between 21ºC and about 30ºC and night-time temperatures between 10ºC and 13ºC.
For an easy but decorative plant to start with we'd recommend any form of Aloe, Crassula or Echeveria - come and see what we have in-store or call us on 01202 717 700.