Succulents, also known as succulent plants, are more popular than ever. They look super nice, low maintenance and extremely versatile. Find out what succulents are, what types there are, how to care for them, and how to take succulents from cuttings!
What are succulents?
In botany, succulents, also known as succulent plants, are plants with parts that are thickened, fleshy and swollen, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. The word succulent comes from the Latin word sucus, which means ‘juice’. Succulents can store water in a variety of structures, such as leaves and stems. In horticulture, the term succulent is sometimes used in a way that excludes plants that botanists would consider succulents, such as cacti. Succulents are often grown as ornamental plants for their striking and unusual appearance and their ability to bloom with minimal care.
Types of succulents?
As mentioned, there are many different types of succulents, all of which look different. We have listed the most popular succulents for you.
1. Donkey’s Tail
Known as Burro’s Tail or Donkey’s Tail, this Mexican succulent is perfect for plant hangers, with its heavily laden stems that drag down. It has thick, tapered blue-green leaves that sit on the rope-like stems that grow up to 12 inches long. Moreover, beautiful pink flowers grow on it. This vent plant is very hardy and will thrive if neglected, but it needs protection in colder climates. Most sedums prefer full sun to partial shade and should be watered regularly with good drainage.
2. Aloe Vera
The Aloe Vera is super popular. Not only do these attractive plants have amazing healing properties, they are also very easy to grow. People use the juice of the Aloe plant to soothe burns, scrapes and bites. Aloe Vera is best planted in frost-free zones and likes full sun or light shade. Semi-frequent watering is required, but you can let the soil dry in between without causing the plant too much suffering. They come in many sizes, including miniature versions. The larger species can grow leaves up to a meter long. So make sure you choose the right type for your home.
3. Agave attenuata
Agave can be grown in pots or in garden beds and is drought tolerant, so it is the perfect plant for the gardener. They are one of the most architectural plants. Agaves have bold, succulent leaves that set the tone for wherever they are planted. Many varieties have sharp spines along the leaf margins and at the tip, adding to their dramatic presentation. The blue-green rosettes naturally spread by producing offsets at the base of the plant.
Considered one of the most attractive succulents, because of their colors and variations. Echeverias are extremely hardy and they can tolerate extended periods without water. Make sure the soil dries out completely before watering again. They do well in unglazed clay pots, which allow the water to evaporate. Their rosettes can be as small as 2 cm, up to 50 cm in diameter. Color can vary from white to orange and pink to red. These low-growing evergreen succulents fall under a category called hens-and-chicks. These succulents have an original rosette called the ‘Hen’, which produces small rosette offsets known as the ‘Chicks’.
Sempervivum tectorum – also called the Common House Look – is often compared to rubbery roses. They are also known as hens and chicks and are similar to the Echeveria variety. Their care needs are very different, however – Sempervivum is a tough, hardy plant that prefers cold weather. Their leaves are narrower than those of Echeveria and have pointed tips. They produce small pink, red or orange star-shaped flowers.
6. Blue chalk sticks (Senecio serpens)
These succulents can grow up to 12 inches tall and produce yellow daisy-like flowers in summer. They are perfect as a ground cover and do well in sunny places. It has a dense habit and grows very quickly over a wide area, so it is perfect for those areas of the garden that you want to keep maintenance-free. To keep the bushy clump, prune it a bit after it blooms.
7. Jade plant
The jade plant – also called a money tree – is considered a symbol of good luck. The South African native is characterized by thick stems and thick glossy green leaves and can grow up to a meter and a half in height. The most important consideration in caring for a Jade Plant is proper watering. You should never let a jade dry out, but too much water will cause root rot. Place the plant in a well-draining terracotta pot for good air circulation through the soil, in a light, sunny spot.
8. Woman’s tongue
The Lady Tongue is a succulent that anyone can keep alive with minimal effort. The plant is native to tropical West Africa and gets its name from the long, pointed, patterned leaves. It is a great houseplant, tolerates low light (but grows best with medium to high light) and should dry out between waterings. Research by NASA has shown that these succulents are one of the best air-purifying plants for your home, removing toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene from the air you breathe.
9. Pea plant
The Pea Plant is characterized by small green pearly balls along dangling stems. It is a striking addition to any space, especially when draped in a plant hanger. Like most succulents, they are very drought tolerant and require bright light, well-drained soil and minimal watering. Another added benefit is that they grow quickly (dangling to about 60 centimeters) and are easy to stick.
10. Zebra plant (Haworthia fasciata)
The Zebra plant is somewhat reminiscent of the Aloe Vera. The big difference is that the leaves of the Zebra plant are marked by decorative white stripes. This also explains why it is called the Zebra plant. It does not grow more than 4 to 6 inches. Place the plant in full sun and allow the soil to almost dry out between waterings.
Due to their special ability to retain water, succulents usually thrive in warm, dry climates. This makes them ideal if you are looking for low-maintenance plants. Do you have succulents in your home for the first time and do you want to enjoy them as long as possible? Read the care tips below.
Choose a suitable succulent
Most succulents like direct sunlight, but if you have little sunlight in your home, go for light-tolerant plants such as Dracaena trifasciata. If you plan to grow the succulent in a plant hanger, a hanging variety such as a Senecio Peregrinus (Dolphin plant) is a good choice. Always read plant labels to determine the succulents’ sunlight needs, size, and distribution.
Provide a well-draining potting medium
Nurseries always plant their succulents in soil that is too rich and retains too much moisture. That’s why it’s a good idea to repot the succulent immediately when you get home. Start with a coarse potting mix with good drainage and aeration. You can find specialty cactus and mixes at the nursery. To further improve drainage and prevent compaction, add perlite or pumice stone to the cactus or African violet mix. Always wet the mix before use to make sure it is evenly moist.
Choose your container
When repotting, use a container with a drainage hole. Avoid glass containers (such as mason jars or terrariums) as a long-term potting soil solution, as they don’t let the roots breathe and can cause root rot over time. Fill the bottom one-third of the container with pre-moistened potting mix, then place the plant indoors and refill with more pre-moistened potting mix.
Place the succulent in a sunny spot
Most succulents prefer at least 6 hours of sun per day, so try placing them near a south or east-facing window. You may notice that your succulents become spindly or stretch to the light if they don’t get enough sun.
Let the potting mix dry out between waterings
The biggest mistake many people make with succulents is overwatering them. It’s best to water more, but less often. Thoroughly saturate the potting mix (while making sure that the water flows properly out of the drainage hole), but allow the mix to dry out slightly before watering again. If the potting mix is kept constantly wet every day, the plant may eventually die.
Fertilize the succulents at least once a year
The plants benefit most from fertilizer in the spring (when the days get longer and new growth begins) and again in late summer. Use a balanced, water-soluble all-purpose fertilizer (such as 8-8-8 or 10-10-10) diluted to half the strength recommended on the package instructions. There is no need to fertilize succulents in winter when they are semi-dormant. They don’t need the nutritional stimulation because they are not actively growing.
Succulents are not only super easy to maintain, they are also very easy to propagate. Can’t get enough of succulents or do you enjoy giving them as gifts to friends and family? See below how you can easily propagate succulents!
Carefully cut a leaf from where it is attached to the main trunk. The blade must be clean and break off completely. Alternatively, you can also neatly cut a stem.
You can grow cuttings in a temporary pot while they are establishing roots or plant them directly in a permanent container. Either way, use a pot with a drainage hole. Fill the pot container with granular, well-draining soil to protect your succulents from standing water and root rot.
Remove the leaves from the bottom part of the stem. Then plant the cut end of the stem 3-5 centimeters in the ground. Make sure the bottom leaves are just above the ground without touching it. Compress the soil lightly to keep the cutting upright.
Choose a location for the young succulents that gets bright, indirect light (not full, outside sun) and plenty of airflow. Cuttings need sunlight to grow new roots, but they can dry out quickly in full sun. Good air flow will help prevent mealy bug and mosquito infestations on indoor succulents.
Unlike adult succulents, cuttings need regular moisture until they can grow roots. Water regularly to keep the soil from drying out, but not so often that you see standing water. Depending on temperature and humidity, the actual frequency is usually 2-4 times a week.
After 2-4 weeks, you can check if the succulent is well rooted by pulling gently on it. You gradually have to water less frequently. Do not water until the soil has completely dried, about 2-4 times a month. Repot if desired and gradually move the succulent to the desired lighting conditions. Take 1-2 weeks to increase light exposure so the plant has time to adjust. Continue to care for the succulent and watch for its above-ground growth in the coming months.
Also watch the video guide below:
See also :
18x Plant stands
5x Large plant in the house
Plants in bottle or glass jar
4x Air-purifying plants
Plants in baskets