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Taking care of Succulents

Cacti is a popular type of succulent

In Botany (the study of plants), succulents are plants that possess thick, fleshy leaves which are used as water storage. They have unique, striking appearances which make them the perfect ornamental for indoor and outdoor décor such as in fairy garden designs, table centerpieces, in terrariums and even in weddings as part of the décor or bridal bouquet.

Popular succulents are Cacti (all cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti), Crown of thorns, Jade Plant, Aloe vera, Agave and Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa).

Succulents are inexpensive, very easy to care for and require very little attention. Below are some tips to ensure that your succulents are always thriving:

Plant your succulents in a pot/container that has proper drainage. Even though your succulent can retain water, too much water will cause the leaves to become flaccid and eventually fall off.

Use a soil mix that is suited for cacti or succulents. Normal soil mixes tend to be compact hence a specific mix for succulents will assist in your drainage. A suggested mix for succulents will be a 1:1 ratio of soil with perlite or you can check your plant shop to see if they provide a ready-made soil mix.

Ensure that your succulent is exposed to partial sunlight. If your succulents are kept indoors, take them out into indirect sunlight for six hours per day or place them by a kitchen window. If they are outdoors, do not place them in areas where they are exposed to direct sunlight. This will dry out the leaves.

Do not water your succulents daily. Check the soil mix in your pot/container to determine the moisture levels. When it starts to feel as if it is drying, then water just enough to dampen the soil mix.

Fertilise your succulents approximately once per month. Every succulent type will have different fertiliser needs hence the type of fertiliser used will be specific to the type of succulent that you possess. You can ask your plant shop for advice on suitable fertiliser.

Be on the lookout for pests. It is not advised to spray these delicate ornamentals with harsh chemicals. To prevent any unwanted pests, gently wipe your leaves with a wet cloth and monitor them regularly.

Succulents can be propagated, so you can multiply them to sell or even give as gifts. In a later article, we will discuss the popular trend of creating fairy gardens using these succulents.

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