Succulent plants are at home where there is little rain: they can store water in their leaves, stems or roots, and they can withstand longer dry periods without any problems. There are succulents on all continents: They come from the dry highlands of Mexico, but also from the Canary Islands and the deserts and steppes of Asia. As a houseplant, they require little maintenance and are therefore ideal for beginners.
Another reason why these plants fascinate: Each individual succulent is a small work of art from nature.
Succulents Store Water
Succulents are not a plant family of their own – all of the species that belong to them, such as houseleek, agave or money plant, have one thing in common because they have tissue that stores water. Leaf succulents can be recognized by their thick, small, spherical or cylindrical leaves. In this way, the plant reduces its evaporation surface and can therefore cope with less water. In addition, the leaves are often covered with a layer of wax, which has the same effect. Corky bark acts as insulation, as does a hairy or thorny surface. Stem succulents like the cactus have thick and juicy shoots.
Sandy Substrate is Ideal
Good drainage is particularly important for succulent plants, because the roots rot very quickly if they are waterlogged. In order for the water to drain out of the planter, it must always have at least one drainage hole. Most succulents like a substrate made of two parts of loose soil, one part of sand and one part of pumice or lava granules that you can easily mix yourself.
Alternatively, the specialist trade offers special soil for cacti and succulents. So that the drainage holes do not clog and the drainage is strengthened, pottery shards should be placed at the bottom of the vessel.
Watering Succulents Properly
Succulents like a sunny spot. A greenhouse or south-facing window is ideal. Species that have a white, gray or blue “skin” in particular need brightness in order to thrive. An unfavorable location shows up in unnaturally elongated shoots of the plant. Even if succulents are insensitive to a lack of water, they should be watered about once a week in the growth phase from spring to autumn, when the upper layer of soil has dried out.
Use water with a low calcium content
Lime-free water, rainwater or boiled tap water, is best. Any excess water in the saucer or planter should be removed. During the rest phase in the winter months, the plants should be as bright as possible, but cool. Then they need less water in this phase.
Decorative Plants for the Home
For several years, succulents have been popular decorative elements due to their beautiful shape. They can be planted in different containers such as cups, mason jars or tea caddies and look particularly attractive in groups. A bunk bed is a particularly nice way to showcase succulents. Several bowls of different diameters are filled with soil, placed inside one another and can then be planted as the mood takes you.
Important: All vessels need drainage holes so that no waterlogging occurs.
Simply Propagate Succulents
Propagation is very simple with most succulents: Adjacent shoots, so-called offsets, can easily be cut off with a sharp knife and placed in small planters. They are cared for like the “big ones”. New roots form relatively quickly, and from them a new plant. You can also get new specimens of many succulent species by separating leaves. It is best to leave the separated leaf for a few days so that the cut surface dries up. Then you put it in the ground.
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