Care tips – succulents

1) WATER
Succulents thrive in environments with little water, which explains their thick fleshy leaves in storing water.

Over-watering is the top killer of succulents. So only water when the soil is completely dry. That would be once every 1-2 weeks for if you’re placing the terrarium outdoors and 2-3 weeks if you’re placing it indoors, depending on factors such as humidity and temperature of the location where the terrarium is placed. For mini globe, teardrop, medium globe and large globe terrarium, water 10ml, 20ml, 30ml and 50ml respectively.

The most accurate way to tell when the soil is completely dry would be to insert a toothpick into the soil. If it comes out without soil bits, you may proceed to water. When in doubt, do not water.

Succulents hate it when their roots are wet for a long time. That’s why every succulent terrarium is designed with porous soil and gravel at the bottom for drainage. When watering, ensure water flows through the soil thoroughly and the excess drains off. Use a syringe and water directly at the roots. Do not spray.

If the leaves become yellow and mushy, it means you’ve over-watered. Place the terrarium outdoors whereby it’s warm for the moisture to evaporate (but not under direct sunlight). You may remove the mushy leaves. As succulents reproduce via plant parts, the healthy parts may still grow into new plants.

Succulent leaves dry up and die. It’s perfectly normal for leaves at the bottom to wither and die. When that happens, simply pluck them off with a tweezer.

2) LIGHT
Succulents make good indoor plants since it can survive with little water, but like all plants, they crave light.

The further the colour of the succulent deviate from green, the more light it requires.

Succulents need at least 4-6 hours of light in a day. If you’re having them indoors, place them under indirect sunlight e.g. next to a window. Do not place them under direct sunlight as they’ll dry out.

If you’re unable to expose them to natural sunlight, artificial lights help provide an adequate amount of light too. Place them within 6 inches from light source.

   

If your succulents start to stretch; more space between leaves, it means they’re receiving insufficient light or placed too far away from light source. But don’t worry as it doesn’t mean they’re unhealthy or dying.

If you’re wondering why there’s a layer of white powdery substance on the leaves, it’s the epicuticular wax, a natural ‘sunscreen’ which protects the succulent from direct and strong sunlight. Do not rub it off as it doesn’t come back. When need be, handle the succulent by the stem and not the leaves.

3) SOIL
If you ever rehouse your succulent somewhere else, do remember to use soil with good drainage or cacti soil. If you’re using a container without holes, adding white crystals can improve drainage and adding perlite can help to absorb excess moisture.


4) PROPAGATION
Succulent leaves can grow into new succulents.


If a healthy leaf falls, leave it for the part connected to the mother plant to dry. This can take few days to a week but is an important step. If not, the leaf will absorb too much moisture from the soil and rot.

After that, plant the leaf in cacti soil and water rarely before roots and buds form. Once roots and buds form, water once every 1-2 weeks for outdoors and 3-4 weeks for indoors. Expose to an adequate amount of sunlight.

Not all leaves eventually grow into new succulents. Some of them may grow roots but not bud, while some of them may grow buds but not roots.

5) PRUNING

You may prune your succulent if it becomes too leggy for your liking, or if you wish to propagate it. You may cut them in the below manner using a pair of scissors:



Remember to let the part of the stem connected to the mother plant form a callus first before embedding it in soil.

Then embed it in soil. It will start to root. Once it starts to root, water once every 1-2 weeks for outdoors and once every 2-3 weeks for indoors.

Buds will start to grow around the stem of the mother plant too.