30 Nov 4 Secrets to Success for Indoor Succulents
Recently, I went to a friend’s home for a visit; she brought me to a broken and dilapidated old succulent and asked me what was wrong with it. There it sat in a dark corner, with spindly stretched and broken limbs, staring forlornly at me. At first glance, the succulent was planted in heavy potting soil with no drain hole and parked far from natural light. In his current state, he was done for. If she wanted to save his life, we would have to make some serious changes. In fact, growing succulents indoors is a snap, but these deliciously architectural plants need a few “secrets to success” in order to perform well.
4 Awesome Secrets-to-Success for Indoor Succulents
- Light – In order to prevent blanching and etiolation, or “stretching and thinning between succulent leaves”, each succulent needs proper light conditions. Most succulents do very well with indirect sunlight, so placing your succulent plants near a bright window or under grow lights for 12 to 14 hours per day will strongly help its chance of survival and development.
- Soil – Succulent potting mixes work well. Kellogg Garden Organics Palm, Cactus & Citrus All Purpose Indoor & Outdoor Mix is absolutely perfect for indoor succulent or cactus container growing. It readily absorbs water and provides excellent drainage. Ingredients include recycled forest products, pumice, sand, bark fines, dehydrated poultry manure, and hydrolyzed feather meal. It provides just the right amount of nutrients to help your succulents develop well in a contained situation.
- Drainage – You absolutely MUST HAVE good drainage for your succulents and cactus to perform well. This means having a hole in the bottom of your container. If you have a glass container, you can use a drill bit to drill a hole in the container. Without a hole, watering the plants become a delicate process as you can easily swamp the roots and kill the plant with overwatering.
- Water – Watering regularly keeps the roots plump and leaves full for your succulents. However, watering too much can kill the plant. Keep your plants on the dry side; water a small amount, let it drain through, wait a week or so, check to see if there’s any moisture left, then repeat the process. Should the plant start to look thin or leaves die, simply water more often.
Once we perked up my friend’s succulent plants with proper light, Kellogg soil, and a draining container, her little babies took off in a passionate growth spurt. Growing succulents is easy when you have a smart plan and use the right tools. Start with a smart soil choice such as Kellogg Garden Organics Palm, Cactus & Citrus All Purpose Indoor & Outdoor Mix, which is the perfect planting mix for indoor or outdoor growing.
7 Popular Indoor Succulents to Get You Started.
- Haworthia fasciata: The haworthia species is a collection of dwarf succulents with thick, tough, upright, green leaves — some of which have spots or other patterns. Undemanding, haworthia loves bright indirect light but will tolerate lower light conditions as long as it’s not overwatered.
- Aloe vera: The aloe vera plant is one most of us are familiar with— super easy to grow with its upright, fleshy leaves in a pale to medium green color. Break open a leaf to reveal the gel-like interior, often used for burns or skin irritations.
- Crassula ovata: You know this one as “jade plant,” and you’ve probably grown one, or inherited one from your great – grandmother — in other words, they are very easy to grow and are quite long-lived. It has a mini tree appearance with thick stems and glossy green oval leaves. Give it bright indirect light, and keep the soil moist (but never wet!) in the spring and summer, dry in the fall and winter.
- Sansevieria spp.: Also known as “Mother-in-law’s tongue” (insert eye roll emoji here), this is one of the easiest houseplants to grow, and it happens to be a succulent! Long, stiff, sword-shaped leaves have a basic green color that might be edged with white or yellow depending upon its variety. Pop it into a low-light area of your room, and water it when you think about it (as long as it’s not more often than 2x per month).
- Gasteria spp.: Fun fact: “gaster” is Latin for “stomach,” and that’s exactly what this succulent’s flowers look like. The leaves are long and thick, often grooved, with a mottled green coloration. This one does well in bright indirect light to dim light, and low water
- Rhipsalis spp.: Outdoors, rhipsalis requires shade to partial shade, so it’s perfect for indoor growing. It has a finer-textured green foliage with a cascading habit, and does well with bright, indirect light and regular watering. It’s native to the rainforests ofSouth America, so while it does require regular watering, aim to have it dry out in between.
- Schlumbergera spp.: A Schlum-what? I know these succulent names are a mouthful, but if you’ve ever grown a Christmas cactus or an Easter cactus, that’s what we’re talking about here! The flat green leaves are segmented (easy propagating!), and the showy flowers provide colorful drama. Bright, indirect light, a bit of humidity, and a soak-then-dry-out watering approach are ideal.
Succulent planters also make a perfect gift for the holidays. Plant up some delightful containers for your friends and family during the holiday season and you will give them the gift that will keep giving year round. Happy succulent growing!
About the Author:
Shawna Coronado is a successful author, blogger, photographer, and media host who focuses on wellness by teaching green lifestyle living, organic gardening, and anti-inflammatory culinary. Most recently Shawna has written the books, “The Wellness Garden” and “101 Organic Gardening Hacks”. Shawna campaigns for social and community good – her garden, food, and eco-adventures have been featured in many media venues including television news programming, radio broadcasting, and PBS television. You can learn more about Shawna at www.shawnacoronado.com.