Hello All, and welcome to my yearly succulent post. Now, let me start by telling you that if a meteorite ever hit the earth and took out all the clocks and calendars that ever existed you would need my help so hard! I’d be able to tell you exactly when February 1st is. I’m a living, breathing, amazing (and cool) human calendar. Every year on this date I gather up the kids, head out to the flower store, buy some succulents, take them home, plant them in pots and then sit there and stare at them trying to will spring a long. I’m like one of those baby sea turtles that’s born on a beach and immediately jumps in the ocean, swims out to some kelp, rides some tyte currents for thousands of miles and ends up right in the coastal waters of the mother land. It’s just inside of me, man. Here’s the proof: February 1st 2011, February 1st 2012
All that being said, I thought I’d show you how to plant succulents in case you didn’t know. I think we all probably need our own little succulent haven.
I picked up 4 new succulent plants when I made a stop at the home depot earlier this week. They were having some sort of “get here quick spring sale” and all their tropical plants were marked down. I got these guys for $1.98 a piece!
While you’re out picking up your succulents, make sure to stop and pick up some river rock (or pebbles) potting soil and sand. They do make specific potting soil for succulents that offer more drainage and less water absorption, but in case your store doesn’t sell succulent mix, potting soil mixed with sand will do. I’ve also read that you can add vermiculite or perlite to your mix; mixing it a ratio of 1 part soil, 1 part sand, and 1 part vermiculite/perlite. Basically you want a lightweight soil that allows for drainage, I’ve always had good luck with the 60/40 soil and sand combo.
Succulents by definition are water-retaining plants adapted to arid climate or soil conditions. Also known as, hard to kill because you they don’t need water every day. In fact they prefer to be watered after their soil has been dried out. A good rule of thumb is to water them once every month in the winter and every time they dry out in the summer. I did manage to kill quite a few of my succulents last summer by bringing them outside and forgetting to bring them in during a rain storm. They can be easily over watered, so be careful. Just a enough water to wet the dirt is what I go by for my potted succulents.
Make sure you are using a pot with good drainage, if your pot does not have a drainage hole in the bottom consider drilling one. I’ve had the best luck with layering a small amount of pebbles on the bottom of my pots. Since my soil mix is more of your standard potting soil the pebbles help with drainage and allows the dirt to lose some of it’s moisture. There are some experts out there who say “don’t layer rocks on the bottom, dummy” (and I’ve done that too), but I’ve had the most success with a thin layer of pebbles on the bottom, so screw ’em :)
Next, layer on your dirt filling your pot almost to the top.
If you’re like me and you have other potted succulent gardens you may have some crazy looking things growing in there. Sometime my succulents start to get long stems on them. In this instance I remove the dead leaves, and trim back the succulent so the stem is just long enough to stick into the soil mix. Succulents are amazing and will begin to root on their own once you have them planted in the soil. You can even take cuttings of their leaves and they should start to root too.
Once you’ve got all your soil in your pot and all your cuttings ready to go, arrange your put using varying heights, colors, and textured plants. Cover the plants with another layer of soil and top of with a few more pebbles. Succulent roots don’t grow deep, but stay shallow. I find adding a few pebbles to the top helps to anchor them down and keep them in their place, especially if you’re dealing with kids who might like to pretend their gardeners from time to time.
Here’s my little garden! It’s coming along very nicely. I keep it in my upstairs 4 season porch. They do quite well up there. There is good light and the succulents, being dessert plants, can handle it when temperatures get cooler during the winter nights.
So go out and get some succulents, and let’s get this spring thing happening!