Some tips for caring for your succulents
When you receive your plants…
Once the plants have been removed from their substrate, the roots have been cut and the phytosanitary products have been applied, they go into energy saving mode and paralyze their vital functions. Once you receive them, the correct would be:
– Let it rest in the shade, at least a couple of days.
– Plant it in slightly humid mineral substrate.
– Place it in semi-shade to gradually get used to the sun.
– Wait about 10 days to water.
Succulent plants have a reserve of water and energy in their leaves. They do not develop large roots, the smallest ones being in charge of absorbing water and nutrients. They take a few days to generate these new roots, therefore, if we water before they will not absorb the water and can cause the proliferation of fungi in the substrate and stem.
The fact that the older leaves are wrinkled, most of the time does not mean that the plants are dehydrated, but rather that the plant is consuming energy. Please do not put your succulent in water when you receive it!
Where to locate the plants?
There are thousands of species of succulents, classified into various families. The needs between one and the other vary and the most important thing is that we must adapt the crop to our climate and growing conditions. As general concepts for the genres we work with, keep in mind that:
- They are outdoor plants. Indoors it is difficult to keep them in good condition.
- They need direct light; they prefer morning or afternoon sun.
- In summer and in full exposure to the sun, it must be protected during the hottest hours of the day with a shading net.
- They need ventilation to promote plant growth and health.
There is no exact formula for making a good substrate for your succulents. Within the different families and species, some vary in their needs and, depending on the climate where you live, the ideal substrate will also vary. They are plants with few nutritional requirements and can grow in almost any substrate, as long as the rest of the variables are controlled (light, water and location). It is recommended to prepare the substrate depending on the possibility of acquiring the materials and the needs of your plants.
A basic, cheap and universal substrate would be:
- 50% Peat 50% Pomice/Volcanic Gravel
- Blonde Mob
- Pomice/Pumice Stone
- Volcanic gravel
Materials not recommended:
- Coconut fiber
- River Sand
It is important not to place any type of decorative stone on the substrate, since it prevents it from breathing well and can cause rot in our plants.
Watering the plants
Such as when making the substrate, there is no universal method for watering. Some need more water, some rest, others are more tolerant of excesses... As a general rule, it is convenient to water when the substrate is dry. If in doubt, it is preferable not to water; a dehydrated plant can recover and an overhydrated (rotten) one will go straight to plant heaven.
General tips for irrigation :
- Summer: it is better to water at night so that the remains of water do not cause burns on the leaves and the substrate does not dry out quickly. Above constant 32ºC, it is better not to water.Plants have water and energy reserves to last months
- Winter: better to water in the morning. Below a constant 8ºC, it is better not to water, we run the risk that the temperature will drop further and the plants will freeze.
- In the growing seasons (summer and autumn) it is better to water frequently and abundantly.
- It is advisable to renew the substrates every 2-3 years, depending on the size of the plant, and cleaning up the roots.
- During the growing season it is recommended to use a specific growth fertilizer for cacti diluted by half. A good ratio for your compost is 3-1-5 NPK. It is preferable not to apply the fertilizer on the leaves (it can cause burns/rotting) and to use it on days with average temperatures, avoiding cold or hot days.
- It is advisable to use mineral oil or neem oil a couple of times in mild seasons as a preventative. It is always better to dilute it to half the use recommendation. It is also advisable, during growing seasons, to use preventive fungicides such as Copper/Sulfur (do not apply at low temperatures).
Some tips for taking care of your succulents
When getting your plants…
Once you remove these plants from their substrate, cut their roots, and apply the phytosanitary products, they will get into the energy-saving mode and stop their vital functions.
After you get your plants, you should:
- Let them rest in the shade, at least for a couple of days.
- Plant them in a slightly humid mineral substrate.
- Place your plants in the shade to let them get used to the sun gradually.
- Wait at least ten days till watering.
Succulents store water and energy in their leaves. These species don't grow big roots. However, the small ones that grow just in a few days are in charge of soaking the water and nutrients. These new roots won't soak up the water if we water beforehand. By doing this could cause the proliferation of fungi in the substrate and stem.
Most of the time, when the oldest leaves are wrinkled, it doesn't mean that your plants are dehydrated. The cause is because your succie is consuming energy. Please, don't water your succie when you get it.
Where to place your plants?
There are many succulent species categorized in different families. The difference between them varies, so you should consider environmental and growing conditions when growing your plants. Based on the type of succulent we have, bear in mind the following:
- They are outdoor plants, so keeping them healthy inside will be difficult.
- They need to be exposed to light, preferably in the mornings or afternoons.
- In summer, your plants should not be exposed directly to the sun. You can use a shade cloth to protect them.
- They need ventilation, which will help your plants to grow healthy.
There is no precise formula to make the perfect substrate for your succie. Due to the different variations of these plants, each plant has its own needs. Also, the climate will impact your decision about what substrate to choose. These plants don't need too much nutritional care, and they may grow on any substrate. However, you must control other aspects such as light, water and location if you want your succie to grow. Try to make a substrate based on the materials you can get and the need of your plants.
A regular, economical, and universal substrate would be:
- 50% Tourbe and 50% Pomice/Volcanic gravel.
- Tourbe Blonde
- Pumice stone
- Volcanic gravel
- Coconut fiber
- River sand
- Vegetable coal
Avoid putting any ornamental stone on the substrate because it's pointless and prevents the substrate from breathing well Also, it may cause your plant to rot.
As there is no universal method to make the perfect substrate, the same happens with watering. Some plants need more water, some rest more, and others are more tolerant to excess. Use this as a rule: water your succie, only if the substrate is dry. If you don't know if you should water your plant, then don't. You may savage a dehydrated plant, but a soaked one cannot (barely ever).
Tips for watering:
- In summer, watering at night is best, so the excess water doesn't burn the leaves, and the substrate doesn't dry out. When your succulents are in their dormant period (above 32 degrees Celsius), try not to water them. Your plants have enough water reservoirs and energy to survive for months.
- In winter, watering in the morning is best. When being below 8 degrees Celsius, the functions of your plant go into a dormant period. Therefore, not watering them would be better than preventing your plant from freezing if the temperature drops more.
- In growing periods (summer-fall), you should water your plants often and abundantly.
Keeping your plants healthy
- Every 2-3 years, you should renew the substrates of your plants depending on the size of your plant. Don't forget to clean your roots too.
- In growth cycles, you should use a specific fertilizer for growing cactus and dilute half of it. A good amount for your fertilizer is 3-1-5 NPK. Don't use fertilizer on leaves because it can make your plant burn or rot. Also, avoid using it when in warm temperatures and during hot and cold days.
- During mild temperatures, try to use some mineral or neem oils a couple of times as prevention. Dilute half of the amount of oil you use beforehand. Also, we recommend you to use a preventive fungicide, such as copper or sulfur, during growth cycles (do not apply if low temperatures).