Gardening 101: How to Start a Succulent Garden

Gardening 101: How to Start a Succulent Garden

Succulent gardens are known for their exotic beauty and rare form. Succulents are one of the most diverse yet easiest types of gardens for anyone to maintain. They do well as indoor houseplants and require little care to grow into mature and thriving plants. From online blogs to home decor magazines, succulents are the “it” plant to use when it comes to sprucing up your house. Curious to know more about this gardening movement? Read on to get started.

What is a succulent garden?

Succulent gardens are one of the biggest gardening trends in recent history. People of all ages can enjoy the simplicity of starting these unique and quirky gardens full of desert plants. Succulent gardens only need to be watered once a week. Succulents grow best in warm weather climates, such as the desert. According to the Division of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas, deserts, which don’t get more than 10 inches of rain year, make up a third of the world’s land. Succulents can thrive in warm weather conditions and severe drought because they are able to store water (also referred to as sap) in their thick and waxy leaves. In fact, the word “succulent” is derived from the Latin word “sucus,” which means juice or sap.

Succulents are impressive plants that hail from Africa, Central America, the European Alps, South America and South Africa, according to the University of California. The waxy coating on the leaves helps to deflect the sun, allowing the plant to stay cool and store as much water as possible. Succulents are also great plants to propagate. It’s as easy as snipping off a leaf, letting it sit in the sun for several hours and then replanting the leaf to watch it grow.

They come in a variety of eye-catching textures, uncommon shapes and vibrant colors like red, blue, purple and more. Not only are these warm-weather plants diverse in appearance, but succulents belong to more than 60 different types of plant families. Some of the most popular kinds of succulents include:

  • The fishbone cactus
  • The propeller plant
  • The zebra plant

Environment Needed for a Succulent Garden

Hot, desert-like weather conditions are best for a successful succulent garden. These plants live for the heat. One of the best things about succulents is their diversity. While it is true that succulents love hot climates, it is possible to grow the plants in cooler climates as long as it is done indoors. Succulents need partial to full sun on a daily basis, so they are best suited for states like Florida, California and the southwestern portion of the U.S.

The best indoor spot for a succulent is in a small planter or pot that is placed on a sunny windowsill. Make sure the windowsill gets plenty of sunshine because succulents need the warmth to grow. The ideal temperature for succulents during the day is between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest temperatures that succulents can withstand is between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Generally, succulents only need to be watered once a week and should be given a thorough soaking — not just a sprinkle. During the springtime, succulents need to be watered on a more frequent basis and less frequently in the summer and even less so when they go into hibernation during the winter months. If you are not sure whether your succulent needs water, check the soil to see if it is dry. If it is crumbly to the touch and it’s been a week, go ahead and give it water. Certain varieties of succulents like cacti need less water than leaf succulents.

Succulent plants need equal parts of regular potting soil and sand to properly drain. Clay soil is not the preferred soil for succulents. However, are some modifications you can make to the clay soil in order to prime it for planting succulents. Mix sand into the clay soil so that the foundation is an equal split between the two. The sand should be mixed as far down as 12 inches into the ground. In both instances, sand provides stability to the soil.

Learn the Tools and Materials Needed to Start a Succulent Garden

Before you can start your succulent garden, you will need to purchase the proper tools and materials necessary to make your unique garden grow. Succulents can be planted in small pots, planters, glass terrariums, raised-bed gardens and directly in the ground. No matter where you plant your succulents, the materials and tools needed mostly remain the same.

If you are planting indoor succulents, you will need a few small pots or a large planter that can sit on a sunny windowsill or near a well-lit window. If you are buying pots for outdoor use, consider larger pots that are 12 inches in diameter and can accommodate up to six succulents for a small garden.

When it comes to what kind of succulents to grow, not all types are meant to be grown indoors. If you are planting succulents in small pots for a windowsill, visit your local nursery to purchase these small types of succulents. The best succulents to grow indoors are the burrito sedum, star window plant, lace aloe, panda plant, copper spoons and more. Some of the best succulents to grow outdoors are aeonium, agave, aloe, crassula and dudleya.

You will also need traditional garden soil and sand for the foundation. If you are planting your succulents outside, you will need a shovel and gardening gloves to prepare the soil as well as a rake to smooth it all out. Gravel, moss and other rocks are optional features that can be placed on top of the soil once the succulents have been planted. These extras can give your succulent garden a polished look.

While succulents don’t require water on a daily basis, they still need a drink every now and then. Use a watering can or garden hose to keep your plants moist.

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