Tell me what exactly is a succulent?
You’ve probably noticed that we sell succulents and you may also have thought, what’s that then? If you don’t know your succulent from your cactus this mini-guide is for you.
Succulents are named because they have succulent leaves that are chunky, fleshy affairs full of stored water. This is because they originate from hot climates where water is in short supply. Succulents flower and exist in lots of different sizes, colours and textures.
Isn’t That A Cactus?
Well, sort of. Cacti are a sub-category of succulents. So all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.
If you think of succulents as the ‘dog’ of the plant world it’s easier. There are many species of dog such as labrador, chihuahua or greyhound, and in the same way there are many species of succulent which includes sedum, aloe and cactus.
A cactus is identified by its areola - the cushiony mounds that the spikes grow from. Only cacti have these.
How to Look After a Succulent
These really are the easiest plant to look after bar none. Consistently forget to water? No problem. This is your dream garden. Succulents love chilling out in dry soil.
Here are a few tips:
- Succulents don’t like a lot of water. If you can manage to water one sparingly then you’re the perfect succulent keeper. Long periods of drought won’t hurt it one bit, they are the best type of plant for forgetful folk, or those that are away from home a fair bit. Water it once a month and let the soil dry out before watering again.
- A sure-fire way to kill your succulent is to leave it sitting in water. Its roots will rot and eventually the whole plant will collapse into mush. Another way to kill your succulent it to let it freeze, because the water stored in its thick leaves turns to ice and it’s bye-bye Mr Spikey.
- A sunny spot is pretty important. You’ll know if it’s too dark because the leaves will turn a dull, vapid green or start to yellow.
- Dust builds up on all houseplants and you’ll do them a real favour by removing it with a damp cloth or small paintbrush. This allows more light on the leaves, and it just looks tidier.
Where Can I Keep A Succulent?
A warm window sill is perfect - in fact pot grown succulents thrive indoors.
Succulents can grow in sunny gardens, a study desk, the kitchen windowsill, an office - in fact anywhere with a good supply of sunlight is just right. If you grow yours in the garden, it’s worth lifting them in winter and bringing them inside so they don’t rot and freeze.
Do Succulents Flower?
Some do, check the label to find out. Usually, they flower in their seasonal patterns, so a good long sleep in the winter months, with barely any water, followed by consistent spring and summertime watering will prompt growth and produce their jewel-like flowers. Still no flowers? Check the type of succulent you have, and if it’s supposed to bloom, up its daily dose of sunlight.
Succulents are flexible little dolls. If you’re a beginner gardener, then succulents are a great place to start.
Keep just one on your work desk, give one as a gift, or buy a terrarium and grow every type. We’ve got a collector’s edition mega pack right here because succulents are so addictive. They are quirky, undemanding and forgiving friends that oxygenate your living space and make great living ornaments.