- What Is Succulents?
- Types of Succulents
- Health Benefits Of Having Succulents
- Watering and Fertilizing
- Tips for Growing Succulents from Seeds
What Is Succulents?
Succulent plants, also known as succulents, are plants with parts that are thickened, fleshy, and engorged, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. The word succulent comes from the Latin word sucus, meaning ‘juice’, or ‘sap’. Succulent plants may store water in various structures, such as leaves and stems.
A general definition of succulents is that they are drought resistant plants in which the leaves, stem, or roots have become more than usually fleshy by the development of water-storing tissue. Other sources exclude roots as in the definition “a plant with thick, fleshy and swollen stems and leaves, adapted to dry environments”. This difference affects the relationship between succulents and “geophytes” – plants that survive unfavorable seasons as a resting bud on an underground organ
Thus if roots are included in the definition, many geophytes would be classed as succulents. Plants adapted to living in dry environments such as succulents are termed xerophytes. However, not all xerophytes are succulents, since there are other ways of adapting to a shortage of water, e.g., by developing small leaves which may roll up or having leathery rather than succulent leaves. Nor are all succulents xerophytes, since plants like Crassula helmsii are both succulent and aquatic.
Types of Succulents
- Burro’s Tail
- Euphorbia milii
- Flaming Katy
- Jade Plant
- Aloe Vera
- Panda Plant
- Pincushion Cactus
- Snake Plant
- Zebra Plant
- Whale’s Tongue Agave
- 14.Ball Cactus
- Plush Plant
- Pig’s Ear
- 20.Torch Plant
- Acanthocalycium thionanthum
- Armatocereus Godingianus
- Ball Cactus
- Ariocarpus Iloydii
- Ariocarpus Iloydii
- Bishop’s Cap
- Blue Barrel
- Shafer’s Opuntial
- Aylostera Narvaecensis
Health Benefits Of Having Succulents
Adding succulents and cacti to your home, help keep your fresh air and remove toxins from the environment. There are some other benefits as well, and these are as follows:
- Help Us Breathe Better.
- Increase Our Productivity.
- They Have Healing Powers.
- They Can Live Anywhere.
Here are some of the plant characteristics to look for when identifying succulents:
- Leaf – shape, size, and thickness.
- Color – of leaves, flowers, or stems.
- Markings or bumps on the leaves.
- Flower – shape, color, number of blooms, and petals.
- Stem – color, texture, length.
- Ciliate hairs.
- Epicuticular wax.
- Spikes, spines, or smooth.
Watering and Fertilizing
Many people think that cacti and succulents require a small amount of water every once in a while. While it is true that these plants are tough, and can usually survive under such circumstances, most certainly will not thrive.
During their growing season, these plants like regular watering and fertilizing. For most, the period of growth is from Spring into Fall. Many plants rest (stop putting on growth) from late Fall to early Spring, when temperatures are cool, and daylight length is short, and during mid-Summer, when temperatures are at their peak.
How often to water and fertilize:
While growing, cacti and succulents should be watered at least once a week. Some people water more often than this. During each watering, give the soil a good soaking, so that water runs out of the ‘drainage holes’ of the pots. During the growing season, a balanced fertilizer, which has been diluted to 1/4 strength, can be added to the water for each watering. (A balanced fertilizer is one that has roughly equal proportions of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. A 10-10-10 fertilizer diluted to 1/4 strength is ideal.)
When the weather cools and day-length shortens, plants enter a rest period. During that time, increase the interval between watering, and let the potting mixture dry out between watering. Some people say that during dormancy, cacti and succulents should be given just enough water so that they show no sign of shriveling. Use some common sense here. If your plants are kept indoors on a window sill in a heated room during the Winter, they will need more water than if they were over-wintered out-of-doors. In any case, do not fertilize your plants during dormancy.
There are exceptions to the above guidelines, as some cacti and, especially some succulents, are Winter growers. Again, your local cacti and the succulent club can help you determine the particular growing habits of your plants.
A word about water:
Tap water often can be alkaline and hard, meaning it contains high concentrations of dissolved minerals. Such minerals can build up in the plant’s ‘soil’ over time, causing harm. This is one good reason why your plants should periodically be ‘repotted.’ The buildup of such minerals can also cause unsightly deposits to form, especially on unglazed clay pots. Never water your plants with water that has been through a softening system that uses salt as a recharging agent, as these systems simply replace the “hardness” in the water with sodium ions.
Rain water is preferable to tap water, if you can manage to collect and store it.
Most cacti and succulents like bright light, but not all can tolerate intense, direct sunlight, especially in conjunction with high temperatures. The intensity of the view that a plant will thrive in depends on the species. A plant that is grown in optimal light conditions will “look normal” (unstressed), and is more likely to flower than one grown in sub-optimal lighting conditions. (Keep in mind that succulents, and especially cacti, have very differing ages at which they will bloom. For example, even if you give your Giant Saguaro seedling (Carnegia gigantic) conditions that are optimal in every way, you will likely not see it flower in your lifetime.)
While optimal lighting conditions depend on species, some general signs indicate your plant is getting either too much or too little light:
Too much light:
When your plant is getting too much light, it can appear “off-color,” taking on a “bleached out” look, or turning yellow or even orangish. Keep in mind that these signs can also indicate other stresses, such as disease or too much water, so use common sense when making your diagnosis.
If your plant is moved suddenly into very bright sunlight conditions, or if the weather suddenly turns hot with abundant sunshine, your plant can scorch. This can happen very rapidly and can scar the plant for the rest of its life, so be on alert for when such a condition might occur, and take precautions to prevent scorching.
Too little light:
If your plant is receiving too little light, it might etiolate and appear to reach for the light source. (Etiolation is the condition where a plant becomes “drawn,” for example, a cactus plant that is usually round begins to look as if it is being stretched out from the growing point at its centre). Your plant will suffer if left in such light conditions for very long. When transitioning such a plant to more positive light, keep in mind that it will be especially prone to scorching, so make the transition slowly.
Note that in most cases, it is quite reasonable for a plant to grow toward the light slowly. What you want to avoid is the condition where it is reaching for the sun. For example, if your columnar cactus is bent toward the window at 90°, it’s trying to tell you something.
For a potted plant that slowly grows toward the light over time, you can rotate its pot to cause it to become in a more balanced fashion. Remember, if you do this, that the side of the plant that had not been exposed to direct sunlight for a long time might scorch if you make the transition too quickly. Be careful!
Tips for Growing Succulents from Seeds
- Start with Good-Quality Seeds
- Preparing for Planting
- Fill your planting tray with soil
- Plant the Seeds
- Cover the Seeds
- Place in a Sunny, Warm Location
Once your seeds have grown into plants that are large enough, you can safely transplant them to new locations.
The process of growing succulents from seeds isn’t complicated; however, it does take the proper materials and a good bit of patience, just like it makes any other type of plant to grow from seed.
As long as you follow the above-mentioned instructions and are patient, you should be able to successfully grow your own succulents.