How to Propagate Succulents Successfully

How to Propagate Succulents

It’s a lot more cost-effective to grow your own succulents. Fortunately, succulents naturally come equipped with an amazing ability regrow from leaves or branches… and that means free plants!

There are three primary methods of succulent propagation, each of them easier than the last!

Leaf Propagation

If you’ve ever seen leaf propagation in action, you probably understand at least part of the fascination surrounding succulents. People love taking pictures of their leaf props – and for good reason! Nothing is more satisfying for a plant parent than seeing a whole new succulent grow from a mere leaf.

It may seem that you need a green thumb to pull off this amazing feat, but nothing could be further from the truth. Propagating succulents from leaves is very easy. All you have to do is pull the leaf off.

… And you’re done! No, seriously, that’s all there is to it. If you remove the leaf, nature will take care of the rest. For the sake of thoroughness, however, I’ll add some details.

  1. It’s vital that you get a clean break when separating the leaf from the succulent. That means there should be no extra plant matter left on the leaf or stem. This isn’t difficult to achieve since succulent leaves don’t really need to be persuaded to fall off (looking at you, Ghost Plant).
  2. To ensure you get that clean break, grab the leaf close to the base and wiggle it gently side to side. There shouldn’t be much “pulling” involved.
  3. Now that they’re separated, both the mother plant and the leaf have an open wound. You have to let it “callus” over (that’s the plant version of scabbing). Just set the leaf in a dry place and wait a week, a dish on the windowsill works great. (we highly recommend these propagation trays by Yield Lab). Don’t expose it to water during this period – that will slow or impair the callus formation and could allow bacteria or fungi to infect the succulent.
  4. Once the mother plant is callused, resume watering and treat it like normal. The leaf doesn’t need any special attention at the moment. Don’t water the leaf propagation until roots appear. It’s pointless since they can’t drink water without roots anyway. You may want to refer to our article about when you should water succulents if you need more information.
  5. You can put the leaf on dirt at any point, but don’t try burying it (or its roots). The succulent will take care of it.
  6. Once the roots show up, endeavor to keep them moist. Use a spray bottle to mist the leaf every couple of days. (Enter the quintessential, super affordable succulent tool kit). Keep the propagation in bright light so that the new growth doesn’t become etiolated (stretched out).
Yield Lab 10 x 20 Inch Black Plastic Propagation Tray (5 Pack)...
LepoHome 15 Pieces Succulent Transplanting Mini Garden Hand Tool...
Yield Lab 10 x 20 Inch Black Plastic Propagation Tray (5 Pack)...
LepoHome 15 Pieces Succulent Transplanting Mini Garden Hand Tool...
-
$18.00
$9.99
Yield Lab 10 x 20 Inch Black Plastic Propagation Tray (5 Pack)...
Yield Lab 10 x 20 Inch Black Plastic Propagation Tray (5 Pack)...
-
$18.00
LepoHome 15 Pieces Succulent Transplanting Mini Garden Hand Tool...
LepoHome 15 Pieces Succulent Transplanting Mini Garden Hand Tool...
$9.99

Last update on 2021-04-28 / Amazon

That’s pretty much it! It really is as simple as pulling the leaves and chucking them on some dirt. All of the nutrients, and most of the water, that they need is inside the leaf itself. After a few months, that leaf will shrivel up and fall off. Now you’ve got a whole new succulent for the cost of one leaf!

Be aware that this only works on succulents that have distinct stems and distinct leaves. Succulents like Echeveria, Sedum, Senecio, and Graptopetalum all make great candidates. If you try this with an Aloe or a Haworthia, for example, you’ll end up with a dead leaf and disappointment. Only do it if the leaf comes off easily!

Image by:@misucculents

 

Cutting Propagation

Anyone with a modicum of gardening experience will have used this technique before. It’s a trick as old as plants themselves. You cut off a part of a succulent and stick it back into the dirt and it just starts growing again.

Crazy, right?

Succulents have an even easier time of this than other plants. With herbs and veggies, you sometimes have to coax out new roots by putting the cutting in water for a while first, but that is not so with succulents.

Here’s how you propagate succulents via cuttings:

  1. Choose where to make the cut. It needs to be near the end of the branch or stem, usually 3 to 6 inches away is appropriate. You’ll also want to make sure that the plant is growing and healthy here – propagating a weak or dying plant is a recipe for failure.
  2. Clear the stem above the intended cut. Remove leaves one to two inches above the place you want to cut for two reasons: you’re going to put that part underground and also it makes it easier to get a good cut. Bonus tip – depending on the plant, you might be able to propagate succulents leaves!
  3. Make a clean cut perpendicular to the stem (the stem should be flat on top, not diagonal at all). Be sure to use really sharp, really sterile scissors. That part is important because dull scissors will crush the plant while cutting it, which makes it less likely to recover. Dirty scissors transfer germs directly into the wound – that’s no good. I highly recommend using gardening scissors or shears for this process. These gardening pruning shears by Vivoson are really really good!
  4. Allow the mother plant and the cutting to callus just as we did for leaves in the above technique. It should take between 3-10 days. Don’t let them get wet but keep them in direct light.
  5. Stick the bottom of the cutting into the dirt up to the place where the leaves start. Depending on the species of succulent, roots should start growing within a month and you can begin to water. There will be enough water in the plant already to sustain it until then.

 

We also recommend making sure you are using quality succulent soil. We highly recommend this soil mix by Bonsai Jack. It is one of the best soil mixes on the market. It doesn’t need to be mixed with any other soil, it helps fight root rot, perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: won’t kill your plants). This soil is the go-to for our office plants. 

VIVOSUN 6.5 Inch Gardening Hand Pruner Pruning Shear with...
Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111-1...
VIVOSUN 6.5 Inch Gardening Hand Pruner Pruning Shear with...
Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111-1...
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$6.99
$21.95
VIVOSUN 6.5 Inch Gardening Hand Pruner Pruning Shear with...
VIVOSUN 6.5 Inch Gardening Hand Pruner Pruning Shear with...
$6.99
Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111-1...
Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111-1...
-
$21.95

Last update on 2021-04-28 / Amazon

In summary, snip off a bit of the succulent and stick it in the ground. It couldn’t be easier. This method only works with plants that have a pronounced stem, however. Sorry Aloe and Haworthia, that means you’re not eligible. Many of the plants we suggested for leaf propagation are also great choices here: Echeveria, Sedum, Graptosedum, Graptopetalum, etc.

This method is particularly useful because it addresses two problems:

  • It “fixes” etiolated plants. When plants have insufficient light and grow leggy, that can’t be undone. You can, however, snip out the leggy part and plant the top part again to have two plants – the base of the original (which will resume growth) and a cutting. Just make sure they get enough light this time!
  • It’s the fastest way to get new plants. Growing new succulents from leaves is easy and efficient, but slow. It could take up to a year to get a decent sized plant. Cuttings root and grow more quickly than leaf propagations (plus they start out bigger).
Image by: @growingwithsucculents

Budding Propagation

It’s finally time for Aloe to shine!

Ever notice how some plants just grow more of themselves? Sempervivum are famous for it – that’s why they’re commonly called Hens and Chicks. Haworthia do it too, as do Sansevieria. It’s a very common kind of propagation and not at all unique to succulents. It’s how grass gets around, too.

The baby plants are called “buds” or “pups” or “offshoots”. They usually grow out of the base of the mother plant and share a connected root system.

Propagating plants that reproduce through budding is a double-edged sword – on one hand, you literally don’t have to do anything at all, but on the other hand you have to wait for the plant to propagate on its own.

Being at the whim of your plants isn’t so bad, though. Keep them happy and healthy and buds should grow constantly throughout their growing season. Removing and replanting them is very similar to the process of take a cutting:

  1. First, you have to wait until they’re big enough to remove. It varies from species to species, but once they’re at least an inch or two in diameter (or several inches tall for the vertical variety of succulents).
  2. Find where the pup connects to the parent. It is probably either at the base of the primary stem or connected through a thick root called a “runner”. It’s okay to unpot the plant while you’re propagating it.
  3. Using the same technique we used for cutting propagations, make a clean cut where the bud meets the mother plant. If they share roots, give a generous portion to the baby when separating them. The mother plant can make more easily.
  4. Move the bud directly into a new pot, no need to wait for callusing this time. Still, you shouldn’t water it for a few days while it heals over.

Budding is also the way to propagate succulents like cacti, so you can use this method on them too!

Inevitably, you’ll have way too many plants – especially if you are rehoming every bud that comes along. These cute little succulents make great gifts and have the added bonus of subtly converting friends to hobby. You can get some gift ideas by looking at this article about succulent planters. You can find a style your friends or family are sure to love.

ALSO READ:

 


 

 We hope you got some pointers on how to keep your plant family healthy! If you did, please take a moment to SHARE on Facebook or PIN US on Pinterest with the social buttons below!

Enjoyed learning about Propagating Succulents? If so, you’ll really enjoy our ebook titled The Right Way to Propagating Succulents Successfully! With this ebook, you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll you have greater success with propagating! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

Do you have any propagation tips or tricks? Share them with us in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed reading our blog about succulent propagation check out our other articles! Enhance your succulent knowledge with 6 Best Indoor Succulents, 6 Edible Succulents to Excite Your Taste Buds, or Household Items You Can use as Succulent Planters.

How to Water Air Plants

How to Water Air Plants

I know, I know—these cute little plants are just to die for! Don’t have soil? No worries! They don’t need it anyway. They absorb nutrients and water through trichomes which is just a fancy name for the fine hairs located on the leaves. (Kind of like our fine hairs on our arms).

This presents endless possibilities on creative ways to display them. From those adorable teensy terrariums to seashells, or anything really, air plants don’t mind at all.

With their attractive spiky tendrils, these epiphytes are no doubt a got-to-have in every living room. And if you’re a brown thumb looking for some bragging rights, air plants got you covered.

These trendy plants are low-maintenance and so you can get away with some little negligence. Less maintenance and easier to take care of than your traditional succulent plant, count me in!

Losing an air plant is a sad affair. Though hard to kill, these plants will collapse on you due to several reasons. The most common however, is in regard to watering. To have a healthy air plant, the following watering best practices are valuable.

Watering air plants
@ary_plants

What are Air Plants?

Air plants are part of the Tillandsia genus which consists of about 650 species. Native to Mexico and the Americas, air plants are epiphytes, which means they grow on other plants and emerge from stem crevices or tree branches. Their roots can also attach to rocks and other shrubs just for support as the roots can’t take in water or nutrients.

In their native tropical rainforest habitats, air plants survive by absorbing water in the humid environment through their leaves. Unlike other plants, these rule-breakers don’t require dirt to grow, just air.

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04/28/2021 10:37 am GMT

Do Air Plants Need Water?

A common myth associated with growing air plants is that since these plants grow in the air, they don’t need water. This is fueled by the fact that they absorb water from the atmosphere and so they can survive long periods with little or no water. If you follow such advice, you’ll soon end up with a withered plant.

While it’s true air plants absorb water from the atmosphere, the environment they’re grown in has a huge bearing on this. Their native tropical rainforest habitats are very humid and they get along pretty well.

In home settings, however, the humidity is nothing close compared to the forests out there and so they have to be watered just like any house plant.

One way to water your air plants is to soak them in water. We recommended using a large bowl like this or something similar.

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04/27/2021 11:37 pm GMT

 

Watering air plants
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What Type of Water is Used for Air Plants?

Since air plants don’t grow in soil, they solely depend on water to get their minerals and nutrients. Therefore, the best water for air plants would definitely be rainwater.

Here’s a neat little tool you can use to collect rainwater for your air plants when it rains.

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However, this may not be easily accessible and so you may opt for spring water. You may also use creek water, pond water, well water, or lake water.

If you can’t get a hold of any of these options, then tap water can be utilized. Your last option should be soft or distilled water. It has little nutrients and minerals—not suitable for air plants as they depend on these nutrients for growth.

Mistakes to Avoid when Watering Air Plants

Thanks to the current digital age, it doesn’t take long for misinformation to spread rapidly. And this has been true when it comes to watering air plants.

Hordes of air plant enthusiasts have lost their plants due to such misleading advice. Avoid the following like the plague…

Assuming there’s sufficient water in the air

Don’t let the name “air plant” fool you. Air plants won’t get all the water they need from the air especially when growing in the living room or office.

Sure, they may absorb itty bitty amounts of water through their trichomes but that is nowhere close to what they need to survive. Depending on the climate of your surroundings, you might need to water your air plants once a week.

 

How to water air plants the right way
@thetipsygardener

Excess humidity due to wet bed

Nothing spells disaster for air plants more quickly than a wet bed. They’ll be susceptible to rot. Planting air plants with plants that require constant moisture like moss plants is not recommended. Air plants flourish on dry medium. Avoid very enclosed containers as this may lead to increased moisture leading to rot.

Ways to Water Air Plants

Watering air plants doesn’t have to be a high-brow process. The following ways are ideal when it comes to watering air plants.

Misting

If you live in an arid area, your plants will appreciate periodic spritzing using a spray bottle similar to this.

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It’s important to note that this method can’t stand in as the only means to watering your plants. It should only complement other watering methods. The trichomes on the leaves are unable to absorb enough water through misting.

Dunking

If your plants are thirsty and you’re in a rush, you can give them a quick drink to last them the whole day by dunking them in water.

To do this, just submerge the plant in water once or a few more times and they’ll be good until you have enough time to give them a thorough drink. Like a short swim!

Tips for watering air plants
@zoiascreations

Soaking

Giving your plants a full bath is the best way to water your plants.

This ensures that trichomes have enough time to absorb water and nutrients. To properly soak your plants, fill a bowl with water and fully submerge your air plants.

For much bigger air plants and depending on their number too, you can opt for the bathtub or sink. Be extra gentle with air plants that have blooms and don’t submerge the buds. Let the plants stay soaked in the water for at least one hour, on a weekly basis on the minimum side.

To remove the plant from the water, hold it from the base and pull it upside down, shaking it gently to get rid of excess water. Use water at room temperature to avoid shocking your plant.

Drying Air Plants

Once you’ve figured out how to successfully water your plants, what follows is leaving them to dry out right after their bath time. Lay them on a colander, towel or a dish drying rack and set them in a brightly lit area for two to four hours.

Also, ensure the area has plenty of air circulation—they’re air plants, remember?

Only return your plants to their display after they’re fully dry to prevent water from accumulating inside the plant which will ultimately result in rotting.

How Frequently Should I Water my Air Plant?

Watering air plants at home
@airplantdesignstudio

This largely depends on the climate in your area.

While air plants grown in humid areas may do well with watering only once a week, those in drier areas may need frequent soaking. You can also look for dehydration evidence on your plants.

A parched air plant has curly leaves with a dull color while a hydrated plant has open and wide leaves.

But for those that want to, it’s actually not that hard to care for and water air plants. Let us know if you end up trying to care for some air plants, we’ll have more articles about this soon. In the meantime, happy planting!

ALSO READ:


Think you’ll give air plants a try now? If not, here’s some rare succulents you can check out.

Has this helped you at all? Be sure to share with a fellow green thumb, i’m sure the info will help them too!

If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

When Should You Really Water Your Succulents

When you should water you succulents?

Everyone praises succulents as being really easy to care for, so it’s kind of embarrassing when one dies on you.

Don’t worry, you (probably) don’t have a brown thumb. There are a few misconceptions about how to care for succulents well. You really only have to straighten out one thing to become a succulent maven – watering.

How often to water succulents?

Here’s a little-known secret for succulent care – the amount that you water succulents isn’t nearly as important as how often you water them.

It makes sense if you consider why succulents are so sensitive to water.

Since most succulents and cacti are native to dry, desert-y conditions, they have adaptations to prevent water loss. That thick waxy sheen on the leaves is called a “cuticle” and it prevents water from evaporating out of the leaves. Succulents even have a special version of photosynthesis (called CAM photosynthesis) where they only open their pores at night to minimize water loss.

These plants are really good at retaining water. So good, in fact, that they can accidentally drown themselves. Plants actually breathe mostly through their roots, believe it or not. If those roots are wet, they can’t breathe.

Succulent roots have evolved to act like every drop of water might be the last. They cling jealously to all the water they can find in their soil. Unfortunately, if the soil is constantly wet, it leads to root rot – a deadly illness for most plants (and succulents are particularly susceptible).

The number one killer of succulents is overwatering. But not in the sense that they get too much water – rather, they get watered too often. It’s absolutely crucial that the soil is given time to dry out between waterings.

So how often do you actually water a succulent or cactus? A good rule of thumb is to water once every 10 days. You should still check to be sure that the soil is dry (and has been for a couple days) before you water again.

 

How much to water succulents?

Now we know when to water our succulents and cacti, but not how much.

To figure this out, we go back to the desert these plants came from. It does actually rain in the desert, contrary to common belief. However, that only happens a couple times a year. And in the desert the saying “When it rains, it pours.” is very accurate. The sky just dumps buckets of water. Succulents like to be watered this way too, albeit a bit more often. Forget about the eyedroppers and spray bottles. Put those ‘succers’ under the faucet and drench them. You should water until the water begins to run out of the bottom of the pot. That’s how you know you’ve soaked the soil all the way through.

And that part is important – you want to ensure that all of the soil is completely wetted. If you use only a little water, it doesn’t penetrate more than the top couple of inches of soil. That forces the succulent to grow roots upwards instead of downwards. That leads to weak roots, poor stability, and an ineffective anchor for the succulent. A recipe for disaster.

Proper succulent watering technique

When you should water your succulents

While throwing your succulent in the sink is certainly a viable method, you can practice some more applied techniques for an even better effect.

We already mentioned that all the soil in the pot needs to be drenched. That’s still true. If possible, though, you should try to avoid getting water on the leaves. This opens the door to a few problems:

Mold and mildew can form in the crevices of a plant (like where the leaves meet the stem). It also provides a nice habitat for pests, who generally prefer moist environments. We recommend using a succulent watering bottle with bend watering mouth for easy control during the watering process! We really like this one by Mkono

2. Plants can’t drink through their leaves. That’s what roots are for. Any water on a leaf is being wasted.

3. Occasionally plants, even succulents, suffer from sunburn. When you leave a liquid like water on leaves while the succulent is exposed to bright sunlight, there’s a chance that the water will act like a magnifying glass and burn the leaf.

So, if you have few enough plants (or just really enjoy watering), you should water each succulent individually by pouring water at the base of the stem. Make sure to get the rest of the pot as well. If you are new to plants, we highly recommend this planting & watering tool kit.

Avoid overwatering

Water isn’t the only factor in the watering equation, actually. Soil plays a big part.

One of the qualities of soil is how much water it retains. Soil mixtures that have a lot of organic matter (stuff like peat moss, coconut coir, etc.) tend to hold a lot of water. Mixtures that mostly have minerals or inorganic matter (such as perlite or sand) don’t absorb water.

Succulents and cacti require quick-draining soil. You want the soil to dry out as quickly as possible after it’s watered. Ideally in the same day. That’s why watering in the morning is ideal – it has the whole day to evaporate.

So, grab some soil specific to succulents and cacti next time you’re out. Your plants will thank you. A quick DIY solution is to just buy a bag of perlite and mix it half and half with any other kind of soil. It’s not perfect, but it will dramatically increase drainage.

If you do not have any local places to pick up some quick-draining soil, we highly recommend this quick-draining soil from Superfly Bonsai on Amazon.

Note also that many succulents you buy (especially from big box stores) actually have a poor soil mix when they’re sold to you. You’ll probably want to repot them as soon as you’re able.

And speaking of pots – the second most important factor in preventing overwatering is having adequate drainage. That means use pots with a drainage hole. That means that teacups and terrariums aren’t optimal containers for succulents and cacti.

Without proper drainage at the bottom of a pot, water tends to pool and the roots stay wet for longer. That’s dangerous. And, no, gravel in the bottom of a pot does not constitute drainage. The water is still there. It doesn’t go anywhere.

We’re not saying you can never put them in those cutesy containers. (By the way, if you’re having trouble finding inspiration for planting succulents check out our 12 minimalistic ways to plant succulents). Just know that they might not survive it for very long or be very happy for the duration. So much for that Pinterest photo shoot you had planned, eh?

ALSO READ:

When you should water your succulents and how often

Tips for succulent watering

  • Different plants have different needs. Sometimes wildly so. Kalanchoe, for example, are pretty thirsty succulents. They begin to wilt after a week without water. The famous “butt plants”, Lithops, can only be watered three or four times a year or they promptly die. (psst: if you are looking for Lithops Seeds, we recommend these by Micro Landscape Design)
  • Always err on the side of underwatering. Succulents and cacti are literally designed to be thirsty sometimes. They can almost always bounce back from lack of water… but recovering from too much water is a dicey prospect at best.
  • If you have a community pot (a pot with multiple species of plants), water to the lowest common denominator. That means that you should water only when the “driest” plants start to get thirsty. We are following the same advice as above – it’s better for succulents to be thirsty for a while rather than overwatering.

Thanks for reading!

We hope you got some pointers on how to keep your succulent family healthy! Also, don’t forget you can receive 2 FREE Audio books of your choice from our sponsor at Audible.com. We’ve got 2 books we listen to about propagation and watering succulents, what are you thinking of listening too?

Share is caring! <3

If you enjoyed reading our blog about When You Should Water Your Succulents, be sure to check out our other blogs. Personally I think you’ll enjoy this one: 6 Best Indoor Succulents.

If you learned something, please consider buying us a succulent for our office.

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Enjoyed learning about When You Should Water Your Succulents? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about The Correct Way to Water Succulents. With this ebook, you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

How to Make Succulent Soil at Home

How to Make Your Own Succulent Soil

Succulents are pretty and vibrant, but they can be quite picky at times. Unlike your average indoor plant, succulents are somewhat choosy with their soil and that’s probably what makes them so special.

Whether you’re an old pro to succulents or the new kid on the succulent- block, getting the preliminaries right the first time will go a long way in your succulent adventures. And nothing has more impact on growing succulents than the type of soil used.

Succulents, these cute, green, little aliens, don’t get along too well with the mundane, conventional gardening soil. They think it’s overrated and a bit boring. At least in its pure form.

Though succulents thrive with neglect why do they demand a more thought-out type of soil you ask? Let’s find out!

If you dont want to make your soil, we also suggest these great alternatives 

Vendor
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2nd Choice
The Next Gardener
Popular Brand
Hoffmans
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Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111 - 2...
The Next Gardener Succulent and Cactus Bonsai Gritty Mix Rocks,...
Hoffman 10410 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix, 10 Quarts
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Prime
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#1 Pick
Vendor
Bonzai Jack
Image
Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil - Jacks Gritty Mix #111 - 2...
Rating
Prime
2nd Choice
Vendor
The Next Gardener
Image
The Next Gardener Succulent and Cactus Bonsai Gritty Mix Rocks,...
Rating
Prime
Popular Brand
Vendor
Hoffmans
Image
Hoffman 10410 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix, 10 Quarts
Rating
Prime
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Last update on 2021-04-22 / Amazon

Make Your Own Succulent Soil
perlite and soil @whitneykshaffer

What Type of Soil Do Succulents Need?

The word succulent means a plant possessing thick, fleshy stems and leaves primarily as an adaptation to store water. In other words, succulents are desert- denizens that have recently been tamed to spice up the living room décor, by using minimalistic planters, by their unique but beautiful looks.

These plants are native to the desert regions of Africa, Central America, Mexico and some parts of Europe. They have lived in the hot and dry desert all their lives and hence have a few survival hacks to combat life in the desert. One of these coveted adaptations is their ability to store water.

You see, it barely rains in the desert. And when it does, it pours— quite literally. Succulents store this water in their leaves and stems for use in the subsequent weeks before it rains again. So for succulents, their roots don’t take up water all the time as they already have enough tucked away in their leaves. This is clearly backed up by the type of soil found in the desert. It is sandy and the hot weather helps the water to drain quickly therefore succulents don’t sit on soil with needless water.

Damp soil for succulents is not only unnecessary, but it’s also dangerous as it may lead to root rot and a host of pests not to mention the fungal diseases that accompany wet soil.

So what kind of soil is cool for succulents?

how to make succulent soil at home
planting succulents @soymicroscopio

Succulent Potting Mix Checklist

The biggest threat to succulent survival is root rot. It attacks the main channel for water and nutrient uptake of the plant leading to a weak, shriveled plant. Such a plant’s fate is almost sealed –death is inevitable.

Planting your succulents in the right soil can’t be stressed enough. A good succulent potting mix should have the following components:

 

1. Succulent Soil Should be Well-Draining

It definitely had to be top of the list. (If you’ve been reading our recent articles, we mention this a lot because of how important it is). Succulents and damp soil is just a disastrous combination.

When making your own succulent potting mix, you want to end up with soil that will drain well and quickly. Loose and grainy soil is the perfect substrate for growing succulents.

how to make succulent soil at home
time to plant! @plantoolio

2. Your Succulent Soil Needs to Have Good Aeration

It’s important for the roots to have some space to breathe. This will not only make it easier for soil and nutrients absorption, but it will also create a sustainable environment for beneficial microorganisms in the soil.

3. Non-Compacting and Breathable Succulent Soil

Sticky and compact soil is terrible for succulents. The roots hate it because it retains moisture for long periods and makes it difficult for the plant to breathe.

4. Excessive Nutrients in Succulent Soil

This sounds pretty weird but it’s true. Soil containing too many nutrients, especially nitrogen, may lead to lanky, brittle, and unpleasant plants. Nobody wants such kind of goofy-looking plants, do they?

how to make your own succulent soil at home
succulent soil @bloomedroots

What You Need to Create Succulent Soil at Home

  • Gardening gloves to protect yourself from anything sharp (just in case)
  • Measuring cup to make things easier
  • A trowel –just a fancy name for a small shovel
  • A bucket, pail, or plastic bin
  • Common gardening soil
  • Perlite or Pumice to incorporate into the soil mix
  • Coarse sand to also incorporate into the soil mix
SEUROINT 6 Pairs Garden Gloves, Men and Women Working Gloves for...
Fox Run Brands 4-Ounce Mini Measuring Glass, Regular, Clear
Garden Guru Super Strong Garden Trowel - Stainless Steel -...
Espoma Company (VFGS1) Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil
Espoma PR8 8-Quart Organic Perlite
USA Pumice - 1.25 Dry Quarts
SEUROINT 6 Pairs Garden Gloves, Men and Women Working Gloves for...
Fox Run Brands 4-Ounce Mini Measuring Glass, Regular, Clear
Garden Guru Super Strong Garden Trowel - Stainless Steel -...
Espoma Company (VFGS1) Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil
Espoma PR8 8-Quart Organic Perlite
USA Pumice - 1.25 Dry Quarts
-
$12.99
$9.21
$14.95
$24.07
$13.99
$13.99
SEUROINT 6 Pairs Garden Gloves, Men and Women Working Gloves for...
SEUROINT 6 Pairs Garden Gloves, Men and Women Working Gloves for...
$12.99
Fox Run Brands 4-Ounce Mini Measuring Glass, Regular, Clear
Fox Run Brands 4-Ounce Mini Measuring Glass, Regular, Clear
$9.21
Garden Guru Super Strong Garden Trowel - Stainless Steel -...
Garden Guru Super Strong Garden Trowel - Stainless Steel -...
$14.95
Espoma Company (VFGS1) Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil
Espoma Company (VFGS1) Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil
-
$24.07
Espoma PR8 8-Quart Organic Perlite
Espoma PR8 8-Quart Organic Perlite
$13.99
USA Pumice - 1.25 Dry Quarts
USA Pumice - 1.25 Dry Quarts
$13.99

Last update on 2021-04-28 / Amazon

 

Let’s Get Started Making Succulent Soil

Making your own succulent mix at home is so much fun. You get to decide just how grainy you want it to be (if you care about the aesthetics). Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than the regular commercial cacti mix sold in stores.

And did I mention that the procedure is so easy?

A plethora of recipes for making succulent soil abound. However, for this guide, we’ll stick with the basic procedure that is super effective and works wonders every time!

how to make succulent soil at home
DIY time @plantannaplant

Measuring Succulent Soil

Measuring out your ingredients is paramount to achieve the desired drainage, compactness, and aeration. The best mixing ratio of the three ingredients is two parts sand, two parts gardening soil, and one-part perlite or pumice.

Translating this to cups makes it 3 cups of sand, 3 cups of soil, and 1.5 cups of perlite or pumice.

The purpose of pumice or perlite is to aid in aeration and drainage. Pumice is particularly useful in holding together nutrients and moisture. Either can be used or better yet combining the two ingredients to end up with a rich potting mix.

On the other hand, sand is used to make the potting mix less compact as well as to increase the drainage. As for the gardening soil, its main role is to provide nutrients for the succulents.

how to make succulent soil at home
time to make your own @lowkey_plantobsessed

Mixing Your Succulent Soil

Put on your gardening gloves and let’s get to work!

Start by slightly moistening the garden soil to prevent the dust from coming up the bucket or mixing container. Next, put in the sand and mix thoroughly. Doing this using hands is more effective. Lastly, scoop in the perlite or pumice. Give it a good stir until the mixture is uniform.

Good job! You just made your very first succulent soil! I told you it was that easy, it’s just a matter of knowing what types of ingredients to include in your succulent soil that allows your succulent to grow the best it can.

You can use this soil for potting, repotting, and even store it for future use.

If you ever find yourself where you don’t feel like mixing your own, there are lovely premixed soils you can always get as well.

Tip: A neat trick before potting the succulents is to avoid getting the soil too moisturized.

You can begin watering as usual once the soil dries out completely.

ALSO READ:

how to make succulent soil at home
perfect mix @vividroot

Was making succulent soil as hard as you thought it was? Let us know in the comments below, we want to hear your thoughts. For some more tips on succulent care, check out this article here!

If there’s some tips and tricks you want to share with our succulent friends, you should let us know in the Succulent Plant Lounge — our exclusive Facebook group filled with a community of succulent lovers that chime in on each other’s posts answering popular questions about succulents and giving their insights about tips and tricks for succulent care!

Enjoyed learning about How to Make Your Own Succulent Soil at Home? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about The Best Soil Recommendations for Your Succulent. With this ebook, you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

Have fun, and happy planting! ?

How to Tell If Your Cactus is Dying

How to Tell if Cactus is Dying

It’s been some time since you got that cactus. You’re doing all you can to make sure it thrives. Watering. Fertilizing. Sunlight exposure.

You name ’em!

But you haven’t seen a slightest change in quite some time. Is the little thingy really growing? How do you know you’re doing the right thing as far cacti care is concerned?

Worse still, is your cactus dying?

Maybe yes. Maybe no.

One thing with cactuses is that they take time (years) to show any considerable change in size – most of them. Even then, as the plants are growing, you have to be on the lookout for any signs of deviation from normal growth patterns.

This is how you tell your cactus is dying.

How to Tell if Your Cactus is Dying
@designs4seasons

Signs That Your Cactus is Dying

Discoloring cactus

A cactus plant will take on a tinge that is not naturally its own. Depending on where the problem is coming from, the change in color may start at the top end of stem segments or from the base the soil. Dying is guaranteed if rapid action is not taken.

Droopy leaves on cacti

Dying in the few leaf-bearing cacti (like epiphylum) is signaled by downward pointing leaves that lack vigor.

This gives the cactus plant a general unhealthy look (because it is, right?). It will also appear under watered even when you’ve excelled in quenching it.

How to Tell if Your Cactus is Dying
@lindastarguitar

Soft segments around your cactus

The change of colour above may be accompanied by squishy stem segments that appear swollen.

This also means they can break off easily with minimal force applied.

Try pulling a spine off. That’s a dying cactus if you manage to pull off the specialized leaves.

Instability in your cactus potting soil

You’ll know this if the plant has a lean. Not bent – just the whole plant leaning to a particular side. A dying cactus is shaky in its potting mix and may appear as though it’s about to fall off – well, it will definitely fall off if you moved it, for a severe case. A sign of lack of roots. Or the existing ones may be too weak to properly support the plant.

This is assuming you potted the plant just right.

How to Tell if Your Cactus is Dying
@plant_n_grow

Foul smells coming from your cactus plant

Now, that’s a really bad sign. A foul smell means a large part of the cactus is completely rotten and there is nothing you can do to save it.

In other words, it is no longer in the dying process, it’s actually deceased now. All you can really do now is dispose of your fighting cactus plant and obtain a new one whether it be from a purchase or from a friend.

How to Tell if Your Cactus is Dying
@plant_n_grow

Why is Your Cactus Dying?

Overwatering

The age-old sure way to kill a cactus is by treating it to frequent watering sprees. It may look like a sensible thing to do. Only that with a cactus, the more frequent it is getting water, the higher the chances of it dying. Make sure to check out our article on how often to water your cactus if you need a refresher.

This is so because the water is such a perfect condition for rot.

Inappropriate potting medium

If you didn’t get the memo – your regular potting soil is a no-go zone for a cactus. It just holds on to water for way longer than your plant would prefer.

So, even if you get the watering correct, the soil mix will pull you back a couple of steps. The long periods of dampness are a nice condition for rot. And before you know it, your plant is exhibiting signs of dying.

We highly recommend this soil mix by Bonsai Jack. It is one of the best soil mixes on the market. It doesn’t need to be mixed with any other soil, it helps fight root rot, perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: won’t kill your plants). This soil is the go-to for our office plants. Go ahead and get the 7 Gallon Bag if you are plant nerd like us :). Pick up some of our favorite soil by clicking here: Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil.

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04/28/2021 12:36 am GMT

A wound becoming infected

It may have happened that a part of the stem broke off leaving an open patch.

Such a part is just what bacteria and some pests need to wreck havoc on your cactus. It is soft therefore making it an easy target for insects with munching tendencies. Bacterial infection may come about mainly in the cold weather or when the plant is not exposed to enough sunlight for the injured part to callous over time.

Such wounds cause the plant to start dying from top.

Wrong pot size

Getting the wrong size of a pot for your cactus is a sure way of kicking off its dying process. It could be too small or too large.

Small or large in this case will depend on the size of your cactus.

A pot that is smaller than your plant will choke up its roots as there is little breathing space. A larger than life pot on the other hand is bound to keep so much water sparking off rotting in both the roots and stem. Talk about a double tragedy… you’ll have to find the right balance that’s good for your specific cactus.

 

How to Tell if Your Cactus is Dying
@kelseyemstevens

How to Save a Dying Cactus

Whether or not your plant can be saved, depends on the extent of rot. For instance, as you’ve seen above, a foul smell emanating from your cactus is a sign that you’ve lost that plant.

But in cases where dying is just getting started, it’s possible to salvage the plant or part of it for propagation purposes.

If the rot is starting off at the top of the stem, cut away small pieces of it (the stem) as you move down to the base of the plant. You want to make sure the any rotten material is done away with for good. Only stop when you reach healthy tissue.

If the plant is taking a beating from the roots up, you’ll have to take the propagation route. Just as above, cut up the plant until you have only healthy tissue before you stop. Let the cut part dry and set it up in a well-draining mix.

How to Tell if Your Cactus is Dying
@designs4seasons

Also, make sure to check other aspects like the potting medium, the size of the pot and your watering. Make the following changes if you haven’t already:

  • Repot the plant remnant in a pot that fits it exactly, leaving just enough space for the soil mix. Also, remember to use a commercial cactus and succulent mix or create one by mixing regular potting soil with coarse sand and pumice.
  • Water only when the top part of the mix is dry.

Additionally, if pests and diseases were a part of the problem, apply the appropriate chemicals so as the remaining part of the plant is free from these past ghosts.

Now you’re in the know about dying cactus plants. The signs, reasons, handling and preventing. Time to check around your cacti collection and do the necessary.

ALSO READ:

 

How to Tell if Your Cactus is Dying
@lucyonthego1

Have you learned how to tell if your cactus is dying or not? Let us know what we missed out and we’ll be sure to include it in the article, we want to help as many cactus lovers as we can.

REMINDER: We have an ~exclusive~ Facebook succulent group where you can join in on fellow succulent- lovers’ conversations and post your own experiences & photos! Check it out now!

Calling all succulents lovers— rookie or veteran! Succulent City has developed a line of 12 ebooks (see here), ranging on topics from indoor & outdoor succulents, essential tools, good soil to use, and more! We even threw in a complimentary ebook to help get your succulent journey started you just have to insert your email on our front page for this. With our ebooks you’ll be a succulent guru in no time, have fun!

Thanks for reading and happy cacti planting! (:

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