How to Trim Succulents

Trimming your succulents sounds a little intimidating—who wants to take a sharp knife to their favorite plants? But your succulents can really benefit from a light trim every now and then, just like your hair!

Trimming down your succulents helps maintain their shape so that they don’t get too tall, leggy, or overgrown. If you want your succulents to look cute and compact, you’re going to have to get comfortable cutting into them!

But don’t worry—trimming your succulents is easier and less scary than you think, and we’re going to guide you through the whole process. Keep reading if you want to learn how to trim succulents!

How to trim your Succulent
Time for a trimming @concrete_gardens

When to Trim Your Succulents

The best time to trim your succulents is at the beginning of their growing season. Most succulents start growing in the spring, so ideally that’s when you should trim them.

Spring is a great time to prune your succulents, with a set a pruning shears like these, because they tend to get leggy and long during the winter. Succulents often start growing tall when they’re not getting enough sunlight. They reach and stretch towards the nearest light source to try to get closer. This causes them to lose their nice and compact shape. This tends to happen more frequently in the winter when the days are shorter and there’s not as much sunlight streaming through the windows.

If you’re in search for what additional tools can be used when tending to your succulent babies, check out our article Best Gardening Tools for Succulents. Stock up on all the necessities, we just recently did from Prime Day.

By the way, we know Prime Day is over now but we still want to mention… This post is sponsored by Amazon Audible! They are offering all of our Succulent City community an exclusive offer of 2 FREE Ebooks when signing up for a free trial! You can sign up for a free trial here! What could be more relaxing than listening to your favorite book while tending to your succulents?

Back to trimming… to fix this problem, you’ll actually have to behead your succulents! It sounds scary, but it’s super easy to do. Your succulent will be better off afterwards! Here’s how to do it.

How to trim your Succulent
Sprouting succulent @iamursucculent

Beheading Succulents

Branching succulents like Echeveria, Crassula, Aeonium, or Graptopetalum tend to benefit the most from beheading. If you have an Echeveria that’s looking tall and overgrown, it’s time to break out the shears and cut off its head! Once you’ve removed the top of your succulent, you can replant it in the soil and it won’t look so stretched out and leggy anymore.

Grab a sharp pair of shears or a gardening knife . You should also wear a pair of gloves—some succulents have thorns and others have milky sap that can be irritating to your skin. Better safe than sorry!

Before you start, you should also have some rubbing alcohol on hand to sterilize your cutting tool. Rub your shears down with alcohol before you start cutting to prevent your plant from becoming infected. It’s advisable to also sterilize your shears before you use them on any of your other plants. If the first plant you cut is infected, you don’t want it to spread to the other plants in your collection!

We also found the rubbing alcohol helps with purging pesky mealybugs. Read our article, How to Get Rid of Mealybugs, to find out more.

How to Trim Succulents
Have you mastered trimming your succulents yet? @thesimplygoodlife

Now take a look at your plant and decide where you want to make your cut. The cut should be an inch or two below where the rosette or top growth of your succulent ends. You want to include a little bit of stem so your plant doesn’t topple over when you go to plant it, but not so much that your plant will stick too far out of the soil like it did before.

The cut on the stem should be straight across or at a slight angle. It’s been noted that cutting it at an angle decreases the chances of infection, but we’re not sure how scientifically accurate that is!

Keep the leftover stem instead of discarding it. If you replant it, it might just sprout some new growth!

Leave the stem and the top of your succulent out to dry for a few days, and then plant them in some succulent soil. Use a spray bottle, like this one, to mist the soil near your plants with water. This will encourage them to root. Then after a few weeks when they take root, you can water them normally.

To ensure you develop a promising water- scheduling. Read our guide on When You Should Water Succulents.

Make sure you move them to a sunny spot once they’re rooted. You wouldn’t want them to start growing tall and stretching out again because you placed them somewhere without enough sunlight!

How to trim your Succulent
Helping them keep that compact shape @oursuccielife

Other Reasons to Trim Your Succulents

Another reason why you might want to trim your succulent is to redirect its growth. You can train some succulents to grow the way you want just by trimming them. If you see a branch or bud that’s growing in the right direction, trim your succulent right above it and it should start growing that way. This technique is often used with woody succulents like jade plants to help shape them.

Learn more about the beautiful Jade Plant, with our informative article, here!

You can also trim succulents, like jade plants, to keep them small. To do this, you should cut back the entire plant. You can remove up to a third of its size once a year in the spring. Cut all of its branches back to the size you want, making sure your cuts are near a leaf or lateral branch.

Since you’re giving your plants a “hair cut,” maybe treat them to a new planter, like these stylish pots!

Another reason why you might trim your succulents is to remove any dead, diseased, or damaged parts. Succulents are pretty good at compartmentalizing the damage from diseases and keeping them from spreading, but you should still cut off any infected parts. You don’t want to risk it!

Removing dead leaves and plant matter from your succulents will keep them healthy and help promote new growth, so make sure you do this every fall and spring! Get a pair of precise tweezers, like these, to ensure you’re grabbing only what you need. These tweezer came in handy so many times for us here in the office, we saved so many succulents this way.

How to trim your Succulent
Variation of succulents @vibeyourway

That’s all you need to know to trim your succulents and keep them looking compact, cute and healthy!

If you trim your succulents this spring using our advice, let us know how it goes! And if you have any more questions about trimming succulents, you can ask them in the Succulent City Plant Lounge. There’s tons of other succulent lovers in there who can answer your questions and help you out!

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.

Happy planting! ?

How to Make Your own Succulent Soil at Home

Before you get down and dirty with creating the best succulent soil at home, we wanted to let you know we were able to work with Amazon and provide our AMAZING readers a 30 day free trial to Amazon Prime perfect for all gardening and succulent stuff! The best part about this is that you can get succulent planters within days! Let us know if you’re getting anything succulent related, we’d love for you to share it in our FB group.

No doubt 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!

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 like these, 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 breath. 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 breath.

4. Excessive Nutrients in Succulent Soil

This sounds pretty weird but it’s true. Soil containing too much 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

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!

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.

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.

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! ?

Your Ultimate Guide on How to Care for Air Plants

Racking your brains trying to come up with the best ways to care for air plants? Or just want to learn how to care for air plants before committing to buying some?

Make no mistake about it –air plants are not your ordinary kind of house plants. Although caring for air plants can’t get any easier, there are specific conditions that ensure tillandsia plants grow healthy.

Air plants are generally hard to kill and this makes even the most inexperienced gardeners seem like a gardening connoisseur when growing these plants. And that’s not all. Air plants have ridiculously few requirements not to mention the endless, creative ways to display them.

If you’ve been looking for something unusual to grace your living room décor, then you might find lots of luck with air plants. Terrariums, aeriums, bowls, seashells and even wire crafts are some of the many display ideas to show off your air plants.

So whether you’re a busy gardener or a recent house plant convert, caring for tillandsia plants is quite a snap. Let’s learn how!

But first…

What exactly are air plants?

Ultimate guide how to take care of air plants
air plant on driftwood @airplantartisan

What are Air Plants?

Air plants are naughty rule breakers. They don’t give a succulent about soil and pots with drainage holes!

These weirdos can grow anywhere as long as there is air, water and light. They’re epiphytes –a cool name to refer to plants that grow on hosts but don’t obtain nutrients from them. Air plants just use these plants for anchorage and support using their roots. Talk about clingy plants!

Yes, they got roots but they don’t use that to absorb water and nutrients. The roots are simply to attach to the host plants. So how the heck do these plants get their water and nutrients?

Leaves.

Wait, those thin, spiky tendrils? That’s right. These leaves possess fine hairs on the surface known as trichomes which actively absorb water and nutrients from the air.

Cool, right?

Also known as tillandsia, air plants hail from the tropical forests of Mexico where they grow on other plants as epiphytes. These have now been tamed and are popular living room aesthetics due to their fascinating looks. And since they don’t need dirt, they can be displayed in a myriad of ways.

Although mostly green in color, they usually come in different shades including silver which are believed to be more drought resistant. If all go well, they produce showy, teensy flowers during spring or summer.

air plant guide
pink & green air plant @tillandsia_bangkok

5 Reasons Why You Need a Tillandsia Plant

  1. Your living room or office décor will love it! They’re quite unlike any plant. The spiky tendrils set them apart and makes them look just so awesome! And beautiful.
  2. You don’t have to worry about what type of soil or potting mix is required. Air plants are dirt independent!
  3. Air plants can be displayed almost anywhere! Tillandsia plants are not bound by anything.
  4. They’re extremely low maintenance. Any forgetful farmer can have a whale of a time growing air plants. It’s super simple!
  5. Air plants take up very little space. These dainty plants economize on space and one can have many of them without worrying about where to place them.
  6. Air plants pair up gorgeously with succulents and other house plants.

Caring for air plants is a breeze if you ask me. Take note of the following pointers to have outstanding tillandsia plants all around your home, office or room.

Ultimate guide on how to take care of air plants
hanging air plant @airplantartisan

Is Airflow Important for Air Plants?

Yes.

Air plants are created in such a way that they thrive in environments with free flow of air. This is simply because they absorb nutrients and water from air in their native environment.

Side note: Air plants in glass terrariums look absolutely fabulous, just take a look at our favorite golden terrarium for air plants.

However, ensure the mouth is wide enough to ensure the plants are not suffocating inside. You definitely don’t want to end up with an empty terrarium.

Stuffing tillandsia plants in an air-deprived environment is only preparing them for failure. And hey, we’re not saying you buy a blower or a fan just for your air plants. That would be outrageous!

Just ensure they’re getting adequate airflow wherever you display them. In other words, they shouldn’t feel as if they’re claustrophobic. They’re called air plants for a reason right?

air plant guide
garden of air plants @airplanthub

How to Water Air Plants

A common air plant faux pax is that these plants absorb all the water and nutrients from the air and so they don’t need to be watered. That’s a big fat lie.

Don’t fall for it!

Living room and office environments are nothing compared to the forests where these plants are native to. The former has dry air while the latter is humid and a perfect environment for air plants to thrive in.

Watering air plants doesn’t have to be college algebra, who remembers those days? However, doing it the wrong way may kill your tillandsia plants. It’s much harder to kill these plants by under watering rather than overwatering. To water your air plants like a pro keep reading!

Ultimate guide to taking care of air plants
tiny air plant @reipy_s

What types of water is good for air plants?

Since tillandsia plants get most of their nutrients from water, it’s paramount to feed them with nutritious water. Of course, the best bet is rain water as it contains a lot of nutrients and minerals. Take a look at this highly rated rain water collection system from Oatey if you want to give this a shot.

Unfortunately, this might not be readily available in many households. An awesome alternative may be spring water as it contains numerous nutrients. If that seems far-reaching as well, you can go for well water, creek water, pond water or lake water. Tap water is a good option too.

Avoid distilled water because it is deprived of all minerals and nutrients, your air plant definitely doesn’t want this.

air plant guide
colorful air plant @airplanthub

Misting your air plants

Air plants growing in a dry climatic environment will benefit greatly from regular spritzing using a normal spray bottle. If you’re not normal, check out this really cool vintage glass spray bottle, it could be a great decoration item too! Keep in mind though, spritzing your air plant occasionally can’t be used as a sole watering method, there’s a better way.

It must be complemented with other watering methods as trichomes can’t absorb adequate water from misting alone. Think about it, on hot summer days a good misting will cool us down normally but not until we get a refreshing bottle of cold water will it help dramatically.

Same thing with air plants, misting will help alleviate dehydration for only a few, use more adequate watering techniques below to compliment misting.

air plant guide
flourishing air plant @sgfloraandfauna

Dunking your air plants in water

The Perfect on-the-go watering method for busy times.

If you don’t have enough time to give your plant a soak, then this is the best way to water your plants until you get time to properly water them. Simply dunk your plants several times in a pool of water for about 20 minutes and you’re done. Using bright colored buckets like these might make the watering process more fun!

Yes, that easy! (Anyone remember the red “That was easy!” button from staples a long time ago? Comment RED in the comments below if you do).

Ultimate guide on taking care of air plants at home
air plant sprouting @ryokumouzoku

Soaking your air plant for an hour

The most recommended watering method to end up with healthy plants.

Submerge your plants in a bowl or sink full of water and let them sit for an hour. Don’t submerge blooms as they can get destroyed. After the bath, pull them out and set them upside down so that all water can dry out before returning them to their displays.

Placing them on a drying rack of some sort will make it easier to achieve full dryness, don’t let your air plant sit on a counter in its own water bath, it won’t dry properly.

Also in terms of frequency, give them a soak once a week.

air plant guide
flowering air plant @fruitfulnmultiply

How Much Light do Air Plants Need?

Tillandsia plants prefer bright, indirect light for a few hours every day. In the jungle, these plants grow on rocks, woods and other trees away from direct sunlight. Although you can subject them to the morning or evening sun for a few hours, avoid hot direct sun as this will lead to sun burn.

Any window in your house can get the job done in regard to lighting especially west or south facing windows. Poorly lit spaces will lead to deformed and ugly looking plants. In case natural lighting may not be sufficient, then go for artificial grow lights.

air plant guide
family of air plants @liezestockmans

What Temperature/Climate is Good for Air Plants?

Frost and freeze cold temperatures? No way.

Air plants just won’t survive in such conditions. Let temperatures be above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and that shouldn’t be a biggie if you’re growing your tillandsia plants indoors.

Bring those outdoor plants in when temperatures go below 32 degrees.

Conversely, subjecting your air plants to extremely high temperatures will make them dry and parched, yep even air plants need adequate hydration like us too!

Ultimate guide on taking care of air plants at home
air plant terrarium @planties_in_a_twist

Is Fertilizing Tillandsia Plants Okay?

Air plants do get hungry. The air that is supposed to be a source of nutrients for them is no doubt full of pollutants and toxins. Tillandsia plants will appreciate feeding once a month or four times a year.

Use air plant specific fertilizer or bromeliad fertilizer. You can also use diluted regular houseplant fertilizer. Add the fertilizer to the water and soak your air plants in it. This is also applicable in misting or dunking.

Your plants won’t die if you fail to fertilize them. But if you want vivacious and healthy plants, some feeding would go a long way. Don’t be excessive on the frequency though, a little here and there goes a long way!

How Do I Display or Mount Air Plants?

There are dozens of ways to display air plants. You can stick their roots on a wood or a stone using super glue. Popular air plants designs also feature glass baubles which gives a stunning aesthetic. Additionally, you can set them on sea shells and wire baskets.

When displaying your plants, ensure the display surfaces are free from chemicals, rust or toxins which may be detrimental to your plants’ health.

air plant guide
pair of air plants @arbora.verd

Do Air Plants Bloom?

Yup.

Air plants can reward you with brilliant blooms if you treat them nicely. With lots of varieties to choose from, it can be a bit tricky to offer a generalized formula to follow for these blooms to occur. Several factors come into play but mainly it all boils down to the variety and the environment.

Tillandsia plants bloom only once in their lifetime. They do this at maturity. The mother produces pups which eventually grow and flower while the mother plant dies off, unfortunately.

To get your air plants to flower, look for plants with a couple of pups. This is because the plant in its maturity stage and will soon bloom.

Air Plants Don’t Have Pests Right?

False.

Fortunately, air plants are hardy and robust and are usually not susceptible to many pests though. But, you may have to deal with a few mealy bugs and scale insects from time to time. But that shouldn’t be huge deal. Simply use 70% isopropyl alcohol or neem oil to knock them off their socks!

Ultimate guide in taking care of air plants at home
mounted air plants @planties_in_a_twist

Think you can handle the air plants now? We think so. If you have any questions be sure to ask our exclusive group at Succulent Plant Lounge, our members here help each other almost daily!

Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on The Most Common Issues Amongst Succulent Growers or even Succulent Drainage Requirements today!

Let us know here on Succulent City if you plan to buy some air plants and which one you want to buy. Thanks for reading with us and of course, happy air planting! ?

What’s the Difference: Soft vs Hard Succulents

Did you know that some succulents can survive in extreme, below freezing temperatures? A few species of succulents can even be outside when it’s negative thirty degrees!

Some succulents can withstand cold winter weather, but others just can’t handle it. You may be wondering… why? Succulents have similar characteristics and adaptations, so why can’t they all brave the cold?

The answer is that some succulents have adapted to colder temperatures because they grow in harsh, alpine climates. This group of succulents is called hard or hardy succulents.

Succulents that are native to warmer, arid climates don’t do well in chilly weather. They’re called soft or tender succulents. They can die if you leave them out in the winter, so it’s important to figure out which type of succulent you have so you can prepare it for colder weather!

If you want to learn the complete differences between hard and soft succulents and figure out how to identify and care for your own plants, then keep on reading!

What Makes Succulents Soft?

Soft succulents are much more sensitive to frost than hard succulents because they’ve adapted to warm environments like deserts. So when temperatures drop below freezing, they don’t have the kind of adaptations that they need to deal with the cold.

If you’re worried that your plants will suffer any frost bite during the winter seasons, something like this may help as a temporary solution.

The water that’s stored in their cells actually starts to freeze when it gets too cold. If your plant stays outside long enough and fully freezes, its leaves will turn brown and get soft and mushy.

Sometimes you can save frozen succulents by pruning the brown, soggy parts, but some succulents sustain such extensive damage that they die. That’s why it’s important to figure out whether or not your outdoor succulent is soft, and bring it in for the winter if it is!

What Makes a Succulent Hardy?

On the other hand, hardy succulents won’t freeze if you leave them out in below freezing temperatures.

Most hardy succulents will be fine down to negative twenty degrees. A lot of them are from cold, mountainous regions, so they’ve adapted to winter weather much better than soft succulents. They’re tough little plants that can withstand a lot!

Is Your Succulent Soft or Hard?

Unfortunately, you can’t really tell if a succulent is soft just by looking at it.

Soft succulents all have different appearances. Some have tender rosettes that look like they’d be damaged by frost, but others have spiky, rigid leaves that look like they should be able to withstand it. So if you make assumptions about your succulent’s cold hardiness based on its appearance, you might accidentally kill it!

Instead of going off appearance, you’ll have to do some research to learn which species are soft and which ones are hard. Some of the most common soft succulents are Echeverias, Aeoniums, Crassulas, Haworthias, and Senecios, but those aren’t the only ones. The most common kinds of hardy succulents are Sedums and Sempervivums.

Soft vs hard succulent plants
@succulentsyndrome

What we like to do to figure out if our succulents are soft or hard is to look up which growing zones they do best in. The USDA has a plant hardiness map that divides the country up into different growing zones based on the coldest temperatures they experience during the winter. (It’s quite neat!)

You can enter your zip code on the USDA website to find out which growing zone you live in. Then you can look up your succulents and see which growing zones they’re best suited to.

If there’s a mismatch between your growing zone and the zones your plants prefer, then you’ll know you need to bring them inside for the winter!

If you can’t move your succulents inside try using some type of plant protective covering like this for a temporary solution.

How to Care for Succulents in Winter

If you have soft succulents, the best thing you can do is bring them indoors when it starts to get cold. We like to move our succulents inside in September. That way we know there’s no chance of our succulents getting damaged by the cold!

Here’s some cute owl planters we found perfect for the fall season when you bring in your succulents. If you get one of these please share it with us on Succulent Plant Lounge, people would love this!

Sunlight is Key!

Make sure that your outdoor succulents get plenty of light when you move them indoors. They’re used to more sun exposure than they’re likely to get indoors, so put them near the brightest window in your home to keep them healthy.

If you live in those places where the sun shines for less than 4 hours in a day, having a grow light might be your best bet during the winter season. Here’s an inexpensive grow light we found for you.

You should also water them less frequently than you did when they were outside. There’s less airflow inside because there’s no wind, so the soil dries out slower. Many soft succulents also stop growing during the winter and go dormant, which reduces their need for water.

So be careful with the watering can!

Hard vs soft succulent plants
@sexysucculents_

Watering During the Winter

Even though your hardy succulents can handle winter weather much better than your soft ones, there are still a few things you should do for them to keep them healthy through winter.

Succulents in pots are much less insulated from the cold than ones in the ground. If you can, try to transplant your potted succulents into the ground a few months before cold weather hits.

You should also be mindful of how much water your outdoor succulents are getting. If they’re cold and wet, you can run into some problems. Try not to water your succulents too much in the days leading up to a cold snap.

If the winters in your area tend to be cold and rainy rather than cold and snowy, you may want to put your succulents under a covered porch or the overhang of your roof.

Tip: Use this manual air duster to get some of the water off that is sitting like a pool of water. Protect your succulents!

Snow can actually insulate your succulents from the cold without making them too wet, so it’s ok to leave them uncovered during a snowstorm. Succulents that have to deal with cold weather and rain at the same time, though, have a much higher risk of rotting. So if your area gets cold, rainy winters, try to shelter your succulents from the rain as much as you can!


There you have it! That’s the difference between hard and soft succulents. If this post helped you figure out what kind of succulents you have, let us know in the comments below. Happy planting!

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, the best 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!

Also, if you didn’t know. We have a Facebook Group where fellow succulent lovers chat with each other and help grow succulent plants together. Think you would like to join the conversation?

How to Tell If Your 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, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 best for your specific cactus.

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.

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.


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, the best 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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