So you have a black thumb? Try succulents

Planting and maintaining a garden is one of the great joys in life, from planting a seedling to watching it grow into a living part of this world – it is magical. Well, for some people anyway; some of us suck at gardening, everything we try to grow or even touch seems to die. Maybe we just don’t have the time to care properly for these living organisms, or maybe we just don’t know what we are doing. Either way, we are known as having a black thumb.

But wait! Don’t give up! You too can successfully grow a lovely garden and even a garden that will draw the eye and is sure to impress. The way even black thumbs can do this is by growing a type of plant called succulents.

What Are Succulents?

You have probably heard of succulents if you follow any gardening sites at all. They are all the rage at the moment, and this is with good reason, succulents suit a broad range of climates, they are low maintenance, and they look great. They can be grown both indoors and outdoors and can suit any design style.

So what are succulents? Well, they are a group of plant varieties that store moisture in their leaves. This water storage ability makes them reasonably drought resistant and can succulents can survive for weeks without being watered.

Some of the most common succulents are the different cactus varieties, Aloe Vera and Echeveria.

What Climates Can Succulents Grow In?

Succulents can thrive where other plant varieties struggle, especially in hot and dry or cold and dry conditions. The one thing succulents do not like is too much moisture in the soil.

This, of course, makes succulents ideal as indoor or undercover plants as you can control the moisture in the ground to a much higher degree.

Choosing Your Succulents

There are many different types of succulents, some are much harder to grow than others so here is a short list of the easiest varieties to look after for your first succulent garden.

  • Agave
  • Aloe Vera
  • Crassula
  • Echeveria
  • Sanseveria

You will want to go to your local garden center and take a look at these before deciding which type you want to plant, as I have found that images on the internet never really do them justice.

Planting Your Succulents

For the purpose of this article, we will focus on planting succulents in a container and indoors.

Choose a well-drained pot or container that suits your decor style; the key point is the well-drained part. Remember that succulents HATE excess moisture as it can cause them to rot and die.

You will want to locate the pot somewhere that has plenty of natural light, but not too much direct sunlight. Some varieties of succulent can get sunburnt if they are in the hot sun for too long each day.

You will want to mix up some special soil for your plants, don’t panic though as this is easy. Just combine equal parts of sharp builders sand and a good quality cactus potting mix. Before you add the mix to your container, add a layer of charcoal to the bottom first, this will ensure drainage is adequate.

Plant your succulents in a layout of your choosing, but do not crowd them too much. Because these plants only have a shallow root system, you do not need to dig a deep hole.

Do NOT water your succulents yet; you want to let them recover from the stress of being replanted first. Allow a week to pass before you water them for the first time.

Caring For Your Succulents

Now comes the easy part, caring for your succulents! The basic rule of thumb for watering succulents is to wait until the soil is dry before watering them. When the dirt is totally dry, give them a good drink and then leave them be.

The only other thing you need to do is feed them some fertilizer once in spring and once in summer. There are many types of fertilizer that will do the job, but to make it easy ask your garden center for a half strength, phosphorous-rich type.

Get Gardening

So there you have it! Succulents are a plant them even black thumbs can grow, and they can look great too!