The surface of our planet is characterised by the variety of its landscapes: from tropical rainforests to inhospitable deserts. It is logical to think that in each of them there are different conditions for the development of living things.
In places with mild temperatures and abundant rainfall, plants with good height and large leaves will thrive. but what about those that grow in areas where the thermometers melt? Well, like any other living thing, they will adapt to their environment! They will modify their size to optimise resources and store water in their roots, leaves and stems.
One of the best known of these true survivors are the succulents, a category comprising a multitude of families and genera, spread across the globe. As they are increasingly present in our homes and gardens, today we will talk about the care of succulents. read our guide with useful tips for their care!
Succulents: Description, cultivation and care
It is difficult to specify an exact origin and definition for succulent plants. They did not appear in one place and have no common elements beyond those mentioned above. The different families have no genetic relationship to each other and no common ancestor. They simply arose in different parts of the world and their evolutionary processes led them to develop similar abilities separately.
It is precisely to this surprising trait that succulents owe their enormous variety. They come in all sorts of shapes and colours. This, together with their adaptability, makes them a perfect choice as a decorative element in your home. you could decorate your whole house with succulents alone without repeating any of their infinite varieties!
The most famous families of succulents are the Aizoaceae, Cactaceae, Crassulaceae and Euphorbiaceae, with more than 1000 species each.
Although there are many differences between them, the care they all require is quite similar. Let's talk about them.
Succulents, accustomed to living in the most inhospitable and hostile corners of the planet, have developed an extraordinary resilience. This greatly facilitates maintenance tasks.
- Light and location
The first thing they need is large amounts of daily sunshine. Not in direct sunlight (although certain species can withstand direct sunlight), but in well-lit places where they are naturally bright.
Indoors, it is highly recommended to place them near windows or on verandas. If, on the other hand, you prefer to enjoy them as outdoor plants, look for areas where they are protected from direct sunlight.
Direct sunlight, especially in hot weather, can deplete their water reserves and even burn them. The absence of natural light also hinders their proper development.
These plants require so little care that they do not even need good soil. On the contrary, they appreciate a soil without a lot of minerals or nutrients. A basic universal substrate, with a few pebbles to improve drainage, or one specifically for cacti, will be more than sufficient.
Due to their origin and characteristics, succulents not only withstand, but need high temperatures. But surprisingly, they can also withstand low temperatures. Depending on the species, they may do so to a greater or lesser extent. Indoor room temperatures will be perfect for them.
How to grow succulents
Thanks to their water reserves, they can withstand long droughts and temporary "abandonment". But no matter how hardy they are, they are, after all, living beings, and if we do not provide them with food, they will die. Therefore, they should be watered moderately, without excesses that could cause waterlogging and drown them. Watering should be spaced out and the amount of water should be reduced. As a general guideline, watering frequency can be once a week in summer and fortnightly in winter.
They do not need special humidity conditions.
- Fertilisers and fertilisers
As they do not need a large amount of nutrients, it is sufficient to dilute a small amount of fertiliser in the irrigation water. It is recommended to do this on a monthly basis during the spring and summer months. In autumn and winter these plants usually enter a period of rest. If we continue to fertilise, the fertiliser could accumulate in the soil and cause damage to the plant.
No special requirements. When the pot is too small to contain the roots, it should be moved to a larger one. Spring is the best time for this.
There are no specific pests or parasites that affect this type of plant. However, we may eventually detect the presence of the mealybug, which is very common in many species.
This tiny insect manifests itself in the form of small spots on the underside of the leaves. It can cause serious damage if not treated in time. The spots will be brown or whitish in colour, depending on whether the attack is due to the brown or cottony mealybug. To eradicate the infestation, dip a piece of tissue in methyl alcohol and wipe over the leaves. On larger plants, you can remove them with a sponge and neutral soap. If the infection persists, apply a specific chemical directly.
It is not very common to prune succulents. What is advisable is to remove the leaves as they wither to prevent them from becoming a source of parasites.
The enormous variety and great resistance of succulents, as well as their rare beauty and their potential to be used as decorative plants, make these species essential elements in our home. combine them as you like and enjoy them in all their splendour both in the living room and in the most special corner of your garden!
Dedicated to creating an army of cacti, succulents, poodles and cats to help me conquer the world. In the little free time I have left, I play, write and dance.