Caring for your succulents, cacti, and air plants

image19

Succulents and Cacti are relatively easy to care for once you understand a bit about them! Succulents originally came from dry, arid climates such as deserts. One of the reasons succulents are so popular is because of their low maintenance and less frequent watering needs. They are slow growing and don't mind being grouped with other succulents and cacti. Succulents store water in their leaves and like their roots to be surrounded by dry soil once they have taken in the water they need!   Don't be concerned if the bottom leaves shrivel and die. This is how most succulents grow. As long as the center (newest growth) of the succulent looks good, then the succulent is healthy. 


image20

Water

In the spring/summer while succulents and cacti are actively growing, water them about every 7-10 days. When watering be sure to water at the base of the plant so the roots get wet. You should only give each succulent about 1-2 Tablespoons of water. You may need to adjust the water amount and frequency. The most important thing is that you allow your succulents and cacti to dry up between waterings. 


Over watering will cause root rot and kill your succulents and cacti quickly. If you notice your succulent becoming mushy or the leaves turning yellow and falling off easily, withhold water until the soil dries out.   


If you notice the leaves begin to wrinkle and wilt, give a little more water and it should plump back up. It is easier to bring back a succulent that has been under watered rather than over watered.   


As a general rule, just remember that succulents and cacti want to be dry. They do need water to survive, but will die if they sit in wet soil. If you aren't sure if your succulents and cacti need water, feel the soil near the roots to check if there is any moisture. If not, you should be safe to give 1-2 Tablespoons.  


Keep an eye on your succulents for signs of over or under watering. They will show signs of both issues so you can fix the problem! There is a list at the end of this page to help you diagnose some common issues. 


During the winter months succulents are not actively growing and therefore don't require watering as often.  You can go even longer between watering times. Water if the leaves look wrinkled/wilted. You will be surprised how long you can go between watering in the winter!

image21

light

Succulents and cacti need about 6 hours of  sunlight daily. They like bright, yet indirect sunlight.  If they are in a window sill watch out for burnt looking leaves. This can happen if the window gets too hot. Also, if you keep them in a window sill during the winter months check to make sure there is not a cold draft coming through your window. Succulents do not like the cold and this could kill them if not noticed in time. If they are in a lot of light they may dry out quicker and need a little extra water. Keep an eye on the leaves for signs of drying out. 


If your succulents aren't getting enough light they will start to stretch towards the light and begin to look "leggy."  If this happens, move them to a location with more  sunlight. You may need to move your succulents and cacti around to find the perfect spot where they will do best. South and East facing windows provide the most sunlight.

air plant care instructions

Air plants do best with fresh  air flow and indirect light. They do not need soil.  Water your air plant by soaking in room temp water for 10 minutes.  After removing from water, lightly shake off excess water.  Water your air plant once a week for them to thrive in your environment!

image22

Diagnosing a problem with your succulents

soft mushy leaves falling off

Too much water can cause the leaves to swell, become soft and mushy, and fall off. The stem can also appear puffy.


What to do:

Withhold watering until dried out. You may even need to replant with dry soil to save the succulent.

Yellow leaves

Watering issues can cause yellow leaves. Over watering and under watering can both cause leaves to turn yellow. If the leaves are also mushy and swollen it has been over watered. If the leaves are shriveling and wilting, and you haven't watered in awhile, then it is most likely under watered.


What to do:

Adjust watering techniques. If you suspect that you have over watered, water less and allow soil to dry out in between waterings. If you suspect you have under watered, water more thoroughly, but allow to dry out before next watering.

Wrinkled or wilting leaves

The main cause of wrinkled/wilting leaves is under watering.


* over watering can also cause leaves to wrinkle, but instead of a shriveled appearance leaves can appear limp, weak, and fall off .The stem can also appear puffy. Water less and allow soil to dry*


What to do:

Water succulent more thoroughly and frequently. During the growing season (spring/summer) succulents need a little more water. Be sure to allow soil to dry out between waterings.


Brown leaves or dark spots on leaves

The most common reason for brown leaves and dark spots is sun damage. This can happen if your succulent is exposed to full direct sunlight. If your succulent is on a window sill it may be getting too much sun and can get sunburnt.


What to do:

Move succulent to a location that doesn't get as much sun. A room that receives bright, yet indirect light is ideal.

Dead lower leaves

The lower leaves of succulents naturally wither and die as the plant grows and produces new leaves from the center of the succulent. You can pull off the bottom dead leaves or wait for them to fall off.

Stretching stem "leggy"

Succulent is not receiving enough light. You may notice your succulent stretching out towards the direction of light. The spaces in between the leaves will get wider and your succulent will look "leggy"


What to do:

Move succulent to a brighter location. South or East facing windows provide the most sunlight. Slowly introduce your succulent to bright light if it was in a low light area.

Dark brown/black spots and mushy lower stem

If the lower portion of your succulent is dark brown or black and is mushy, your succulent has been over watered and is experiencing root rot.


What to do:

This requires immediate attention to hopefully save your succulent. Remove succulent from its pot. Remove and discard all soil. Clean pot thoroughly. Cut infected stem from succulent. Let healthy portion dry on the end of the stem for several days. Replant in lightly moistened, almost dry soil. Water sparingly.

Dull color

Too much sunlight.


What to do:

Move succulent away from direct sunlight. A room that receives bright, yet indirect sunlight is ideal.