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How to Choose and Grow Succulents(1/3)

Miss Chen
2018-06-25
There are over 10,000 succulent plants, which include cacti. Many are native to South Africa and Madagascar and the Caribbean. Succulent plants have thick, fleshy leaves, stems or roots. This is one of the ways they have adapted to dry conditions by taking advantage of whatever water is available and holding onto it for later use. When full of water, the leaves can appear swollen. When they are becoming depleted, the leaves will begin to look puckered.



Other water conserving features you may find in succulents are narrow leaves, waxy leaves, a covering of hairs or needles, reduced pores, or stomata, and ribbed leaves and stems, that can expand water holding capacity. Their functioning is fascinating, but most are also quite attractive, too. They are perfect for dry climates and periods of drought anywhere, but many are not cold hardy below USDA Zone 9. Even so, they can be grown as annuals or over-wintered indoors. Several make great houseplants. Grow them all year in containers and you can just move the whole thing in when the temperature drops.

General Succulent Care
Water: During the summer, allow the soil to dry out between waterings and then water so that the soil is soaked through, but not dripping wet. Don't let the roots sit in soggy or waterlogged soil.

In winter, most succulents will only need water every month or so. They are basically dormant. If your house is particularly dry, you may need to water more often. The leaves will pucker slightly and begin to look desiccated if they need water. But just as in the summer, don't leave the plants sitting is soggy soil.

Soil: In pots, use a chunky, fast draining soil. This is one group of plants that does not thrive in the traditional loamy garden mix. There are special potting mixes sold for succulents.

In the ground, most succulents like a slightly acidic soil pH (5.5 – 6.5). Add some organic matter to very sandy soils, to retain moisture long enough for the plants to take it up. In clay soils, raised beds are your best option.

Choosing Succulents
Below are some popular succulents that are generally easy to grow.
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