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Top 10 succulent care tips to keep them looking ‘sharp’

Succulents are some of the trendiest plants around. You often see them featured in magazines, blogs, and on Pinterest. Succulents offer a wonderful array of colors and textures. Plus, they’re easy to grow indoors. Because of their special ability to retain water, succulents tend to thrive in warm, dry climates and don’t mind a little neglect. This makes them well adapted to indoor growing and ideal for people desiring low-maintenance houseplants.

succulent-image4 Share these tips with your customers for successful care of their new plant.

Choose a container with drainage

Succulents don’t like to sit in waterlogged soil, so drainage is important to prevent rot. Your container should have a drainage hole to allow excess water to escape. Terra-cotta pots are ideal for beginners.

Plant succulents in the right soil

Succulents need soil that drains, so regular potting soil — or dirt from your yard —won’t do. Choose cactus soil or mix potting soil with sand, pumice, or perlite. Succulent roots are very fragile, so be gentle when repotting.

Make sure succulents get enough light

Succulents love light and need about six hours of sun per day, depending on the type of succulent. Newly-planted succulents can scorch in direct sunlight, so they may need to be gradually introduced to full sun exposure or provided with shade through a sheer curtain.

Rotate succulents frequently

Succulents love direct sun, but by sitting in the same spot day after day, it’s likely that only one side is getting enough light. Rotate the plant often. Succulents will lean toward the sun, so rotating them will help them stand up straight. Leaning may also be a sign that the succulent needs to be placed in a sunnier spot.

Water according to the season

Just like us, succulents need more energy when they’re in a period of growth. During the spring and summer, the plants are thriving and drinking up much more water than when they’re resting in the fall and winter. Testing the soil with a finger — when the top 1.25 inch of the soil is dry, grab the watering can. Overwatering can kill a succulent, so it’s important to let the soil dry between waterings.

Water the soil directly

When watering succulents, soak the soil until the water runs out of the drainage holes. Don’t use a spray bottle to water succulents — misting can cause brittle roots and moldy leaves. Also, the pot can be placed in a pan of water, allowing the water to absorb through the drainage holes. Once the top of the soil is moist, remove the plant from the pan.

Keep succulents clean

Inevitably, indoor plants will gradually pick up dust on their surface which can inhibit their growth. Wipe off the leaves and spines gently with a damp cloth or use a soft paintbrush to get at hard-to-reach spots.

Maintain a warm temperature

Succulents like about 70-80 degrees in the summer months and 50-60 degrees in the winter months.

Pest control

Pests shouldn’t be a problem for indoor succulents, but occasionally you may have to deal with bugs. A couple common bugs found in succulents are gnats and mealybugs. Gnats are attracted to succulents that are planted in soil that is too wet and doesn’t have proper drainage. To get rid of eggs and larvae, spray the soil with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. Overwatering and overfertilizing are the common causes of mealybugs. Move infected plants away from other succulents and spray it with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.

Fertilize succulents in the summer

Succulents don’t need much fertilizer, but light feedings can be given during the spring and summer growing season. Be careful not to overfertilize —this can cause a succulent to grow too quickly and become weak.

Melissa Jones is an experienced mass market and e-commerce buyer with over 15 years in the industry.