How to cultivate healthy succulents



There are three factors to consider for growing succulents successfully: Soil, water, and sunlight.

1. Flooring
What type of soil is best for my succulent plants?

Succulents want soil that drains well. For a long time, I have used the substrate of cactus and succulents of Compo, and it works very well. However, in summer and in a climate as dry as the Mediterranean, it is too loose and dries too quickly. To increase water retention, I mix it with a universal substrate. But this is a factor that depends on the climate and in each geographical area it can vary. It is best to always start with a sandy substrate, with a tendency to dry quickly.

2. Water
How much is there to water a succulent and how often?

I have killed plants both by excess and by lack of irrigation. My early belief that the succulents needed little water was excessive, did not water them for weeks, and thus the plants did not thrive or die. There was also a time when I used to water them like other plants in the garden, every day, and drown them. Finding the balance took time, but I learned to do it. As a general rule, irrigate when the substrate is dry. In my case that is approximately once a week in summer, less and less as the weather cools, and in winter only once or twice a month. I water it by pouring water into the pot until the water comes out of the drainage holes.


3. Solar light
How much sunlight do the succulents need?

Succulents live better in bright but indirect sunlight. Some can withstand the direct rays of the sun when they are on the ground and are adult plants when they have already developed a good root system. Depending on the species, they need more or less sun, but most suffer if they endure the harsh summer sun. To avoid sunburn, it is best to place them in a very bright shade. Protected by the branches of other bushes or protrusions of the roof. I have them in the corridor, where there is enough light and the sun only affects a brief period of time.

Probably in cooler climates, this does not work the same and the succulents can be in full sunlight. It is best to experiment according to the place where each one resides. I would start by putting them in the shade. If the plants do not receive enough light, you will notice that they stretch out looking for light. If this happens, bring the plant to a brighter place and rotate the pot so that they straighten again. If you have stretched excessively, you may need a more drastic action to regain their original form. You can read the article “Why a succulent grows stretched” to know how to proceed.