Those of you that know me will know I am a lover of all things succulent ;) those that don't, hello my name is Fran and I am a succulent addict, also an avocado tree addict but thats a post for another time. Their little leaves, cactus like appearance (but without the evil little spikes) pretty colours, low maintenance and sheer gorgeousness kill me every time and I am literally a sucker for a cute succulent. Given the right love and nurturing you CAN grow your new baby plant without letting it wilt and dry up like a Sahara desert Camels hoof on a dry day, in just a few easy techniques and methods and a bit of good old tlc.
Succulents, although they do not look high maintenance, can need a bit of care to ensure they live a long life, this is from past experience, I killed my first ever succulent, yep I was officially a murderer of plants, who now live in peace amongst the stars. I literally thought it was like a cactus, never needed sunlight or watering and would just live forever. Sadly this is not the case.
As soon as you buy your first little pot of joy, I would suggest repotting it from the terracotta colour plastic it is born in and place it into a bigger more solid pot with good drainage (some good old holes in the bottom) Grand Illusions, Rose & Grey and Graham & Green do some great planters (links below). Also use a good porous potting soil for succulents and cactus' (If you have no idea what this is, just like me when I first discovered it, ask at your local garden centre, they are the oracles of all soil/compost knowledge!) Give it a good solid water when you have finished planting, then place your little plant in an area with good drainage so under the pot can leak excess water and avoid root rot.
HOW TO WATER YOUR SUCCULENT.
These plants tend not to respond well from the, rain down on me from above technique, you can miss areas of the soil and the excess water that sits on their leaves tends to rot them away. I place my potted succulents in a bowl filled with room temperature water and let the soil absorb water from the bottom up, you can tell when the soil is fully saturated by just gently feeling the soil on top of the pot to see if its damp, when complete, simply remove rom the bowl and leave it in a good spot for it to drain.
They will also need good sunlight, they need about 5-6 hours worth of sun and do not survive frost or the winter particularly well. I have mine on an easterly facing window sill (in a south facing window the sun may be a little too strong, be careful not to burn these babies) Or pop them outside for the day in the summer in a half shaded half sunny area for a little outdoor adventure and bring them in at night for a snooze.
Rather than absorb water from the soil around them they store water in their cells and as that water decreases and the soil around them becomes dry you will physically see when it is time to water your succulent. You must wait for the soil to become bone dry before you water, this is the main cause of succulent death, over watering! You will also see their leaves begin to wilt slightly and they do not look as plump and juicy as normal, you can even touch the leaves gently and you will feel the firmness has gone showing its time to feed. Now is the time for a good water, and remember once you have fed them to leave them in an area where the water can drain nicely from the bottom of the pot, We do not want to come face to face with any damp root rot!
Bearing all this in mind you and your dear little, what will become a, succulent family, (they are an addictive purchase). Will have many a beautiful home adventures together, they will always add a bit of magic into a room and inject a dash of life onto any windowsill. Have fun experimenting :)
SUCCULENTS - where to buy.
http://www.conservatoryarchives.co.uk - Hackney based, love this shops displays, flowers and beautiful pots.
http://www.simplysucculents.co.uk/echeveria.html - Gorgeous selections of succulents at reallt resonable prices can order online for home delivery.
https://www.instagram.com/bunched.flowers.rectorygrove/?hl=en - Essex based, recently went in this shop and loved their selection of larger succulents for those too impatient to grow their own, also resonably priced!