Stress-free care for succulent plants


Succulent simply means juicy. PHOTO | COURTESY

From a little pot in the balcony to landscape in the garden, growing succulents can be one of the most satisfying yet inexpensive hobbies.

There are six large families of plants called succulents, and their stress-free care can make it easy for anyone to grow them.

The word succulent simply means juicy, and when applied to plants it refers to those with special cells that can absorb and store water during brief rainy spells, and slowly release the moisture to the plants in dry seasons.

Nannette Sole who has won awards for her succulent display says that this particular plant is one of the easiest to work with especially if you want to make the outside of your home beautiful.

“They come in so many colours and do not need much care. You can just put them in a pot add stones or chips on top and that is it,” she says.

Succulents also include cacti, in the Cactadceae family and not all of them are suited for indoor growing.

“All cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti,” she says.

Sole says bright coloured succulents such as reds, purples and oranges do not do well indoors since they require some direct sun and more light than is generally available indoors.

“They take energy from the sun and unless you put them on the window where the sun hits directly or the balcony it really is not a good house plant,” says Sole.

It is not impossible to grow them inside the house but when they do not get enough sunlight, succulents grow tall and start to stretch out.

Sole who describes growing succulents as an inexpensive hobby says that the plants do not need a lot of care.

“In the hot season you can water them once a week and twice every three weeks during winter. You simply put stones or chips on the pot and they look stunning,” she says.

She says that planting succulents must be done carefully, with soil covering their roots and firm enough with your hand to support the lower stems of larger plants.

Sole adds that you should not water the plants but give them a day or two to settle.

When they are dry and in need of water Sole says that succulents can let you know because the leaves get crinkly.

"If the dry leaves start to get unsightly, just gently pull them away from the base of the plant and throw them away and when the leaves are starting to look yellow and transparent and feel soggy to the touch, it’s likely suffered from overwatering,” she says.

Succulents come in very many beautiful colours and the cacti have flowers that make them even more attractive. Once you buy them, Sole says you really do not have to buy other plants since they can be easily propagated.

“You can just cut the leaves and lay them on a pot and a new plant just comes from that,” she says.