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How to take care of succulents

The secret to succulent care and growing them successfully is to give them conditions similar to their native habitats, which for the most part are warmth and plenty of light.

1. Temperature

Although succulents can usually handle more rainfall than they’d get in their native habitat, their roots may rot if the soil stays soggy. Very few succulents thrive outdoors where temperatures drop below freezing (32 degrees F) for extended periods.

2. Water & Fertilizer

The rule of thumb is to water succulents thoroughly once a week in summer, twice a month in spring and fall, and monthly during their winter dormancy. Keep succulents on the dry side, and give their roots superb drainage. When under-watered, succulents subsist on stored moisture. Keep the soil about as moist as a wrung-out sponge.

Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer, diluted to half strength, once or twice in spring

3. Sun and shade

In general, give succulents half a day of full sun; ideally full sun in the morning and then bright or dappled shade the rest of the day..Varieties that will want more sun—and won’t bloom without it—are those native to the Southwest such as cacti and yuccas, and aloes from South Africa.

Succulents do need adequate light for balanced growth (so they don’t stretch), and any succulent—any plant for that matter—that has been cultivated in low light or in a greenhouse should be hardened-off (introduced gradually) to greater sun exposure.

4. Soil and drainage

The best soil for succulents, whether in the ground or in containers, is a coarse, fast-draining mix. We make our own cactus/succulent soil

5. Pest control

Prevent infestations by giving succulents excellent air circulation. Spray pests with 70% rubbing alcohol diluted 50% with water. Isolate any infested plants immediately to keep the pests from spreading, and thoroughly clean the area.

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