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How to Take Care of a Succulent Plant

small potted cactus plant image by Wimbledon from

Aloe, cactus and jade plants are just a few of the hundreds of succulent species variations. These plants are succulent because of their ability to retain water in the leaves. The extreme water retention makes these plants highly tolerant of drought conditions and hot temperatures. Still, these tropical plants, mostly native to Africa, are cold-tender and highly susceptible to frost injury and damage when exposed to cold climates. Care for succulent plants by watering deeply but infrequently.

Plant your succulent plant in a well-drained potting container. Choose an untreated container or clay container, as the chemicals used to treat some containers can be harmful to your succulent. Select a container with several drainage holes at the bottom for an even release of excess water.

Line the bottom of the container with 2 inches of gravel to improve drainage. Use a cactus soil mixture or mix your own combination by combining a nutrient-rich soil with an equal amount of course sand. Incorporate it thoroughly. Apply a layer of soil at the bottom and center the succulent in the center of the container. Fill the container with soil and press the soil firmly but gently around the plant to secure its position.

Protect the soil moisture of your succulent plant by lining soil’s surface with a layer of small stones or pebbles. Water the newly planted succulent plant about three days after planting to allow the plant time to establish.

Irrigate your succulent plant deeply and infrequently, allowing the plant to dry out completely between each watering. Irrigate the plant with tepid water until the water flows evenly from the drainage system, as instructed by the Cactus & Succulent Society of San Jose. Water your succulent once each week during the hot summer months and reduce the schedule during the cooler winter months.

Feed your succulent plant throughout the growing season from the early spring through late fall. Use a well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 combination as recommended by the Cactus & Succulent Society of San Jose. Apply the fertilizer during the irrigation time using half strength, and feed about every 30 to 45 days.

Keep your succulent plant in a warm, sunny location. Ensure that the location receives at least six to eight hours of full to partially shaded sunlight each day. Keep the succulent away from locations with temperature variations, such as heating vents and drafty doorways.

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