HOW TO CARE FOR SUCCULENTS OUTDOORS

Succulents are a family of drought-resistant plants that can adapt to the dry and arid conditions. These plants can store water in their leaves, stems, and roots and can survive throughout the droughts without requiring too much water. As a result of absorbing water in them, these plants appear swollen, fleshier, or more pronounced. Succulents love to strive through the dry climates and do not prefer much humidity. Moreover, if the roots of such plants are absorbed in water for longer times, then these plants will start to rot and eventually die.

Succulents have gained popularity throughout the past few years due to their extensive use as ornamental plants. These plants have also been known to cure various medical problems like cuts, burns, stomachaches, and more. Such plants also find their use in cosmetics. Other benefits of growing succulents in house include purification of air, enhancing focus levels, increasing pain tolerance, stabilizing the humidity levels, and enhancing the memory. Due to these various reasons, both botanists and environmentalists prefer to plant these drought-resistant and hard-fleshed succulents at homes.

Growth of Succulents

Succulents are famous as the in house plants and are usually found inside the houses, placed on the bookshelves, and the window ledges. But this is not the only place where these plants can be grown. Succulents can be grown outside in the gardens as well, either in the plant pots or in-ground. Three important things must be kept in mind while growing succulents outdoors. These things are temperature, rainfall, and the presence of the sun. Proper care should be taken while planting succulents both inside and outside. The succulents are grown using two different methods: sexual production and asexual production. Sexual production of succulents involves the growth of succulents from seeds. Whereas, in asexual production, the succulents are produced through the cuttings of seeds and leaves. In the presence of an excess of water, the succulents tend to rot. Whereas, in the absence of sun, these plants will turn pale.

Care for Succulents

The caring of a living organism is a must thing to ensure its proper growth. All living organisms, including humans, animals, birds, and plants, need care. The secret behind the successful cultivation of succulents lies in the provisioning of conditions similar to their natural habitat, which is dry, arid, and with scarce rainfall. Moreover, taking proper care of these plants will also help them to stay healthy and flourish well. For taking proper care of the succulents planted outside, the following aspects must be taken care of efficiently.

Water requirements

The first and foremost important part of taking care of succulents is fulfilling their water requirements. A proper amount of water should be given to these plants, and a proper check should be made. The reason is that these plants can not survive both when under-watered or over-watered. When under-watered, the succulents will start using the water absorbed in their leaves, stems, and roots. After a certain time has passed, these plants will start to die gradually, If the soil gets completely dry, the roots will start to desiccate, and the growth will cease. 

On the contrary, excessive water will make these plants start dying. If the roots are absorbed in large amounts of water, the roots will start to rot. The rule of thumb is to water these plants once a week in the hot season. Moreover, these plants should be watered twice a month in spring and fall, and once a month in the cold season. Moreover, the water requirements are also based upon various factors like the type of soil, depth of soil, humidity levels, the intensity of the sun, and type of plant.

Exposure to Sun

The next important factor in caring for the succulents is their exposure to the sun during the day. It is advised to keep the succulents in sunlight and direct exposure to the sun for half-day, most preferably the morning time. While, during the remaining half day, the succulents must be kept in shades, away from direct sunlight. The requirements of sunlight exposure vary from place to place and weather to weather. These requirements also vary from plant to plant. Plants that need excessive sunlight would not be able to grow when kept in shades for most of the day.

Similarly, plants that are suitable to grow in California would not grow well in Arizona and vice versa. While placing the succulents out in the sunlight, some things must be kept in mind like excessive exposure to sunlight may cause sunburn patches and even lead to death in some cases. Similarly, keeping such plants that need a huge amount of sunlight in the shade will lead them to turn pale. Furthermore, succulents that have green foliage will do much better in the intense sun than those possessing green varieties.

Quality of soil

The soil quality in which the succulents will grow also plays a vital role in their growth. The best soil for growing the succulents is the one having a rough, fast-draining mix. Succulents grow best in porous sandy potting soil. When planting succulents, it must be ensured that the area has a good drainage system, and the roots do not remain immersed in water for a long time. If the succulent is to be planted in a pot, it must be ensured that it has a drainage hole to let the water flow out easily. The other way to ensure proper drainage in a pot is to place a layer of crushed rocks at the bottom of the pot and then plant the succulent. The mixed soil having both organic material and mineral material is considered ideal for succulents. The proportions of both organic and mineral materials vary with geographical locations, and the right mix of the organic and mineral material will help growth and prevent rot of succulent.

Pests avoidance and fertilizer usage

Pests are always found to be destroying the plants. They are not a big issue when plants are placed inside. However, when these plants are placed outside, pests are attracted to them. Pests can destroy entire plants, making all your struggle go to waste. Therefore, proper care should be taken to save the plants from pests. The mealybugs are the most common pests which infest the succulents and make them rot. If these bugs are found infesting the succulents, it is advised to remove the infected leaf or stem from the plant immediately. On the contrary, if the whole plant is found infested, destroy the plant completely.

Fertilizers and pesticides are important factors in promoting a plant’s healthy growth. For the proper growth of succulents, fertilizers are also required. However, most succulents do not need much fertilizer. Fertilizers will also help the succulents to grow more and have proper colors. Watering the succulents with fertilizer mixed water once a month will be sufficient for them. Proper care should be taken when using fertilizers because the strong fertilizers will lead to the demise of the succulents.

In-ground versus flower pots cultivation

The succulents can be grown both in-ground and in flower pots outdoors. If you live in areas with cold weather around the year, then it is advisable to grow the succulents in the flower pots. This will make carrying the pots inside and save them from rotting due to frost. Planting succulents in pots also helps maintain a reasonable amount of water in pots and perform proper drainage. Hence, preventing the plants from rotting due to excessive water. Planting succulents in pots or different containers will also benefit from quickly changing the soil mix and replacing it with the new and improved soil to promote their growth.  

The cultivation of succulents in-ground is more suitable in countries or places with mild to warm weather. While planting succulents in the ground, an approximate of six to eight inches of soil designated to each succulent must be provided. This is because the succulents will grow more freely than in pot cultivation, and the roots may get mixed up.

Concluding Remarks

The succulents are living organisms, just like other living species and demand care. If you intend to plant succulents in your back yard or your garden, then make sure to provide them with a habitat similar to their natural habitat, which is both dry and arid. Moreover, proper care should also be taken while planting them out in the sun or pots placed under shades. The water level for these plants should also be taken care of because too much water means a demise for them. Keep these things in mind, and you are good to proceed with growing succulents in your homes.