Succulents have been everywhere lately, mostly adorning office desks. As I’m typing this, I’m looking at the small succulent plant I got. Meanwhile, personalities like model Erin Wasson and singer Cher keep them in their backyard. Bea Alonzo even made her own succulent mini-garden last week.
Who wouldn’t get one though? If you’re someone who can’t seem to maintain a regular house plant, succulents are right for you because it’s low-maintenance. That said, we found out more about how to properly care for succulents from Ian Dungganon, architect and proprietor of Thorny Guy.
The thing about succulents is that it can store water in its body, hence, they don’t need constant watering. “Ideally, once a week is fine or until the soil is totally dry. The idea is to water enough to completely dampen the soil,” Ian says. “To check the soil’s moisture: stick a barbecue stick into the soil. If the soil barely stains the stick, it means it’s dry and it’s time to water the succulent again.”
“Succulents with larger volume and thicker leaves need less water than those slimmer ones,” he adds.
Ian also advises to put the succulent in a vase that has a drain hole to prevent the soil from getting too waterlogged. If you don’t have one at home, you can use a regular plant pot or vase and just place pebbles on top of the soil to prevent waterlogging.
“Sunlight, whether direct or indirect, is very important to keep the succulents happy. Remember to place your succulents as closely as possible to a bright window if you want to keep them indoor,” Ian says. Succulents can also thrive in an air-conditioned room. “These very low maintenance plants are resilient to varying temperatures as long as the space is well illuminated [and] that freezing or warm temperature is not intense.”
If you’re wondering what kinds are best indoors and outdoors, Ian says that colored succulents like reddish Fred Ives and purple Pink Leaf are suited indoors; while green Haworthias and Lace Aloes should be kept outdoors.
Keeping succulents outdoors might expose them from too much sun or rain. This can be dangerous for your plants, which is why Ian suggests: “When keeping them outdoors, consider the air humidity and rain. Keep your succulents in covered patios during wet season when days are soaked.”
Buzzfeed mentioned that you can easily plant a new succulent when you trim its leaves or stems. This sounds a bit unusual but Ian explains, “Sooner or later, pups will grow out from the mother plant and plucking them out will help decongest the potted succulent. Do know that breathing space is also important for a healthy living plant.”
When you’re planting the baby succulents in a new pot, Ian advises that you let the newly-plucked pup “to heal and form a callous for about two to seven days before sticking it into the soil.” As for fertilizer, he suggests to give it the low nitrogen kind, which is diluted in water, for twice a month.
When you want to put your succulent in another container, Ian simply advises to be careful and gentle with the plant. “What I do is I wrap a newspaper belt around the succulent to avoid hurting the plant as well as myself. Also, wearing hand gloves can be useful with very thorny ones but I normally handle succulents with bare hands,” he tells us.