Succulent plants are desert or arid region flora that is easy to care for and make excellent plants in your garden. They have thick fleshy leaves that have excellent water storage capacities. Some of them preserve water in their stem because they have no leaves or tiny leaves, and the rest of the store water in their leaves. Most of the succulents have broad and deep roots and are native to the desert and semiarid regions.
Succulent plants have more than sixty plant families, comprising of members Aizoaceae, Crassulaceae, and Cactaceae. Many of them are popular houseplants comprising of Aloe, Kalanchoe, and Echeveria, to name a few.
How succulent plants differ from others?
One usual adaptation in the succulent plants is the amount of time they open their stomata. They are tiny mouthlike objects on the surface of the leaves and stems of the succulent. These stomata permit the absorption of carbon dioxide from the environment and the loss of water and oxygen.
The stomata of several succulent plants do not open during the day but at night. Because of this, the succulent tends to lose a lesser amount of water even during the intense dry daytime, and the carbon dioxide (CO2) intake takes place at night time. These plants, thus, show a different type of emission. And the process of photosynthesis in them is called crassulacean acid metabolism.
The literal meaning of succulent relating to food is juicy or tender. Defining these succulent plants isn’t difficult as they are the plants that preserve water in leaves and stems. There are several types, species, and forms of succulents, in an astounding assortment of structures, sizes, textures, and colors. Also, there are blooming succulents, succulents with spines, and many more.
One can classify cacti to be succulents, but not all of them are succulents. They have their origins in arid deserts, cold mountains, seaside cliffs, or even jungles. Many of them melt if kept in freezing temperatures, but many can grow in cold conditions. And also in the cold weather of northern Canada.
Succulent plants are quite an unusual plant type with several diversities and shapes and it is tough to cover them in one article. Succulent means the plants that can survive in drought, even for days, grow well in enough light, but not always in intense heat.
What are succulent plants?
No matter how popular succulents are in today’s era, many individuals are still oblivious about these stunning plants. Hopefully, this article gives you a better understanding of these plants and their entire cycle.
Succulent plants can store water in their leaves and stems, as seen earlier. The leaves are usually thick ad fleshy and have some medicinal properties in them. However, some genus and types have thicker leaves than the other plants.
Succulent plants tend to flourish well in arid climates and do not appreciate a lot of humidity. Yet, these plants like water occasionally to flowers, bloom, and grow. While they do require water to endure, they can survive for long without getting sufficient water. They rely on the water storage and nutrients present in their leaves. If the roots of these plants sit in water for too long, they rot and die.
Almost all succulent plants like warm and dry temperatures and cannot withstand freezing. The water storing capabilities in their leaves results in turning the plant mushy and dull. And this happens when they are in freezing environments. Some types of sedums and sempervivums can withstand temperatures even below freezing. However, they perform their best in warmer conditions.
Extreme changes in temperature and lack of water or light can result in decoloration and mushy leaves. Succulents also tend to change their color because of excess sunlight. It can cause sunburn and severe damage to the plant. Usually, when succulents lack sufficient sunlight, they turn green or dull. When they thrive well, they bloom in colors like pinks, oranges, purples, black and red.
To know more about succulent plants, you can check this video:
It will help in giving you a brief description of the plant type.
Common names for succulent plants
There might be a lot of succulents that you are familiar with the most. The heirloom succulents have odd but common names. Some famous Latin names are wax plant or Hoya, mother-in-law tongue or Sansevieria, jade or Crassula, century plant or Agave, hens and chicks or Sempervivum, a crown of thorns or Euphorbia, prickly pear or Opuntia, burn plant or Aloe.
Other known succulent genera comprise Kalanchoe, Echeveria, Senecio, and Aeonium. If you look up for them, you will find many plants in garden centers or other gardeners’ porches.
Response of the succulent plants to weather
Many succulents can survive for decades with just adequate light and proper watering, plus a little fertilizing feeding with the right nutrition. They do not demand attention but have issues with pests like mealybugs, scales, or other insects.
Some of them can showcase their best foliage color when given a lot of sunlight. Yet, many succulents get burns in the intense summer sun, especially in humid climates. A covering or sheer cloth may be necessary for plants growing in the outdoors. Inadequate sunlight often gives your succulent turn leggy and weak.
Two things succulents dislike equally are freezing and overwatering. It can cause leaves to drop prematurely and rotting roots and stems. You can prevent this by planting your succulent in well-draining soil that contains organic matter and coarse sand. Ensure your water your succulent only when it is dry.
Growing your succulent plants
There are several simple ways in which you can propagate succulents. Many of them have tiny plants known as “pups” that grow from short stems. They can but cut off and replanted to grow as a new plant. Succulents that have long stems develop roots quickly in comparison to the ones with shorter stems. But ensure that the cutting dries out well before you replant them else, they will not grow.
A shocking number of succulent plants can grow from leaf cuttings or leaves. Some of them can also form new plants on leaf tops or flower stems. All you need to do is place them in the potting soil with minimal care, and they will rapidly grow as mature plants.
You can use succulents as articles or collections, outdoors or indoors, in containers, between rocks, hanging containers, tablescapes, and so much more.
Tips to take care of succulent plants
Provide a sufficient amount of sunlight
Succulents love the sun and require about five to seven hours of sunlight each day. It depends on the succulent. If your succulent is new and, immature avoid keeping it in intense sunlight to prevent it from damage. You may need to slowly introduce them to direct sun exposure or give them shade.
The proper amount of water
Succulent plants also require extra energy when they are in their growth phase. In the spring and summer seasons, these plants thrive and consume much more water than the others. It is preferable to measure the moisture in the soil before watering it again. Dip your finger in the topsoil, and if the top 1.25 inches is dry, then your plant needs water. Giving your succulent a lot of water can kill it, so ensure you let the soil dry well before watering it again.
Select the right container with good drainage
Succulent plants do not like to sit in water, and if their roots are in the water for long, they start rotting. And so, drainage is an essential part of keeping your plant happy and healthy. Your container must have drainage holes in the bottom to permit the excess water to flow out. Terra-cotta pots are best for beginners.
Give your succulents the right topsoil
Succulent plants need soil that does not retain water for long and drain quickly. Do not plant your succulent in the dirt from your yard. Plant it in cactus soil or make a soil mix of your own. The roots of your plant are very delicate, so be careful when you re-pot.
Ensure your succulent plants does not have pests
Pests are a problem for outdoor succulents, and occasionally you might have to deal with them. Some pests are prone to attack succulents that have moist soil and do not have proper drainage. To remove eggs and larvae, you can take rubbing alcohol and spray it on the topsoil.
Mealybugs are common pests that infect succulent plants all the time. The primary causes of pests’ infestations are overwatering and overfertilizing your succulents. Also, do not keep plants that have a bug infestation around healthy plants. It may cause damage in the healthy ones too.
You can check this video for easy tips to care for your succulent plants.
Now that you have a brief idea about succulent plants, you can plant one in your garden and take care of them. To know more about succulents, you can check out the other blogs for a better understanding. More knowledge is always a beneficial aid, so grab it and successfully expand your garden.