So that trip to the markets on the weekend fooled you into thinking you’re a green thumb, taking home more cacti and succulents than your tiny apartment can handle. And now you’ve stuck them all on the windowsill with the hope they’ll outlive that fish you bought on a whim, as they don’t require food (or a clean bowl to live in). But keeping these pretty plants alive is easier than you’d think. I managed to get a few tips for ‘succulent survival’ from Stackwood’s in-house plant expert and landscape architect Claire Greenhill.
When growing succulents in pots, good drainage is essential. Make sure your pot has at least one good drainage hole and is planted into free draining soil. If you live on the coastal plain in WA, the soil is generally sandy and very free draining and little amendment is needed. If you are in the Hills or elsewhere on clay soil, some organic matter and a bit of gypsum will help break up the soil and provide better conditions for your succulents.
While Succulents are very tough plants if they are situated in full sun and planted into pots outside they will need to be watered regularly over the hot summer months so they don’t dry out. If the leaves or stems or your succulent look deflated, the plant probably needs a drink. If they are in the ground they will need less water than in pots and the twice-weekly allowed sprinklers should be more than enough all but for the hottest days of summer where some supplemental hand watering may be necessary.
Succulents love good light. If attempting to grow inside, a window sill where your plant receives direct morning sun through the window it a great spot for these hardy plants. If growing outside they will grow in part sun to full sun. These are not plants for the damp shady corners of your garden or a dark cool corner of your home.
Sometimes the hole in the bottom of a pot can get plugged so putting a layer of coarse gravel at the bottom of the pot can ensure the hole doesn’t get blocked by the roots of the plant or by compacted soil.
The less light and sun your succulents receive, the less water they will need. A succulent grown indoors on a window sill where it receives some direct light may only need water once a week and less in the winter months.
To start your cacti collection, check out Stackwood in Fremantle.
10 Stack St, Fremantle WA 6160