How-To’s & Tips

12 Mistakes Beginners Make with Succulents

Overgrown euphorbia

1. Assuming they’re no-water plants. Succulents are low-water plants. Water thoroughly; wait until dry or nearly; repeat. When in doubt, don’t. 2. Misting the plants. Hm. To what end? Succulents come from arid climates, not foggy ones…except for a very few that grow on coastal cliffs. 3. Adding pebbles to nondraining pots. This supposedly provides the drainage succulents famously need. Yet what it does is create a microbial soup that eventually rots the roots.

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How Much Light Do Succulents Need?

Succulents and light

How much light do your succulents need? It depends on the type of plant and where you live. Most haworthias and gasterias prefer shade but can handle some sun along the coast. Many but not all cacti are fine in full desert sun. As a general rule, the majority of soft-leaved succulents want half a day’s sun (in mild climates) and dappled or “bright” shade.

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Use Plastic Bottles for Lighter Pots

Why I put plastic bottles in big pots

I use plastic bottles to make large pots lighter before I add potting soil. It makes pots easier to carry, cuts down on the amount of soil needed, and is better for shallow-rooted succulents. Before I plant any tall or large pot, I half-fill it with tightly capped empty water bottles. Good design and aesthetics…

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Ants in Your Succulents? What to Do

Late summer into fall, Argentine ants like to nest in the root balls of potted plants. Haworthias, aloes (especially dwarf varieties), gasterias and gasteraloes are highly vulnerable. Ants overwinter in the soil and consume the plant’s juicy core. Leaves eventually fall off and the plant dies. The first line of defense is to create a barrier around your pots using ant…

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Laura Eubanks’ Top Ten Tips for Succulent Garden Design

Laura Eubanks of Design for Serenity is a celebrity succulent garden designer in Southern California. Her “Succulent Tip of the Day” sent her popularity skyrocketing on social media, and her YouTube channel recently exceeded 4,000,000 views. Here, Laura shares her Top Ten Tips for Succulent Garden Design. The photos are from two videos I made…

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Succulent Windowsill Pots DIY

In this Succulent Windowsill Pots DIY, you’ll find out how to make a quick, colorful, succulent windowsill garden. Sunbathing helps succulents maintain their symmetry and color, and whenever you look out your window or work at a countertop or sink nearby, you’ll see and enjoy them. These six pots, each 3-inches in diameter, come as…

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Succulent Desk Buddies, DIY

“Desk buddies” are succulents that look good on your desk and require almost no care. They’re cute and classy, and visitors invariably ask about them. All you have to do is dribble water on them twice a month (which also keeps them dusted). Here for your enjoyment is a step-by-step DIY project for creating a…

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How to Stress Succulents (And Why You Should)

Kalanchoe luciae

Plenty of sun brings out brilliant reds and yellows in certain succulents, but how much to “stress” the plants varies depending on where you live, the time of year, and the kind of plant. If there’s a good thing about our too-hot Southern California summers, it’s that heat makes certain succulents stunning. Give aloes and…

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Make a Low-Light, “Scooped from the Garden” Succulent Arrangement

This succulent dish garden is perfect for a bright-shade location, such as indoors near a window. It makes a great gift, and all its components are readily available. Owner Jeanne Meadow displays it on her covered patio and waters it minimally (once a week in warm weather, once a month in cool). You’ll need: One…

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12 Succulent Bouquets to Inspire You

12 Succulent Bouquets to Inspire You ~ When wired onto faux stems, succulent rosettes—despite having no roots, soil or water—make long-lasting floral bouquets. Echeverias, graptosedums, crassulas and kalanchoes lend themselves beautifully to bouquets because of their colorful leaves and floral shapes. They’re easy to attach to stems, need no water (because they live off moisture in their leaves), look…

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Showy Succulents for Snowy Climates (Debra’s WSJ Article)

Showy Succulents for Snowy Climates (Debra’s WSJ Article): A shorter version of this article appeared in the Wall Street Journal, 3/9/18. This is the unabridged original. Is it a given that Northerners can’t grow succulents? Not at all. Granted, most of these moisture-storing, arid-climate plants prefer warm, sunny habitats. Yet in response to demand, major growers are…

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