Speaking Succulent

Posted on June 24, 2014 by Rachel Robichaud | 0 Comments

This is a short guide to learning visual cues that tell you about the health of your succulent.
I’ll start off by apologizing for the corny title, but I’m a sucker for alliteration and couldn’t think of a better title.

Succulents have been popular houseplants for years and are still gaining interest as houseplants, if the terrariums flying off our shelves are any indication! But caring for them isn’t always straight forward for everyone. And really, it makes sense, because for people living in the rainy climate of the northwest, succulents have very different preferences than the water-loving plants we are used to!

First it’s important to remember what a healthy plant looks like. I call these the “Grape Rules”, because the leaves behave a bit like fresh grapes. Leaves should be firm to the touch like a fresh grape, with healthy color.

Here are some of our happy succulents for reference:

Next, know your main health concerns.

The most common problem: over-watering
Succulents aren’t big fans of water and too much water will cause rot and kill them. Some plants are especially sensitive to overwatering. If you notice this, give the plant a good long break from water. Most plants only need a good watering once a week.
What to look for: leaves will become mushy like rotten fruit and drop off the plant.
The opposite problem: under-watering
Succulents can also get too little water. I joke that succulents thrive on being ignored and for the most part this is pretty true. They don’t need a lot of water or special lights and only occasionally need some fertilizer. But too little water for a long stretch of time can cause damage.

What to look for: multiple leaves will lose some of their firmness and become softer, often shriveling up like raisins or even drying up completely. Some may drop off.

An unexpected problem: sunburns
Direct light can burn indoor-only succulents, as in nature they tend to grow under other plants and prefer indirect light.

What to look for: unusual dark, often brownish, marks on leaves. These spots might also crack.

Most succulents can completely recover if you catch what is wrong with them!

Posted in bridge city mercantile, house plants, plant care, plant guide, Portland, succulent care, succulent health, succulents, terrariums

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