How To Grow Succulents & Cacti At Home
“Succulents are the easiest plants to grow!” Or maybe, “I’m so bad a plants that I even killed my cactus!”
The hype around succulent plants and various types of funky cacti is impossible to ignore. These popular, mostly tropical plants are collectible, fun to look at, and generally easy to grow. But “generally easy” doesn’t mean it’s impossible to struggle with succulents. Even though they’re tough, they do have specific care needs. Once you’ve mastered the basics of how to grow succulents and cacti at home, a whole world of unique, interesting, rewarding plants is at your fingertips.
Light is Everything
Yes, cute little succulents are the perfect accent for the bathroom shelf or a bookcase… but not without light! It’s tempting to place these plants throughout the house, but almost all succulent and cactus plants need to have very bright light to thrive.
The ideal place for succulents is very close to, or directly in, a bright window. As they grow, you’ll notice they tend to “lean” toward a light source, so it’s helpful to make a habit of rotating them regularly to even out their light exposure. In the absence of a bright natural light source, supplementing with a small grow light or lamp will work. This can help you to enjoy a small cactus on a desk, or in that hallway powder room that doesn’t have windows.
Can you have too much of a good thing? Sometimes. Some succulents, like echeveria, may show “light stress” if they have too much direct sun. This usually means a discolouration of the leaves, often turning green leaves a pink or red colour. Moving the stressed plant a bit farther away from the light source will fix this problem, and the plant will return to its regular colour.
Overwatering is how you will kill a cactus or succulent plant. It’s ok, we’ve all done it! The minimal water requirements of these drought-tolerant plants can be surprising, and if you’re caring for other houseplants as well, it can be tough to remember to leave them out of your watering routine. The trick to watering a succulent plant is twofold: water thoroughly, allowing all excess water to drain away, and then be sure to allow the soil to completely dry out before watering again.
Since too much water is the main concern when growing succulents and cacti, a soil mix with great drainage is a MUST. When you buy a cactus or a succulent plant from a garden centre, you’ll find it’s planted in a gritty mix. This is deliberate, as having moisture trapped in the soil for too long leads to rotting stems, and eventually, the death of the plant. Specialty soil blends, like Pro Mix Premium Cactus Mix, are made specifically for succulent plant needs. Cactus Mix has the right balance of short-term water retention and fast drainage to ensure plants are able to get the water they need, but that it doesn’t hang around for too long.