You’ve seen them on several Pinterest boards, and cannot deny that they’re unbelievably cute. These small fleshy plants, have gained immense popularity owing to the minimal effort required to maintain them, their tiny size which make them an ideal addition to those nooks and corners in your home or office, and the way they add character to the overall décor.
But, the important thing to remember before you make that purchase, is which succulent should you get? After all, here are many varieties available for you to choose from. Are you ready do a little digging? Pun intended, of course.
Adding succulents to your home or office décor serves as a burst of greenery, a welcome change from the dullness of the concrete jungles that surround us. In fact, keeping a little greenery around does have its perks: .
• Not only do succulents provide some greenery to make the space come alive, they also purify the air. Consider them your personal oxygen suppliers.
• Due to their ability to retain water, succulents are mostly low maintenance except for the occasional watering and trimming. For most of the time, all they need is adequate natural light to thrive.
The five most popular succulents are:
1. Burro’s Tail
Also known as donkey’s tail, it is a tailing succulent. Best kept in hanging jars or over a ledge so that they can grow and drape the area. They require bright light to grow. They rarely bloom, but occasionally you may see pink or red flowers at the end of the stems in summers. Their rate of growth is slower in winters, so wait for the soil to dry in between watering it.
2. Jade Plant
This is a cult favourite as it does not take much for it to grow. Jade plants are best kept in heavier containers like terracotta pots as they tend to get heavy especially at the top. They need proper sunlight for healthy growth. The key to make these succulents last long is to let the soil dry completely before watering them, although it is advisable to do so before the leaves start to lose their shine, which could indicate that the plant is stressed.
3. Aloe Vera
This, too, is another favourite. Not only does aloe vera possess many beauty benefits, it is the perfect example of a succulent’s ability to retain water. It grows in clusters, but can be divided and shifted to other planters if it gets too crowded. It does prefer its fair share of sunlight, but it must be noted that too much exposure to direct sunlight can burn its leaves. Overall, it is an easy-to-grow houseplant, which will survive with very little maintenance. It is best to keep the soil dry as it naturally contains water.
4. Panda Plant
Another common succulent, the panda plant grows very slowly. Place them in an area where there is enough sunlight, and make sure the soil is completely dry before watering it. A very important factor to keep in mind is to not get any water on the leaves as they may rot.
5. Zebra Haworthia
Resembling aloe vera except with Zebra stripes, one could easily mistake it for an exotic plant. This plant is easy to grow, as you just have to place it near a window where it can get a couple of hours of sunlight every day. Due to their small size, you can grow them along with other succulents without worrying about the leaves branching out. For this too, the soil needs to be dry completely before you water it.
Once you have decided what suits your needs, here are some tips to maintain your succulents:
• On an average, succulents need about six to seven hours of sunlight each day. With recently planted succulents, it is best to gradually expose them to sunlight as this can scorch their leaves. Make sure to switch placement of various succulents as constant exposure to sunlight will dry them out.
• Too much love and care may just prove to be harmful to the succulents. Depending upon the season, as well as the water retention capacity of the succulent, one must water them once the soil is dry. Be sure to water the soil instead of the leaves. Watch out for a slight withering of leaves. This means that the plant is starting to stress and it’s time to water it.
• When choosing planters, make sure allow for the drainage of water. Avoid glass jars or containers, and opt for earthen pots instead.
• When planting succulents, the use of regular soil is not advisable as they do not drain excess water. Instead, use cactus soil, or mix regular potting soil with stones and sand.
• While pests are not a problem with indoor plants, what you need to watch out for is bugs. Gnats are small white bugs which make their nests in succulents that have extra moisture. You need to rid your succulents of larvae and eggs as soon as possible with the help of 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol or they may damage the plant. Make sure to move the infested plants away from the rest to contain the spread of bugs.
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