If you have ever kept plants, you would know how much satisfaction it brings. Seeing your plant grow from nothing into a beautiful specimen is a feeling unparalleled by any. However if the plant in question is a succulent, there any many ways things can go south. Even though succulents are beautiful plants with bright colors, they are by no means the fastest growing plant. A succulent’s slow growth combined with our negligence and lack of information might make keeping a succulent a very frustrating experience. Why isn’t my plant growing fast enough? Why isn’t it as healthy as pictures on the internet? These are the questions that pop into the mind of succulent owners often.
This article is the perfect succulent guide for people who are new to keeping succulents. We discuss 7 major ways that you can take care of your plants to optimize their growth time! From common mistakes to valuable tips and instructions, here is how to make sure your succulent grows to the best of its ability.
Succulents are adapted to compete for resources in crowded environments, but there is always a tipping point. The roots of these plants have evolved in such a way that they can absorb nutrients from a very tight space if they have to. In case of a crowded pot, the succulents can work together to even form a succulent system. However, if this is the case, the succulent will focus most of its energy on the roots to maintain nutrition as it would be key for its survival. As a result, much less energy would be focused on the growth above the soil.
If your succulents are planted in a crowded space, they will be competing with each other for root space constantly as every plant would want the maximize its nutrient uptake. Due to this, the vertical growth of the plant will take a back seat. If you see this happening with your succulents, the advisable thing to do is to remove them from the competitive environment and repot it into less crowded soil.
Instead of repotting many succulents, figure out which one of your plants is the dominant one and report those. This will reduce the number of plants you report significantly.
When it comes to succulents, the key to steady growth is soil with good drainage. The most common solution is the addition of chunkier material into the soil that’s already in use as this would promote the free flow of water. If the drainage of the soil isn’t adequate, it will become waterlogged. This will result in the roots being “suffocated”. The plant will see long-term ramifications of this stress and reduce its growth to conserve vital energy for survival. On the other hand, a succulent thrives in soil with a good drainage system as it will allow its roots to expand freely. Another tip for a healthier succulent is to plant it in a pot with holes at the bottom.
To maximize their absorption from the soil, succulents intertwine their roots and form tight circles. This presents a very crowded root scenario. The tightness of the root circle depends on how crowded the plant’s environment was growing up and if it was allowed enough nutrition. A very useful tip for the faster growth of a succulent is to spread its roots from time to time. This will help it to increase its nutrient uptake and as a result, more energy will be available to the plant for growth.
The process might seem daunting at first, but it’s quite simple! Gently uproot your succulent from the pot while making sure the root system doesn’t sustain any significant damages. If your plant is in a soft spot, you can squeeze the pot and add some drops of water to the soil to loosen it. Once your succulent is out of the pot shake off all the excess soil to expose its root system. When the roots are exposed, gently massage them with your fingers to undo the tangles and create spaces between them. When you think the roots have been loosened enough, carefully repot the succulent in a soil with good drainage.
Avoid the use of sharp objects while uprooting the succulent as it can damage the roots.
In a succulents life cycle, it produces many offsets (or baby plants). These are new and independent succulents that are joined to the mother plant and take up much of its space. As the offsets come off age, they start-up taking the nutrients from the environment, leaving that mother plant fighting for its survival. Unfortunately, mother-child love isn’t a driving force in the plant kingdom. When a pot is crowded with offsets, it not only slows down the growth of the mother plant but also the offsets. In fact, in many cases, the plants might stop growing all together! Hence it is much better to detach the babies from the mother plant and repot them in new environments. This way, all plants will have enough space to expand and absorb all the nutrients they need. The offsets will not have any problem adapting to their new surroundings as their roots are young and flexible. Now you can have two healthy growing succulents instead of one!
In addition to being potted in soil with a good drainage system and in a non-crowded space, another thing that is key for the growth of the succulent is nutrient-rich soil. If your succulent is planted in nutrient-rich soil, well and good! However, if it isn’t, no need to worry. You can get fertilizer to give your plant that much-needed boost. In addition to promoting plant health, the fertilizer will make sure that your succulent has enough energy to focus on its growth rather than its roots.
Another thing you should focus on for a healthy succulent is your watering patterns. Even though most succulents are adapted to survive dessert-like conditions, your plant shouldn’t be existing in a state of drought. Set a regular watering schedule for yourself and stick to it. Water your plants whenever you feel the soil has completely dried out and don’t drown them in water. After all, who like “wet feet”?
Even though succulents are extremely resistant plants that can survive in the toughest of conditions, they are very susceptible to physical damage. Physical damage may prove to be a huge hindrance in the growth of the succulent. Damaged plants might stop growing all together! Your succulents might appear to be hard and strong, but even the slightest of physical damage can take months to repair (if it happens at all). To protect your succulent from physical damage, make sure it is out of the reach of pets and children. If you live in a windy area, place your plants in places where the winds can’t reach them.
Succulents might be easy plants to keep that require lesser care, but if you want them to grow faster you’ll have to pay special attention. However, it is a small price to pay for these green stubby friends that never fail to brighten up your day. Follow these tips for a healthy growing succulent and remember, root space is key!
If you enjoyed this article, check out our post about how to save your wilting cactus !
My name is Kelly and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!
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