CARING FOR YOUR PLANTS
DRAINAGE AND SOIL
A planter with a drainage hole makes caring for your plant a little bit easier, however you can plant succulents and cacti directly into pots that do not have holes - you just need to be a bit more careful!
Succulents and cacti get upset when their roots sit in wet soil for too long, causing them to rot. As such it is important to let their soil dry out completely before watering again. This is achieved with rapidly draining soil, such as the mixture we have potted your plants in. We have used a 2:1 ration of potting mix to perlite (the little white flecks in your soil) to make sure your succys don't get wet feet.
Succulents and cacti need far less water than other plants. For plants that live outside (where there is more air circulation and warmth for their soil to dry) watering around once a week in summer and once every two weeks in winter suitable. For indoor plants, these times can be doubled. If your succulent’s leaves are looking swollen, “squishy” and blackening, this is a sign they are being over watered. Leaves that are looking wrinkled and dehydrated could mean your plant needs a drink. The best way to water is to drench your plants completely so that water runs freely out of the bottom of their pots, and then let them dry out entirely before watering again. Ideally after watering, leave the plants in an area with good air flow so that water doesn’t sit on their leaves for too long, as this can cause them to rot. Remember, succulents and cacti are desert plants that love dry conditions.
Although dependent on the species of your succulent, (Haworthias and Gasterias prefer shade) most succulents and cacti like direct sunlight for a few hours a day. Having said that though, our harsh Queensland sun is often too hot for them, causing them to burn. It's best for them to get around 3-4 hours of morning sun and shade in the afternoon. If you notice your succulents or cacti getting tall with lots of spacing between their leaves, leaning towards the light (especially in previously tight looking rosettes), and losing their colour, it is a sign they are not getting enough sunlight. If this happens, it is important to slowly ease them back into the sun by increasing their exposure by around half an hour every four days or so until they are back up to the right amount.
OI, GEROFF' MY LEAVES
Unfortunately succulents are not immune to pesky bugs. The most common culprits are mealy bugs and ants. To treat both, sprinkle ant sand on the soil around your plant and generously spray the entire plant with 70% isopropyl alcohol (you can get this at the grocery store with the antiseptic sprays). Ensure you only spray the plants when they are not in direct sun, as this can burn their leaves. The plants can be sprayed for a few days at a time until the bugs are gone.
Occasionally, some leaves may be accidentally knocked off your succulent, not to worry though! Most species can be propagated by placing dropped leaves on top of some soil and watching them grow into a new plant. Some plants will occasionally form “babies” or pups growing off the main plant. These can be cut off to grow a new plant. Just remember to let the cut end dry out (callus) for a couple of days before replanting.
Terrariums replicate a semi-closed ecosystem. The mosses like a cool and humid climate. We build ours up with sphagnum moss and pebbles at the bottom to help with drainage but retention of moisture. The plants and moss should be heavily misted (they really like distilled water if you can get it!) and kept in a cooler, more shaded location, preferably indoors.