Indoor Gardening, Caring for Cactus and Succulent Plants

Cactus and Succulents can add color and texture to your indoor garden, requiring little attention and care.  This unique plant group store water in the body, leaves and stems. Cacti store water in the main body of the plant and succulents store water in their stems and leaves.  

Generally found growing in warm arid regions of the world succulents have the ability to survive on very little water. Therefore it is not surprising that they have gained popularity as care free and low maintenance house plants. Mainly grown for ornamental purposes many cultivars are uniquely shaped in various colors and textures. Even though they are super easy to grow the most common question I get from clients is, how do I keep them looking as good as the day I bring them home from the garden center? It is not a difficult task if you follow a few simple tips.

Look for plants with a healthy root structure, vibrant green foliage and full shape. Avoid  plants with soft yellowing leaves, these are signs of poor watering habits.  Stickiness or a powdery residue are signs of insect damage.

Transplant succulents using the right type of soil. Cacti and succulents are not aggressive growers. In fact they are slow growers.  The root system is usually not as thick and fibrous like most plants. Transplant using well-drained soil containing a balance of sand, perlite and sphagnum peat moss, providing water and fertilizer retention.  I recommend using a soilless mix cacti, succulent mix that is specially formulated to keep plants well drained. Succulents can be planted in any type of container that allows for proper drainage. Make sure containers have a drainage hole for water to flow through.

Water plants when they are thoroughly dry. I always soak plants thoroughly and allow water to flow through, then wait a week and check again. If soil is still moist wait another week. I generally wait two or even three weeks between waterings. Some signs to look for if you are not watering properly are, drying and dehydrated looking leaves aren’t getting enough water and soggy leaves are holding too much water. Get into a regular watering schedule to help plants thrive.

Let your plants live in light. Succulents love bright, filtered light so find a bright sunny window where they’ll receive four to six hours of sun.

Fertilize with a water soluble succulent food as needed. Remove dead or decaying leaves to keep plants looking clean. This is a good routine to acquire. It allows you to keep an eye out for insects or any potential plants problems.  These easy to follow tips will keep your succulents happy and healthy indoors all year.