5 Mistakes You're Making With Your Succulents

Loved for their striking beauty and ease of care, succulents have become one of the most popular plant groups for both home and office. However, while you may think these hardy plants are virtually indestructible, succulents do require care in order to thrive for years to come. Avoid these common mistakes outlined by Better Homes & Gardens to keep them healthy and beautiful for the long term. 

1. Using planters with no drainage. Many succulents are sold in attractive containers, such as decorative ceramic pots. But if these containers don't have the proper drainage, you could be setting your plant up to fail. If a container doesn't have drainage holes, your succulent is in danger of being over-watered, potentially drowning its roots. So make sure there are a couple of holes in the container you're using. You can then place this pot within the decorative pot of your choice. Just be sure to empty the excess water on a regular basis.

Note: Putting pebbles at the bottom of the pot will just make things worse. The rocks will elevate the overwatered soil, bringing it closer to the roots and crown of the plant and likely to lead to rot.

2. Misting. Since succulents don't need a lot of water, misting them might seem like a logical solution. While misting is a great choice for plants that love humidity, such as ferns and tropical varieties, misting actually damages succulent leaves, so be sure to avoid it.  

3. Not watering often enough. While most succulents can go weeks without water, sometimes even a month, don't become lax about watering. If you let your succulents go too long without water, they may start to shrivel up and drop leaves. Let the soil be your guide. Stick your finger into the pot and if you feel any moisture, you can wait a couple of days to water. If it's dry, give it a good soak. Also avoid getting water on the leaves, which can lead to rot. 

4. Not providing enough light. Keep in mind that the desert is the natural environment for succulents, so make sure yours is exposed to enough light. Most grow best in bright light, so if they're in a dim room, consider installing a grow light. If you have a succulent on your office desk, move it near a window during the sunny part of the day, as well as the weekend or other times you're not in the office. 

5. Crowding the planter. These days, there are many beautiful succulent arrangements, combining several varieties in one pot. If you purchase such an arrangement, be aware that the plants will only survive temporarily in such close quarters. As they grow, they will compete for  space and resources like water and soil nutrients. Also avoid planting succulents with other plant varieties that have different care needs. If you like the idea of keeping them together, consider a dish garden, which lets you combine varieties while giving them enough space.

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