I, like many lately, am crazy about succulents. I am drawn to their beauty of all different (and seemingly endless) shapes and sizes, and the simple yet clean look they lend to any garden or pot. However! My love for succulents actually started because they are really one of the few plants I can manage to grow on my balcony. Remember that post a few months back where I planted two new flowering beauties? Yeah, they died. So many things have died on my balcony. Now I know this mustn’t lend much confidence in my abilities, but I promise it was all just a learning curve. To believe I could grow flowers on a balcony that only gets a slim amount of direct sunlight (and that’s only in summer!) was rather naive.
So, I adjusted my perspective. One day I’ll have a colourful garden full of flowers, herbs, and even vegetables. But for now I have my succulents and ferns. And succulents to me really as gorgeous as flowers!
I had a problem when I replanted my first few succulents – they rotted and died. Now remember, learning curve. I make the mistakes so ya’ll don’t have to! I figured out that the regular potting soil I was using was too dense so it stayed too moist and root rot set in. So, fast forward a few months, and I’ve done some more research and found a better soil mixture for my succulents.
One option is to buy potting mix specific to succulents and cacti. When potting, first places some pebbles, stones or any rocks you can find at the bottom of the pot and then add in the soil. This will help with drainage.
I already had regular potting mix at my disposal so I decided to try mixing my own. I use three parts potting soil to one part perlite. Perlite is a substance that almost resembles styrofoam, and will allow water to freely drain out of your pot. Many also suggest adding sand into the mixture, but I couldn’t find his at my home improvement store at the time so this simple two-ingredient ‘recipe’ is what I’ve been using and it seems to work a treat! No more root rot here.
After discovering terrariums I became obsessed with succulent arrangements and started experimenting with this in pots. I went out and bought a few wide pots, and succulents of all different shapes and textures. As suggested in this great little tutorial, arrangements of an odd number suit best, and I like to group similar colours together. After adding the drainage rocks and soil of choice, simply places succulents in desired arrangements and top off with more soil. I add decorative rocks to finish off some of mine (purchased at my local home improvement store) but you can also leave it as is.
The majority of succulents don’t like direct sunlight, as this can burn them. Instead they like indirect or filtered light. My balcony has plenty of that so I just make sure to arrange them in a space where they aren’t being shaded by my furniture or anything. I’ve tried to have a little succulent in my bathroom a few times now but because I don’t have a window in there they have eventually just wilted and died. Point being? They gotta have some natural light! Also, I find a good rule of thumb for when to water is when the soil is dry. So this means in summer it will be more frequent than winter.
So that is my guide to potting succulents. They’re such an easy and forgiving plant to grow and have really livened up my balcony. Let me know of any tips and tricks you have of your own!