This is a guide for recipients of our Plant Salon Succulent Plant Favor gift boxes, and this post will provide some additional information for how to care for your new plants.
Succulent Plant Care
Your new succulent plant is thankfully very resilient, and here are some plant care suggestions to set your plant up for a great start.
Getting Your New Plant
Please open your plant favor asap to give it some light and fresh air. Please put it in a sunny spot like a window sill.
Identifying Your Succulent
We most often use Crassula and Echeveria variety plants to create our Succulent Favor gift boxes. To help narrow down which specific species of these plants you may have, we love to recommend using the Google Lens tool of the Google Photo app to help better identify the plant. We often use this tool when we receive a plant we aren't super familiar with, or if we're trying to find a more specific name for a plant.
To use Google Lens, first take a pic of the plant you want to identify. Make sure the plant fills most of the screen and that the pic is in focus. Then open your Google Photo app, and select that picture. Once the pic is selected, then tap the Google Lens tool at the base of the app. It looks like a little rounded square with a circle in it, like an old school camera. Then dots will dance around your screen, and voila! The app will populate with all the other "similar" images to yours it can find on Google. This is a great way to focus in on what specific species your plant is, and this helps give you more insight on what kind of care will work the best.
Your Planter: Drainage vs. No Drainage
Yes, in general, succulents want to live in fast draining soil and to not sit in wet soil. But your cute little favor plant comes in a decorative pot with no drainage holes. This means that the water stays in the pot, and this little pot/plant combo can be set on surfaces where you wouldn't necessarily want water to spill. These little planters are great on shelves and desks, and I particularly love to place them on, in, and all around windows.
Because these pots are so small, they do dry out quickly, and this is how they can still work really well with a succulent. You should let your little plant's soil completely dry out before watering it. Once you water it, you may even want to tip it over to drain out any excess water. Then let your plant sit, and do not water it until that soil is very dry again.
Soil Color As a Guide
You can use the color of your plant's soil as a guide for when to water. If the soil is dark like freshly used coffee grounds, then that soil is still damp. The less dark the soil, the less damp the soil. So, then when your soil looks like light tan, dry coffee grounds, then that is the sign that your plant's soil is really dry. This is the only time you want to water your succulent.
When it comes time to repot your plant to a larger size pot, opt for a fast draining mix of indoor potting or succulent soil. Succulents are really efficient at storing water in their thicker, waxy leaves in order to survive periods of drought or high temps, so they really do not like sitting in very wet conditions at all.
Signs Your Soil Needs To Be Amended
Amending your soil means to make adjustments to your soil mix ingredients. This can mean making your soil mix faster or slower draining. Signs your soil needs to be amended to be faster draining are if it feels like your plant’s soil is always damp, if there’s any moss growing on the soil, or if it’s in a terra cotta pot and there’s green mold growing on the pot’s surface. If you see these signs, you should consider repotting your plant in a fresh mix of faster draining succulent or amended potting mix.
You can amend your basic potting soil to increase drainage by adding more perlite, pumice, or small lava rock to your soil to help water move quickly down and out through the pot. This will also help keep your soil aerated, allowing more air to get to the plant’s roots, and keeping the bad bacteria away.
If you find you’re having the opposite problem, and you feel like you have to water your succulent too often, this might be a sign that your plant’s roots have taken over the pot, and you need to repot it into a larger pot with more soil. Or if the plant is in a super hot, sunny spot, and you’re watering it daily, you can also try repotting the plant in a slower draining potting mix with a higher content of more absorbent growing media like coco coir or peat moss.
Succulents need at least 6 hours of filtered light to grow well. They do not need to bake under a hot sun, and if they get too much hot, direct sun they can also get sunburnt. A sign that your succulent is getting the upper limit of direct sunlight is if it starts to turn pink or rosy toned. This is called “sun stress,” and it can be quite attractive on a lot of plants, but any more light, and you may risk sun burning the plant.
Signs Your Succulent Needs More Light
If you find that your succulent is starting to get really tall or leggy, and there are large spaces between the leaves, this is a sign that your plant is etiolating, which means it’s stretching to reach more light. This is a sign to move your plant to a spot with more light.
Since succulents most often have thick, waxy leaves, they are very efficient at reserving their water supply to manage periods of drought. One of the most important watering tips to keep in mind is that all succulent plants want to thoroughly dry out between watering. This makes a succulent a great starter plant for new plant owners who are still figuring out a good watering schedule.
When To Adjust Your Watering Routine
The amount and frequency of how much you water your succulent is based on how dry or humid your space is, and how much light you give your plants. The less light a plant gets, the less water it needs. Most succulents in the average home are very happy to be watered 1-2x a month.
Signs of your succulent needing more water tend to be dry, brittle, dehydrated leaves, or the leaves getting a parched paper texture, and becoming much more thin. If you live in a fairly dry home, it’s the middle of summer, or you have your plants in a very sunny south or westward window, these are all conditions that might mean you should water your succulents more frequently. Also, the smaller the pot of soil the plant is in, the faster that soil will dry out.
If you instead live in a lower light space, it’s more humid, or it’s a cooler time of year, you might find that you need to water your succulents even less frequently. And the larger your plant’s pot size, the more soil there is vs roots in the pot, the slower that soil will dry out. Signs that your plant needs less water are if you start seeing very plump, but pale leaves, or anything discolored, brown, or squishy happening with the leaves. Also, if you find small black flying bugs taking over your plants, these are most likely fungus gnats, and they love to proliferate in overly saturated soil.
If you see any of these signs of overwatering, first repot your plant with a fresh, faster draining soil mix, and either move it to a spot with more light, or start watering your succulent less frequently.
Let us know how your new plant is growing!
We love updates, so please feel free to comment below or email us directly at email@example.com with any updates, additional thoughts, or care questions you may have for your succulent plants. Also, be sure to follow Plant Salon, @plantsalonchicago on Youtube and Instagram, for more plant care tips, pics, and videos.