Don’t underestimate the power of that succulent in your living room. “We believe that part of the satisfaction of living with indoor plants lies in their modest requirements, and as much pleasure can be found in a humble potted cactus as in a conservatory full of demanding tropical plants,” write London garden designers Caro Langton and Rose Ray in their new book, House of Plants: Living with Succulents, Air Plants, and Cacti (Frances Lincoln, $30). Ultimately, theirs is a guide for those who have never even considered developing a green thumb until this moment. “It’s likely that your indoor greenery will find you when you’re least prepared: given as gifts, or perhaps stealing your attention while strolling through a local market,” they write. Whether you’ve been gifted with a jade plant or bought an echeveria at the store, learning how to care for succulents is important. Read on to find out how to keep your plants healthy and happy.
1. Make sure your succulents get enough light
Succulents love light and need about six hours of sun per day, depending on the type of succulent. Newly planted succulents can burn in direct sunlight, so you may need to gradually introduce them to full sun exposure or provide shade with a sheer curtain.
2. Rotate succulents often
Succulents love direct sun, but if yours sits in the exact same spot day after day, it’s likely that only one side will get enough light. Langton and Ray suggest rotating the plant frequently. Succulents lean towards the sun, so rotating them will help them stand upright. (Sloping can also be a sign that they need to be in a sunnier location.)
3. Water according to season
Just like us, succulents need more energy when they are in a period of growth. During the spring and summer, the plants thrive and drink much more water than when they rest in the fall and winter. Langton and Ray recommend testing the soil with a finger—when the top 1.25 inches is dry, grab your watering can. Overwatering can kill your succulent, so make sure you let the soil dry out between waterings.
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