Succulents

Succulents are plants that are suited to desert or geographical regions that receive little rain fall. Their leaves, and sometimes stems are able to swell and hold water that the plant can live off of during these times. Succulents get their name from the Latin word sucus, meaning juice, or sap. 

Sunlight

Succulents should have around 3 hours of direct sunlight a day, or should have 6 hours of indirect light. Being near a south or west facing window is ideal, but watch for burning succulents in the summer if they sit directly in front of a window or door. You may have to decrease the time between watering if you notice your succulents pots are drying quickly. Unlike cactus, succulents are a bit more delicate and cannot withstand such brutal climates. They can even sunburn if they receive too much direct sunlight and not enough water.  A succulent sunburn looks very similar to a human sunburn, and you will notice the leaves on your succulent start to turn pink or red. It is most apparent on green fleshy succulents, like aloe vera. You may notice this if you suddenly move a succulent into direct sunlight. Either gradually increase the time your plant spends in direct sunlight, or water more often. A mix of these solutions may be required for optimal plant health

Fertilizing

Succulents are a slow growing plant, and therefore require little fertilizer. If you do fertilize, use only cactus fertilizer, or diluted solutions of all purpose fertilizer on your succulents. Be sure to water with clear water at least twice before feeding again. Do not feed succulents during winter months, as they go dormant and slow or cease growing all together. 

Water

Succulent roots like to dry between waterings, but do not like to wait long for water once they are dry. Check the soil at the bottom of the pot to ensure there is no moisture in the soil, then water thoroughly. Succulents should be planted in a potting medium that has good drainage. Use cactus soil, or soil with draining agents like sand or perlite. Potting succulents in a pot with drainage is recommended. If your pot does not have drainage, add a layer of small rocks or pebbles to the bottom of the pot to catch any access water, and to create a barrier between the access water and the roots. 

Pruning

Long stem or multi branch succulents, like echeverias, will require regular pruning to keep them nice and full. These succulents tend to stretch and sprawl as they mature, and are less compact than the young plants you often see in plant stores and greenhouses. Regular pruning will help encourage side shoots. To do this, you will need to cut the head off to encourage new growth. You can try to grow a new plant from this cutting by leaving the cutting on a dry surface in bright but indirect light. If the cutting does grow, you will notice little red threadlike roots will begin to sprout. Once the cutting has a few new roots, either simply place it on top of the soil with the mother plant or in a new pot, or gently cover the roots with a thin layer of soil.