The word “succulent” refers to any type of thick fleshy plant that can grow in dry conditions and in various agricultural zones. On average, succulents are easy to care for and not many pest species attack them. To maintain healthy plants, you must know how to take care of them in general and how to get rid of pests that can attack plants. You also have to know how to choose plants that are suitable for the area where you live.
Method 1 of 3: Caring for Succulents in General
Step 1. Buy a sturdy and wide pot
This choice of pot is important for all succulent varieties. Succulents have thick roots that spread and require a wide diameter for proper growth. If the plant grows large and heavy, choose a sturdy pot that won't spill easily. Clay pots are a great choice.
- Make sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom or near the bottom. If you use used containers, do not choose containers made of glass or other materials that cannot be perforated.
- Varieties whose roots are near the soil surface will thrive in shallow pots. While varieties that have taproots and grow deep into the soil will require a deeper pot. For details, read the care instructions that came with you when you bought the plant (usually on the label on the plastic packaging).
Step 2. Fill the pot with ready-to-plant soil for cacti
Purchase ready-to-plant soil for cacti at a flower and garden supply store. Read the label to make sure the soil you buy contains the same ratio of compost, horticultural sand and gravel. Double check that all the ingredients belong to the horticultural grade.
Step 3. Plant succulents into pots
Turn the original pot over and tap gently to loosen the plant. Carefully clean the soil of the succulent roots using chopsticks or a toothpick. Then, place the plant in a new pot. Use ready-to-plant soil to cover the bottom of the succulent just like in the original pot.
If the succulent grows larger than its pot, simply move it to a larger pot. The new pot should be slightly larger than the old pot so the plant has room to grow
Step 4. Place the succulent in a bright place
If you live in a hot climate, place the plant where it gets 6-8 hours of indirect sunlight each day. In colder climates, just 6 hours of sun exposure is sufficient for succulents. For succulents placed indoors, choose a window with full sun.
- Do not place the plant in a south-facing window if you live in a hot climate. However, if you live in a colder climate, check to see if the south-facing windows get too much sun in the afternoon. Plants can get sunburned if they get too much exposure.
- If you have a “-veria” succulent, keep it out of direct afternoon sun to prevent the plant from burning.
Step 5. Water at least once a week during the growing period
The frequency of watering depends on the succulent variety. Make sure the soil is moderately moist at all times during the hot dry season months. Follow care instructions for specific details of the variety you are keeping.
Don't water too much as this will rot the succulent roots
Step 6. Reduce watering during the rainy season
Do not place succulents in places that are directly exposed to rain. Allow the soil to dry completely before watering again. Depending on the variety, the frequency of watering can be as little as two weeks or even once a month.
Some flowering succulent varieties require more water than non-flowering varieties. Read the care instructions for more details
Step 7. If you live in the subtropics, bring your succulents indoors in the freezing winter
You can reduce the effects of winter by placing the plant indoors, on a warm windowsill and exposed to sunlight. Wait for the last frost to pass before placing the succulent back outdoors.
Method 2 of 3: Getting Rid of Pests
Step 1. Identify common pests
The mealybug, aphid and black vine beetle (vine beetle) are the most common pests that attack succulents. Check for mealybugs where the leaves attach to the stalks. Check for aphids on leaves, stems, and flower buds. Watch for stunted growth or weak plant parts, which is evidence of black vine beetle or root mealybug.
- The mealybug is usually 2 to 3 mm long and looks like head lice. When first attacked, mealybugs will leave a ball of white fur on the plant. When crushed, mealybugs will leave a red stain.
- Aphids measure about 60 mm. The body is pear-shaped and can be black, green, yellow, pink, gray, or brown.
- Scale insects (barnacles) are small, gray insects. They look like a bunch of tiny cotton balls.
Step 2. Get rid of mealybugs, scale insects, and aphids with insecticidal soap
Mix a few drops of soap in warm water. If the pest attack is severe, add a few drops of cooking oil to the mixture. Apply to the affected area with a cotton swab or spray bottle. You can buy insecticidal soap at your local nursery or flower shop.
For root mealybugs, just remove the soil exposed to the ticks. Replant the succulent in new, clean soil
Step 3. Quarantine new plants
Pests can attach to plants that are freshly purchased from the nursery or flower shop. If you already have other succulents in your home, isolate the newly arrived plants for about two weeks. Check for pests and disease symptoms daily.
Once the succulent has been planted in a permanent location, keep an eye on this pest and disease problem at least once a week
Method 3 of 3: Choosing a Succulent That Matches Your Area
Step 1. Buy varieties that match the area you live in
Succulents are available in a variety of varieties that can be grown in areas as cold as 34 °C. If you live in an area with temperatures between 34 °C and 12 °C, plant sempervivum or a similar variety. For areas with temperatures of 12 °C to 1 °C, choose varieties that are more heat-tolerant and dry. Before you buy, read the label on the plant or consult a specialist at your local florist or nursery.
There are so many varieties of succulents that can survive in tropical areas like Indonesia. You just visit the nearest flower shop or buy it on the internet
Step 2. Check the drainage capability of the soil
Succulents need well-drained soil. Do not place succulents in the lowest places in the garden where they can become waterlogged. If the garden soil has been constantly muddy for a long time, find out how to improve the drainage.
Step 3. Purchase native, local varieties if possible
You will benefit from this if you live in a dry climate. Local native succulents already have internal defenses against pests in your area. They will also attract beneficial local insects and can help with the growth and reproduction of other plant varieties in the garden. Visit the website of the department of agriculture, university website, or local botanical groups for help and information on succulents.