With their fleshy leaf tissue, succulent plants are able to store water for long periods of time, making them ideal for arid environments around the world, from Africa to the deserts of North America. Similar to tilandsias, they are simple to own and nearly indestructible. Here are some quick tips to keep yours in tip-top shape:
• Cacti and succulents enjoy bright light (they do live in deserts after all, and many can thrive outdoors, even in the summer.
• In conjunction with high temperatures, direct and constant sunlight can be harmful—so don’t cook your plant in a windowsill with full sun. If the leaves turn a white or brown color, your succulent may be bleaching and the soft tissues could be damaged. Alternatively, if they are elongated with widely spread leaves, the plant may be underlit.
• Ideal temperatures for succulents range from the low 60s to high 80s. This is a dream in Arizona, where summer temperatures can reach past 110 degrees. If your plants are outdoors, it would be best to keep them in a mostly shaded area during the peak summer months.
• During the heat of summer, succulents should be watered generously once every 1-2 weeks. Mixing a balanced fertilized diluted to ¼ strength into your water can also help plants grow strong and healthy.
• Since their tissue allows them to retain most of that water, the soil should be allowed to dry in between watering.
• Do not use water that has been through a softening system that uses salt; the sodium ions that are recharged into the water can be harmful to plants.
• During winter months, succulents are dormant and watering may be cut to about once a month (no fertilizer should be used).
NOTE: if plants are indoors during the winter in a dry and heated environment, they will need more water than a plant left outdoors