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Midland Living

Succulent Success

Mar 04, 2019 05:04PM

written by rebecca rister |  photos provided by wyim

While I have long appreciated the look of succulents, I initially had no success keeping them alive on my patio. I was attracted to them not only for their variety, but the ongoing talk about how “low maintenance” they are. But after many a dead plant, I decided to research what they need to survive to indeed make them a viable option for my indoor and outdoor living space. Here is what I learned:

You Get Your Hands in it, You Put Your Roots in it…Dirt

Make sure your plant is not just sitting in the water drowning. Your pot needs to be well-drained for success. Tips 1) Mix small pebbles in with your soil at the bottom of the pot. The larger the plant the larger the rocks. 2) If your plants are indoor ensure you drain the base that they sit on after watering. Some suggest mixing charcoal in the bottom layer of the pot to help draining as well. I have not tried this myself, but since all my pots are fairly small.

One of the best indoor succulents in my opinion is an Aloe Vera plant. You can tear off the leaves as needed to treat your burns and they will grow right back. I keep mine by the window seal in my laundry room, but my mother always had hers in the kitchen where burns are most likely to occur. 

Let It Shine, Let It Shine, Let It Shine

Succulents need a lot of sunlight to grow, but this does not mean direct sunlight only. In the Texas and Oklahoma summers too much can equal certain death. OUTSIDE: Place them in partial sun and shade. Morning light is ideal.  INSIDE: Place them by a window where   they’ll receive bright light for most of the day.

A sign that your succulent isn’t getting enough light is “stretching out toward the sign. This happened in my front flowerbed. It was obvious my plants were missing the sun hidden behind out many oak trees. When winter came, and it was safe to transplant them I put them a few feet over and they are now thriving.  


People kept telling me, “Are you overwatering them? Maybe that’s why they’re dying.” What I found out is it is easy to overwater these plants, but the secret is to soak their soil and then let them dry out completely out before watering again. They do need water, just not too often. Check it weekly and with a touch of your hand you’ll be able to tell if it’s thirsty. Also note, the thicker the leaves on a succulent the less water it needs. If you have already overwatered yours and you are needing them to make a comeback….ignore them completely for a while and see what happens (note make sure they are not in direct sun while giving them the cold shoulder).

Propagate (the process of creating new plants from cuttings)

Simply take off leaves from your plants and putting them out on a damp soil to grow. This has worked time and again with my Wandering Jew plants. There have been times my animals (and children) have pulled them up and I found them lying in the yard…all I’ve had to do is stick them back in damp soil and off they go.
Digital Issue Summer 2019