Awhile ago I drove down to Glenlea greenhouses and snapped a few photos of their Spring preparations. I had e-mailed before hand asking if they'd be willing to share a few tips on growing and caring for succulents and cacti. They were enthusiastic with their response and friendly to boot. It made for a very nice morning.
The greenhouses are beautiful. Being that it was March when I made my visit (I know, I've been holding out on you!) it was such a nice change of pace to be someplace warm and bright with living green things. And now that it's May and we're all ready to try gardening again, even if it's just one planter by a sunny window, I figured it'd be nice to hear some plant tips from a local expert. Here's what Ariel from Glenlea Greenhouses had to say about caring for your succulents:
'Here at Glenlea Greenhouses we do many mixed succulent containers for indoors and out. One of the biggest tips that we give customers is to not over water their plants. Succulents, mimicry plants and Cacti are very sensitive to having too much water in their soil which is why a well draining soilless medium (such as a high porosity soil, cactus mix, or incorporating sand into peat moss). Never use topsoil or a soil used for containers since it contains a gel that holds water, this can cause root rot or encourage fungus gnat larvae to thrive. At the greenhouse we use a very high porosity soilless mix for all of our succulents.'
'When housing succulents and cacti indoors during the winter they do not need to be watered much, maybe a small splash a month will do the trick. Succulents and cacti go through a dormant phase during the winter which is why they do not require as much water as they do during the summer. Make sure they are in a bright sunny window as well, this will prevent the stretch that some succulents and cacti face when they get too much water and not enough sun. Let your succulent tell you when it is thirsty, if the leaves begin to get soft, wrinkly or fall off, your plants need water. If you notice that leaves are falling off and the soil is damp/ moist, and the leaves are not wrinkly, then your succulent has been over watered. It is easier to recover from being under watered than it is from being over watered, especially in the winter time.'
'Some of the hardest succulents that people tend to have troubles with are ones in the mimicry plant family (stone faces, baby toes, living rocks). Many succulents have the ability to regulate the amount of water that they take in, mimicry plants do not. They will take in as much water as you give them which is their undoing. If given too much water, or the soil medium holds too much moisture, these plants will take in all this water and the cells will explode causing the plant to die (I have learned from experience). These plants like extremely well drained soil (I use sand/ pea gravel for these containers around the root ball) and require a misting only a few times a month during the summer. During the winter these plants do not require much misting at all!'
Thanks so much for letting me make an early visit to the greenhouse Ariel!