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The Most Common Mistakes People Make With Succulents

Cacti & succulents are the plants of the moment, featured in just about every interiors magazine in the country, but many people are unsure of how to care for them.

I often get shown photos of sad little plants and asked what the problem is. So here are my top tips for avoiding the more common mistakes.

So please don’t:

  • overwater your succulents – you REALLY don’t need to water them every week
  • put them in the bathroom – why would you? These plants don’t like water…..
  • give them too little light – you may well have a sunny room but on a table or by the back wall is just not good enough (this photograph shows plants that have been grown too far away from a light source. They have pale spindly stems through stitching towards the light). Put them as close to a window as possible
  • grow them in ‘ordinary’ compost – they need free-draining soil. Peat based compost sticks to the roots and suffocates them – use a proprietary cactus mix or make your own using a loam-based compost and lots of grit
  • refer to succulents as “cacti” – wrong! Cacti are actually a type of succulent – in fact cacti are stem succulents (can you tell this one touches a nerve…?)
  • not grow them! You are missing out – immediately get out there and acquire one (or two) now!

Here endeth the lesson.

In winter, the rule of thumb is the colder the environment the plants are in - the drier you should keep them.