by Elizabeth Frisk
If you are tired of having a boring dorm room, and want to add some color to it, growing a succulent is an easy way to do so. Succulents are my favorite kind of plant because they are so interesting to look at, and so easy to take care of. Though they naturally grow in deserts, they can easily be grown in your backyard, or indoors as well. I am going to tell you how to grow them indoors, and what you will need to start your own succulent garden. Succulents are plants with thick, water-storing organs. Most people are surprised that they are also very tolerant of cold weather. Even though they are native to the desert, it is only hot during the day. During the nights they withstand very cool temperatures.
The first thing you will need to do is take a trip to your local gardening store to look at what kinds of succulents are available to you. There are many varieties of succulents that you can choose from: as many as 300 types of succulents in the Agavaceae category, and as many as 1,600 in the Cactaceae category. Some popular ones you may choose from are the Sempervivum Tectorum, also known as the Common Houseleek, which only gets about three inches tall, and is closely related to the Echeveria x imbricata, commonly called Winter Sunset, a softer-looking succulent that gets about six inches tall. Both of these succulents are considered “Hens and Chicks” a nickname given to them because as they grow some will grow bigger than others (hens), and some will stay small (chicks). One of my favorites succulents is “Baby’s Necklace.” It looks like little squares that stack on top of each other. It can grow up to 12 inches tall, and like the Hens and Chicks it is has thick green leaves and gets a darker green, or red line around the edge of it. Saxifraga “Purple Carpet”, a pretty flowering succulent, grows up to six inches and adds some nice color during the summer time with its pink flowers. These are just some examples of more commonly known succulents out of the many you could chose from. Now that you have picked out what kind of succulents you want to grow we can go to the next step of getting the materials to grow them in.
The first thing you will want to find is a pot to grow the succulents in. You can start with a pot that is at least 6’’ wide to arrange your plants in. If you were only going to plant one plant you could use a smaller pot. However since we are going to grow a couple we will use a bigger pot. Once you pick out the pot that you want to grow the plants in, you need to get a good soil mixture to grow them in. Because succulents are native to the desert you will want a soil mixture that has some dirt and some sand in it. You can also grow the succulents in rocks or choose to put some rock on the top of the soil mixture and do a little bit of both. Now that you have your pot ready with the soil you can start arranging your succulents. You want to be careful when moving your succulents because they are very fragile, and the leaves can fall off easily. After you have the arrangement done you need to find a good place to put them in your house where they can get as much sunlight as possible. The best spot would be a window that faces south. Succulents love the sun and need as much bright sunlight as they can get, so your sunniest window will work.
Now it is time to water them. Even though they live in the desert they like a lot of water (however they can live a long time without it). They are one of the easiest plants to grow because they do not require much maintenance. When you first plant them you should give them some kind of fertilizer to help them start growing. Miracle Grow will work just fine. Then you only need to fertilize them in the spring and summer months. In the winter you only need to water once a month, or every other month. However during the summer time they require more frequent water. Be careful not to over-water your plants, especially during the winter because it could cause the plant to rot, and could eventually kill the plants. Over-watering is the number one way to kill your plants. This is why you plant them in the soil mixture, or rocks so that the water can drain fast, and the plant is not sitting in water. During summer months you can move your succulents outside to live if you choose to.
Now that you have successfully planted your succulent arraignment you can sit back and enjoy your beautiful tropical plant. Make sure to not over-water it, and that it is getting enough sunlight. Other than that your work is pretty much done.