Life Hacks

Everything You Need to Know About Your First Succulent

Have you ever wanted a plant and not known if you could keep it alive? Try a succulent! Here are some tips to keep you and your succulent prospering!

Some are fat, some are thin, some are tall, others are short. Some will bring you flowers, others may only bring you thorns. Some are beautiful and luscious, while others should probably be avoided. Of course, I am talking about succulents. Succulents are defined as plants that have fleshy, moisture-conserving tissues, like cacti or agave.

Many students keep plants in their dorms to liven up the atmosphere or to recirculate some oxygen and keep the air fresh. Some of these plants serve further purposes; aloe, for example, can be used for anything from hair care to face masks to a burn remedy. Other plants are there to look nice and provide a home-like feel to the room. Lots of plants require only water and sunlight while others are really needy and require a watering schedule and a three-course meal. Non-green-thumbed students can participate in the joy of raising a plant with an easy-to-care-for succulent.

Photo Credit: Daria Shevtsova

How to Plant Your Succulent

Succulents are one of the easiest plants to care for. All a student would need for this plant to thrive is a container, some small pebbles, some succulent soil, and the plant itself.

Simply have the container in a sunny spot (I originally used a teacup I bought from a garage sale for my first succulent) and add a layer of pebbles to help with water drainage (my advice is to cover the bottom of the container with 4 or 5 layers of pebbles to ensure easy drainage and storage.

Next, add a layer of succulent soil (often labeled as easy or quick-draining soil) over the pebbles to ensure the roots of your plant will not tangle too deep into the pebbles, have a hole ready for your plant that is deep enough to hold the root system and some of the stem steady.

Planting the succulent is relatively simple, as anyone who has gardening experience may know. Just place the plant into the hole and surround it with more soil to support the succulent.

Water your new friend according to species specifications and you will have a larger than life, easy to care for addition to your home.

Using these simple steps, you can have your own succulent to care for and appreciate for a long time.

How to Care for Your Succulent

Caring for a succulent, or any plant, is not very difficult. However, there are a lot of things to take into consideration when determining which procedures to use. Here are some techniques to care for your succulent:

Care for Root Rot:

Some succulents are susceptible to a condition called root rot. In aloe (with which I have personal experience), the leaves will turn brown and begin to droop. The roots will collapse and become soft, so simply trip the rotten roots and repot your succulent. All is now well.

Trimming Dead or Dying Matter:

Many succulents will lose leaves or branches, but be perfectly fine everywhere else. Simply trim this dead matter as to reserve nutrients for the healthy majority. Sometimes, these trimming sessions need to happen several times but do not be intimidated.

Making Baby Succulents:

If you would like to create more succulents from your adult succulent, do so by following the simple steps highlighted here. Here are the main ideas:

  • Essentially, if a leaf comes off your adult succulent, allow it to callous (harden, the moist tip where the leaf connected to the stem will become dry) for a while. Roots will begin to sprout.
  • From there, add your new bud to either new or the same soil as the parent plant and allow it to grow.

Your Succulent and Air Quality

You could also be wanting a plant that will renew and refresh the air quality in your stuffy dorm. Certain plants, like aloe vera or some other succulents, can completely unstuff the atmosphere of your dorm or small apartment, making you feel like the world is yours. Plants use carbon dioxide, microorganisms, and other artifacts that may be harmful to humans and release oxygen, the main element that we breathe to stay alive, helping us to breathe easier and improve the overall quality of indoor air. Some plants are more helpful than others, making certain plants better companions for people living in small, airtight spaces.

With Christmas on its way, maybe ask for a succulent to improve your life. Taking on your first responsibility of caring for a succulent is a great way to learn all sorts of things. Taking care of plants prepares you for taking responsibility and keeping a schedule, both skills necessary for adult life. Who knows, having a plant could change your life for the better.

Photo Credit: Quang Nguyen Vinh

1 comment on “Everything You Need to Know About Your First Succulent

  1. Carrie Steingruby

    This was super helpful! Definitely asking for a succulent for Christmas 🙂

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