Botanical Basics: Succulents

One of our favorites here at Paiko, succulents are easy to care for and come in a variety of unusual shapes. Succulent plants are drought tolerant, storing water in their leaves, stems, or roots. Because of this unique water-storage system, they require less maintenance than your typical houseplant. You may already be familiar with succulents such as cacti, aloe, and jade plants, but there are a range of succulents that do well in containers, such as the rosette shaped sempervivum or the aptly named "string of pearls". These days succulents are increasingly popular, and can be found incorporated into wreaths, container gardens, and even bridal bouquets. Paiko offers a variety of succulents sourced from a local Oahu grower, so we took a trip out to the Windward side to check out their awesome plants. Afterwards, we discuss a few of the basics to get you started on own succulent garden.

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Succulent FAQ:

What kind of soil should I plant my succulent in?

You can grow your succulents in a low nitrogen compost or peat based soil with pumice or some small stones added to the base of the container for extra drainage. Beginners can buy ready-made cactus mix at most gardening stores.

How much light does my succulent need?

Succulents love light, so place yours in an area that receives bright sunlight. & You can tell your plants aren't receiving enough light if they appear compact, with little distance between the leaves. Leaves will be small, not big and floppy.

When do I water my succulent?

Water your succulent 1-2 times a week, allowing the plant to completely dry out before re-watering. Even if the succulent looks healthy the roots could still be moist and over-watering will cause root rot. Never let your succulents to sit in water. If you've been watering too much the leaves may turn yellow and fall off.

My plant fell out of the pot. Should I take this personally?

Probably, but don't panic, you can still salvage it. If your plant falls out of the pot leave it out to dry in a well ventilated area for a few weeks and then re-pot into fresh potting mix.

Can I propagate my succulent?

You sure can! Many succulents will grow from their leaves. Just twist a leaf off gently and let it callous over for about 5 days. Then place it upright into some potting mix, and water about once a week. A new plant should form from the leaf in a few weeks. Plants like aloe and agave produce little plants around their base known as pups. The pups can be gently removed and replanted.

My succulent has some strange spots...

If you notice spots, blemishes or discoloration, move the plant to increase light and air movement. If this doesn't work, try re-potting it with fresh potting mix.

The leaves are brown and dry under the main head of my rosette shaped plant, is that normal?

It's a normal part of the plant's growing cycle. If you want to you can pull them off, but dry leaves will offer greater protection from sunburn.

To create your own succulent garden & get even more tips, sign up for one of our Succulent Garden Workshops!

More Botanical Basics: Orchids. More Succulents: Succulent Bouquet, Paiko Workshop: Succulent Garden

Photos and story by: Hannah Grgich