Succulents: Growing Them Indoors

Written by Beth Marlin Lichter
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Succulents are easy to grow indoors, requiring little care, if provided with the right conditions. Many attempts at growing plants indoors fail, because either too much attention is required, or the growing environment is unsuitable.

Indoor plants undergo stress, having to cope with heating and air-conditioning systems, varying levels of humidity, erratic watering cycles, availability of natural light, and other factors which contribute to the health or demise of a house plant. Many people are not aware that succulent plants are not just for outdoor arid climates and that they can successfully be nurtured inside.

Succulents store water inside their fleshy leaves, which allows them to draw upon that supply, in times of drought. That means that an indoor succulent plant can sustain itself without being watered, much longer than regular house plants are able to. Watering once a week is usually fine, unless the air is particularly dry.

The general guidelines for the cultivation of succulents indoors, are quite simple. First, take a trip to your local gardening center and consult with a nurseryman regarding which succulents he or she recommends for your particular indoor location. Succulents like as sunny a spot as you can give them, but don't let a less than optimal amount of direct available light deter you. Next choose a suitable pot, with just a little room for your plant to expand, and a potting soil mix, prepared for quick drainage. Succulents do not like to constantly be in a moist soil. It is important that they are allowed to dry out in between waterings. If their fleshy leaves turn yellow and feel squishy, you are overwatering. Likewise, if leaves are dropping and turning brown, your plant is being underwatered. A good rule of thumb is to start with a once a week thorough watering and if your succulent appears to be thriving, stick with that. Otherwise, make the necessary adjustments in the watering schedule. A well-balanced general fertilizer will help keep your succulent healthy, if applied sparingly, every three to four weeks.

Aloe plants make wonderful indoor succulents and even can be used for medicinal purposes. Break open a leaf and rub the sticky interior substance on mild skin burns for faster healing. Other poplular succulents are jade plants, kalanchoe and trailing plants such as burro's tail and string-of-pearls.

Design your own one-pot succulent garden by combining a few succulents in a single adequately sized container and enjoy the ease and beauty of these lovely plants, making you a happy and confident indoor gardener.


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