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April 30, 2013

Succulents and Cacti – it’s easier than you think!

by Debra Anchors

A succulent rock garden
Cacti and succulents often seem intimidating, but they are actually forgiving plants that respond to a gardener’s attentions by multiplying freely (succulents) or bursting into bloom (cacti).  Because they require little water, succulents are a great choice for rooftop gardens.

Soil:  Despite their association with the desert, these plants survive in soil, not pure sand. An ideal medium for both cactus and succulents consists of one-third each sterile potting mix, pea gravel, and compost.

Drainage:  Root rot is the most dangerous enemy to cacti and succulents.  Use pea gravel or coarse sand to ensure good drainage.

Light:  Outdoors in the north, plant cold-hardy succulents in full sun; in the south, give them filtered light.  Indoors, set plants in a south-facing window.

Water:  Easy does it.  Cacti and succulents have a great ability to store water, and need only a little additional moisture from us.  Let soil dry out almost completely before watering.

Humidity:  The dryer, the better.

Food:  As a rule, cacti and succulents require very little supplemental feeding, if any.

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Image credit - Mark Turner


  1. Succulents are wonderful plants and easy to grow...even between cracks of rocks. I have enjoyed them for years in my garden. NIce post!

  2. Hi! Thanks for the post, it is very helpful. I love succulents, but I seldom succeed due to the water issue. I think it is hard not to water a plant..., and then I live in a cold climate in nothern europe, with lots of rain and humidity. So i kill my succulents slowly by drowning them....Maybe I need to think both about the watering and the drainage next time. Thanks!


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