The top two questions asked about succulent care...

This Pachyveria Exotica is settling into the garden nicely. It gets afternoon sun and I water it once a week. 

This Pachyveria Exotica is settling into the garden nicely. It gets afternoon sun and I water it once a week. 

OK so you have chosen some new succulents - what next?

Fun isn’t it, and so addictive. You will find yourself looking for that something extra special to put in the garden or just to keep in your collection. But what happens when something doesn’t look quite right. There are a few little things to keep in mind when growing succulents. Two of the most common questions I get asked are how often should I water, and how much sun should the succulent receive.

Watering...

Rule of thumb with watering succulents is to give less than more. Often the succulent will show signs of a lack in moisture, when the leaves are less plump and looking a bit shrivelled. But this is better than too much water, as the signs for this one are less noticeable. The plant will go along nicely until one day you realise that the plant is starting to go darker in the middle and looking a bit squishy. This is often the result of overwatering and it can be at this point that drastic action needs to be taken. Stop giving the plant water for a start, and sometimes it is worth removing the succulent from the soil to let it dry out. It all comes back to how much damage has been done. Might be worth taking one or two of the outer leaves and drying them out, then replanting which would produce a new plant. The old saying ‘less is more’ is very relevant to growing succulents.

Sunshine...

This Sedum will thrive with mottled sunlight.

This Sedum will thrive with mottled sunlight.

The whole debate about how much sun a succulent should have all depends on the type of succulent it is. Most of the softer sedums prefer only morning sun or mottled light. Quite a few of the Echeveria will take full sun but I prefer to err on the side of caution and limit the sun light to morning or later afternoon. Graptoveria seem to be really hardy and will tolerate more sun as do Pachyveria. But having said that, I still prefer to protect them from full day sun. The other thing to keep in mind is different climates or regions, as some are much hotter than others. Your succulents can still go in the garden but find some way of semi protecting them from too much heat. Plant them near some sort of shade, or put them in an area where they receive either morning sun or mottled light. They will thank you for it.

Also a good idea to remove any dead leaves especially around the bottom of the plant. This is where pests tend to hide. But that is a whole other story.