Succulents are a popular plant in the gardening world, with good reason. These beautiful plants are easy to care for, even for beginners. If you plan to get a succulent, here is what you need to know about how to care for succulents outdoors.
How to Care for Succulents Outdoors?
Succulents are native to desert regions and prefer warm temperatures. Keep your succulents in temperatures between 70°F and 80°F.
Succulents can withstand temperatures as low as 40°F for short periods of time. Many succulents cannot withstand freezing temperatures (32°F or below).
Planting your succulent in a pot will allow you to move it indoors during colder months. This will prevent any of your succulents from dying during winter.
Water and Fertilizer
The amount of water your succulent will need depends on many factors. The variety of succulent and the conditions they live in should be considered.
Your succulent will need more water during its growing season in spring and summer. We recommend watering once a week during this time. During the winter, aim to water your succulent once or twice a month.
It is ideal to let the soil dry out between waterings, so always check it before watering. Water your succulent thoroughly, soaking the soil and allowing the excess to drain. Water the roots of the plant and avoid getting water on the leaves. Using gardening tools such as a watering can or spray bottle will make this easier.
The leaves are a good way to tell whether they are receiving ample water. Dry and brown leaves are signs of underwatering. Yellow leaves and brown, mushy roots or stems suggest overwatering.
Feed your succulents with a water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength. Like waterings, the succulent will need more fertilizer in growing season.
Thus, during spring and summer, you can fertilize up to once a month. Succulents do not need fertilization while dormant in the wintertime.
Sun and Shade
Many types of succulents prefer at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.
We recommend providing full sun for 2 or 3 hours in the morning, then filtered sun for the rest of the day. Although many varieties will differ in their lighting needs.
If you have a new succulent, you should acclimate it to sun exposure. Bring the plant outside into full sun for small periods of time. Work your way up to longer periods over the course of a few weeks. Acclimating your succulent will prevent sunburn.
Sunburn appears as brown patches on the leaves, which become permanent. Sunburn can be fatal to your succulent if too severe.
Soil and Drainage
Using the appropriate soil is important for the health of succulents. Succulents prefer a soil that is gritty in texture and well-draining.
You can buy a cactus soil blend at your local gardening center or mix your own blend.
If you choose to mix your own soil blend:
- Start with 1-part regular potting mix.
- Next, add 1-part perlite, pumice, or coarse sand to aid drainage.
You can plant succulents into the ground and use them as ground cover in your garden.
Many people opt to plant succulents in a pot, even as outdoor plants. This allows more control over the amount of water and sunlight it receives.
Most succulents prefer soil that is slightly acidic. Aim to keep soil pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5.
Succulents do not experience pest infestations often, but they are not immune to them. Two of the most common pests you may see on your plants are mealy bugs and scales.
Mealy bugs appear as white powdery spots on your plant. Scales will appear as little brown bumps along the succulent. If you see either of these on your plant, isolate it from others and treat immediately.
For mealy bugs, remove the bugs using a cotton ball or Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. Once you have removed the bugs continue to treat the plant with a spray of rubbing alcohol and water.
Use this spray about once a week until the infestation is gone. Make sure to check the soil and roots for any hidden insects.
If your succulent has scales, you will need to remove the bugs from the plant as well. Use a high-powered hose to spray the succulent and remove the insects.
Once removed, use a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water as a spray to treat your succulent.
Both infestations may take multiple treatments to completely rid the plant of bugs. The best trick to avoid infestations is to ensure you are providing the plant with proper care.
Avoid overwatering and use soil that is well-draining and provides proper aeration.
How do you keep succulents alive outside?
These are some of the steps you can take to keep your succulents alive while outdoors:
- Always use the appropriate blend of soil so the succulents do not become waterlogged.
- Check the plant regularly for any signs of pests.
- Keep your succulent in a spot that provides enough sunlight.
- Track the weather and move your plant when experiencing extreme temperatures.
How often should I water my outdoor succulent?
The variety of succulent and the amount of sun it gets will affect how often you need to water. To know when it is time to water your succulent you should check the soil weekly.
Succulents thrive when their soil can dry out between waterings. If you check your plant and there is still moisture in the soil, then wait longer to add more water.
Each time you water the succulent you should water deeply, making sure to soak the soil.
Where should I put succulents outside?
Place your succulent in a bright spot that receives adequate sunshine. Allow your plant to soak up at least 3-6 hours of sun daily, depending on the variety.
If you are moving the plant from inside, expose it to full sun slowly so it can adapt before placing it outside.
Can succulents be in full sun?
Being a desert native plant, most succulents flourish in full sun.
Some succulents do prefer filtered light. Make sure you know the specific care requirements for the variety you have.
When receiving a new plant, begin giving it full morning sun and switching to partial light for the rest of the day. Over time you can expose the plant to more full sun daily until you find the right amount.
Succulents are stunning plants that bring color and character wherever they go. If you are looking for a unique plant to add into your outdoor garden, succulents are a fantastic choice.
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