Photos and text copyright (c) Debra Lee Baldwin. All rights reserved.
Ever since I changed my house plants to succulents, I no longer
give a neighbor a key to my house to come and
water my potted plants when I’m
I water my succulents before I
leave, and they're fine for two
weeks or more. These are
plants that don't miss you
when you're gone.
Most succulents are frost-
tender and can't handle a lot
of rain, so growing them in the
ground in cold, wet climates
can be challenging.
Pots provide the ideal
solution. Because containers are
portable, they make it possible for
you to overwinter your living
jewels indoors.
Because succulents come from dry habitats, the
key to keeping them happy and healthy is to make sure their roots
are never soggy.
Pumice makes an excellent soil amendment for succulent plants.
Both of my books, Designing with Succulents and Succulent Container Gardens, have chapters that
detail succulent care and cultivation. You also will find more information at
Care and Cultivation
Soil needs to drain rapidly. Use "cactus mix" (sold bagged at any nursery), or regular potting soil
mixed half and half with pumice (shown here) or perlite.
These are tough plants, used to rigorous conditions. Most succulents will thrive if you do little
more than give them plenty of sunlight (but not so much that it scorches the leaves), keep them
warm and dry, and let the soil go nearly dry between waterings.
One of the marvelous things about succulents is their ease of propagation. Agaves produce
pups---young plants that spring up from roots that are near the surface of the soil.
Most other succulents can easily be started from cuttings, similar to geraniums. Cut the stem,
leaving several inches of leaves, and let the cut end heal. Then put the cutting in loose, friable
soil. It’s that easy.