Modern Succulent Farming for the 2020 Gardener

If you’re looking to begin your journey to become a succulent expert, then look no further. This article will teach you all you need to know about the appropriate tools necessary to kickstart your succulent farming journey.

The Beginning Stages

Just to lay down some basic facts on succulents:

  • Succulents retain water through their thick and fleshy leaves. As a result, succulents are well-acclimated to growing in drier climates with low humidity. 
  • Nonetheless, succulents still require a regular watering schedule in order to grow well even though they can survive a few days without water. Be careful not to overwater them however, because excessive water can cause their roots to rot over time.
  • Succulents are delicate plants. A single mistake during the caring process can prove to be detrimental. Hence, it’s vital to adhere to all the necessary steps to ensure your succulents receive the best growth possible.
  • While it’s possible to nurture succulents from their leaves, it’s a trickier process because you’ll need to isolate the appropriate leaves to do so. Thus, growing succulents from seeds is a more straightforward method.

The Right Environmental Factors

It’s no secret that the environmental conditions of your plants directly affect your plant’s growth. Thus, before you start growing your little succulent collection, it’s important to be well-informed of these necessary conditions.

1. Light

While light is one of the most fundamental factors when it comes to growing plants, many people have this misconception that seeds require sunlight during the germination process as well. This is false because what seeds need is warmth and not direct light per se. Light isn’t able to penetrate into soil to reach the seed; and even if it does, the seeds don’t have any leaves yet to properly use light to photosynthesize. 

2. Temperature

Hence, we move on to the more relevant environmental factor: temperature. This step is fairly simple because normal room temperature (around 15°C to 25°C) will suffice. There’s no need for any elaborate/intricate incubation to ensure successful germination.

3. Water

As succulents belong to the cacti family, they are very adept at storing water in their fleshy leaves. Therefore, when it comes to water, it’s not as essential as for other types of plants. 

Micromanagement

1. Seeds

Depending on where you place your pot, this could influence the type of seed you choose. In general, a balcony panel, window or indoor garden is optimal for flower seeds, plant seeds and hybrid succulent seeds. Whereas for outdoor gardening, seeds such as sedum, aloe, and aeonium would thrive better due to their fast growth rate and large size upon maturation. 

However, if your seeds aren’t in good condition even though you maintain the best environment for them, all your effort would be for naught. While you can obtain a bunch of succulent seeds from just about anywhere, the quality of the seeds isn’t always ensured. For example, there have been instances where excited buyers purchase seeds under the pretense of them being succulent seeds, only to be tricked into buying boiled/cooked seeds which can no longer germinate. Hence, a word of advice before you buy any seeds would be to always check your sources. Be sure that your seller is a trusted source and not a fraudulent scammer trying to make a quick buck.


2. Container

Succulents aren’t fussy about the type of containers they’re grown in. Any style of pots of your choosing will do, whether it be a mini greenhouse or just a plain old pot. If you’re more conscious about the practices of organic farming, you might even opt for fabric growing pots that are more sustainable. Ultimately at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter — what’s more crucial is the way you care for your pots. 

Essentially, there are two basic types of pots — plastic pots and clay pots. Plastic pots are comparatively the cheaper alternative. However, clay pots are more durable and last longer. Moreover, the interiors of clay pots are excellent at absorbing excess water, thereby protecting the succulent roots from decaying and other diseases in general.

To determine the appropriate pot size for your succulent, you should take into account your succulent’s estimated full-grown size. For 1.2-inch plants, we’d recommend a 2-inch pot whereas, for 2-inch plants, we’d recommend a 2.3-inch pot. If you wish to approach your potting less practically and more aesthetically instead, feel free to explore different pot dimensions that best fit your creative vision. You might even wish to customize your pot entirely by creating it from scratch following a recipe of about 60% sand, 20% coco peat and 20% perlite.  

Your pot should always be kept clean and germ-free. Ideally, your pot should have holes at the bottom of it to properly drain out excess water from the soil and prevent it from oversaturation; which ties in nicely with our next point.

Soil Management

Similar to the type of container you choose, any type of soil will suffice (as long as it’s bacteria-free). To ensure this, microwave your soil for at least 10 minutes to kill off such unwanted inhabitants before you transfer your soil over to the pot. 

The Actual Process

Now, we move on to the actual procedure needed to grow your succulents. Before you pot your succulent, a few questions should cross your mind: What’s the best composition and mixture for the soil? When’s the right time to pot your succulent and what’s the appropriate size it should grow to? Well, don’t worry because all of these questions and more will be addressed in the following. 

Step 1: Filling your pot with soil

  • As mentioned earlier, remember: Your soil should be purified. To ensure this, microwave your soil for at least 10 minutes to be safe. 
  • Transfer your soil into the pot of your choice. 
  • Water your soil adequately for roughly 10 to 15 minutes. Your pot should have holes at the bottom to properly drain excess water out. 

Step 2: Plant your Seeds

When you’re finished with the necessary preparations for your soil and pot, it’s finally time for the big moment — planting your seeds! Since fully-matured succulents are already so small, it’s no surprise that their seeds are even smaller and even more delicate to handle. Hence, transferring your seeds over to the pot would definitely be no easy task. However, fear not, here are some tips and tricks to help ease the process for you a little:


  • Use either a small pin or toothpick to pick up your little succulent seeds.
  • Dip one end of your toothpick with water in order to pick up the seeds easier. 
  • Gently place each seed around the center of your potted soil, but be careful not to completely immerse your seeds underneath the soil. 

Lastly, one final word of caution, your succulent seeds should be similar in type. Different seed types have different growth processes of differing durations; thus growing two different types side by side might yield ineffective cultivation outcomes. 

Step 3: Watch Them Grow

Once your seeds have germinated, it’s finally time to bask them in tons of sunlight. However, remember that too much direct sunlight can be harmful for your newly-sprouted succulent. Slowly introduce your baby plants into the sunlight for a few hours a day to allow it to acclimatize to its new surroundings. It’s all about slowly habituating your new succulent friends. If you manage to follow all these steps dutifully, you can expect your succulent seedlings to grow into mature succulent plants in less than six months. 

Conclusion

Just like pets, owning a plant is also a full commitment albeit less demanding. They require constant care and attention to help them grow nice and strong. With that being said, sometimes things don’t go according to plan and your seeds don’t germinate even though you followed all the necessary steps. Life is full of surprises and all you can do is just take them in your stride as part of the learning process and try again.

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