Residents Corner

Succulents—So Much More Than a Houseplant

Succulents have soared in popularity in the past year. Maybe it’s due to the fact we spent more time indoors and looked around our home and realized it was … well, boring. So, we added artwork and pops of greenery and color with houseplants. And then the plants died because we forgot to water them or didn’t provide them adequate light. Then one day, while swiping through Pinterest for mental stimulation, our attention was arrested by the most colorful, simplistic, and modern-looking little plants we had ever seen. Their minimalism was alluring; their unruly spikes and shapes interesting. They were miniature works of living art. Succulents are so much more than your average houseplant—you can customize them and give as gifts and they can even provide the theme for a virtual get-together.

Easy to Grow

Requiring very little maintenance and space, succulents are prized for their ability to thrive indoors. Exotic succulents (e.g., Crassula Campfire, Aloe Dorotheae) are the most colorful. They need partial to full sun and can be planted in outdoor patio containers or indoors near a bright window (move exotic succulents inside during cold months). Or, try a hardy perennial succulent—Sempervivums—or more commonly known as “hen and chicks,” which thrive in less-than-optimal soil and conditions. They are known for forming low-growing rosettes in a myriad of colors, sizes, and textures. You’ll be amazed at all the varieties to choose from.

The Perfect Gift

Succulents make the perfect gift for virtually anyone and every occasion—a simple but thoughtful expression of appreciation for a coworker, a neighbor, a teacher, or friend. Or, you can design a larger display with multiple varieties for a table centerpiece or to add a splash of green and color to a kitchen island. Because they are so diverse in shape and color, succulents spark conversation and can stimulate creativity. And they add a calming vibe to a workspace. They are relatively inexpensive to buy, and you can grow new plants from clippings. Succulents are literally the gift that keeps giving.

Host a Terrarium Party

Missing interaction with family and friends? Running out of ideas for Zoom gatherings? Here’s an option you probably haven’t thought of: A virtual terrarium party! You can purchase easy-to-assemble terrarium kits—they come with all the pieces and tools you’ll need to design a one-of-a-kind terrarium. Or you can DIY using:

  • A variety of succulents (you can share clippings)
  • Gravel
  • Cactus mix soil
  • Pebbles, shells, river rocks—decorative elements
  • Clear glass container with a wide opening

Start by adding two inches of gravel into the container’s bottom (the gravel provides the needed drainage). Next, sprinkle about an inch of cactus soil on top of the gravel. Then, divide your succulents into single-stem plants and roots. Gently nestle the plant into the soil (cover the roots). Add a few decorative elements for the final touch.

Keep the terrarium indoors and out of direct sunlight. Remember: Succulents are desert natives—they love lots of sunlight (but too much can make them go dormant), and they require very little water. A few drops of water every week or two should suffice. Ensure the water can drain to the bottom, and there should not be more than an inch of water visible in the soil/gravel. Don’t forget to use a healthy succulent fertilizer twice a month during the summer.


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