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Succulents make such wonderful, funky houseplants... but winter care indoors does have a few challenges. Check out these easy tips to help keep your succulents flourishing rather than disappointing you!
1) Lots of light. Although succulents are generally lumped into the "low maintenance" category, most varieties do require the brightest location available indoors. This rule of thumb is particularly true of succulents with rosette style leaves, such as sempervivum, echeveraia, graptoveria and aeonium selections. Not only will these plants be healthier in more light, they often look significantly more saturated when getting all of the sun they crave.
The ideal location for most succulents is directly in a south or south east window. Where this is not an option, more and more growers are using full spectrum lights to keep succulents vibrant indoors overwinter.
2) Water less in winter, but water deeply when you do. By now most people have heard that over watering is the kiss of death for potted succulents, but this is even more true during winter when many succulents slow down metabolically. A common schedule for watering potted succulents indoors is about every 10 - 14 days, but larger varieties, large-leaf crassula such as jade or hobbit, aloes, hawworthias, cacti and succulent euphorbias can go months through winter without the need for water. When it comes time to water, take the plants to the sink and give them a good drink, letting the water soak in before moving the pots back to their display location.
3) Watch for pests. Unfortunately the nooks and crannies of many popular succulents provide perfect shelter for common pests, and these tend to show up more during winter. Unlike leafy houseplants succulents are typically difficult to shower, so monitoring and treating at first signs of pests is the most effective way to manage them. The most common pest on succulents is mealy bug, and the best way to treat this is by dabbing rubbing alcohol onto the white fluffs that you will see; they turn bright pink as soon as they come into contact with the alcohol... at which point you also know you have killed it.
You can also apply Safer's End-All to most succulents, but do a test area first as the oily solution can be blemishing to some varieties.
It is a great idea to keep your succulent growing area and pots tidy, to reduce habitat for pests. Wiping down pots, saucers and the growing space with warm soapy water every month or so is very good practice.
So, succulents can indeed be low maintenance houseplants but do keep these tips in mind to encourage the most satisfying succulent-growing experience!