Table of contents:
Temperature and light
Anacampseros Anacampseros filamentosa
Most succulents in nature grow in climatic zones with sharp fluctuations in temperature, both annual and daily. In some cacti, in their historical homeland, for example, in the desert regions of northern Mexico, in summer the daytime temperature can rise to 40-50 ° C, and at night it can drop to 10-13 ° C. In winter, in the same place, daytime air temperatures rise to 20 ° С, at night they drop to + 7 ° С. Many cacti originate from here, for example, prickly pears, telocactus, lophophora, pediocactus, echinocereus, etc. The average annual rainfall is about 250 mm.
The homeland of fat women (Crassula) is South Africa, in particular the Cape province of South Africa. They are characterized by hot and dry summers with daytime temperatures of 30-40 ° C, at night 16-17 ° C, and wet winters, when in the daytime 16-17 ° C, at night up to 8-9 ° C.
It is impossible to create such conditions in central Russia; in summer, daily temperature fluctuations are 5-10 ° C, for plants exposed to the balcony, and this is rather unstable, but still more natural than if the pots of flowers were kept indoors. That is why everything that is possible (pots with succulents), in the spring (in April-May), must be transferred to fresh air, or, in extreme cases, to ventilate the room more often.
With the onset of autumn, in temperate climates there is a decrease in temperatures, an increase in air humidity and a sharp decrease in the amount of sunlight. We bring plants into the house, and try to achieve some balance between temperature, watering and light in order to provide a period of rest, which is simply necessary for some succulents (many types of cacti), for others it is optional, but forced due to the reduction of daylight hours (fat women, spurge).
Most succulents require a lot of light, usually sunlight. The need for light may differ for different families and genera, but one thing is certain - there are no shade-loving plants among succulents, there are some that can grow in light partial shade.
The attitude to the direct sun is also ambiguous. So, almost all cactus, aizovye, agave, require as much sun as possible, they grow in nature in open areas under the scorching sun. They should be placed in the apartment on the southern window sill; the southeast or southwest window is also suitable if it is not shaded from the street.
There are succulents that need sunshine, but only in the morning or in the evening, during the hottest part of the day in the sun, they can get burned - they burn out, the color of the leaves or stems turns reddish. These are such plants as cotyledon and crassula (tolstyanka), didiereus (didiereus), carallum, duvalia and guernia (gorse), rosewood (compositae), some types of aloe (asphodel), haworthia and gasteria (asphodel), etc.
These plants are well placed on the east and west windows, or on the south window, shaded from direct sun during the hottest part of the day, this is from about 11 to 15 hours. Shading can be a tulle curtain, a sparse mesh, or a voile.
Lighting requirements in winter, for many succulents, decrease as temperatures drop and watering decreases. However, there are plants, for example, some species of cactus, which also need good lighting for successful flowering in winter. at this time the buds are born. In many euphorbiases, flower buds are also laid in the first half of October, when a temperature of 20-22 ° C is needed to ensure the normal development of the bracts, and at such a temperature, very good lighting is needed.
Supplementing succulents can be effective, but not for all plants (as a rule, succulent seedlings require this, "living stones" grow well under artificial light, etc.). Additional lighting with fluorescent lamps (including energy-saving ones) will help to avoid stretching the shoots for those plants that do not need direct sunlight, therefore, when choosing a succulent, you need to familiarize yourself with the conditions for its cultivation in advance. Plants that require full-fledged solar illumination, and in winter, in warmth, the need for light is so great that to provide it, they must be under the lamps for many hours, moreover, illuminated evenly from all sides (lighting from above and from the side). This is technically difficult to implement.
It is much easier and more humane for flowers to survive the period from October to February in a cool place, and practically in a dry substrate. The lack of intense light, heat and moisture does not stimulate the plants to grow, they seem to fall asleep until spring, and you will not get elongated pale shoots and ugly trunks.
Due to the fact that succulents are united into a separate group, they have a special relationship with moisture. These plants accumulate water in separate parts - stems or leaves, and are able to do without watering for a long time. It would seem that during a dry period, cacti and other succulents should intensively consume moisture from juicy stems and leaves, but then they would quickly dry out and die, but this does not happen.
This is explained by the fact that there are special physiological adaptations from the strong evaporation of moisture from the surface, i.e. reducing transpiration. So in many succulents, the surface of the leaves, stems or trunk is protected from excessive evaporation by a wax bloom or pubescence. In addition, during these periods the intensity of physiological processes sharply decreases and the mode of extreme water saving is activated.
Gas exchange and evaporation of water in all plants occurs through the stomata - these are pores, holes in the upper layer of the epidermis of a leaf or stem (in cacti). In succulents during the day during the hottest time, the stomata are closed, they begin to open in the evening, and are completely open at night, when the temperature drops sharply and, accordingly, moisture evaporation is several times lower than during the day.
Watering succulents should be carried out depending on the humidity and temperature of the ambient air, it depends on how quickly the substrate in the pot dries out.
Ordinary indoor plants, in the summer we water abundantly, i.e. as soon as the top layer of the earth is dry, it's time to water, and if the earth is dry, the plant begins to lose turgor (leaf elasticity) and wither. We should water succulents in the summer in moderation - the soil should dry out completely, and be in this state for several days, it is quite possible that completely dry soil can remain for a week or more. In many plants, the stems and / or leaves shrivel when too dry. If the weather is very hot, the time between watering is reduced, and the soil should still be in a dry state for 2-3 days.
In winter, watering succulent plants also depends on the temperature. So, at a temperature of about 6-8 ° C (this is required by some types of cacti), they are stored in a completely dry state, and for 2-3 months they can do without watering. At a temperature of 12-14 ° C, watering can be carried out about once a month, or even less often.
However, there are times when the hosts are able to dry succulent plants. Fearing to flood, watering is reduced so much that the plant begins to suffer from a lack of moisture - the roots dry out.
Some succulents, for example, Haworthia and Gasteria, tolerate winter well in warm conditions at 20-22 ° C, if they have enough light. In this case, they are watered more often, about once every 1-2 weeks.
All these figures are rather arbitrary, since the evaporation of water from the ground depends on the composition of the substrate, and on the volume of the pot and the materials from which it is made. Therefore, only the appearance, condition of the plant and the accumulated experience can tell the correctness of the chosen care.
Soil for succulents
All succulents prefer a soil that is loose, breathable and well-drained. In nature, some of them grow in rock crevices, on bare sand or a mixture of sand and gravel.
The main condition for substrates is, first of all, not nutritional value, and not even acidity, but that it is well and evenly wetted, but dries out quickly, does not retain water. Take, for example, peat - in its pure form it is not suitable for cultivation, because has a tendency to stick together, and very dry is very poorly wetted, passes water. After watering, water stays on the surface, strives to seep through the voids near the walls of the pot and flow out into the drainage hole. Garden land is a very imprecise concept - in gardens, the land can be peaty, sandy, clayey or black soil, its only difference is that garden crops grew on it, under which fertilizers were applied and which changed its chemical indicators, but not mechanical ones. Garden soil can also stick together and cake,chernozem is generally not suitable for succulents in its pure form - these are humus soils, which are not at all characteristic of the natural habitat of succulents.
There are a great variety of recipes for soil mixes for succulents, including those on sale. If you consider the mixture in a store, then, as a rule, there is peat soil, expanded clay and sand. But the requirements for soils are very individual not only for different families, but even among different species of the same genus, therefore store mixes are not suitable for everyone, and experienced growers always prefer to compose the soil themselves.
The need for a certain type of soil, nutrient value, the proportion of constituent elements (sand, clay, gravel, crushed stone, lime, brick chips) also depends on the shape of the root system: succulents with thin surface roots are planted in soil with a greater proportion of sand and gravel, the substrate is light and loose. Succulents, with a more powerful root system, with a thick and deep water-storing (radish) root (for example, Euphorbiacetes), plant heavier clay soil in the soil.
So, the composition of any soil mixtures for all succulents should include baking powder: coarse river sand, fine gravel or expanded clay (particle size 1-5 mm), well washed. It is permissible to add perlite or vermiculite (they have a high coefficient of water absorption) - they can, and even need to be added for soil mixtures consisting mainly of sand and crushed stone, because they pass water very quickly without retaining it or absorbing it, and the added vermiculite is able to absorb moisture and gradually evaporate it, while there is no direct contact with water, there is no root decay.
Zamioculcas grows well only in a cramped pot.
Activated carbon is also used in soil mixes for succulents. Not in tablets, medical, but in granules, it can be obtained in filters for kitchen hoods or water filters, but you can use crushed charcoal (burnt birch log, crushed into pieces up to 5mm in size). Coal adds looseness to the soil, absorbs water to some extent and removes impurities from the water (for example, chlorine). It is added to about 1/10 of the total soil volume.
The main components of the soil mixture are sod land, leaf, heather, greenhouse, in various proportions.
So, for example, a soil mixture for yucca can consist of 1 part turf, 1 part humus (well-rotted compost), 1 part sand and 1 part expanded clay (perlite).
And for milkweeds, the soil mixture is lighter: 1 part sod, 1 part leaf, 2 parts sand.
Sod land can be found in meadows, or in a summer cottage, it is quite easy to pick it up after moles - they leave entrances to burrows - low mounds of worked, loose soil. Leafy land is a semi-rotten leaf litter that accumulates and melts over the years under deciduous trees. It can be harvested in birch groves, but only in the spring, as soon as the snow melts, before the grass starts to grow. However, the attitude to organic matter in succulents is also different, some types of cacti do not at all tolerate the presence of non-rotten particles in the ground, then they choose deeper layers of leafy soil, where the litter is completely rotted and decomposed (there are no fragments of leaves or twigs).
Sand can be collected on the river, but it will take a long time and diligently to wash and sift, from silt and salts, it is much easier to buy it in a store for aquarists, as well as fine gravel.
About pots: the choice of pot depends more on the size of the plant. For large heavy yuccas, fat women, milkweed, it is better to take wide clay pots, and if the pot seems too bulky to you, compensate for this with a high drainage layer to the bottom.
Small plastic pots are suitable for medium-sized haworthia, gasteria, aloe, cactus.
General information about succulents
Reproduction of succulents