Growing succulents at home is a fun and interesting way to spice up your home or garden. They not only look good but also require very little maintenance. But because succulents are a popular choice, there must be some reason behind their popularity.
While these advantages of having a succulent outweigh the disadvantages, there is no denying that some downsides do exist. As such, it would be only fair to take an objective look at both sides of the coin before committing to a lifelong relationship with succulents.
So, what are some of the pros and cons of having a succulent? Succulents make your home look more attractive and interesting. This is all thanks to their low maintenance requirements and the interesting shapes that they take. They can be used in pots, planters or beds to create an aesthetic appeal that will catch the attention of everyone who visits your home.
On the flipside, succulents can be a little tricky to grow indoors, especially if you live in colder climates. Another disadvantage of succulents is their slow growth rate. While some species do exhibit fast shoot and flower rates, they still take much longer than other types of plants.
While succulents are a great addition to your home garden, they also come with their fair share of challenges. This article will look at both sides of the coin, helping you to decide whether or not you will want to grow succulents in your garden.
Pros of Having a Succulent at Home
1. Improves air quality
Succulents have the ability to cleanse your home of pollutants and other harmful gasses as they help the air become fresher. They are excellent at absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. The process is known as photosynthesis, where plant cells use sunlight as an energy source to turn water and carbon dioxide into simple sugars.
Succulents are also capable of filtering out toxins, dust and pollen to provide clean air to breathe. This is especially beneficial for people who suffer from allergies or other respiratory ailments. Breathing in fresh oxygen will help you feel more energetic and lively throughout the day.
The next time you feel like something is not right with the temperature in your home, don’t simply rely on your air conditioner to resolve the problem. Instead, try adding some indoor plants to create a healthier living environment. Just a small number of indoor plants can make a huge difference in absorbing harmful chemicals in the air such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and other toxins. What makes succulents ideal for this purpose is that they don’t require much effort or maintenance.
2. Medicinal properties
With the growing popularity of alternative medicines that are both safe and inexpensive, succulents are becoming very popular in this segment of the health industry. Succulent plants are widely used to provide relief from pain, anxiety, nausea, muscle spasms and even conditions like tuberculosis.
Succulents were first used by ancient Egyptians as a remedy for minor health issues such as fungal diseases, digestive problems and even earache. Modern-day succulents can be used to treat colds, sore throat, acne and other conditions when taken in the form of teas or even creams and lotions.
Succulents also help in conditions like obesity as they are effective in weight loss. They do this by boosting the metabolism and reducing appetite by increasing the amount of good bacteria in your gut.
Even if you don’t have any ailments now, it’s still a good idea to add succulents into your home because you never know when one might strike. If you have respiratory issues, succulents can be the perfect solution to improve your breathing and overall health.
There is no doubt that drought has become a huge problem all over the world today. With some regions being affected by searing temperatures that reach as high as 50 degrees Celsius, it is a blessing that succulents don’t require much water to survive.
The good news is that they are able to store enough water in their leaves and stems so they can still thrive even without access to water for months on end. If you live in areas where there is a lack of rain, succulents are the ideal plants to grow in your home.
Unlike your conventional home plants, succulents only need to be watered once every few weeks. If you overwater your succulents, however, it can lead to root rot or even yellow leaves if the water remains stagnant in the pot for too long a time. Always check which kind of lighting and temperature that your particular succulent needs prior to purchasing them to ensure that they will thrive well indoors.
4. Easy to multiply
Succulents are a very simple and fun plant to propagate, sometimes even making it more interesting than simply buying them from a nursery. Succulents can easily reproduce by forming offshoots or also known as “pups”. In fact, keeping plants on their own roots can be difficult compared to a few cuttings.
Propagation can be a challenge for most house plants, but not with succulents. You can easily cut the leaves and/or roots of your succulent to ensure that you have new plants.
If you are looking for a unique way to celebrate life and your love, succulents are the ideal plants as they offer high-quality cuttings. You can easily grow several new succulents from just one cutting. All you have to do is take three or four-leaf sections with some roots attached and place them on a cut surface of a healthy stem.
5. Improves your concentration
You might not be aware that succulents can actually help you become more focused and attentive at work when placed in areas where high-level thinking is needed. How this works is by the plant’s ability to raise serotonin levels found in most parts of our bodies. This is because of the bright colors and forms of succulents. Colors like red, yellow and orange exude a high amount of energy that encourages you to concentrate more on your work.
Succulent plants can be placed in an office desk or even at home near your study table to help stop any distractions from occurring while you work. This action is called is called “biophotons” where the plants produce specific wavelengths of light. This way, succulents actually improve your brain power to allow you to focus more while working instead of being easily distracted by other things. Succulents are also known for their ability to increase creativity and also instill a sense of positivity to your environment.
6. Can be edible
One of the biggest reasons to have succulents is for culinary purposes. The leaves and sweet roots of the plants are full of water, making them a good addition to your diet. The major compounds found in the leaves contain fiber, vitamins A and C as well as essential oils that our body needs. Of course before eating them, make sure that they haven’t been treated with pesticides or other chemicals.
However, it should be noted that not all succulents are edible. Find out which of your succulent plants are edible before eating them. Some of the notable edible succulents include the Jade plant, Aloe Vera and some Agaves. There are also edible cactus species like the Mexican Opuntia and Mediterranean set Spineless Prickly Pear.
Cons of Having Succulents At Home
They can rot easily
Another risk of succulents in the home is that they can easily get affected by fungus and rot. This is because succulents require very little water to survive, especially when compared to other plants. When you overwater your succulents, this means there will be too much moisture in the pot or soil which leads to damping off. To avoid this, make sure that your plants are watered regularly in small amounts.
If you notice there is a brown patch on the succulent leaves, this could also be due to overwatering. Watch out for signs of root rot as well, which can also become quite an issue when dealing with succulents.
Succulents, especially when they are not watered well, could become dehydrated easily. There is a sign for this as the leaves turn a pale lime green shade and begin to fall off from their stems.
They are slow growing
When you get succulents, they tend to grow very slowly which means that it might take almost half a year before it reaches its full maturity. Succulents are very easy to grow as they require no fertilizers and are relatively free of diseases.
This is why you should not expect your succulents to reach the desired height and size in just a short span of time, especially if you want them to live for many years. They might be slow growing but they are sure to live for many years. The ultimate goal of having succulents is so that you can use them as a houseplant and not just ornamental in your garden.
Can be harmful to pets and children
The sharp spines found on the leaves could be very harmful if handled without care, especially by children and pets. The spines can be more than harmful to the skin as they can also scratch and scar it, causing an uncomfortable sensation when touched.
Succulents are not like other plants that can grow indoors or outdoors in our homes because of their tendency to attract pests. They have a high insect attracting property that even mosquitoes find them irresistible. These pests are more than just a nuisance as they can also carry diseases that could be transmitted to your pets especially if you have any in the house.
Needs a spacious location
One of the reasons why you should only grow succulents outdoors is because of their tendency to attract diseases. If you put them somewhere with people and animals, they may be exposed and get infected.
Succulents need a spacious location because they can grow very big over time, especially when planted in the ground. Because of this, make sure that you are not growing them too much near small children or pets so that they will not accidentally hurt themselves.
Some bring bad feng shui
Some people don’t like the idea of having succulents because they believe it brings bad luck or feng shui, especially when added to a crowded space. It is believed that they attract negative energy and loose money out of your bank account. However, this belief may only be applicable to those who have a weak constitution. The idea of bad feng shui may be just to encourage homeowners to get rid of succulents in order for them to sell their products.
Can be toxic
Some succulents are actually toxic especially if you ingest them or even touch the sap from their leaves. Take note that not all succulents are edible, so make sure to take care of which ones you grow in your garden or house. You can still enjoy the beauty of succulent plants without giving yourself a hard time.
If you eat succulents that are immature or have been exposed to harmful chemicals, there can be adverse side effects such as nausea and diarrhea. This could lead to dehydration and problems with your stomach. Children and pets are the most at risk when it comes to succulents because of their tendency to taste everything they touch. It is your responsibility as a parent or pet owner to make sure that they will not get into contact with these succulents unless you want them to be in trouble.
How to Get the Best Out Of Succulents
Even with its pros and cons alike, there is no denying the succulents are getting popular by the day. As such, there are better ways you can make your succulents work for you despite the challenges that come with the same. For better interaction with your succulents, you need to have an idea of how they grow and their requirements.
1. Keep them grounded whenever possible
Letting them live in the ground is better compared to keeping them as container plants. First of all, they will be exposed to more sunlight which will help with their photosynthesis.
Also, planting them in the ground will help you have better control over their growth. Once they grow bigger than what you expected, it is easy to move them and replant them somewhere else without having to dig up the entire plant from its roots.
2. Exposure to sunlight
Succulents need a lot of sunlight and do not like being exposed to low levels of sunlight. They could turn yellowish if they are somewhat shaded by something such as a tree.
If you want your succulents to be healthy, the best time to water them is during daybreak or late in the afternoon when they have been exposed enough to sunlight. You should also water them when the soil is dry.
3. Getting rid of pests
Pests on succulents canbe a nuisance especially if you have a large succulent collection. Once your succulents get infested with parasites, it would be a good idea to use natural methods first before resorting to chemical pesticides. You could for instance, carefully remove the infected leaves and apply insecticidal soap to avoid further spreading of these pests.
4. Use a cactus potting mix
The use of this type of soil is very helpful for your succulents because it contains all the nutrients and water retention they need to grow healthy. There are different types you can choose from such as the ones made up of gravel or sand. Cactus potting mixes also improve your succulents’ drainage since it is well-aerated enough. A good soil mix should look like soil from your backyard with an addition of gravel or sand. Mix the organic and inorganic parts properly until you get a thick slurry that is free from clumps.
5. Be careful with overwatering
Succulents can easily get contaminated so make sure to water them when the soil is dry and not too much such that their roots could rot. Proper watering is often neglected by succulent owners, so if you’d like to take care of your plants the right way, try doing it more and more so that they would not get into trouble.
Also, avoid using fresh water in watering your succulents because they have different water requirements. If you want to be sure, use rain runoff or distilled water in order for them to thrive.
Succulents can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. There is no denying that they come with huge benefits to your garden and home. On the other hand, they can be potentially dangerous to animals and humans alike unless you know how to take care of them well without any accidents happening to anyone.
By mastering the art of properly looking after your succulents, you stand a much better chance at succeeding in your attempts. Take your succulent growing journey a notch higher by following expert advice from experienced arborists around you or better still, try implementing the tips mentioned above. This will be a major step forward in growing succulents like a pro.