Succulents as we all know are the new trend in gardening. Succulents are taking over our garden and house.
Their low maintenance and ease to grow make them a delight with many novice and experienced gardeners. They can occupy any small space also. They don’t need a big pot to grow and the potting ideas for succulents is a vast topic.
Succulents are plants with fleshy parts that are able to store water. This water storing capability make them drought resistant. Many of them make the mistake of considering them as cacti, but they are not part of the cacti group as they don’t have the spine producing nodes. But cacti belong to the succulent group.
We all have encountered succulents at one time or another in our garden, they might be the low care plant that decorate the garden border that we take notice rarely and suddenly after many years they put on a beautiful flower display and capture our attention.
For those succulent crazy enthusiast, it’s agony to watch these grow. Generally many of the succulents have a slow growing rate. They take their own time to develop into the beauties we want.
So in this topic let’s discuss on the topic ‘how fast do succulents grow’ and ‘how to make them grow fast’.
There are several species of succulents that grow very fast in a matter of weeks and some take much longer to develop. So in a manner of speaking the main factors we can consider that influence growth rate are,
- Growing conditions
- What is fast?
There are several species of plants that grow much faster when compared to other succulents. For example, if you take an aloe vera you can monitor that it produce new leafs in weeks of planting but if you see a sedum the development is very slow. So in this even though sedum is a fast growing succulent compared to aloe vera the growth is less.
Let’s see some other examples of fast growing species
It is a hybrid of echeveria species with many variants. It works well when planted outside. Graptoveria can be easily propagated from leaves or offsets.
When stressed they produce vivid colors, like supply of low light or limited water supply. They have rosette leaves. They need full morning sunlight, which prevent sunburn and create beautiful color on the leaves. It is best to avoid placing the plant in afternoon sunlight as it cause sunburn.
Bunny ear or Opuntia Microdasys
It is a native succulent of northern Mexico and Arizona. They like full sunlight, good soil with drainage, regular watering is essential with no watering during winter.
It produces light yellow creamy color flower which turns into fruit with red to purple fruits. These cactus is covered with prickles.
These are wonderful plants that produce tiny cluster of flowers. They are thick leaves succulents that can be grown indoors or outdoors. These plants are native to Madagascar and like a moderate amount of sunlight.
They can produce flowers with a variety of colors. They are easy to propagate and best grown in peat moss and perlite mixture.
They can be used as a good ground cover for the garden. They are hardy plants that can grow in full sun or partial shade. They have fleshy leaves and stems and they produce star shaped flowers.
These are fleshy plant with small spikes at the side. They have many medicinal uses like they are good for hair, skin, and digestion. They are propagated from small offsets. They produce flowers of light orange color in a long spike.
They are fleshy plants so they love the sun winter frost can damage their fleshy leaves. As with regular plant they grow with regular watering, dormancy, growing climate and feeding.
- When watering keep in mind that they don’t like to stand in water logged soil. They need good drainage and keep in mind to water them once a week.
- Before watering make sure the soil is completely dry, watering duration also depend on the region you are staying at. If you live in a hot climate condition then its best to check the soil dryness and then water.
- If you are staying in a cold weather environment then its best to increase the watering duration. Same can be applied when watering succulents that are indoors.
- Excessive watering can cause root rotting and decaying your succulent very fast.
- In case of propagation from leaves also regular misting of soil is necessary for them to grow.
- During growing season they should be watered once a week.
- Some succulents go dormant in summer also. So it’s essential to know the species of your succulent. Aeonium is one succulent that go dormant in summer time to escape the summer heat, these plants grow and develop well during winter time.
- In places where summers are too hot the succulents go dormant and grow in the winter. But in places where it’s cold climate the succulents go dormant in winter and actively grow in summer.
- During dormancy its best to water the plant in a limited amount and only when the soil is very dry. This is because the method to process water require a lot of energy and it can leave the succulent drained.
- During dormancy it is best to avoid fertilizing the plant also.
- Cold loving succulents – These succulent prefer temperature in the colder range. Colder range temperature doesn’t imply freezing temperature but more in the range of fall temperature. They grow a little in the fall temperature and then go dormant in the winter time.
- Warm loving succulents – cacti are the famous warm climate temperature succulents. They grow very nicely in warm temperature and go to dormancy in the winter time. But too high temperature are also not ideal for these succulents.
- Fertilizer is important for all potted plants as they won’t get proper nutrients in potted soil. So we need to provide the essential nutrients through artificial means. You can feed either organic nutrients or inorganic nutrients.
- Fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is good.
- Over fertilizing is bad, fertilize in moderate amount and fertilizer should be supplied during growth period.
What is fast?
Now we can’t expect these succulents to grow within days, they take their time to grow. But maybe we can reduce the weeks they take to propagate by giving them the proper care and proper feeding of fertilizers.
Don’t expect the succulents to grow according to your pace but you should get accustomed to the succulent growth pace.
How to make your succulent grow faster?
As mentioned earlier we can reduce maybe the time taken by the succulent to grow by providing conditions favorable for their growth. The conditions we can control are temperature, water and fertilizer. So the main point to keep in mind are
- Select a species of succulent that is easy to grow according to your region climate.
- Pot the succulent in a good quality succulent mix soil with good drainage.
- Water it at regular intervals of time and let the soil dry out completely before watering again.
- Watering should also be done based on your environmental condition. If you are living in a warm climate then maybe you would need to water more often than that in colder climate.
- Watering also depend on where you have potted your succulents. If its pot bound and indoor then watering frequency should be reduced. If potted and outside then the watering should be done more frequently based on your weather conditions.
- If you have potted your succulent in the ground in your garden then watering should be at a regular basis.
- Another very important matter that help in succulent growth is fertilizer. As mentioned above fertilizer is an important component for all plants as their growth depend on the nutrient they receive (like food is important for our health)
- Feeding of fertilizer should be done once in a month if the succulents are grown outside.
- Liquid fertilizers are much better as they are easy to apply and distribute more quickly in the soil so that the plant roots can absorb it much better.
- Applying fertilizer too often can weaken their growth so there should be moderation while applying fertilizers.
- The best time to feed fertilizers as mentioned earlier is during their growth time so this depend on the species of succulent you have if you have a cold dormant succulent then it’s better to fertilize them in summer and if you have a summer dormant succulent fertilize then in colder climate.
Thus if you prefer to enhance the growth rate of your succulents keep in mind the points mentioned below
- Know the species
- Know the dormancy period and growth period
- Water adequately as per requirement
- Fertilize according to need on regular basis
- Select a good soil mix with adequate drainage
- Place it in good spot as per the light requirement
Every one of us love to see the result of our hard work, especially if you are a gardener it always brings a smile when our precious plants produce a new growth, new flower or fruit. When we care and nurture our plant they give us the result.
The care and nurture we can give for our plant are in the manner of providing them with a good nutrient rich soil, watering at the correct intervals and providing with a good fertilizer. Thus providing them with all the ideal condition necessary for the succulent result in growth in optimal condition.
If you adjust them to the light, water and nutrient requirements of the plant will provide you with the result, but the result might not be as fast as you expect, one thing to remember is that there is no miracle growth that will accelerate the growth of any plant.
Every plant has different needs similarly in succulents there are more than 1000 varieties with each one having their own needs for a healthy growth. Understanding the need of each of the plants is most essential in succulent gardening. Each plant is different from another, learn about the species – what is it’s light requirement? How to water it and fertilize it etc.
Over nurturing is also bad for the succulents we in our hurry to see the plant develop well over feed it or water it and this can lead to root rot and fungus infection. Death is inevitable if you are unaware of the plant needs and just treat the succulent like all other plants.
When caring for succulents keep in mind of the species, light, temperature, water and feed. Good nurturing result in good plants.