Gardening: Succulents & Cacti

grow beautiful, flourishing succulents with these simple tips and tricks

In my post, What’s in Your Garden?, I talk about how much I love developing my own gardens at home. Not only with beautiful flowers and plants, but with fresh veggies and herbs. Today I’m going to talk about another one of my favorites from the garden: succulents & cacti!

I love succulents more than your average girl so I’m super excited to be sharing some tips and tricks to creating beautiful gardens filled with a variety of these gorgeous plants.

tips and tricks for taking the best care of succulents and cactus

Succulents 101

One of the best things about succulents and cacti is that they’re so easy to take care of. It’s pretty hard to kill them so if you have a hard time getting your garden going, start here! Check your local nursery or garden center for different varieties you may be interested in. You can find them pretty much anywhere but I’ve gotten all of mine from Home Depot. Since succulents are becoming more popular, they’ve started putting together elaborate pots with several different plants in them so you don’t have to create your own. Which is great! Unless you’re like me and like to choose your pot and every single detail that goes into it.

I typically choose two or three plants at a time to replant in my own pots. I’ve started putting as many plants in the same pot as I can, mostly just because it’s fuller and looks much nicer. Once the plants start growing, the bare spots in the soil will fill in and you’ll have a gorgeous garden of your own. Am I the only one who gets excited at the first sight of growth or blooming on a plant or flower?

Be sure to place your potted plants where they will receive as much sun as possible. Succulents and cacti really thrive in the desert, so they love direct sun and fierce summer heat.

This photo was taken last summer to show my ever-growing masterpiece that I am way too proud of.

small fraction of the succulent garden I maintain through this advice


The Extras

Although you don’t need to water them frequently or do much to them at all, there are a few things I’ve found that help succulents to thrive. One day I found some succulent food when I was browsing the garden section. I was skeptical because I had heard these plants are so easy to care for that the extras aren’t necessary. Well, with my spending habits, you know I had to try it. Of course now I’m addicted because my succulent garden has never looked so good. The colors they give off are vibrant and beautiful and they’re growing so fast! My cacti grow flowers every year now and it probably makes me a lot more proud than it should!

Before watering, just use a pump or two of the food straight onto the soil instead of directly on the plants. If some does get on the plant, use water to wash it off so it doesn’t burn up the leaves. Typically, I put a couple of pumps in each pot 2 or 3 times a month. A little goes a long way and truly makes all the difference. If I see one of the plants looking a little frail, I’ll add a little extra food to that spot in the soil.

I also use a quick draining soil that helps keep the soil from staying too wet after watering. Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm, & Citrus Potting Soil is what I use and, again, it’s helped my plants immensely. I absolutely recommend one or both of these products to help your succulent garden, at least at the beginning. You can get this combo with the soil and the food together and it’s a pretty good deal, y’all. In my current pots, I mixed some of the quick draining soil with regular potting soil and it’s still made a huge difference in the way the succulents drain excess water. If there’s too much water in the soil, the plants will drown and start looking really lousy.

Winter Months

In the Louisville area, you obviously can’t leave these guys outside during the winter months. They love the sunlight so sometimes it’s hard to be sure they’re getting enough when the days are short and freezing cold. I typically move my pots inside in late October or early November. Some of them stay in the garage, while others are inside. Don’t be alarmed if some of your succulents start to lose color. Once the sun hits them again, the color will come back quickly!

If you have unseasonably warm days throughout the winter, move them outside to soak up some rays! Otherwise, they should be fine until mid March. Be sure to still use the succulent food throughout the winter and assess any need for water or rearranging. They might need a little more love in the winter than normal, but still something that’s easily attainable.

Your Turn!

How many of you all have homemade succulent gardens? Do you do anything special to care for them? I’d love to hear some of your tips and tricks!


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