First Person Account of Growing and Caring for Succulents

“ My succulents have been happily growing and multiplying since last 7 to 10  years. I grow the succulents organically. With many years of flower show visits and nursery visits, I noticed that the succulents that we buy here come generally either directly from from the North East( Calimpong, Assam, Manipur,…) or

the same ones reach Pune, are then multiplied there and then come to North India.

The succulents coming from the North East generally come with their roots packed  in leaf litter. Those coming from elsewhere come packed in Coco peat .

Succulents are at their best health in spring. That’s when we see them in many nurseries and flower shows. However, as the temperatures here rise, they disappear from these places. This means that when we buy them in spring they are at the peak of their performing season.

Things to keep in mind

  1. Do not repot them then.
  2. Buy from known source. Put them in a container. Do not keep them open rooted or in a thali.
  3. Enjoy them in the same container for the spring season .
  4. They will grow, multiply and even flower during the spring season.
  5. They will start wilting as the temperatures start to rise beyond 30 degrees Celsius.
  6. Reduce watering at this stage and start moving them to semi shade.
  7. Keep them together in clusters.
  8. Keep removing all the soggy/ pulpy/ dried/ leaves and collect all the dropped healthy leaves and lay the leaves on the surface of good soil/ leaf mold. These leaves will give pups/ babies.
  9. Do not disturb the babies in this season. Let them be where they are for the entire summer and monsoon.
  10. For these entire two seasons -summer and monsoon, keep them in clusters. Keep them away from sun, rains, gushing winds, AC vents. Put in cool, airy, dry place.
  11. Water only for their survival.. just a little sprinkle on the soil surface but not on the leaves.
  12. Mulch the soil with a very thin layer of leaf litter/ dry compost mixed with gravels/ rakhi/ clay ball ( all of jowar dana size).
  13. Just let them be. Do not water, do not panic, do not fiddle. Succulents have negligible root systems. Their food and water is stored in their leaves.
  14. Many of them will flower profusely during spring and die down suddenly. That’s nature’s rule. A mother plant in many varieties flowers once in its life time and dies down after flowering .But it does so only after giving daughter branches.
  15. Save these daughters for the next season. Follow all the steps mentioned above.
  16. In the month of Oct/ Nov, when temperatures start falling to 30 degrees and below, repot them.
  17. Remove all dead and dry parts. Separate pups, and repot.
  18. Make a good, organic, well drained, gravely soil. Use less stone components. Use rakhi / clay balls instead of stones.
  19. Choose shallow and small containers.
  20. Keep them in semi shade for 2-3 weeks and as the day length decreases, bring them to sun light, preferably where they do not get the afternoon sun.
  21. Save them from frost in December and January.
  22. In February bring them to the open now. Babies day out! .It’s their season! Feed them with liquid manures- Neem Khali+ dry leaves/ compost tea + sterameal / bone meal.
  23. They will have acclimatised in this one year to the climate. Their first generation at this stage will be the acclimatised generation. Take such intricate care for three years and then they belong to your climate zone. They will still need the same care as we see climate extremes and moody weather in Delhi NCR. But their survival rate will be more!

Happy Organic Gardening!