Succulents FAQ

What are they?

They are plants that come from arid environments where it is very warm with little rainfall. They have therefore adapted to store water, often making their appearance thick or fleshy. Succulents form part of a very diverse group of plants from around the world, with many striking shapes, patterns and colours.

Are they hardy?

Some are some are not, at both the Norfolk and Suffolk Nurseries you’ll find hardiness information, and those that are kept in the Cafes generally will not be. Even those that are hardy, prefer to have some protection from the wet winter weather, so if you want to keep them outside shelter them from the rain.

How fast will they grow?

They tend to be slow growing on the whole, but some varieties grow faster than others.

Will they grow in pots?

Yes they will grow happily in pots. Keeping them in terracotta rather than plastic is helpful to aid drainage and aeration for the roots, as well as having a pot with a drainage hole at the bottom so that it does not stay wet for too long. If you want to plant them in a succulent bowl or terrarium without drainage make sure you add a good layer of pebbles at the bottom of your pot to make sure the root system is not sat in excess water. Although, succulents tend to do better in pots with drainage.

As part of our Terracotta Army range at the Nurseries, you’ll find a range of succulents planted in terracotta allowing perfect growing conditions and helping to drastically reduce our use of plastic pots.

What about the position and soil type?

 They like a sunny, warm position. If kept in the home, make sure to give it enough light directly by a window, ideally somewhere south/west facing. They would like well drained soil, so when re-potting make sure to make a mixture of 1/2 compost and something like ½ horticultural sand or grit. We do sell horticultural grit at both Nurseries.

How often should I water and feed?

They usually require more water than cacti. They like a good watering, but they also like to dry out fast, so well drained soil is essential. Once they have dried leave it for a few days before watering again. You can occasionally feed from late spring until autumn. We have cacti and succulent feed at the Nurseries, formulated especially.

How do I overwinter?

You can bring them indoors in a bright sunny position, or for some of the hardier varieties bring them to a sheltered spot away from too much damp. They will be entering dormancy, so reduce watering and do not feed.

Common pests?

Mealy bug is usually the biggest culprit. They can be difficult to get rid of. Firstly, if the infestation is too bad just remove them by hand. You could get some tissue and squash them, and continue to keep a good eye on your plant to see if any more turn up for a few weeks. If the infestation begins to be more than you can manage, use ethanol on the mealy bug itself, and also soak into the soil and repeat if necessary a few days later, then continue to monitor your plant. The last step you could try is pesticide. Spray the whole plant and soil, this will at first soften their outer shell, and a couple days later spray again. You may like to repeat this treatment a week or two later to catch anything that didn’t get caught the first time around. Prevention is the best way to control their populations, always check your plant for mealy bug and at the first sighting take action immediately.