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How to Grow Healthy Succulents: Extra Credit

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This is the second part of a two part series teaching you how to easily grow and care for succulents. Earlier this week we showed you the basics and today we're teaching you a few extra tricks that will keep your plants flourishing (and impress your friends)!

Water with hydrogen peroxide.
One of the tricks I’ve learned recently is to water my succulents with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water (I use a solution of 2 parts water to 1 part Hydrogen Peroxide). Hydrogen peroxide is basically water with an extra oxygen molecule that is looking for something to do. The peroxide will help to oxygenate the soil which is healthy for the roots and help to flush out any stagnant water. It will also help to kill any harmful fungi, microbes, or insect eggs that may be in the soil. I don

Feed your soil.
Soil is like a living organism, and growing plants in soil will in time deplete its nutrients. In order for your soil to keep your plants healthy, you’ll need to give it some nutrition from time to time. Succulents planted in the ground probably won’t need fertilizer, but potted ones will. All fertilizers contain some combination of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium and succulents like fertilizers with a high amount of nitrogen. For my succulents, I've been really happy with the succulent fertilizer made by Miracle-Gro.

Don’t be afraid to use fertilizers on your plants, but remember to use them sparingly and in low concentrations to avoid burning the plant. There are a variety of conventional and organic fertilizers that you can find that work great for succulents, so find the one that you feel happiest with.

This succulent came contaminated with aphid eggs that hatched. Keeping it separated from my other plants kept it from spreading.

This succulent came contaminated with aphid eggs that hatched. Keeping it separated from my other plants kept it from spreading.

Keep new plants separate from the others
When you get a new plant, you don’t know how it’s been maintained earlier in its life up to then. While it may look healthy, it may be harboring insect eggs or have rotten parts that you may not see. 

Common problems that any new plant can have are mealybugs or aphids. Plants can also have dying roots caused by over watering. Keeping your new succulents separate will protect all of your plants and let you easily deal with any problems that may arise.

If you do find any bugs on your new plants, this problem will not be serious if you take care of it quickly. For mealy bugs, I dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and rub it on any affected leaves and where I see plants. For aphids and mites, you can use an organic insecticidal soap  or trying rinsing the plant with strong water. Trickier infestations may require a contact pesticide.

Succulent clippings cut from larger plants.

Succulent clippings cut from larger plants.

Don’t be afraid to trim or prune your succulents.
Is your plant getting too leggy from not enough sunlight? Trim it! Don’t be afraid to cut the bottom few inches off the stem and try to start over. You can follow our guide for growing cut succulents that takes you through what you need to do, so don’t get intimidated! You can also pull off any lonely leaves, and grow a new plant from the leaf.