Healthy rewards from small spaces
Succulents can thrive indoors
Terrariums have surged in popularity as a contemporary garden trend. A traditional enclosed terrarium creates its own ecosystem and minimal watering is a key feature because of the humidity created within the undisturbed environment. However, today's trendy terrariums have vent holes and openings to meet the needs of succulent plants that prefer a dry environment.
Glass terrariums can be placed on a shelf or table or hung from a ceiling or wall hook. Wrapping a small terrarium or a glass bubble bowl in a macramé hanger will give the terrarium added protection from handing and animal curiosity, and makes an attractive room accent piece nestled in a corner wall.
Succulents are different from houseplants
Soil: Succulents and cactus plants require aeration and fast draining garden soil which is an important factor for shallow container growing. Start with a light potting soil that is not rich in compost and has those white styrofoam looking pieces called Pearlite mixed in. Then add either finely crushed gravel or finely shredded bark chips to create a fast draining mix. Many garden centers will carry a cactus mix which is also used for succulents. Avoid heavy sand mixtures for containers as sand will gravitate to the bottom of the soil mixture and without good circulation, could be slow to dry out and cause roots to rot.
Water: Succulents prefer dry air. In a humid climate, let succulents dry out thoroughly between watering. Succulents hold moisture in their leaves so they can survive in dry climates, however they will not "thrive" in drought-like conditions. Succulents will thrive and grow with regular watering, at least once a week. Avoid watering any indoor plants with tap water that has chlorine added. Purified water or spring water is best or capture rain water for a special plant treat. Distilled water often contains little vital minerals necessary for healthy growth, so avoid using for watering indoor plants if possible.
Watering glass terrariums: Water tightly around plants in terrariums if using a spray mister to avoid water spots on the glass. Use a narrow watering spout or a turkey baster to spot water as needed to moisten plant roots. Avoid over saturating the soil. If too much water is added during a watering, tip terrarium over a sink and allow excess water to run off. Provide good air movement near terrarium and allow soil to dry out before watering again.
Sunlight: Succulents do best in bright but indirect sunlight. Plants that become leggy and stretch toward the light are not getting enough light. Either relocate plant to a brighter spot or rotate the growing container when they begin to lean. Avoid direct bright or hot sunlight. Avoid placing the terrarium directly in front of the window as the glass can often magnify the intensity of sunlight which can cause tender leaves to sunburn.
Fertilizer: Most succulents do not require regular fertilizing. A typical growing season for succulents is from early Spring to late Fall. During this period, you can use a balanced fertilizer that has roughly equal proportions of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium - 10-10-10. Dilute to ¼ strength and fertilize every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
Troubleshooting: When bottom leaves start to die or rot, over-watering could be the cause. If leaves look shriveled or wilt downwards, too little water. Pinch off brown undergrowth to keep succulent plants looking healthy. Succulent leaves can show burn spots in hot bright light.
Hello gardeners. We are James LeValley and Cathy LeValley, owners of New Earth Micro Farm and passionate gardeners of fast and easy growing using small spaces. Waiting 3 or 4 months for a vegetable to grow - not for us. Growing micro and mini vegetables in 10 to 60 days provides a quick turnaround to support organic growing methods for greater nutrition.