Succulents. You’ve seen them everywhere from Instagram to HGTV to your local grocery store (hello Trader Joes). They’re completely adorable. You’ve already planned out exactly what you want and where you’re going to put them, but can you keep your succulents alive? What’s the difference between the plants and species? How do you water them? What kind of container is best?
Before you jump in with both feet, here’s everything you need to know about succulents, air plants, cacti, and tropical plants. We host Plant Nite events with all of these little guys so we know a thing or two—and we want you to be in the know about how to keep them happy and healthy.
How to care for your plants
- All of the plant types below have different watering schedules and specific watering techniques. It’s not always a good idea to mix and match.
- Good soil matters. If you decide to repot your terrarium, make sure you choose succulent-friendly soil.
- All plants need good drainage. Make sure to put rocks at the bottom of your container before planting.
- When watering your plants, touch the soil first. If it’s damp, don’t water. You can kill succulents by overwatering.
- Sunlight is fantastic, but it can also burn plants. Make sure you choose a location that offers sunlight (or artificial light, like grow lamps), but if you see your plant getting too much sun and drying out too quickly, find a new spot.
Succulents is a bit of a catch-all term and actually does include cacti, but for our purposes we’ll separate them out into their own category. Here’s what you need to know:
- Succulents are water storage plants. They like to have their roots soaked with water and drink it in over time.
- Touch their soil. If it’s dry, give them enough water that the soil gets completely wet and then let it dry out completely before you water again.
- Succulents have a dormant period over the winter where they don’t need to be watered as much because they’re not growing.
- Give them at least half a day to a full day of sunlight.
- Mix and match different succulents for a unique looking garden.
- When your plants begin to outgrow their container, simply cut off the babies and propagate your succulents: Cut the succulent baby off of the main plant and let it dry for a few days. Once you see a callous on the bottom of the plant, you can put it into a new container with soil.
Air plants are incredibly versatile plants because they don’t need soil to grow. Because of this, there is a plethora of fun containers for you to choose from, and you can switch it up at any point.
- Just because air plants don’t need soil doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be watered. Air plants should be submerged in water every 12-14 days.
- These plants will soak up the amount of water they need, so leave your air plant in water for 20 minutes then allow it to dry out completely before putting it back in its container.
- It’s better to water your plants in the morning than in the evening.
- If you can’t remove your air plant from its container, you can mist rather than soak. Mist often, but allow the plant to completely dry before misting again.
- Air plants can be attached to their containers with glue.
- These plants will bloom, product offshoots or “pups.” The main plant will die off. You can cut the pups off the plant when they’re about half the size of the main plant.
Fun fact. All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.
- Cacti need filtered sunlight, not direct.
- Place your cacti terrarium in a window facing south.
- Water your cactus in the evening and don’t overwater. Check the soil first and only add water if the soil is dry.
- Never allow standing water or your plant will rot.
- Cacti also have a dormant period over the winter where they don’t need to be watered as much because they’re not growing.
You don’t need to live in a tropical location to raise tropical plants. You can keep these plants in a closed container with a lid to create its own ecosystem. It’s pretty neat.
- Don’t give these plants direct sunlight or they will overheat and die.
- Water your tropical plants very infrequently. Check the soil. If it’s dry, add water liberally, then close up your terrarium and leave it alone.
- Remove any plants that are wilting.
- If you see a lot of condensation on the inside of the glass, open the lid and let the plants get some fresh air.
- You can mist your plants from time to time.
We hope the above information helps give you the confidence you need to bring these gorgeous plants home and keep them thriving for years to come. Questions? Leave us a comment below or reach out via Facebook or Instagram.