Total Care Guide For Succulents In Canada
Succulents are the perfect addition to any patio or indoor space. However, the care for succulents in Canada is not the same as other plants in your collection. This blog post is a total care guide for keeping succulents In Canada. Let me know in the comments below what your favourite succulent care time is.
If you are new to the gardening in Canada blog you may not know who I am. My name is Ashley and I am a Canadian gardener and house plant enthusiast located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada. I have a Bachelors of Science in Soil Science and my goal is to give you the tools of science to succeed in plant care. So lets take a science based look at succulent care guide for Canadians.
Picking The Perfect Pot For Succulents In Canada
The perfect pot for succulents is shallow. The lower the sides of the pot the better results you will see. This is on account of the unique fibrous root system found in succulents. Succulents have a root system that sits close to the surface of the soil to help capture water as it initially hits the soil surface. This is an example of the perfect pot for succulents.
If you have a pot that is deeper you will end up with excess water sitting in the lower portions of the soil. This will cause anaerobic conditions over time and this means a perfect breeding ground for root rot bacteria. Unfortunately the fix is not always simply adding rocks to the bottom of the pot because this will cause a perched water table.
If you are a serial over-watering type, consider getting a pot that is made from unglazed terracotta. This will allow for ample airflow and therefore higher rates of evaporation. The result will be prevention against anaerobic situations and root rot.
How Many Succulent Plants Per Pot?
The number of succulents per pot is a great way to ensure success. Succulent roots not only have a surface root system but they also have a community root system. A community root system means that the roots intertwine to make a mat for better water capture. In the world of plants the goal is to always make sure you mimic the natural habitat of the plant.
This means you will want to get as many succulents as possible jammed into the same pot. If the plant’s leaves overlap this is also okay. The pot in the photo is only 10 inches in diameter and has three plants that are 3 inches or more in diameter. As you can see there is very little surface showing.
What Soil Is Best For Succulents Grown In Canada?
The common response to the question “what soil is best for succulents?’ is to have well draining soil. But what does well draining soil really mean in terms of components? The first step is choosing the proper pot, the pot texture and size is a part of the soil system. For custom soil recipes done by a soil scientist check out this post.
After that you will want to grab a regular potting soil mix & orchid bark. From here you will want to have 25% of the pot filled with the orchid bark pieces. This is important as a succulent grower in Canada. These will act as areas where the soil can drain but also regions where the roots can find air. When transplanting the succulents try wetting the soil in the succulent nursery pot while leaving the new potting soil and orchid bark combo dry.
Place a small amount of soil on the bottom of the pot and then put your succulents in place. Try to avoid tussling the roots as much as possible to reduce transplant shock and root rot. From there fill in the spaces with the potting soil & orchid bark mixture. Leave a slight lip at the top of the pot for the next step. To learn more on how to revitalize potting soil check this out.
Top Dressing Succulent Pots with Rocks
This next step is crucial to helping protect the fragile community surface roots. This involves top dressing with rocks to help prevent damage to the roots during watering. This layer only has to be one rock layer thick to give protection. This rock buffer will also prevent rot of the leaves’ surface that can be caused by excess moisture. This is the rock I used for my top dressing in the photo.
Fertilizer For Succulents
Luckily succulents are not heavy duty feeders. This means fertilizer is not as important to succulents as it maybe to a tomato plant. However, you can fertilize lightly to help ensure healthy strong growth. The key here is not to over fertilizer and risk rapid green growth because it will cause a leggy plant.
The best fertilizer for succulents is a liquid formula that is labelled all purpose. Fertilize the succulents during the months of May – August at half the recommended dosage. If you choose to bring the succulents indoors for the winter you will want to stop fertilizing from September – April. This is an example of a great quality fertilizer.
Watering Succulents In Canada
Most anxiety when it comes to succulents revolves around the idea of watering. Succulents due to their thin shallow roots are notorious for root rot. This means we need to pay special attention to our watering habits. The best way to determine if a succulent needs water is through its leaves and not the soil.
Once the succulent leaves look wrinkly or feel squishy we know it is time to water. Succulents lacking water will begin pulling water from their lower leaves and pushing it into the upper leaf formations. This means when it is time to water the lower leaves will have less turgor pressure, aka be squishy.
This is your sign to give the pot a thorough soaking. When you do water, ensure that the entire profile is saturated. One of my favourite methods is to place them in a sink with a few inches of water for thirty mins.
A sign you are underwatering your succulents would be if your leaves are falling off before or after the watering process. Try not to let your lower leaves get too mushy and soft between watering to help prevent leaf loss.
Lighting For Succulents
During the summer months place you succulents in full sun. This will help keep the succulent compact in nature, which is ideal for succulents. During the winter months it is in our best interest to either keep them under high intensity light or in a southern facing window.
If you notice your succulent is starting to become leggy you will want to adjust the lighting. This can mean either increased intensity or lowering the light closer to the plant itself. If you are unable to provide adequate lighting consider propagating the plant during the winter months instead.
There you have it! You are now set to grow succulents like a pro with this total care guide for succulents in Canada. The first step is selecting a shallow planter and as many succulents as you can fit into the pots. The second step is wetting the succulents and planting them in a good draining soil. From there on out it’s all about making sure the watering schedule is dialed using the leaves as your guide.