October 18, 2018

Caring For Your Succulents

HARDY SUCCULENTS are hardy zone 3-9 unless otherwise labeled. Plants shipped in early spring are dormant. They will appear dull in color and have some dry edges. This is normal and when placed in sunlight they will intensify in color. Sempervivums change color with the seasons and each variety has its own most colorful time of the year.

Most varieties need at least half a day to a full day of sunlight. In extremely hot areas some afternoon shade is recommended.

Remove plants from their pots and plant making sure the soil level remains the same depth on the plant. Once established, your succulents will benefit from a layer of pebbles or pea gravel spread on the soil around the plant. This is also very decorative.

Succulents need good draining soil. When planting in the garden, make sure the area drains well and is not in a low spot that would stay wet. For container planting you can purchase cactus soil or incorporate sand, gravel or volcanic rock for better drainage. The container you are planting in should have a drainage hole or put crushed rock on the bottom before your planting medium.

After planting, water in well and allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Succulents don't like to have wet feet. When you do water, water thoroughly.

Most succulents need very little fertilizer. Watering with a well balanced fertilizer once a month will be all they need.

Sedum all have different bloom times and colors ranging from pink, red and yellow. Sempervivums will bloom after the second or third year. A flower stalk will shoot up from the center of the main rosette with a cluster of flowers. After the flower dies, gently twist off the stalk. The main rosette has put on new offsets that will fill in.

The planting possibilities using succulents are endless. The different colors, textures and habits make the most interesting containers and troughs. Succulents make beautiful rock garden plants. With a wide variety of bloom times there is always something with color.

When your plants arrive, carefully unpack the box right away. If there is any damage in shipping please contact us immediately. We ship plants and garden art on the dry side, so once you have unpacked your items, water thoroughly and drain well. Topiaries and wreaths can be soaked in a sink or tub of water for 15 minutes or until very heavy, then drain.

Weather permitting, we recommend you place your plants directly into the garden for best results.

Remember that our plants, generally, have been pulled directly from cold frames, where they have been protected from intense sun and desiccating winds. Slowly acclimate your plants and garden art by providing some shade and shelter for the first week to allow for a healthy transition.

Our plants and garden art should be grown in an area that receive a half to a full day of sun.

Some afternoon shade may be needed in areas with intense heat. Soil with good drainage is very important for success with succulents. Water when the soil becomes dry until the plants are established.

Wreaths and turtles need more frequent waterings. Water as needed every couple days and totally submerge and soak in a tub every 7 -10 days for 15 minutes, depending on how hot your area is. We find a plastic storage bin works well for soaking.

Succulents need very little fertilizer. Fertilize plants once a month with an all purpose water soluble fertilizer (such as Miracle-Gro) at a rate of 1 tsp. per gallon of water.


The flowers on sempervivums are open, starry and usually pink and held above the plant on a stem bearing several flowers. The crown that produces the flower head is monocarpic, and dies off after flowering, but fortunately there are always chicks produced previously from the base that grow in a ring around the mother plant to carry on for future years, maturing and producing their own chicks.

Winter care of hardy succulents depends on the part of the country you are in. In areas of the country that stay frozen for extended periods of time, some winter protection may be needed for turtles and wreaths and birdhouses. They can be brought indoors and put in a sunny window, watering only when dry. Or they can be left in the garden and covered with a styrofoam cooler or rose cone. Place a heavy rock on top to hold the cooler down. Winters natural blanket of snow over the cooler is an added benefit. You must wait for a few hard frosts late in the fall before you cover.

Succulents that are planted in the garden do not need winter cover. Cold areas usually have a snow cover for protection. In areas that are cold but have no snow cover, you can use balsam boughs to lightly mulch
for the winter, but this is usually not necessary.

As in all gardens, occasionally a weed may pop up on your topiary. Just remove taking as much of the roots as possible.

Welcome to the fascinating world of succulents.
Happy gardening!

If you live in an area with little water but lots of sun, try Simply Succulents® for an extensive selection of drought-resistant hardy plants, including an array of sempervivum (hens and chicks). One of our favorite sources for mail order succulents.

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