Five common mistakes in caring for cacti and succulents

Cacti and succulents are a favorite among beginner gardeners because the plants are known to be hardy and can survive with minimal care. 

Although these kinds of plants are tough and simple to grow, there are instances when cacti and succulents don’t thrive because of negligence. Here are some common mistakes to avoid and what to do instead: 

1. Placing them in containers without proper drainage

Most succulents prefer their soil to be dry but using a container without drainage holes can cause overwatering. Furthermore, using pebbles to create drainage in a pot makes it worse because the pebbles will just elevate the layer of overwatered soil closer to the plant’s roots, which could increase the chances of rotting. 

Instead, plant the cacti and succulents in a container with drainage and a succulent potting mix to make sure that the plants grow properly. 

2. Misting rather than watering

While cacti and succulents thrive with minimal watering, misting isn’t suitable for them because this process is best appreciated by plants that like extra humid conditions like ferns and other indoor tropical plants. Misting can cause succulents to rot so it’s best to water them by soaking their soil once it’s completely dry. 

3. Inadequate watering

Succulents survive by storing water in their leaves and roots, which is why they can survive weeks, or even a month, without watering. However, when the soil is dry, it’s best to water the plant thoroughly to keep them alive. 

A good way to tell if it’s time to water the plant is by sticking the tip of your finger into the pot to feel any moisture. Also make sure to let all the extra water out of the drainage holes and never leave the pot sitting in a puddle. 

4. Not providing enough light 

Being desert plants, cacti and succulents require large amounts of sunlight to really thrive. Although some of these can tolerate being placed in a dark area, those that do not get enough sunlight lose their color and their stems also stretch out to find light. 

To keep this from happening, before purchasing a plant to add to your collection, determine how much sunlight it needs or can tolerate plus whether or not you can provide this requirement. 

5. Planting with non-succulents 

Succulents thrive in small spaces better than most plants, which is why many gardeners plant them together in a single container to create beautiful arrangements. However, planting succulents with other plants with different requirements can hinder their growth since their needs don’t match. For example, growing a succulent alongside a fern will cause them both to suffer since ferns grow well in moist soil while succulents need only to be watered when the soil is dry. 

Eventually, the plants will also be fighting for resources such as water and soil nutrients. To create a long-lasting succulent arrangement, a dish garden works best since gardeners can still be able to plant multiple succulents in one container while giving them enough space to thrive. 

By avoiding these common mistakes and practicing proper care, there’s no reason for cacti and succulents to feel neglected. 

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