With their Instagram-worthy aesthetics and minimal growing needs, succulents have always been a gardener’s favorite!
Besides, their fascinating looks and wide-ranging variety make them one of the most compelling plant types out there. All they need is an equally riveting container, and they’ll be the ideal centerpiece of your outdoor patio sets.
The best part is that you have a range of different colors, textures, and sizes to choose from. In addition, they can propagate quickly to produce a whole line of plants to fill up your balcony or rock garden.
Furthermore, the fleshy leaves and rich tapestry of colors give succulents the appearance and exquisiteness of coral reefs. But that’s not all; if you don’t have a green thumb, then these plants are perfect for you. They can grow both indoors and outdoors and do not require an extensive maintenance routine.
In this guide, we’ve got all the information about their growth rate and how you can grow them faster.
So, without further delay, let’s get right into it!
How Fast Do Succulents Grow?
Before we move on to anything else, we think it’s only right to warn you that succulents grow at a snail’s pace.
So, whether you’re taking the first, baby steps into the world of gardening or are a long-time enthusiast, constantly monitoring the progress of a freshly planted succulent seed will only leave you disappointed.
These beautiful houseplants test your patience and take their own sweet time to grow, which can be a good thing since you won’t have to put them in a bigger pot anytime soon.
Having said that, succulents are a varied plant group, and all of them have different growth rates and requirements. For instance, Haworthia is one of the slowest growers that takes over a year to grow 2 to 3 inches. Echeveria, on the other hand, can grow 7 to 8 inches in a single year.
There are different ways of growing succulents, but many first-time planters prefer growing them from scratch through seeds. Although this method is relatively slow, watching these plants grow right from the outset can be pretty gratifying.
Freshly planted seeds will begin to sprout within the first two weeks. During the initial period, they will need ample water. However, once the seeds have germinated, you can transfer them to a pot. Once transferred, the succulents will establish a strong root system, and you won’t have to water it more than once a week.
Growth Rate Of Succulents Factors
Seasonal variations, watering frequency, soil type, propagation type, and sunlight are the chief factors that determine how fast these plants can grow. So, let’s look at the deets!
Some succulents grow faster than others, even if all other factors remain the same. So, if you’re eager to see your plants blossom, then these fast-growers are the way to go. Usually, they start showing the first signs of development in four weeks and grow considerably within the first six months.
For example, aloe vera can grow anywhere between 2 and 6 inches per year. Similarly, Kalanchoes, Sedum, and Graptoveria are other varieties that show incredible growth in one year.
On the other end, you’ve got slow-growing succulents such as Gasteria, Living Stones, Barrel Cactus, and Crinkle Leaf Plant that barely manage to grow 2 inches per year.
Succulents are fleshy plants that require ample water, sunlight, and fertilizers to grow. Besides, like animals who hibernate, they have a dormancy period where they develop a lot slower than usual. Let’s take a look at the ideal growing conditions for succulents.
Succulents grow best in moist, well-drained soil. During the growing period, you need to water them once per week. If you live in a hot, dry region, you might have to increase their watering frequency but remember that these plants do not thrive in soggy soil. So, always keep the soil slightly moist but never leave them drenched.
Excessive watering can lead to the decaying of leaves and rotting of the roots.
As we have mentioned earlier, succulents enter a dormancy period, either during summers or winters. During this time, they grow way slower than usual and need little water. This is because the plants need considerable energy to absorb and process water, and they might fail to do so when they’re dormant.
In the Southern Hemisphere, where summers are unbearably hot, succulents enter the dormancy period to protect themselves from the excess heat and remain inactive right from May to August.
These plants then begin growing in winter, and here’s when you’ll have to start watering them optimally again. Examples of winter growers include Aloe, Graptoveria, Kalanchoe, Sedum, and Aeonium.
Moving on, in the Northern Hemisphere, specific varieties of succulents enter the dormancy period to protect themselves from harsh winter and remain inactive from November to February. These then blossom during the summer months. Examples include Adenia, Lithops, Moringa, and Euphorbia.
Potted plants need proper nutrients to thrive, and fertilization is the best way to provide that to them. We recommend using fertilizers that have a good amount of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium in them for the best results.
However, do not over-fertilize the plants, or else you might end up doing more damage than good.
Type Of Propagation
Succulents do not always need seeds to grow. Sometimes, propagating them is the best way to go, especially if you want to produce several of these low-maintenance plants. There are different methods of growing them from leaves, roots, or stems. Out here, we’ll give you a brief overview of each of these techniques.
Growing From Roots
A fully developed root from any succulent type can stand on its own. So, you can carefully unearth these roots and plant them in separate pots. Place them in the well-drained soil and wait for the plant to grow.
Usually, new roots and leaves will form within four weeks.
Growing From Leaves
This is one of the most effective techniques to grow succulents quickly. Gently remove entire leaves from plants with the help of garden shears, let them dry out, and develop sprouts. You’ll be able to spot new roots within two weeks.
After two months, new leaves will branch out, and you can plant them in a bigger pot.
Growing From Stem
Using garden shears, cut a piece of stem and let it dry completely. Once you notice roots forming, then place them in a pot.
A neatly potted stem that receives ample water and sunlight will show signs of development within a month.
How To Grow Succulents Faster?
By now, you know all the factors that influence the growth rate of succulents. Now, let’s look at ways to grow these plants faster.
Let The Light Shine Upon Them
Succulents are not high-maintenance plants. However, they need sufficient sunlight to thrive, even when they’re lying dormant. For optimal growth, expose your plants to six hours of sunlight per day.
Freshly potted plants might not be able to withstand six continuous hours of heat, but you must gradually expose them to sunlight. Remember to rotate these plants so that all sides can get equal light. Without proper light, succulents become elongated and lose their vibrant colors.
Some gardeners even opt for artificial grow lights. Natural light is unpredictable and can be too harsh on new plants. Therefore, grow lights imitate natural lighting and give you a greater degree of control over your plants. Usually, fluorescent and LED lights are popular choices for indoor plants.
Invest In Good Soil
Well-drained soil is paramount to the good health of the succulents. Perlite is often mixed in the soil to improve aeration and allow the roots to breathe. Regular soil will hold back water and put the plant under stress, thus reducing its growth potential.
You can buy commercial soil for succulents, or you can make a DIY mix.
To make the perfect mix for succulents, you’ll need perlite, porous potting soil, and coarse sand in the ratio of 1:3:2. As we’ve specified before, do not use a potting mix that has moisture retention properties.
Apart from being well-drained, the soil should be nutrient-rich to ensure that your plants get proper nourishment and grow faster.
To further enhance the efficacy of the soil and give your plants an extra boost, you can add fertilizers.
Take Care Of The Watering Needs
It is essential to provide succulents the right amount of nourishment and energy when they’re growing. In fact, regular watering with a mild fertilizer during summer can work wonders for succulents.
So, after planting, you should take charge of the watering needs of the plant. The best part about succulents is that they do not require a rigorous watering regime. During the growing period (spring and summer for most plants), they need water once a week to thrive.
However, there is no hard and fast rule regarding the same. If your soil is arid, then watering your plant twice a week will be judicious. However, don’t make the mistake of overwatering your plants. Succulents do not thrive in soggy soil, and excess water can kill them by weakening their roots.
Choose A Proper Container
There is a wide range of shapes and sizes available when it comes to containers for succulents, and you’ll be spoiled for choice.
However, drainage is the most vital consideration when choosing a container. Without good drainage, your plants might rot or end up with yellow leaves. So, to prevent waterlogging, opt for terracotta or ceramic pots that are porous and allow water to drain out. Besides, they also help in air circulation.
Also, do not make the mistake of planting your succulents in an oversized pot since they hold more soil and retain excess moisture. An optimally sized container pushes the plant to grow. It doesn’t provide enough space for the roots to grow downwards and thus forces the succulent to grow upwards.
Get Rid Of Pests
Succulents are prone to pests, especially aphids and mealybugs. Aphids suck on plant leaves and tissues, giving them a yellow color. Besides, mealybugs leave behind white fluff and lead to the formation of mold and bacterial infections. Usually, excessive watering and fertilization lead to mealybugs in the plant.
If you notice bugs on your plant, move them away from the others and treat them with rubbing alcohol. Apart from alcohol, a mixture of soap and water can also effectively treat bugs.
Protect Your Plants
Whether you place your plants indoors or outdoors, they are bound to pick up dust. So, gently clean it with a damp cloth to ensure that its growth is not deterred.
Besides, succulents are pretty sensitive. A slight scratch or nib can take a lot of time to heal. Thus, it is best to keep them away from children and pets.
Also, do not expose the plant to extreme temperature variations. Excess of sunlight, strong winds, or frost can damage the succulent.
If you cram the pot with too many plants, you’re risking infestation and mold. Besides, the plant roots start competing for nutrients and water, and this battle will slow down the succulents’ growth. You might even end up killing them!
So, carefully separate the different arrangements and pot them in spacious containers.
Tips On Caring For Succulents
Now, we understand you’re tempted to grow these eclectic plants right away. But, tarry a little! We’ve got some tips that’ll help all the first-time growers out there. Let’s take a quick look.
Choose The Right Variety
Not all succulents thrive indoors. Some grow best in their native habitat, and making impractical choices in this regard will not serve you well. For instance, some cactus types, such as Saguaro, are best confined to the deserts. You can work with Aloe, Crassula, Aeonium, Kalanchoe, and certain cactus varieties for indoor planting.
Moving on, if you live in a cold climate, then succulents like Sempervivum and Sedum are excellent frost-tolerant varieties. Similarly, plant types such as cacti, agave, aloe vera, and jade plants are heat-tolerant and therefore perfect for tropical climates.
It is vital to choose succulents that can grow well in your area and are suitable for growing indoors.
Nitrogen-based or phosphorus-based fertilizers work best for succulents. Unlike other plants, they do not require frequent fertilization (once a year will suffice). However, make sure that the fertilizer is diluted, or else it can burn your plants.
Don’t Ignore Your Chores
A lot of succulent owners get complacent about the plant’s watering needs. Since these are primarily desert dwellers, they might not require a lot of water, but their needs are no different than regular plants. Sunlight, water, and soil type play a huge role in ensuring the overall health of your succulent.
So, don’t ignore your watering chores, keep the soil dry, and protect the plant from harsh weather. Be extra cautious during winters since soil takes longer to dry and most plant types lie dormant.
Provide Proper Airflow
You can place the succulents on the windowsill or garden. No matter where you place them, remember not to block their airflow. Proper ventilation is of paramount importance to prevent rotting and mold formation.
Besides, making slight modifications to your soil mix and watering routine can also help keep the plants dry.
How Tall Do Succulents Grow?
Succulents are a diverse group of plants, so the answer to this question varies. Generally speaking, most succulents such as aloe or snake plants remain small throughout and can comfortably sit on your windowsill.
However, some other varieties like Ocotillo, Palmer’s Agave, and Fishhook Barrel grow quite tall.
How Much Water Does My Plant Need?
There is no hard and fast rule regarding the volume of water that a succulent needs. Their water requirements are not as intensive as other plants, but they still need to be watered at least once a week.
We encourage you to opt for pots with drainage holes so that water flows through them and doesn’t leave the soil soggy.
Why Are My Plant Leaves Turning Brown?
Sometimes, the leaf tips turn brown after exposure to frost or broiling sun. So, in case you notice browning tips, lightly chip off the leaves. And, remember to provide adequate shade to your succulents to help them deal with extreme weather patterns.
With that, we come to the end of this guide. Growing succulents might not look easy initially, but once you get the hang of it, these variegated plants will be your favorite.
Succulents have a very long lifespan, and growing them is a long-term commitment. However, their maintenance requirements are minimal. This makes them the perfect plant choice for gardening enthusiasts who do not have enough time or energy to invest in household plants.
So, go ahead and spruce up your balcony, patio, or windowsill with these stunning and diversified desert plants. We hope we’ve answered all your queries, but feel free to reach out to us in the comments section below with more questions.
Till next time, happy gardening!