basic needs of succulents: good aeration, steads nourish ment, and perfect drainage.
Before being potted, every plant should be carefully examined for pests and diseases. Potted plants are easily turned out of their containers when the soil is slightly damp by holdma ¡he pot upside down ;ind rapping the nm on the comcr Of a table. Plants in cans are removed by cutting the can to the bottom on two sides with tin snips. Once out of their nots. very spiny succulents may be handled with stout leather gloves, rubber-padded coal or ice-cube tongs, or an improvised holder made by rolling several sheets of newspaper into a strap which is placed around the body of the plant with the iwo free ends serving as a handle. A thorough search should be made of the exposed root ball for scale, mealy bug. and rot. If there is any evidence of pests or disease, the soil should he carefully picked away from the roots, all affected pans cleaned or cut away to the plant bod\\ and the culs dusted with powdered charcoal or sulfur. If ihe plants are healthy but have become very root-bound or formed a hard crust a! the u*p o! the plant ball, they will be helped if the crust is gently crumbled away and the roots loosened slightly.
The actual process of potting succulents is the same as that used for other plants except for one very important differ* enee- Because these plants are so susceptible to rot from excessive moisture in the soil especially when their roots have been disturbed or cut, both the plant to be potted and the polling soil must be quite dry at the time o' planting and for several days afterwards. A layer of dry soil is iak) down over the drainage material in the potf then the plant is centered over it and more soil added around the plant ball or roots until the pot is half full. To settle this loose soil the pot should be bumped lightly on the potting bench or, if the pot is ven large arid heavy, \hc soil may be tamped down with a bluni stick. More soil is then added all around until the roots arc buried to exactly the same depth as they were formerly,
Jowing a reasonable space at the top of the pot for watering. The loose soil is then firmed again by tamping it with a stick, pressing down gently over it with both thumbs, or by bumping the pot on the table.
While these directions will serve to pot most succulents properly, there are many awkward cases thai need special treatment. The commonest o these arc very tall plants that do not have enough roots to anchor them firmly in the soil. Sincc these cannot be planted any deeper than they have been growing without danger of rotting, they must be supported until new roots are formed by tying them with raffia or twine to a small stick placed in the pot. Other succulents without roots may sometimes be wedged in place with pieces f* ^ 1c r 1 it the base of the plant has dried up so that it is concave below, coarse sand may be poured under it to fill the gap until the plant swells and supports itself again. The formation of new roots can be tested by gendy moving the plant while the pot is held iirmlv. A rootless plant will shift slightly when touched, but as roots develop, a definite resistance can be felt until finally the plant becomes quite rigid in the soil.
Unlike other plants, succulents are never watered immediately after potting. The plant and soil are allowed to remain perfectly dry for several days, then they are watered very sparingly for the first month or two. This allows bruised and broken roots to heal which might otherwise rot at once if watered heavily. Some growers like to mulch newly potted succulents with a thin layer of crushed rock or pebbles for appearance's sake, but this can be a dangerous thing as it the true condition of the soil beneath and makes water-
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