General Care Instructions

 Adeniums

Temperature is crucial. Plants cannot withstand temperatures below 50 degrees, especially when wet. Keep plants dry in cold weather. Leaf loss may occur, but regrowth is expected in spring. If kept warm in a heated greenhouse or house during winter, water sparingly.

When temperatures are 80 degrees plus, weekly watering will be adequate. Allow some drying between watering. Complete drying may pose challenges when rewetting the soil. Utilize a liquid fertilizer at 1/4 strength with each watering.

Soil is 1/2 perlite or pumice to 1/2 potting soil. A top dressing of fine gravel aids even drying and is strongly recommended. Repot when drying out is too frequent. Gradually increase pot size. Avoid using oversized pots for small plants. 

Flowering varies with each plant and can occur at any time of year. The primary causes of flowering failure are insufficient light and lack of fertilizer.

Aeonium

Aeonium, similar to other succulents, have shallow roots that are prone to rot if overwatered. To avoid this, refrain from getting water into the rosettes and leaving it there, as this can lead to leaf rot. It is crucial to note that this plant has low water needs. Aeoniums are dormant during the summer months so ensure to reduce watering. There are also very susceptible to sunburn during the summer months in hot weather, provide afternoon shade. They tend to bruise easily therefore handle with care and avoid handling the leaves as much as possible.

Agave

Agave thrives in full sunlight and mineral-rich soils with proper drainage. It is recommended to water deeply to ensure drainage and allow the soil to dry completely before watering again. This variety grows slowly in the warmer months and can withstand high temperatures and drought. It is also somewhat frost hardy when kept dry during winter and should be protected from excess moisture to prevent rot.

Alluaudia

Alluaudia procera thrives in full sun or high interior lighting and requires a well-drained soil mix and good air circulation. During winter, the plant sheds its leaves and watering should be minimal. Once established in a new pot, the plant should be pruned to 7-10 cm in height to promote branching. The trimmings can be easily rooted, and the process can be repeated. If planted in a landscaping setting, the plant may shed its leaves, but watering should be reduced until new growth appears.

Aloe

Aloe requires ample sunlight to maintain their vibrant colors and compact rosette structure. If there is a risk of freezing temperatures, they can be moved indoors to a sunny window or under a grow light. To prevent rot, provide excellent drainage and water sparingly. Use containers with drainage holes and a well-draining soil mixed with mineral grit such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite.

Beaucarnea recurvata (Ponytail Palm)

The ponytail palm, a unique plant in the agave family, is actually a succulent rather than a palm. When grown in gardens, it typically reaches a maximum height of 11 feet, but when grown indoors, it rarely exceeds 4 feet. This popular houseplant has a distinct appearance, characterized by its thick, bloated brown stem that stores water and is commonly referred to as a "bulb" or "caudex." Although the ponytail palm rarely blooms as a houseplant, its small, pure white flowers can be seen in late winter to early spring on long stalks emerging from the center of the succulent.

Similar to succulents, the ponytail palm has the ability to withstand drought due to its fleshy stems that store water. However, its root system is prone to damage from overwatering, which can lead to root rot and fungal infections. During the growing season of spring and summer, it is best to water the ponytail palm regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist but not soggy. To prevent overwatering, allow the top layer of soil to dry out between waterings. During the dormant period of fall and winter, the ponytail palm's growth slows down and requires less water. It is important to reduce the frequency of watering during this time. Be cautious of the soil's drainage, as the ponytail palm's Beaucarnea recurvata roots can be harmed if the soil does not drain quickly.

If you are growing Ponytail palm indoors, it will thrive in bright, indirect light, but can also tolerate lower light levels. It is best to place it near a sunny window or in a well-lit room. However, be careful not to expose it to direct, intense sunlight as it may cause leaf scorching. If your ponytail palm does not receive enough bright light, its stems may become leggy, the leaves may turn pale, and they might even curl. So, keep your ponytail palm happy by providing it with plenty of light. If you are growing your ponytail palm outdoors, it can handle full sun, but it prefers some partial shade and should avoid prolonged direct sunlight. You should gradually increase the exposure to full sun to help your Beaucarnea recurvata adapt. Remember to protect your ponytail palm plant during a heatwave or periods of extreme heat by moving it indoors or to a shaded area as it can still sustain sun damage or get sunburn. 

For those living in USDA zones 9–11, the ponytail palm can be grown outdoors throughout the year. It flourishes in warm weather and can handle full sun or partial shade. While it can survive brief periods of temperatures as low as 30°F, it is generally advised to protect it from frost and freezing.

 

Cactus

Cacti can be damaged by excess soil moisture. Cacti typically require watering every two to three weeks. They flourish in well-draining, dry soil. Excess moisture can lead to root rot, decay, and plant demise. The general rule is to allow the growing medium to dry out completely between thorough waterings. 

Well-draining soil and dry periods are essential to allow your cacti to thrive and prevent fungal infections from too much moisture. These succulents need porous, fast-draining soil, as wet roots can easily rot. A gritty mix of 70% inorganic material like perlite or pumice with 30% organic potting soil.

Desert cacti are adapted to living in strong sunlight all day long, so many plants need four to six hours of direct sunlight to remain healthy, put on growth, and flower. However, forest cacti like the Christmas cactus prefer filtered sunlight and do well with less light exposure.

Crassula

Crassula require ample sunlight to retain their vibrant colors and maintain a compact, rosette shape. While they are not able to withstand harsh frost, they can be moved indoors to a sunny windowsill or under a grow light in the event of freezing temps. To avoid damage, protect from intense afternoon sun during periods of extreme heat. Use containers with drainage holes and a well-draining soil mixed with mineral grit such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite.

Delosperma

Delosperma is a resilient and low-maintenance plant, perfect for outdoor gardens in full sun. For best results, plant in raised beds or containers with proper drainage and mix in coarse sand, pumice, or perlite to prevent rot. A consistent watering schedule will aid in root establishment and promote rapid growth, but mature Delosperma can withstand long periods of drought. To propagate, carefully cut off the top 2.0"+ of the stem and transplant it for successful re-rooting. 

Dioscorea elephantipes

The Dioscorea elephantipes, a succulent from the Dioscoreaceae family, is commonly known as the elephant's foot plant due to its tuberous caudex that resembles an elephant's foot during its growth period. This caudex serves as an underground storage organ for water and nutrients, enabling the Elephant's foot succulent to slowly reach heights of up to 10 feet and widths of 3 feet. Its thick and textured caudex, resembling a small tree trunk, adds to the plant's unique appearance. As the plant matures, it produces tendrils that can attach to nearby structures for support. In the summer, the Dioscorea elephantipes sheds its leaves, but new shoots emerge in the winter.

 The Dioscorea elephantipes plant produces greenish-yellow flowers in late fall and early winter. This dioecious plant features separate male and female flowers, with the former appearing in erect racemes and the latter in spinescent spikes during winter. These unique blooms, found on long, slender stalks emerging from the plant's caudex, add to the charm of this intriguing species. However, it is important to note that the elephant's foot plant contains mildly toxic substances called saponins. These can cause nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal discomfort if consumed, so it is recommended to keep the plant out of reach of pets and curious children for their safety.

 During the growing season, usually winter and spring, it is recommended to water your Elephant Foot plant when the top inch of soil is dry. It is important to water deeply and ensure that the water reaches the roots, allowing the excess water to drain completely. In the dormant season, typically late summer, watering should be significantly reduced as the succulent Elephant's foot undergoes a rest period and requires less water. Only water separate plants sparingly during this time, when the soil is completely dried out.

When it comes to indoor lighting, the Elephant Foot succulent does best in bright, indirect light. It thrives in a spot near a window where it can receive plenty of bright, filtered sunlight. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as this can cause the leaves to scorch. 

If you're growing Dioscorea elephantipes outdoors, it prefers a sunny location with partial shade to full sun for at least 4-6 hours a day. It can handle direct sunlight, but it's important to acclimate your elephant foot plant gradually to prevent sunburn. Start by placing it in a partially shaded area and gradually increase the exposure to sunlight over time. 

Consider that lighting needs may differ based on your local climate and the strength of sunlight in your area. Pay close attention to how your Dioscorea elephantipe reacts to light. If the leaves begin to yellow or form brown spots, this could mean the plant is getting too much direct light. However, if the leaves become stretched out and pale, it could suggest that the plant is not getting enough light.

 For optimum growth, the Elephant Foot plant requires a consistently warm environment. During the day, the temperature should be maintained between 65°F and 75°F, and slightly cooler at night. Keep the plant away from drafts and cold windows to prevent potential damage. It is important to avoid sudden temperature changes, as the plant can be sensitive to extreme fluctuations. If you choose to grow the Dioscorea elephantipes outdoors, it is most successful in USDA zones 9 to 11, which typically have mild to warm climates with winter lows rarely reaching freezing temperatures. If you reside in a colder region, it is recommended to grow this plant in a container that can be moved indoors during the colder months.

When caring for Dioscorea elephantipes, it is advised to limit fertilization and only use a balanced (5-10-5), water-soluble fertilizer at half strength during the growing season. Over-fertilization can lead to excessive growth and weak stems, so it is best to apply the fertilizer once a year and not exceed the recommended amount.

As a product expert, you will want to provide airy, porous, nutrient-rich soil with a pH level of 5.6-6.5 for the elephant's foot plant. For cacti, be sure to use fast-draining soil that fully dries between waterings, just like desert soil. The optimal soil for these plants should have a sandy texture and low water-holding capacity.

Echeveria

Echeveria requires ample sunlight to retain their vibrant colors and maintain a compact, rosette shape. While they are not able to withstand harsh frost, they can be moved indoors to a sunny windowsill or under a grow light in the event of freezing temps. To avoid damage, protect from intense afternoon sun during periods of extreme heat. Use containers with drainage holes and a well-draining soil mixed with mineral grit such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite. Water thoroughly, enough for water to run out the drainage holes, and wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again.

Fockea

Fockeas have large tuberous roots and are commonly consumed in their native regions. The tuber is made up of water-absorbing tissue, which allows the plant to survive during dry seasons. Young Fockeas usually grow under the shade of companion plants and as they mature, they produce erect, straggling, or twining aerial stems. These plants thrive in partial shade but can also tolerate full sun with some sun protection. A fast-draining soil mix is ideal for preventing excess water retention in Fockeas. They are also cold hardy and can survive long periods without water thanks to their ability to store water in their tuber. For support, a trellis, adjacent bush, or nearby wall can be used.

During the growing season, which typically runs from spring to fall, ensure that the soil has time to dry out between waterings. Be aware that a shriveled tuber may indicate that your Fockea is being underwatered. In the winter, reduce the frequency of watering to prevent the tuber from shriveling. When watering during this time, do so only enough to prevent shriveling. Use a high-nitrogen fertilizer with a lower potassium level to promote tuber growth, but only during the growing season. The tuber contains a milky sap that is considered toxic. It is advised to avoid any contact with the sap, especially on skin or eyes, and to keep it out of reach of children and pets.

Fouquieria macdougalii

Fouquieria macdougalii is a fast-growing tree with a relatively short lifespan. For optimal growth, it is recommended to plant in an area with full to partial sun exposure and ensure that there is proper air circulation. In the summer, water regularly but allow the plant to dry out before watering again. When planted in a landscape, it is common for the tree to shed its leaves during a period of rest. In this case, reduce watering until new leaves appear. These trees can tolerate temperatures as low as -4°C, but prefer a winter dormancy period. While safe for humans, they can be mildly toxic to pets, so it is advised to keep them away from children.

Gasteria

Native to South Africa, gasteria (Gasteria spp.) is a type of succulent that resembles aloe and is not commonly found. It can thrive both indoors and in outdoor gardens if the main care requirements are followed. These plants prefer bright light but not direct sunlight, so it is important to protect them from hot afternoon rays. Signs of too much sun include white or yellow leaves. For container plants, use a fast-draining mix with a small amount of sand. For outdoor gardens, sandy soil with a pH of 6 to 7 is ideal for proper drainage. Like most succulents, gasteria plants do not require a lot of water. Water only when the soil is almost completely dry, and if the plant receives rainfall, supplemental watering is typically not needed. In humid climates, watering can be reduced as the humidity provides necessary moisture. Fertilize with a cactus fertilizer once in the spring. 

For optimal growth, it is recommended to add approximately 10% compost to the soil when planting succulents, as they typically require a higher amount of organic matter than other plants in order to thrive.

Haworthia

Haworthias are best suited to grow in partial shade, often under bushes or rock overhangs in their natural habitat. This makes them adaptable to lower light conditions indoors. To prevent sunburn, place the potted plants in a bright area with some protection from the hottest rays of the day. Pay attention to leaf color, as white, yellow, or red-tinged leaves may indicate too much sunlight. While deep shade may weaken the plant over time, Haworthias thrive under artificial lights and can gradually be moved outdoors to full sun after a winter indoors. It is recommended to always use well-drained soil for Haworthias, as they do not thrive in wet conditions for extended periods. In their natural habitat, these plants can be found growing in sandy soils located in rocky regions. Consider using a combination of perlite and grit in your soil mixture.

Haworthias prefer warmer temperatures during the summer, but cooler temperatures during the winter. In an unheated room, the natural cooler temperatures in the winter are ideal for Haworthias. However, it is important to avoid exposing them to extreme cold. Ideally, temperatures ranging from 75 to 90 °F (24 to 32 °C) are best for optimal growth. While some species may be able to survive a light frost for a short time, it is best to err on the side of caution. Most Haworthias can withstand temperatures down to USDA hardiness zone 10a, which is around 30 °F (-1.1 °C).

Hoya

To ensure proper growth and health of Hoya plants, they should be placed in a position with access to indirect sunlight for at least six hours a day. While medium to low light can also suffice, it should be noted that plants kept in indirect light tend to be stronger with more leaves. Direct sunlight should be limited to a maximum of two hours in the morning or evening, as too much sunlight can harm the plants, causing yellowing or burnt leaves. The ideal location for Hoya plants would be near east or north-facing windows, while avoiding west and south-facing ones.

The watering process for Hoya plants is similar to other succulent plants. After watering, it is important to wait until the soil has dried out before watering again. Due to the thick and fleshy leaves of Hoya plants, they do not require frequent watering as they can hold moisture well. During spring and summer, watering every two weeks is recommended. In winter, once every three to four weeks should suffice, but always check the soil beforehand.

To ensure proper growth and health, it is important to maintain a warm and humid environment for Hoya plants. Ideally, the temperature should be between 65 and 80 F (18 to 27°C) during the day and between 60 and 65 F (16 to 18°C) at night. It is also recommended to keep the temperature between 68 and 75 F (20 to 24°C) for optimal conditions. However, extreme temperatures below 50 F (10°C) or above 90 F (32°C) can cause damage to the plants, such as discoloration or leaf loss. Additionally, it is essential to maintain humidity levels above 60% to prevent stunted growth in the plants.

For optimal growth, Hoya plants require well-draining soil with good air circulation. A standard potting mix can meet these conditions and prevent root rot. When fertilizing, use a higher nitrogen fertilizer for foliar growth, but switch to a phosphorus-rich fertilizer when the plants are closer to blooming for larger and fuller flowers. Remember to only fertilize during the growing season (spring to summer), as plants do not require extra nutrients during the winter when their energy consumption is reduced due to less light.

Pachypodium

Pachypodiums have unique fibrous roots that efficiently absorb moisture, allowing them to thrive even in their natural habitat where good rains are infrequent. This is in contrast to the thinner roots typically found in other succulent plants. Additionally, pachypodiums have a thick and glossy bark that helps them reflect intense sunlight and survive extended periods of dryness. When growing Pachypodiums, it is important to provide them with adequate light. This can be done by placing them in a location with natural or artificial view protection that still allows for direct sunlight. Without enough light, a Pachypodium will become weak, with thin branches and long, soft leaves. This can make the plant more vulnerable to disease and eventually lead to its demise. It is important to note, however, that certain Pachypodium species from South Africa, such as Pachypodium succulentum and Pachypodium bispinosum, may require less light due to their origin in tropical countries.

The temperature range is crucial for the growth of Pachypodium plants. In summer, Madagascar and South Africa habitats can experience very high temperatures, while the minimum temperature of around 55 °F (13 °C) is vital for triggering the rest period. The actual minimum temperature required may vary based on the moisture level of the soil, with drier soils allowing for lower temperatures. It is recommended to maintain a minimum temperature of 59 °F (15 °C) during the rest period.

During the growth phase, Pachypodiums have high water requirements due to the effects of their natural environment. As their rainy season can be short, they must quickly store as much water as possible to sustain themselves. However, it can be challenging for beginners to know when and how much water to provide. Unlike cacti, Pachypodiums should not be treated in the same way. A helpful guideline is to keep the soil slightly damp during periods of active growth. The dormancy period is the most critical time for watering decisions, as beginners often misunderstand its importance. Pachypodiums have unique needs compared to other succulents, and they will not survive without regular water until the next spring. Despite being hardy plants, they still require consistent watering to maintain their moisture reserves during the dormancy period.

Peperomia

Ensure your peperomia receives a moderate to high level of light to preserve its rich and vibrant foliage. For optimal results, place it in close proximity to a west- or east-facing window, or position it a few feet away from a south- or north-facing window. Inadequate light can lead to leaf loss, reduced growth, and duller coloration. Avoid exposing the plant to direct sunlight, as it can cause leaf damage. Consider using a soil blend that replicates the characteristics of chunky, loose, and acidic conditions. An orchid potting medium is often suitable, but regular potting soil can also be used. You can improve aeration by adding a small amount of coconut coir and perlite. Certain peperomia plant species grow as epiphytes, meaning they naturally attach to tree branches and absorb nutrients from decaying bark. Maintain the soil moisture at a dry level by allowing the top 2 inches to dry out in between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it is recommended to keep the peperomia on the drier side. The succulent-like leaves of the peperomia are an indication that these plants do not require frequent watering to thrive. Provide tropical peperomia plants with a warm and humid setting, particularly during their peak growth in the summer months. When outdoors, these plants can withstand USDA zone 10 conditions, but they are not able to endure freezing temperatures. It is recommended to bring them indoors before the nighttime temperature reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Petopentia natalensis

This winter-dormant climbing plant, hailing from the Eastern Cape, is a fast-growing variety from the Asclepiadaceae family, commonly known as "Propeller vine". Reaching heights of up to 8 m, P. natalensis is the sole species in the monotypic Petopentia genus, known for its tuberous rootstock and glossy leaves. Its stunning growth and adaptability make it an ideal choice for any arrangement. P. natalensis blooms in early summer, showcasing a beautiful blend of brown to maroon and white flowers. This plant also boasts a large tuber that is visually appealing above ground, as well as being efficient at retaining water between waterings due to its succulent tubers. While frequent watering is necessary during the summer months, it is best to reduce or avoid watering in the winter months to prevent overwatering. 

For optimal growth, these plants require well-drained soil and ample airflow. Petopentia natalensis is classified as a hardiness zone 9b to 11 plant and cannot survive temperatures below 39.2° F (4° C). These climbing plants prefer full sun to partial shade and are suitable for both home and office environments. Avoid exposing them to excessive direct light, as it may cause burns.

Pleiospilos (Split Rock/Lithops)

The similarities between the split rock plant and Lithops can often lead to confusion. However, the key difference lies in their flowering process. While both plants bloom in the early fall, Split Rocks have the ability to produce multiple flowers in one reproductive cycle, while Lithops only produces one flower at a time. The split rock succulent boasts daisy-like flowers in various hues, such as orange, white, yellow, and magenta.

For optimal growth and health, it is crucial to properly water split rock succulents. Despite being succulents, these plants have lower water requirements due to their adaptation to arid environments. To avoid overwatering, which can cause root rot or damage, it is recommended to allow the soil to completely dry out between waterings. During the growing and flowering season, these rock plants should be watered only 3-4 times a year and should not be watered in the winter. Split rock succulents prefer partial shade to full sun, and should be placed in a sunny location with ample sunlight, while also being protected from intense, direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day.

Sansevieria

For optimal growth and a long, healthy life in your home or office, the Sansevieria only needs to be watered approximately every few weeks. Avoid overwatering, as it can be detrimental to the Snake Plant. Give them water every few weeks or once a month and supplement their diet with a simple fertilizer every couple of months after 6 months. This plant is well-known for its air-purifying abilities, efficiently removing harmful substances like benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene. In fact, just one plant per 100 square feet can effectively clean the air within that space! Sansevieria serves as a great example of how plants can improve air quality and even promote better sleep. They thrive in bright, filtered light, but can also tolerate partial light conditions. However, be aware that they are toxic to pets, so it is best to keep them out of their reach.

Sempervivum (Hens & Chicks)

It is important to give sempervivum plenty of outdoor sunlight in order to showcase their vibrant colors and maintain a compact, rosette shape. New chicks will appear on stolons and can either be left to create orderly clusters or transplanted and shared. Sempervivum primarily grow during the spring and summer and will flourish with weekly waterings and some afternoon shade if the temperature goes above 80F. These plants exhibit strong resistance to frost and are able to endure harsh winter conditions under a snow cover. To prevent rot, it is crucial to protect them from heavy rainfall and standing water.

Soft Succulents (Graptoveria, Pachyveria)

Soft succulents, it is important to protect them from hard frost. If there is a risk of freezing temperatures, bring them indoors to a sunny windowsill or under a grow light. These plants require bright sunlight, excellent drainage, and infrequent watering to avoid rot. Choose containers with drainage holes and use cactus and succulent soil mixed with mineral grit such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite. Water deeply enough for drainage and wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again. Provide afternoon shade during the summer months to prevent sunburn.