You can make your Succulents grow faster by emphasizing the roots of your plant.
How To Make Succulents Grow Faster?
Succulents are exceptionally hardy and grow and sustain without much effort, but some may need a little help and extra care to grow faster.
Here are a few tips that can be followed to make your succulents grow faster:
- Provide sufficient space between the succulents
- Repot regularly
- Spread the roots periodically
- Succulent potting mix is ideal for use
- Use fertiliser from time to time.
- Water your succulents frequently
- Separate offsets from the mother plant
- Protect your succulent from any physical damage
- Place your succulents in bright sunlight.
Provide Sufficient Space Between Succulents
Succulents can survive in the crowd more than any other plants. Roots of the succulents can absorb the nutrition even in cramped spaces.
However, if the succulents are planted in crowded areas, the plants will spend more energy on roots to absorb nutrients and water from the soil. So, growth will slow down as less energy will be used for it.
If you have planted many succulents together, remove some succulents to provide sufficient space for each plant. Identify and separate the species that are more dominant than the others.
Repot succulents regularly using fresh soil and a pot one size larger each time. As a succulent grows, it develops more roots needing more space. If a succulent’s roots are emerging from the drainage holes and roots are packed closely, it is root-bound.
Repot immediately for enhancing new growth. Fresh soil provides nutrients and new pots provide more space for roots and plants to grow. Check roots to know when to repot.
Usually, repot every 1-3 years, before the onset of the growing season i.e. end of February or beginning of March. Avoid watering your succulents 2 weeks before and after repotting.
The pot should have a lot of draining holes at the bottom.
Also, remove offsets and plant them separately.
Succulent Potting Mix is Ideal For Use
Well-draining soil is ideal to use for succulents as they need proper drainage. Some chunkier material can be added to the soil mix to allow water to drain easily. Otherwise, the soil will retain the water and the roots will suffocate, leading to slow growth of the plant. The succulents thrive in a soil that allows the roots to expand properly.
Moreover, the soil should be rich in nutrients to make your succulent grow faster.
Succulents grow faster and become bigger in an ideal growing medium. Succulent potting mix is best to use as it will make your succulents happy, healthy and big.
Water Your Succulents Frequently
Follow a regular watering schedule. Water as soon as the soil dries out.
If you find it difficult to know when to water a succulent, use a soil meter.
Use Fertiliser From Time To Time
You can add some fertilisers to strengthen the growing process and to make your succulent extra healthy. Fertilise the soil when succulents are actively growing, most will grow through spring to mid fall. Low nitrogen and equal phosphorus and potassium fertiliser (2-7-7, or 2-8-8) are ideal for succulents and cacti.
Ensure that the fertiliser is not too strong as it can burn the succulents beyond repair.
Spread The Roots Periodically
Succulents pack their roots in circles to benefit the most from the soil. Compactness of the root circle depends on the space available for the succulent in the pot or garden. To make the succulents grow faster, help it spread the roots once in a while. The plant will be able to absorb more nutrients from the soil and the growth will be faster. When free space is available, the succulents fill it, both in the soil and above it.
Let’s see how to do it?
Take out the succulent from the soil carefully. Make sure to not damage the root system.
Gently press or tap the pot or put a few drops of water on the sides to alleviate the soil.
As the succulent is out, dislodge the soil from the roots by lightly massaging the root system with your fingers. After this, plant the succulent in a fresh soil mix by spreading the roots as much as possible with your hands. Avoid using sharp objects that can cut or damage them.
Separate Offsets From Mother Plant
- Offsets or pups are the baby succulents that grow around the base of the parent plant.
- Succulents produce many offsets that, on maturity, start to absorb the nutrients from the soil, trying to keep existing. So, detach new plants from a mother plant regularly and plant them separately.
- Then each plant will get sufficient space to develop the root system and to grow up.
- It is better to remove baby succulents from the main plant as it will not distress them, because they are not used to their environment.
- They will adapt to the new place soon. Also, their roots are still young, making it much easier to get them out of the soil without harm. In this way, all the plants will grow fast and will remain healthy.
Protect Your Succulents From Any Damage
Although succulents are hardy plants, they are very sensitive to physical damage. Damage can hamper and even stop the growth as the plant will focus on healing. Succulents have weaker stems as compared to the other plants. Hence, even a little scratch or breaking will take months to heal.
Place Your Succulents In Bright Sunlight
Place your succulents in bright sunlight as it will keep them happy and healthy. Most succulents need a few hours of sunlight every day to grow well.
Succulents require lots of sunlight to grow well. Most need lots of indirect bright light, while others need partial shade. While growing succulents indoors, place them on a sunny windowsill as it requires lots of light.
If you can’t provide sunlight, you might get a plant to grow light.
Select fluorescent or LED light of around 60 watts, with a timer. Use it for 10-14 hours every day at a distance of 1.5 feet.
Avoid placing your succulents in complete shade. Keep your succulents away from pets or kids that can harm them. Protect your pots from falling during stronger winds. Secure the taller succulents from breaking under the strong winds.
Always remember that some succulents grow throughout the year, many undergo dormancy in winters and some grow only during the summer season.
For example, while growing Aeonium Kiwi remember that this particular Aeonium is dormant in the warmest months. Also, know your succulent well when trying to grow them.
The best thing you can do for a dormant succulent is to leave it as such. A summer dormant succulent plant can be placed in bright shade which will help it survive the summer.
Why Isn’t My Succulent Growing?
Despite taking good care of your succulents, you may ponder, why isn’t my succulent growing?
There are various reasons for why your succulent is not growing, which are discussed ahead.
The main reason why your succulent is not growing is because succulents have sluggish growth. Other reasons can be under- watering or over-watering, dormancy period, pests, rotting roots or nutrient deficient soil.
Reason 1: Under-watering
- Even though succulents are natives of deserts, still they need water to flourish and grow. Underwatered succulents shrivel and can become dry and crispy.
- Usually, succulent leaves are plump when watered sufficiently and will lose plumpness without water. Also, an under-watered succulent will be droopy and wilted.
- Watering schedule for a succulent will depend on the season, kind of succulent, the pot, soil etc.
- For example, succulents potted in a big pot will need less water as water in it will evaporate slowly. In a deeper pot, it will evaporate more slowly.
- Usually, you need to water a succulent once every 10-14 days in summers and once in 3-4 weeks in winters. Soil metres can be of great help with the watering schedule as it will tell you if soil is wet or dry.
- During the growing season, water it frequently from early spring to autumn and decrease it in late autumn through winter. However, check caring instructions for your specific succulent.
Reason 2: Dormancy Period
- If your succulents are not growing, it can be due to the reason that they are undergoing a dormancy period. Succulents undergo dormancy in the early autumn when temperature drops. However, some succulents grow during fall and winter like Christmas cactus.
- From early fall to winter, water your succulents less. In winters, succulents almost stop growing, so they don’t need much water.
- Over-watering can lead to bursting of succulent cells in winters as water expands in freezing temperatures and excess water can rupture the cells of your plant.
- Some succulents are more resistant to frost than others. But generally, the temperature below 40° F (4° C) is stressful for most succulents. Follow caring guidelines for your succulent and keep it indoors if it is sensitive to cold.
- If the temperature in your area doesn’t get very low in winters, keep your succulents outdoors. Most succulents can tolerate some frost or freezing temperatures for some hours everyday.
- You can protect your succulents from frost in winters outdoors by covering them with a horticultural frost cloth. Hold down the cloth on all sides and it should not be made of plastic as there will be no air exchange otherwise. Prefer a clothing cover that can protect from heavy rain to avoid waterlogging and rotting.
Reason 3: Pests and Diseases
- If your succulent is not growing, it can be due to pest infestation or diseases. Make sure to check your plants, soil, and roots once every few weeks.
- Check your succulents for bugs and insects as different pests can attack succulents by feeding on their sap, ceasing their growth and resulting in plant death. Some pests infest fresh growth. Pests damage roots or stems, making the conditions severe.
- For example, spider mites( small red bugs) drink plant sap. Look for thin webs and scars that indicate spider mites.
- Thrips also invade succulents and suck their sap. They can hardly be noticed, especially nymphs. But adult thrips can be found flying around the plant.
- Mealybugs form a cottony substance on your succulents to hide. Check nearby the base and roots of the plant for mealybugs, which affect succulent growth.
- Succulent diseases also prevent your succulent from growing properly. Look for any mould, stem or root rot, leaf scarring, corking, or brown or black spots (fungal infection). For example, Nematodes (worms) can cause tissue swelling in succulents and distorted growth.
- Root rot (soft and brown roots) is particularly harmful, making it difficult for a succulent to receive any water, thus causing the plant to collapse. Pest invasion in roots can be checked by looking for any eggs or larvae in roots.
- Most diseases and pests will take some time to show any significant harm to a succulent. They stop the growth of your succulents, leading the whole plant to collapse. So, examine your succulents regularly and treat any problems as soon as possible.
Reason 4: Overwatering and Rotting Roots
- Not only can underwatering prevent your succulent from growing properly, overwatering can do it too. Overwatering results in yellow and soft plant leaves and thereby falling off.
- Moreover, roots sitting in water for a longer time period will start rotting. A succulent with rotting roots cannot absorb nutrients and water into its cells. Rot can also spread to the stem, making it brown.
- This can lead to a plant’s death, if not attended to early. Check the roots of your succulent regularly for any soft and brown/black roots. On noticing any, cut them and repot the plant. Soft, yellow, and falling leaves will also indicate overwatering.
- If the roots are rotting, avoid watering the plant for some time to allow the soil to dry out. Disinfect scissors to cut the affected roots and repot the plant into the new soil. After repotting, don’t water for a week, or it will make your succulent droopy.
- If you have difficulty knowing when to water your succulents, a soil meter can be of great help. Another way to find when to water your succulent is to place one or a few stones on the soil. Look for moisture under the stone and if there is any moisture, then it is not the time to water your succulent.
Reason 5: Keeping Your Succulent in a too Cold or Hot Area
- One more reason for your succulent not growing is to keep it in the wrong place with unfavourable temperature.
- Most succulents like to be in the sun and lack of sunlight affects your plant’s growth. Avoid keeping succulents in/under glass as it can have negative effects.
- Do not keep your plant near hot radiators or air conditioners. Overly high temperatures lead to soil drying quickly.
- In summer, succulents need lots of light. But if you place your succulents in a very hot area, it will be scorched and overheated.
- Generally, temperatures above 86° F (30 Celsius) may overheat your succulents. This can make them undergo dormancy, thus halting their growth.
- In winters, do not keep your succulents in very cold conditions. This can freeze your succulents, leading to their death ultimately.
- Also, check the temperature and light requirements for your succulent and if it’s frost or heat resistant or sensitive to find where to keep your plant.
Reason 6: Lack of Nutrients
- An underfed succulent will show poor or no growth. Yellowing of the plant, lack of growth and blooming are the signs that a succulent is lacking nutrients.
- For better growth, fertilisers can be used. Fertilising schedules for succulents can vary, depending upon the species.
- Water your succulents regularly or they won’t get nutrients from dry soil.
- Although fertilising is important, avoid overdoing it. Over-fertilizing will lead to faster growth of your succulents, producing soft tissues that are susceptible to rot and diseases.
- Use cacti and succulent fertilisers only as they are particularly made for these plants and are weaker than general fertilisers. Fertilize only during the growing season and never in winters.
Reason 7: Succulent is potted in a small pot
- A succulent potted in a small and tight container and contained in a tight pot will show restricted growth. Succulents grown in overgrown pots take more time to increase in size, especially along with lack of watering and feeding.
- As succulents grow, they develop many new roots that need space. Keeping your succulent in a very small pot means its root will be tightly packed together. Such succulents will stop growing and will lack space.
- A succulent that has outgrown its pot can be distinguished by distorted growth, roots emerging from drainage holes and packed roots. To let your succulent grow fully, repot it once a season. Pots should not be very big and only leave some space on the sides.
Reason 8: Lack of light
- Lack of light leads to poor growth in succulents. Succulents need lots of direct sunlight, some need partial shade to grow. Sunlight is essential during the growing season.
- As dormancy ends in spring, provide more light to your succulents, or they won’t grow. Do it slowly to prevent burns in succulents. Succulents with thicker leaves can tolerate more harsh sunlight.
Reason 9: Succulents are Slow Growers
- Succulents are slow growers; some species grow much slower than others. For example, Haworthia and Gasteria are small and slow-growing succulents. Whereas Kalanchoe can grow much faster.
- Generally, growth in succulents is visible in 3-4 months. It can take even longer if your succulent is still very small.
- Initially, new cuttings or pups are slow-growing and then grow faster. Growing succulents from seed will take more time. Succulents propagated from leaf or stem cuttings also take a long time to grow.
- To make your succulents grow faster or to grow new leaves, provide them with adequate living conditions. Although succulents can adapt and live in harsh environments, these are not ideal conditions for them to grow and thrive.
In conclusion, before planting any succulent, know the name of your succulent, learn what type of growing conditions it likes and will it grow big.