give it a little neglect
the below instructions are a general guide for potted cactus and other succulent care. when you purchase a plant from loloplant, we will make sure to revise these instructions slightly for your plant's new, specific living situation. i promise you (probably) wont kill it!
when to water
the most common way people kill their succulent is by overwatering. only water when dry, and when in doubt - wait. i like to advise as a general guide: during growing season (late spring/summer/early fall), water once every 2-3 weeks. water thoroughly, until it drips out of the drainage hole. leafy succulents may dry out faster if receiving a lot of hot sunlight, so once every 1-2 weeks may be more appropriate for them. in the winter season, your plant goes dormant and will probably not grow much. cut down watering to once a month and do not water as thoroughly, especially if the plant is not placed on a windowsill. it's easier to revive an under-watered plant than an overwatered plant.
how to water
every loloplant vessel has a drainage hole at the bottom. without a drainage hole, water would collect at the bottom of the planter, leaving your plant too moist and leading to really gross rot. the best way to water is in your sink, letting the faucet slowly moisten the soil. focus on watering the surface of the soil, not the plant itself. you may stop watering once water starts to drip out of the drainage hole. let it drain in your sink for at least 20 mins and then you can put it back in its normal place.
your plant will be happiest on or near a windowsill, receiving a little bit of direct sunlight every day. however, cacti and succulents can still survive in a room with a window and not necessarily in a window. loloplant can help advise which plants are better for windowsills and which are better elsewhere. If you notice your plant leaning or stretching towards the light source, it's telling you it wants more sunlight. listen to it! and move it closer, at least for a few days a week. i like to leave my plants on a sunny windowsill for a day or two after watering to help it dry out a little faster, and then i move it back to its normal spot in the room. remember - the less light it gets, the less water it should get, and vise-versa.
WHAT'S GOING ON WITH MY PLANT?
- my cactus/succulent is turning brown and mushy at its base: the plant has been overwatered or kept moist for too long. if it's already brown and mushy at the base, it's too late to save it in its current state.
- you can try saving the top portion of a cactus by doing to following: make a clean straight cut with a sterilized knife at the healthy portion of the plant. let the unpotted, healthy cutting dry out and callous over out of direct sunlight for 2-3 days. plant the cutting at least 1" deep in porous cactus soil and water when dry. hopefully the cutting will root itself and begin a new life!
- if the cactus has pads (these look like bunny ears), you can try gently removing or cutting a healthy pad off and rooting/planting it in the same way as the previous instructions.
- you can save a leafy succulent by trying to propagate its healthy leaves. carefully tug a leaf off and let it callous over out of direct sunlight for 2-3 days. then place it horizontally (lying down) on top of at least 1" of soil. spray the soil at least once every 2 days to keep it semi moist. soon, roots will appear out of the end of the leaf. in a few weeks, a mini version of your succulent will begin to grow above these roots. do not detach the new baby plant from its mother leaf until that leaf dies.
- my cactus looks deflated and is leaning over: it is most likely thirsty! cacti are usually pretty firm and solid (like an apple) because of the water it is storing inside. if you haven't watered your cactus in a while, it will start feeding off the reserve water it stores within itself. the cactus will look deflated and lean over because it's missing the water inside. if it hasn't gone on like this for too long, simply watering your cactus should perk it right back up within a few days.
- my succulent's leaves look wrinkly and deflated: you may be under watering your succulent. give it a little drink and see if the leaves firm up in the next day or two. like a cactus storing water in its body, a succulent stores water within its leaves. when it's too thirsty, it will start feeding from its leaf reserve.
- my succulent is loosing leaves at its base: if everything else looks pretty healthy, then this is just a sign of growth! as a succulent grows taller, it sheds its bottom leaves as it grows more at the top.
- my cactus is getting thin and pointy at the top / my succulent looks lanky and not as full as before: not enough sunlight! your plant is stretching towards the sunlight - this is called etiolation. move it closer to the light source to make sure it's happy and healthy, and rotate it occasionally for even growth. i have had some really cool and funny looking cacti growth due to etiolation, and even though it's not the worst thing in the world for a cactus, they probably weren't my healthiest plants.