Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Basic, easy succulents to start with

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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 14, 2017 1:05 AM CST
Hi all! I am starting my collection of succulents indoors.
I would like to start with some basic, carefree succulents that do not need
special knowledge, as I don't have this yet. At the moment I have only some sedum
cuttings to root and I will plant them as soon as they do. I also have some small aloes, a Sansevieria, an Easter cactus and that's about it. What would you suggest as my 5 or 6 first ones? I will purchase at the end of the month and I would really like to go to the nursery a bit informed. Also, would they need to be in full sun, or can I put them into indirect bright light also?
Thank you!
[Last edited by Faridat - Nov 14, 2017 1:16 AM (+)]
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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 14, 2017 12:45 PM CST
So, I got these ones for a start. Searching for names on net and characteristics. The left one must be a Portulacaria afra and the one on the right a Sedum morganianum. I like them so much! The Sedum seems so fragile, easy for these tiny leaves to fall off and they need to be handled gently. Is it true that succulents go dormant through the winter? And if so, how does that translate to their watering? If someone knows, I'd be grateful.
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[Last edited by Faridat - Nov 14, 2017 2:11 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Nov 14, 2017 1:08 PM CST
Faridat,

It seems you are starting to talk to yourself so, let me join the conversation. Smiling It sounds like you already have your first 5 or 6 so, the second 5 or 6?

As I don't know what's available in Greece, I can't be much help with your quest for names. Eventually, you will discover you have run out of space - it always happens. Then, you will have to decide to give up your bedroom or limit your plant collection.

So begin your collection with "love at first sight" plants - don't buy every succulent you see. As you become more knowledgeable, you will discover you lke some types of succulents better than others. At that point, don't hesitate to 'gift' those first plants to friends. Eventually, you will have a collection that won't eat your house but that you will love.

Behind glass, sun is best and may not be enough, depending upon the direction your window faces. In the winter, water less. The thing I love about succulents is that you can feel them and tell if they need a drink. (Cactus are that touchable). Feel the leaves, squeeze gently. If they are soft, water. If hard and slick, no water. Very soon, you will just have to look at your plants and know who needs a drink and who doesn't.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost
Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
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Frenchy21
Nov 14, 2017 1:29 PM CST
Faridat one of my favorites is the Jade plant. They are easy to care for but they do need a sunny window to flourish.

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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 14, 2017 1:43 PM CST
@Daisyl Big Grin nodding You always write something to make smile or laugh! Thank you. I am becoming obsessed with these babies, but you are right that I have no idea which and why I prefer it. It's I see it, I want it, I get it. Then I may bang my head to the wall. You are right on the house, it's been jungled right now, lol. Thank you for the tips, especially the one with the touching and squeezing gently the leaves!!! Thank You!
Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 14, 2017 2:10 PM CST
Frenchy21 said:Faridat one of my favorites is the Jade plant. They are easy to care for but they do need a sunny window to flourish.

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Hey @Frenchy21, that's a beautiful plant! Is this the one that unlike most of them can get quite big over time?
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Nov 14, 2017 2:32 PM CST
You might look into the green succulents which usually don't need as much light. Some members of Haworthias don't need as much sunlight (not all but some i.e. the darker green ones), some members of Sansevierias (the dark green ones) and some members of the Gasteria group.
Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 14, 2017 2:38 PM CST
Yes @webesemps, I'd love to get some that don't require as much light also! Thank you for the suggestions, I'll look into them. I wanted to say also, the succulent in your avatar is amazing! :hearts:
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Nov 14, 2017 2:44 PM CST
I think you might fall in love with some small Euphorbia millii. They bloom in a lot of colors, and seem to grow easily if they aren't over watered. I love them! I only have 3 but I'm hoping to find more.
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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 14, 2017 2:56 PM CST
@plantmanager, oh my gosh, they are so cute! I love those little flowers! Yes, in my list now! Lovey dubby Whistling
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Nov 14, 2017 3:05 PM CST
The ones with the tiny flowers are very cute, and then there are larger forms called Thai Hybrids that have huge flowers.
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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Nov 14, 2017 4:06 PM CST
Fair, glad that you like that avatar. I did not notice the unique characteristics of that small sempervivum until I photographed it and enlarged the photo.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Nov 14, 2017 5:03 PM CST

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Your sedum and the Easter cactus should be good indoors without a lot of sun.

I would second the suggestion of Gasteria, Haworthia, and Sansevieria for an indoor location. I have had pretty good luck with all 3 here. They enjoy strong light (like all succulents) but not a lot of direct sun necessarily (more the exception than the rule). And they tend to grow on the dry side, especially in a less bright location, so even easier that way. Use soil with excellent drainage (say half rock) and do not overwater.

You will find all sorts of crown of thorns out there, and most of them seem to flower continually year round outdoors here. Some people collect the different flower colors (technically they are cyathia, equivalent) but you don't need to be picky as a first time grower. Try to only buy a plant that is flowering, as a general rule, I would say. You could take it outside in the summer and bring in for the winter.

My indoor growing situation is very bright (hours of sun every afternoon through a SW-facing window) so I would hesitate to make recommendations for more limited situations. When in doubt try to get your plants as much sun as possible indoors, which usually means close to southerly-facing windows. And do not underestimate the importance of good air flow with succulents indoors.

I have had a clump of Aloe jucunda growing indoors for several years, and that's a nice little aloe for a windowsill if you prune it back every so often. Most aloes are sun-loving plants, but that particular one grows in the shade in habitat, so it's a little different. As a bonus it seems to be really eager to flower indoors.


[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Nov 14, 2017 5:17 PM (+)]
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Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
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Frenchy21
Nov 14, 2017 6:15 PM CST
Faridat the Jade plant can grow quite big but it will take a long time.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Sempervivums
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plantmanager
Nov 14, 2017 6:22 PM CST
Watch Jade plants for mealy bugs. I don't even keep them anymore because I've had so many mealy bug problems with Jades and the Portulacaria afra. I can't seem to keep them bug free despite trying many different things and even chemicals. This has been the case with plants in the greenhouse, plants in the ground outside, and pots in the yard and inside the house.
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Name: Lucille
Texas
Lucillle
Nov 14, 2017 8:14 PM CST
Would mealy bugs die if they ate a jade plant that had been watered with an imidacloprid solution?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Nov 14, 2017 8:32 PM CST
I'm not sure what that is... (Yes, I read the literature) What I have noticed about the systemics I have tried in the past is that you can't keep a succulent or cactus wet enough to make them work.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Sempervivums
Salvias Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Art Plumerias Bookworm Hibiscus
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plantmanager
Nov 14, 2017 8:34 PM CST
I've noticed that too, Daisy. I also have earthworms in all my beds and pots so I don't want any chemicals to kill them. Some will also kill the pollinators who go to the flowers on treated plants.
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Nov 14, 2017 8:40 PM CST

Moderator

I have found that imidacloprid works best when combined with a thorough cleaning. In that setting it would be more preventative then curative. You have to account for the time it takes the plant to uptake and distribute the pesticide (it's not instant). I've been told it makes a difference to use water with a pH near neutral, like rain water (I always adjust the pH of our alkaline well water before use) and it may also be helpful to also include weak nutrients in the mix.

You have to water carefully, to saturation, especially if the soil is bone dry to start with. That usually requires coming back a couple of times to water more after the first hit has been properly absorbed. Basically you want to favor proper root function in order to maximize the uptake of the pesticide. Otherwise it does no good except perhaps cleansing the soil of bugs. If the plant is dormant or the roots are absent/reduced, it's probably a waste of time.

And like Karen pointed out, do try to bear in mind the harmful effect that systemics may have on pollinators.

Fun fact: imidacloprid is actually light sensitive. So don't leave your bottle of imidacloprid water out in the sun while you're waiting for the soil to absorb the first application. It has maybe a 20 minute half-life in the sun. That would be mostly irrelevant in the soil given the sun does not penetrate there.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Nov 14, 2017 9:05 PM (+)]
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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 15, 2017 7:06 AM CST
@Baja_Costero, thank you for your suggestions! I checked them out, all categories have such lovely plants! I am just beginning to realize that Succulents may be the plant category with the most types of plants under it! So many, so diverse!

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