Succulent Growth Rate

Succulents are popular for their dainty look and small size. But while some stay small, some of them grow quite tall. Most succulents do not grow quickly, but when they do, they have a natural beauty and charm that plant lovers find irresistible. In this article, let us get to know important tips on how to make them grow faster and the factors that affect a succulent’s growth rate. 

Tips for Helping Your Succulents Grow Faster

Try some of these helpful tips to have a faster growth rate for your succulents:

Avoid planting succulents in an area where it is already too crowded. 

Succulent roots are very capable of absorbing the nutrition that the plants need in a tight space or container. Plants are able to form a succulent system according to the density of the soil as well as potting space. However, if the succulents are planted in an area that is too crowded, they will focus on the roots. Their goal is to maintain their water balance and nutrition as the key to survival, so the plants will exert less energy towards growing above the soil. 

Succulents planted in a pot with many plants will fight it out with the roots of other plants. They will fight for root space to collect nutrients, which results in stunted growth. What you can do is remove the struggling succulent and transfer it to a less competitive area, or separate it in a pot where there are no other plants. 

You can also check out our earlier article on how many succulents per pot for more details. 

The quality of the soil is a good indicator of a strong growth process. 

Succulents thrive well in soil that has good drainage. Plant growers recommend adding chunkier materials like pebbles to the soil mix for water to flow more easily. If the soil does not drain well, the extra water makes it so the roots won’t be able to “breathe,” This could result in abnormal growth and stress.  

The ideal soil for succulents allows the roots to expand properly. The pot or container should have draining holes at the bottom. It should also be a nutrient-rich soil created by adding fertilizers, preferably organic ones. The plants should have a regular watering schedule and should be watered once the soil has dried out. 

Be sure to spread the roots from time to time. 

Succulents tend to crowd their roots in circles to get the most nutrients from the soil. The tightness of the root circle depends on the amount of space provided for the plants in a pot or garden.  But for the plants to grow faster, you need to spread the roots from time to time. This allows the succulents to absorb more from the soil and grow faster. 

When plants feel that there is free space, they tend to fill it both under and above the soil. To help spread the roots, take the succulents out of the soil, being careful to not damage the root systems.  If they are in a pot, squeeze the pot or add a few drops of water to loosen the soil. Once you take out the plant, shake the soil off of the roots. 

Next, massage the root system with your fingers. Then, you can plant the succulents in a fresh soil mix. Be sure to spread the roots as far as you can with your hands, but do not use sharp objects that could damage them.

Separate offsets from the mother plant regularly.

Succulents produce offsets as they grow. These offsets are little succulents that sprout up around the base of the parent or mother plant. They stay attached to the mother plant and take up space. As they mature they absorb the nutrition from the soil and fight for survival. What you can do is separate the offsets so they can have enough space for their roots to develop. 

Protect your succulents as they grow. 

Succulents also tend to be sensitive to damages, especially during the growth process.  It can slow down the process and take months for succulents to heal if the stems or leaves are damaged or broken. Keep your plants away from curious pets like dogs and cats. Place them in an area where they are protected from harsh conditions like strong winds or heavy rains.  

What are the factors that influence the succulent growth rate?

The factors that commonly influence succulent growth rate include the following:

It will depend on the species. 

Some species naturally grow faster than others. Here are some succulents that grow fast:

Echeveria 

This rosette succulent grows horizontally and is also called hen and chicks since it is a big rosette with baby ones.  This plant can grow two or more feet wide and is deer-resistant. You do not have to fertilize it, but it requires partial shade during the hottest months. 

Aurora pink jelly bean sedum 

This fast-growing succulent has ruby-colored leaves when exposed to sunlight, but it turns green if it does not receive enough light.  Pests rarely thrive on this plant, but if you notice mealy bugs, simply apply rubbing alcohol to the affected areas. This plant is also prone to fungus if it is overwatered, so make sure to let the soil dry in between watering sessions.

Other succulents that tend to grow fast include the Kalanchoe, Aloe, String of buttons, Christmas cactus, and Graptoveria.

It will depend on the growing conditions, including the watering and feeding of the plants. 

The growing conditions of succulents also play a role in their growth rate.  These plants do not like waterlogged soil but prefer soil with good drainage. Make sure to water them at least once a week, but see to it that the soil is completely dry before doing so. If you live in a hot or tropical country, always check the soil conditions.

Regular misting the soil is ideal for succulents that were propagated from leaves, along with watering once a week. 

Succulents also experience dormancy during summer, depending on their species. Aeonium goes dormant in summer and develops well during wintertime. However, succulents in places with cold climates are dormant in winter and grow during summer. 

Water the plants only when the soil is very dry during the dormancy period; processing water requires a lot of energy for plants during this period. Avoid fertilizing the plants during this time. 

Potted succulents should be provided with fertilizers so they can have access to essential organic and inorganic nutrients. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are ideal fertilizers. Fertilize moderately during the growth period. 

Conclusion 

Succulents mostly come in small sizes, making them popular options as home and office decorations. Most of them grow slowly, but certain species tend to grow faster, such as Echeveria and Kalanchoe. Be sure not to overcrowd your plants in one area and see to it that the soil drains well. Separate offsets from the mother plant regularly and protect them from pets and natural conditions like strong winds to ensure a good succulent growth rate.

Image: istockphoto.com / Seung Heon Lee

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