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There is no room for a carefree watering program. Skipping just one day of a scheduled check of the moisture level in your soil could easily leave you with a stressed plant that is now susceptible to disease or even death. Even our spring weather requires us to be extra attentive. Neglect to provide a source of shade to a crop of lettuce during a short stretch of unusually, yet not surprising when it happens, hot spring days and you'll find yourself with a salad bowl full of bitter leaves.
And then there's the B-side of Midwest weather; we also have bitter cold winter months. There really aren't any great options for outdoor gardening outside the use of a greenhouse or cold frame, and even those, without the assistance of expensive equipment to self-regulate, require careful attention to rising and falling temperatures throughout the day. For the busy or, like me, unmotivated, winter gardening just doesn't exist. But that doesn't mean we have to live like Demeter mourning Persephone. We have house plants!
Since I am not in the mindset of continuous thoughts of watering and pruning and insect inspection during the winter months, I find succulents to be the easiest way to enjoy green during the winter months. Of course succulents are like any other plant and, while most of them have similar needs, it is a good idea to research the particular plants you choose to assure you provide the conditions they will thrive in. Below are some general guidelines.
Succulents can tolerate a carefree watering program. They should be planted in a well-draining soil such as a cactus planting mix. While the soil succulents are planted in needs to dry out completely between waterings, succulents need a generous amount of water when they are watered, enough that it comes out through the drainage holes on the bottom of the pot. Excess water that collects in the saucer should be poured off.
With succulents in an indoor environment, the more light the better, so a southern or western window is the perfect spot for most succulents. If bright light is not available, artificial light placed around 12 inches from the plant for 12-15 hours each day may be necessary.
Fertilizing succulents is not necessary during the winter months as they need a period of rest.
There are many interesting ways to incorporate succulents into your outdoor decor such as growing them in living wreaths, living walls, or picture frames, but purchasing enough of them at one time to create these can be expensive. Many creative ways to use succulents can be found on Pinterest. Luckily, you can easily propagate succulents from cuttings, often from a single leaf. So while they are beautifying your home during the winter months, your succulents can also be used to build up a surplus of plants for use down the road. And without the tedious care young plants normally require.
It may not be the time of year you're thinking about digging in the dirt outdoors, but hopefully you're now anticipating dropping in to your local garden center to consider a little winter gardening - indoor style.