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POSITION The position they are to be placed in at home should be chosen carefully. Naturally this will depend on whether they are to be kept in containers or transplanted into the ground. Containers are ideal for cacti and succulents as they are assured excellent drainage at all times and plants can also be moved around if necessary. For best results, plant into Searles Cacti & Succulent Mix. You can use most varieties inside a well-lit house for a week or 2 at a time quite successfully. Outside container plants will perform at their best positioned in an easterly or northerly place. Against the house is excellent, as cacti and succulents appreciate the radiated heat from walls and also overhead eaves on the house will undoubtedly give them some protection from heavy summer rains. A minimum of 4 - 5 hours sun or full sun is best. Planting into the ground in the subtropics needs a bit of planning. Sloping or raised beds are best where there is no clay present. Improve drainage and raise beds by using Searles Cacti & Succulent Mix or washed river sand. A full sun position or 1/2 sun position in the garden will be fine. As they will grow rapidly once established & happy, it is important not to under estimate the space each plant may require. Having them leaning out over paths or driveways may be uncomfortable to all especially if it needs to be transplanted as a result. REPOTTING This needs to be done regularly or when the plant is too big for the pot it is currently in. Rubberised gardening gloves are a must to avoid the spines. Some newspaper or cardboard will also be useful. Fold the paper into the shape of a collar and place around the cacti and succulents to support the plant itself. Your choice of container (terracotta, plastic, ceramic, tin) is not too important but the size and drainage is. It must have one or more holes in the base and only measure 5 - 10cm (2 - 3 in) larger than the last pot. Cacti and succulents like to be potted on slowly, not into extremely large containers straight away. In the bottom of the new container, use Searles Cacti & Succulent Mix. Supporting the plant in it's paper sling, gently remove the old pot and position the plant evenly in the new container keeping the soil level as it was in the old pot the same as in the new pot. Fill around the plant with more mix. Decorative stones and pebbles in various colours are a great compliment. WATERING Don't water plants in immediately instead wait 3 - 4 days for root hairs to heal after repotting. This may prevent rotting after transplant. Repotting should be done annually. Watering plants will depend on lots of individual factors. Rainfall is one; if rain is bountiful don't water plants by hand. If rain is very heavy or persistent you may consider moving plants undercover to avoid excess water. Otherwise watering at least once a week in summer allowing soil or potting mix to be dry before repeating. In winter only water when mix or soil is dry. This may only be once every 2 weeks. Cacti and succulents definitely don't require saucers. Instead they should be allowed to drain freely. FERTILISING Fertilising is simple and should not be overdone. Apply Searles Flourish Cacti & Succulent Soluble Plant Food at indoor rate once per month from spring through to autumn. For specific varieties suited to your area pop down to your local nursery. 5 Things You’re Doing Wrong With Succulents: Growing succulents indoors is a tricky business if you don’t know the proper soil, sunlight and watering requirements. According to this week’s gardening guest blogger Cassidy Tuttle, you can make succulents work for you, you just need to know the right way to care for them! Cassidy, a self-described “professional photographer turned succulent addict,” is here to offer her expertise on how to make your succulents thrive! For more information on growing and caring for succulents (or just to admire her photography), please visit her website Succulents and Sunshine. Succulents are very popular houseplants and frequently people say they are hard to kill. However, many people find their succulents looking less than perfect within a couple weeks of purchasing them. There are a few common mistakes that are easily remedied to help you on your way to growing beautiful succulents indoors and keeping them alive for years to come. Haworthia fasciata is a great succulent for growing indoors The Wrong Succulents While most succulents will survive for a while indoors, most will not thrive. Succulents that are grown indoors should tolerate low lighting and grow slowly. Some of the easiest succulents to grow indoors include Haworthia fasciata, Sansevieria trifasciata, and Crassula ovata. Many cacti also do well indoors, such as Mammillaria gracilis fragilis. Often the brightly colored succulents seen in arrangements and gardens in the ground will start to turn green, stretch out and lose their shape indoors. However, if you buy a brightly colored arrangement like this it will last much longer than an arrangement of cut flowers and you don’t have to take care of it! Most succulents will stay alive for a couple weeks with little to no care. No drainage hole Unless you are extremely careful with how much and how often you water, you’ll want your succulents in a pot with a drainage hole. The roots of the succulents will quickly rot if they sit in wet soil for too long. While there is a great selection of pottery with drainage holes, many don’t. Either avoid these pots or add a drainage hole by using a diamond tip drill bit. You can add a drainage hole to almost anything! An example of an over watered and rotting succulent Make sure you have the right soil for growing succulents The Wrong Soil As mentioned above, succulents will rot and die if they are in wet soil for too long. If you buy your succulents from a big box store like Lowes or Home Depot, they will likely be planted in a very rich soil that retains water and stays wet for a long time. Instead of keeping them in this soil, you’ll want to buy a cactus mix which is readily available at these same stores. Another great option for indoor succulent soil is diatomaceous earth. The easiest form of diatomaceous earth to find is Oil-dry, designed to clean up oil spills. Most auto parts stores and many hardware stores will carry this. You can mix this in with a standard potting soil or use it on it’s own. diatomaceous earth absorbs water but dries out quickly. This is perfect for succulents. If you find you really like to water plants, using diatomaceous earth as the soil for your succulents will help prevent over watering. Not enough light Most succulents need full sun to maintain their color and shape. You’ll want to put your succulents in a south facing window where they receive light for most of the day. You may still notice some stretching if you are growing Echeverias which grow quickly and need lots of sunlight. If you grow Haworthias, Gasterias, and Sansevierias however, you’ll be able to get by with just a few hours of light per day. Worrying too much While succulents do need water to thrive, most will tolerate several days and even a week or two without water before they’ll start to shrivel and die. Overwatering is the quickest way to kill your succulents. Generally succulents are inexpensive to buy so take it easy, experiment, and see what succulents do best where you live. Fussing over your succulents will likely result in too much watering and quickly lead them to their death. It’s much easier to revive a succulent that has had too little water.