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A Time To Plant

For your reading convenients below you will find all the A Time To Plant published in 2019

January 2019

A Thyme to Grow

Most of the time indoor plants are only green. Do you realize that greenery has different shades? textures and shapes? Succulents are a plant family that fits this description.

Succulents are plants that store water in their roots, stems and leaves. Often the leaves and stems are thick and fleshy. Many times, people consider them an ornamental plant because of their striking appearance. In their native habitats, they thrive in hot areas with low rainfall. In other words, they tend to be drought resistant.

Botanists and horticulturalists differ with their definitions, but in the plant family, cacti are a subspecies of succulents. In other words, all cacti (the plural form of cactus) are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.

Cacti are found in different shapes, from short and squatty to tall and thin. When they reproduce, some babies form on the cactus itself, some form new plants along their root system, and some reproduce by seeds. With limited or no vision, be careful if you want to feel what a particular cactus is like. Many cacti have sharp, prickly spines, although some tropical cacti varieties have no spines.

Hen and Chicks, Jade or Aloe Vera are a few kinds of succulents. There are many varieties that have no particular name. Plan on keeping them in a warm environment. If you have a lot of bright sunshine, succulents should be fine. Plants will reach toward the sun wherever they are. If your succulents become long and leggy, lose their color, or lose their compact shape, they probably aren’t getting enough light. You may want to consider using a grow light if you find that your plants aren’t doing well. Succulents should have at least six hours of sunlight per day to thrive. Give them periods of darkness, such as at night. During the winter, most succulents are dormant, and show little or no growth.

Succulents definitely need good drainage. Overwatering succulents will kill them. Perhaps you should consider setting up a calendar of when to water, then check that off your “to-do” list after accomplishing the task. Check the dampness of your potting mix by sticking your finger tip up to the first knuckle. If it is moist, it is not time to water again. If it is dry, water at the soil level until water flows out the bottom of your container, then wait about 20 minutes for all the water to flow through before returning to the spot where you will place the plant. Keep in mind that succulents have a shallow root system; their roots don’t grow deep. A coarse sand potting soil or cactus potting soil will provide the kind of drainage that succulents need. During the dormant stage, plants need less water than they will in an active growth stage.

If you want colorful plants, get a variety with color. I am now trying to nurse a cactus back to health that had been painted. That may take many years, if it survives long enough.

I hope that in 2019 you will take “thyme” to have a happy, healthy garden, one plant at a “thyme”.

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