There is every kind of plantita and plantito. Some collect the biggest possible ornamental plants while others want to focus on growing herbs and vegetables. Others like to collect plants that could fit in the palm of their hands.
Succulents are plants that can survive without water because they store moisture in their leaves, stems and roots. There are different kinds of succulents. Others look like roses while some bloom into different colors.
We asked Succulent Republique’s administrator Joshua Reyes on where to start if you want to add succulents to your plant collection. Early this month, we reported how the Facebook group successfully held an auction for the victims of typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses.”
“Someone new to the hobby can start with Benguet propagations. These are locally propagated succulents and are not so pricey,” he said.
A lot of 5 to 15 Benguet succulents can cost between P1,250-P2,000, including shipping fees. Of course, there are risks in transporting items during the pandemic. A delay can be detrimental to the plants’ health. But if all goes well, your collection will arrive safely, ready to be air-dried and repotted. Reyes suggests starting with sturdy kinds such as Monroe, champagne and other colorful but easy-to-grow varieties.
Asking the right questions is also important. Use a Plant ID app to identify the plants you are buying to know how to care for them.
“If you are buying online, it is best to ask for a size reference on the images. A good size for an Echeveria to have a greater chance of thriving should be anywhere between 3-4 inches,” he said.
Reyes has been growing succulents for two years now. His favorites include Sedum Clavatum because of its sweet candy scent, laui for its thick flawless farina (wax covering the leaf of the succulents) and Amethystinum for its pink, powdery sun-stressed glow.
Having the right growing medium is the foundation for growing healthy succulents, he emphasized. Because they are mostly desert plants, they do not thrive on wet mediums for long periods of time. He recommends the brand Masitera for the CNS premix (cactus and succulents).
Should succulents be smothered with love or be left alone?
“I go by ‘tanim kalimot,'” he said. “Succulents are slow growers and the more you keep checking on them, the greater your frustration as they don’t seem to be showing improvements. I suggest putting them in a spot where they receive ample sun and just leave them be.”
Before you try to sun-stress your succulents, it should have been under your care for three months. Prioritize making them root first to become plump and juicy, he advised. Succulents turn into a different color when they are stressed by the sun, making them beautiful.
Most of all, Reyes said that growers should have patience. Succulents have a different requirement from regular plants. Some need to be watered every two weeks. When you finally feel confident growing, that’s when you can invest in the more expensive varieties from South Korea.