There is a massive amount of different succulent plants out there and the number is growing every year thanks to cross breeding. Succulents can be quite different and while lots are very alike, not all succulents should be treated the same. Some succulents stay quite small and grow slow, some are medium sized and some grow large and fast. Some like little water, some like to be watered more often, some like shade and some like sun. Although many succulents are exceptionally hardy and will spread, grow and multiply without any oversight or effort, some need a bit of help and extra love to grow bigger.
So how can I make my succulents grow bigger? A simplistic answer would be by knowing what the succulent is, giving them a lot of root space, providing the ideal potting mix and growing conditions.
But let us expand on that a bit. Although many people do different things, here are 5 ways we get our succulents to grow bigger at our nursery.
It is best that you know what kind of succulents you are trying to grow bigger as some succulents are naturally small and slow growing. If you know the name of your succulent search google for maximum size and growing tips. If you don’t, there are facebook groups for succulent lovers that will help you identify your succulent if you post a photo. Again, search in google/facebook to find the one you like the look of. Some groups can be too big and you may not always get an answer as your post can be drowned by thousands of other people trying to send their questions in. Sometimes smaller groups may be the way to go.
If you don’t know the name of your succulent and can’t be fussed with facebook, you can just try and search google for characteristics of your plant (blue succulent with pink edges or red spreading succulent etc.) You can then go to the image section of the search and try and find your plant.
One of our best selling products at our online store are succulent cuttings. To grow enough to meet demand we have extensive succulent gardens and beds as this is where succulents grow the best, quickest and biggest. In some parts of the world, where winters are quite fierce, planting succulents in the ground is not an option as the majority are not frost hardy and would die. But don’t worry, we have a solution for you unlucky people in cold climates as well 🙂
In moderate climates, however, succulents will take advantage of the space they have available when planted in the ground and will grow beautiful and big.
To successfully grow succulents in the ground the water needs to drain away (succulents can rot if planted in the part of the garden that holds stagnant water after a lot of rain) and you will need the right type of succulent for the position (sun loving succulents in the sun, shade-loving succulents under trees/in shade etc.). In the ground most succulents will grow big and healthy even in poorer soil, though we do recommend adding good quality potting mix for extra drainage.
The more space for roots the bigger your plant will grow. This applies to the majority of succulents, though as mentioned above, some varieties are naturally small and slow growing and so not much can be done to make them grow bigger.
Most of our succulents start of as cuttings planted in small pots or propagating trays. Once the pot is filled with roots we transplant to a pot that is twice or three times the size. And repeat until the plant can’t grow much more/ we run out of large pots.
The reason we don’t bung them in the biggest pot available at the start is that they will be better of in nice, fresh potting mix every time they are re-potted and also we get to see how the roots are doing, check for pests on roots (mealy bugs, grubs etc.). Potting mix can deteriorate, harbour pests and fungus and so to have healthy, big succulents it is best to gradually introduce them to bigger pots.
Technically, succulents will still grow in a small pot, once they’ve reached its limit and are root bound, but they will grow very slow. On the plus side, if you’re doing it with the right succulent you may get better colour and plumper shape as many succulents will ‘bonsai’ if left in small pots for a long time, but this is a topic for whole new post.
If you give your succulent the ideal conditions it will grow like weeds (unless you have a small growing/slow growing succulent).
Most succulents (but not all) love sun light and will need a few hours per day to grow well while maintaining the shape and often colour too. As per the above, it would be useful to know the type of succulent you are trying to grow bigger. If you have, say, an Echeveria they will need to be in a spot where they get at least 4-5 hours of sun per day. In the ground Echeveria will happily grow in a full sun position. In pots a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade would be best as many succulents can burn if they are in pots placed in direct sunlight on hot summer afternoons. We would not recommend trying to grow sun loving succulents such as Echeveria indoors as they will almost certainly die after a few weeks. If you have a Haworthia, generally, they will grow well in a bright but shaded spot.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most succulents are not frost tolerant so if you live in cold climates and want your succulents to survive and grow bigger, it would be best to bring them in for winter, until the danger of frosts have passed.
Some succulents grow all year round, some go dormant in winter and some in summer. If you’re trying to make Aeonium Kiwi grow bigger in summer, chances are you will not have much luck as this particular Aeonium is dormant over the warmest months. Again, it helps immensely if you know what your succulent is when attempting to grow them.
The best thing to do with dormant succulents is to leave them be. If you have a summer dormant plant, placing it in bright shade will help it survive the worst of summer.
In conclusion, in our opinion, it is best to know the name of your succulent to learn what type of growing conditions it likes and if it can indeed grow bigger.
If you have anything to add to this topic, you can comment below. 🙂