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The Complete Guide To Trimming Succulents

The Complete Guide To Trimming Succulents

Succulents are among the most popular houseplants available right now, and it is easy to understand why. These plants are elegant in their simplicity, making them a welcome addition to anyone’s home or workspace. 

When you add in that there are so many different varieties that everyone is sure to find one perfect for their lifestyle, and how easy they are to take care of, they become an even better option.

What Is a Succulent?

Succulents are one of the 452 vascular plant families identified in the world currently. In order to be a succulent, a plant has to fit a specific set of characteristics. Succulents earn that name because of the succulent-looking nature of their leaves and stems. 

This is because these plants are unique in their system of how they store water. Succulents keep large amounts of water within them to be accessed when necessary. This is what allows succulents to thrive under conditions that other plants would find inhospitable, and what makes them such an excellent houseplant. 

There are many different plants that qualify as succulents, with aloe, agave, and cacti being a few notable ones. The cactus is a subgroup of succulents that contains many plants within it as well. While every cactus is a succulent, not every succulent is a cactus.

Why You Should Trim Your Succulent

When growing a plant, trimming it can seem counterproductive. After all, you are removing part of the plant. Actually, though, periodically trimming your succulents is a completely normal part of the growth process. 

There are a number of reasons why you may want to trim your succulents, some having to do with maintaining the size and shape of the plant, while others have more to do with its health. Though it might take some getting used to, trimming and pruning is an integral aspect of succulent care.

 

Dead Leaves on the Bottom of the Plant

Throughout a succulent’s life cycle, there will be times that leaves toward the bottom of the plant turn brown or die. This may seem like a cause for alarm, but it happens from time to time. 

When you see these dead leaves, be sure to remove them carefully from the base of the plant. Removing these leaves helps the plant in a few ways. For one, it adds to its aesthetic value, but more importantly, it makes the succulent healthier. If left unattended, the dead leaves can make it more difficult for the soil to dry, and can even cause root rot.

 

To Manage the Succulent’s Size

In order to make sure a succulent remains at a manageable size for the space you have, gentle trimming is recommended. Remove as much from the top as necessary with a cutting instrument until you are content with its size. Trimming in such a way that a layer of leaves is near the top is the best way to maintain its beauty even as it grows back out.

To Redirect the Plant’s Growth

During the winter season, succulents will sometimes grow upward or in odd directions in order to seek out more sunlight. This isn’t necessarily healthy for the structural integrity of the plant and is a look that some may not appreciate. You can cut your plant however you see fit to restore its shape and keep it looking good throughout the winter.

To Grow New Succulents

Lastly, cutting off part of a succulent plant can lead to new growth in the future. Once you cut off the top of the plant, allow it to dry out for about a day. Then, it can be replanted into a potting mix made specifically for succulents or cacti, rather than a regular potting soil. Otherwise, the trimmings can be added to sparse areas of your succulent garden to create a more full and lush effect.

When To Trim Your Succulent

It is best to trim your succulent at the beginning of its growth cycle so that new leaves, spines, and flora can quickly take its place, restoring the plant to its former healthy luster. This is typically at the beginning of the spring, as spring and summer are large periods of growth for succulents. 


During the fall your plant’s growth will slow gradually in accordance with the weather and lower temperatures. Then, finally, in winter the growth will likely completely stall. Don’t worry about this part of the process, as it is totally natural. After this period of dormancy, in spring the cycle will begin anew.

How To Trim Your Succulent

Trimming your succulent should be done with sharp, clean scissors or a similar cutting instrument. If you are cutting some of the more thick parts of the stem, then a pruner or razor blade may be necessary. Of course, it’s important to be careful while doing this, both for the good of you and the succulent, but rest assured that your plant is resilient, and this is a necessary part of its care.

How To Keep Your Succulent Happy and Healthy

Other than the act of trimming your succulents, there are some other best practices that will keep your plant happy and healthy.

Do Not Over or Under Water Your Plant

Succulents are famously simple to take care of, but giving them the correct amount of water is crucial. When it comes to these plants, too little moisture can be just as detrimental as too much moisture. 


Succulents from Lula’s Garden include an eyedropper tool for perfect watering every time. Another way to think about caring for your plant is that it needs to be watered every seven to 10 days using between two and four full dropper amounts. Moisture will sink down through the soil to reach the roots, where it will be absorbed by the plant.

Give Your Succulent the Right Amount of Sunlight

Water and the sun are the two most integral elements to raising a healthy plant, succulents included. Succulents tend to do better away from overly bright sunlight, and instead thrive with access to slightly more shaded spots. 


This is because direct sunlight can cause harm and sun damage to your plant, especially during hotter times of the year. Instead, place your succulent in indirect sunlight, where it will get all the light it needs, but will not be in the way of the full sun.

Repot When Necessary

Lula’s Garden provides each succulent garden with its own box that functions as a lovely planter, but after a few months, it may begin to outgrow this space. These boxes also do not include drainage holes, which can be important as time goes on. 


When you notice your plant is growing out of this box, it is likely time to look into getting a new planter that can accommodate its size as it grows, and also has in-built drainage abilities.

Just a Little Trim

Trimming is an absolutely natural part of having a plant, just like watering or giving it the correct amount of sunlight. Prune your succulent to make it healthier, so it better fits the space you have, to change its growth pattern, or to create entirely new succulents. Whatever the purpose, succulents are robust plants and will benefit from your care and attention.


Get your own garden here!




Sources:

Naming and Counting the World’s Plant Families | State of the World


Cactus Versus Succulent | UC Agriculture and Natural Resources


My Succulent Is Too Tall: How To Prune a Leggy Succulent Plant | Gardening Knowhow

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