One of the cutest little succulent collections that I came across at Paxton Gate in San Francisco!
I’ve been a collector of succulents and cacti ever since I first stumbled upon the little cuties at my local Home Depot. I would always gravitate towards the gardening aisle on shopping trips with my dad, and a lot of times he’d let me pick one to take home. Once I learned how to properly care for them, and began to witness my collection thriving and even producing little ‘pups’, I was hooked. From that point on, I continued to fill my living spaces, and even my work cubicles, with all sorts of colorful, uniquely textured succulent, purchased from stores and some even propagated at home!
To me, there’s just something so satisfying about raising and nurturing such a small, delicate living plant. (In fact, I had grown so connected to a few of my smallest babies that, when I moved to Cali, I had to bring them along with me!) At the same time, succulents provide the same health benefits of regular house plants and add a pop of greenery to our spaces, while requiring far less care (but an equal amount of love and encouragement ;)). Here are five reasons why you should consider adding some succulents into your home or work spaces…
They boost oxygen levels after the sun goes down.
Through the process of photosynthesis, plants revives our living spaces with fresh oxygen. This is true of any type of plant, however succulents are unique in that they perform CAM photosynthesis, which means they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen at night. For that reason, it may be helpful to keep a few succulents in your bedroom for a boost of clean air before you go to sleep (especially in the wintertime when you’re getting less airflow from outside). Breathing in more oxygenated can in turn improve sleep quality.
They can help purify the air.
In addition to increasing oxygen levels in the air, plants may also improve overall air quality by removing indoor air pollutants (such as ozone) and toxins. Succulents in particular, including the snake plant and aloe vera, are known for their air-filtering capacities. They’ve been found to absorb volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are byproducts of burning fuel, such as gasoline, wood, or coal. Examples of volatile organic compounds include formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene (commonly found in printer inks, books, dry-cleaning products, solvents, paints, carpets, upholstery, and other building materials). Through the plants’ unique metabolic processes, they’re then able to deactivate/destroy these organic chemicals and convert them into new tissue (1).
But will succulents – and plants in general for that matter – rid your home completely of pollutants? Most likely not. In fact, results are still a bit mixed when you apply the 1989 NASA Clean Air study findings to real indoor environments, so I wouldn’t rely on plants entirely when it comes to air purification.
They help reduce stress & improve focus.
Whether it’s the color that calms the mind, the beautiful symmetry and patterns, or the presence of nature that makes us feel relaxed, indoor plants are known to help reduce stress, boost our mood, and increase focus and concentration. Succulents are especially easy to incorporate into your workspace – whether it’s a home or at the office – as they don’t take up a lot of space, and won’t mind if you go on vacay for 1-2 weeks to hang around palm trees instead. Taking care of such as a small plant and seeing it grow can also be a very rewarding experience, so much so that it can boost our sense of well being and happiness.
“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” — Gertrude Jekyll
They are hardy, easy plants to care for.
Succulents are very low-maintenance plants. Not only are they drought resistant, they’re also hardy, not super picky about their living situations, and they can even survive a couple of weeks of neglect (making them great for people who frequently travel as well as newbie plant-owners).
Most succulents require a bright surrounding, but not necessarily in full sun. A fairly bright, sunny location indoors is typically enough for them to grow. They’re also not super picky as to what type of pot you plant them in – they can be planted in shallow jars, or grouped together into a large pot surrounded by other plants (drainage holes of course help as they don’t like to sit in water/continually moist soil).
The only time I’ve ever got into trouble was when I over-watered a few succulents. Later on in my succulent-growing journey, I discovered that it’s best to just barely saturate the soil around their roots, and then wait until the soil has completely dried up before watering them again.
Over-watering is likely going to be your biggest concern, but once you get the hang of it, you should have some pretty happy and healthy plants! However, on the off-chance that you spot something usual, I recommend checking out this handy guide that will help you to identify, and remedy, different issues.
You can easily multiply your collection!
One great thing about succulents is that you can easily increase your collection by propagating. Propagation involves removing a part of an existing plant – like the leaf, stem, or little baby offset – to grow a new, separate plant. The whole propagation process can be a bit tricky at first, and may not always lead to straight successes, but with a little research, practice, and patience, it’s only a matter of time before your succulent collection begins to multiplies before your eyes. Here’s a great little guide on how to propagate different types of succulents.
“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.” – Janet Kilburn Phillips
Top 3 Succulent Subscription Boxes to Help You Grow Your Collection
Between their amazing health benefits and the fact that they’re so easy to care for, succulents make great starter plants for plant newbies. If you’re looking to start a collection, you can typically find them at home improvement stores, as well as some health and grocery stores. Succulents are also widely available online.
There are also a number of succulent subscription boxes on the market that can add a fun element of surprise to the whole plant-buying experience. I’ve listed three of my favorites below. Depending on the company, they’ll ship to you anywhere from 1 to 5 plants per month, with sizes ranging from baby (~1″ tall) to mature (~2.5″ tall). They can then be used to decorate your living spaces, straight out of the box! They also come with care instructions, so you’ll know exactly how to keep your little guys happy. (These boxes ship within the US only at this time.):
Succulent Studios sends you 2 unique baby succulents (about 1-1.5″ in size) each month, shipped from their second-generation nursery straight to your door. (This is the box shown all throughout this post.)
- Cost: $10 / month + shipping ($6.50)*
- Cost per plant: $8.25
With The Succulent Source’s monthly subscription, you’ll receive 5 unique mature succulents (about 2.5″ in size) each month. They have over 60 unique succulents available, so they offer plenty of variety and very little box repeats!
- Cost: $30 / month + shipping ($8.95)*
- Cost per plant: $7.79
- Save with 3, 6, and 12-month subscriptions!
And last but not least, Succulents Box offers the most amount of flexibility – you can choose to receive anywhere from 1 to 4 succulents each month, all around 2″ in size.
- Cost: $4.85 / month for 1 succulent, up to $17.85 / month for 4 succulents + shipping ($5.20-8.35)*
- Cost per plant: $10.05 down to $6.55 for the 4 succulent option
- Save with 3, 6, and 12-month subscriptions!
*Prices as of 10/27/18. Please check the websites linked above for the most current box/shipping costs!
Have you started, or plan to start, your our succulent garden? Where do you typically pick up new varieties? Have you tried a succulent subscription box?