The Succulent Manual

Welcome to The Succulent Manual:
A Guide to Care and Repair for all Climates

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How to use

Photo: These 'rewind' and 'scroll to top' navigation buttons help you get around more quicklyNavigation: There are a few ways to navigate The Succulent Manual. Use the ‘rewind’ and ‘scroll to top’ icons on the left side of the page to help you get around more quickly. If you click on a link that lands on the same page, a rewind icon will appear. Clicking it will take you back to the previous location on the page. The ‘scroll to top’ icon will automatically take you back to the beginning of each chapter.

Table of Contents: The sidebar displays the full contents throughout the pages of The Succulent Manual. On mobile, clicking the last entry ‘Sidebar Contents’ will scroll the screen down to the sidebar.

At the top of each chapter, you find interactive links to the sections included.

Chapters and their sections are internally linked throughout the manual to make it easier to refer to relevant information. Videos and other external resources will open in a new tab.

Images: Most of the images are linked to a larger version and captioned with informative description so be sure to give them a read.

Comments: You’re encouraged to leave questions, comments, and feedback  at the end of each chapter. This will helpful when making regular updates and refinements to the manual. I’ll be around to help answer questions but please feel free to help each other out!

Member profile: Add a profile picture, cover images, share some information about yourself, and easily keep track of your previous comments on your member profile page.

Preface to The Succulent Manual

Millions of people around the world have found themselves oddly in love with succulents. This attraction tends to start with learning to care for one plant and grows to fill a window sill, then a shelf, and eventually the floor or dining table until we buy more shelves. Does this sound familiar to you? Can you still count your succulents on one hand or does your collection take up all the sunny real estate in and around your home? No matter how many succulents we already have, there’s always room for just one more, right?

Maybe you don’t have many succulents yet, if any. You worry you lack the green thumb or the climate to keep them alive. Or maybe you’ve lost confidence after watching them die under your care in the past, and out of mercy for any future victims, you stick to cut flowers because they’re already dying when you bring them home. I say give this manual a read, then give succulents a chance, or another chance. With a bit of insight in how to better understand their needs, you too can experience the joy of keeping these plants. A lot of them. I’m literally up to my neck and surrounded by what some may call ‘too-many-succulents.’ This is a phrase you’ll just need to learn to shrug off because the only folks who utter this nonsense typically don’t have any succulents. The solution is to give them a plant or two and wait. Before long, they’ll realize they also love them and how silly they were to ever think one could have too many.

The chapters in The Succulent Manual contain detailed sections on the most important topics:

Basic Tips: First, you’ll learn about the basic care tips and growing cycles so you have a solid understanding of how to keep succulents alive and happy. This is vital to being able to troubleshoot any problems you may run into along the way.

Anacampseros rufescens 'Sunrise'
Photo: Anacampseros rufescens ‘Sunrise’

Make More Sucs: There are many varieties of succulents that can provide a lifetime supply of plants for you and others from just one plant! You’ll learn about propagation by leaves, division, cuttings, and seeds.

Photo: Start with as many leaves as manageable since some might not propagate
Photo: Start with as many leaves as manageable since some might not propagate

Succulent SOS: Stretched plants, leaf-drop, pests…the ‘Symptoms’ section will help you identify problems with your succulents, while the following section ‘Take Action’ provides solutions and repair tips.

Photo: Mealybugs hiding between roots under a propagation leaf
Photo: Mealybugs hiding between roots under a propagation leaf

Regional Tips: Your climate and location have a major influence on the obstacles you may run into. This chapter covers the various regional and seasonal challenges. Yes, you can pick more than one section—at least three apply to me!

The Succulent Manual also includes identification tips, instructions on building a garden bed for in-ground succulents, tasks like cleaning your succulents and drilling drainage holes in containers, a buying guide for plants and supplies, and other useful advice.

There’s something admirable about a succulent’s ability to thrive without our interference and to bounce back from certain death despite our ignorance. It makes us feel like we’re doing something right, though it’s usually just the plant’s tenacious nature to survive kicking in.

But wait. We must be doing something right if a succulent is strong enough to keep growing, right? Right! A little bit of wisdom goes a long way in the garden and that’s what The Succulent Manual is all about. These insights will help you learn what your succulents are telling you, whether it’s:

“Stop watering me!”

“I need more sun!”

“That’s too much sun!”

“I’ve got BUGS!”

Or even…

“You’re doing great—I’m perfectly happy!”

There is a very special reward waiting for us in our pots and gardens. It’s a contentment not found in many places, a quiet appreciation of our relationship with nature and our influences on each other. For some people, it’s as good for the soul as therapy or church. And the satisfaction of seeing a good amount of dirt under our fingernails can’t be bought.

Cut Flowers Die, Succulents Multiply—
Andrea Afra, Sucs for You