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DIY succulent arrangements thrive indoors without much fuss

DIY succulent arrangements thrive indoors without much fuss

RICHMOND—Low-maintenance succulents create hardy indoor arrangements with little effort.

Succulents are resilient desert plants fortified to withstand harsh outdoor conditions and are tolerant of neglectful indoor care. Arrangements can be created in virtually any container or flower pot—no floral arrangement experience required. The trendy plants are aesthetically diverse and relatively inexpensive.

“As long as you give [a succulent] the light it needs near a windowsill, it will last year-in, year-out,” said Sara Rutherford, a Virginia Cooperative Extension agriculture and natural resources agent in Emporia.

Though she has more than a decade of expertise in floral and landscape design, Rutherford said a succulent arrangement can easily be created at home. She recommended layering pea gravel on the bottom of a decorative container and adding cactus soil mix on top of the pebbles.

“I’ve used rocks from my driveway,” she said. “And any cactus-type potting mix of your choosing.”

Once succulent starter plants are removed from their individual containers and added to the planter, Rutherford said to cover the roots with cactus mix.

“A lot of these plants are very forgiving,” she said. “Push them down firmly, making sure their fibrous roots have good contact with the soil. It’s nice to put the cascading plants toward the edge of the pot. You can fill the container, but it’s good to leave some space for the plants to grow. Space to breathe is beneficial.”

Rutherford advised saving the waxy leaves if they break off, as succulents grow through vegetative propagation instead of from seeds.

“If leaves break off, you can cut them down and start a new pot, just like you would divide a perennial out in the garden to keep it going,” she said.

Rutherford suggested dribbling tap water on the soil of the finished succulent arrangements—enough to moisten the soil without drowning the roots. Yellowed, wilted leaves are a symptom of both underwatering and overwatering.

“Succulents are good for somebody who might forget to water their plants all week,” she said. “But with indoor plants, people often kill them with kindness. They water them too much or keep them too warm, which can sometimes do the opposite of what you intend.”

Media: Contact Rutherford at 434-348-4223.