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Plant mail! What to do once you've opened the box to your beautiful new succulents!

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

So, your box has arrived and you're excited to unpack your plants and admire them. But, then what? Here's a quick guide to what to do next and how to ensure you take the best care of your new plants after shipping.

1. Rest and air

The first step is to un-wrap your plants and let them breathe again. Airflow is quite important for succulents so this is an important step in getting them settled into their new place. I recommend leaving your plants for 2-3 days to adjust and let the roots breathe. Leave them somewhere that gets bright, indirect light and airflow. It's important they're not exposed to direct sun at this point as they could burn.

2. Water propagation

An optional step at this point is water propagation. You can give this a go if your new plants have minimal roots or look particularly thirsty (this means wrinkled or dry leaves and generally not looking plump and full of water).

To get started find a small container you can place your plants in where the rosette/leaves can sit above the water and the roots can be submerged. Try shot glasses or bud vases or you can even use a normal drinking glass and cover the top with cling film/plastic wrap then poke through a hole for the roots and place your plant on top. It can take days to a week or two for roots in water to show new growth. Make sure you change the water and wash the container at least once a week so mold/algae doesn't get a chance to grow.

Once your plant has established some new roots you can remove them from the water and air-dry then pot it up!

3. Potting

When it's time to put your new plants in pots the process is pretty simple:

  • Use a pot/container with a drainage hole

  • Make sure your substrate is well-draining. That means that it has very little organic content and lots of medium to allow the roots to breathe. I use grit and perlite to amend succulent and cacti soil. Aim for a ratio of 50/50 of soil and perlite/grit and then you can adjust according to how your succulents seem to like it.

  • Plant your new succulent just at or above the rim of the container so it gets as much light as possible. One thing I see people who are new to succulents do is planting too deep, and creating shade from the side of the pot.

  • You may want to choose a top dressing for your pots. I like to do this because I use perlite and it can float to the top when you water and look a bit unsightly over time. Top dressing will hold (most of it!) it down.

Now the only thing left to do is choose where you want your new plants to live.

4. Exposure to light

Be cautious about moving your succulent into sunlight too early. This can burn the leaves and leave ugly brown marks after the fact. They will usually survive and eventually the burnt leaves will grow out.

My usual technique for introducing new plants is usually to place them first on the back of a bottom shelf for 2-3 days to let them acclimatize. Then, if everything looks good I move them to the front and let a little bit of direct sun hit them. I would say they should get no more than an hour at this point. After about a week of this I gradually move them to a spot where they get more direct sun, increasing the amount each day until they're fully in their new spot with all the sun my other plants get.

You only need to have one of your succulents get sunburn before you realize it's better to be safe than sorry. But if you succulents do get burnt, don't worry, they'll recover. The best thing to do is remove them from direct sun immediately for a couple weeks until they can recover and then start the whole process of introducing them to light over again.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy your new plants!

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