February 03, 2018
My succulent is green, it won’t change colors….
We often get a lot of questions about how to grow succulents. It makes sense, they’re popular and people want to make sure their new plants will live well. One of the biggest questions I get is about the coloring of the succulent, specifically I hear people confused because they purchased a succulent that is to have a blue tint or red edges or a hue of purple in the leaves, but their succulent is just green.
The thing about succulents is they are, well I like to compare them to mood rings. They change their colors based on how happy they are. When they are happiest, they tend to exhibit their best self, their best colors. So to get those blue or red tints make sure you are giving your succulent exactly what it wants.
In general the succulent care equation is bright light and dry soil.
Yes succulents want bright light and lots of it. That will give your plant the best colors. If your succulent doesn’t get enough light you’ll notice it will turn green. This doesn’t mean your plant is necessarily unhealthy, it will continue to grow and stay green but will it will not give you the colors you wanted when you purchased the plant. Take note though, watch for excessive plant stretching, that would indicate that your plant isn’t even getting sufficient lighting.
The second half of the succulent care equation is moisture. We all know succulents like it dry but, for most of us, it fights our natural urges to let plants dry out. We’ve been trained as plant lovers to make sure your plants have enough water. Fight the urge to water your succulents, keep them dry. Most succulents only need watered maybe once a month. Giving your succulent more water than it wants will keep your plant green, not colorful. Excessive water will ultimately rot your succulent.
Lastly, sometimes exposing your succulent to some cold weather can help them color up, particularly with hardy succulents such as sempervivums. Sempervivums often take being overwintered in cool or cold temperatures to get their true to name coloring. For non-hardy succulents you may want to expose them to cool weather when you can, such as temperatures in the forties, but no lower. An easy way to do this is to leave them outdoors as long as you can in the fall before you bring them in in the winter.
If you are a succulent grower these tips will help you get the most out of your succulents. Also, remember, not all succulents are true mood rings because some succulents are green by nature and even if they are the happiest they can be, they will still be green, and when they are sad, they will be green. It’s important to know what plant you have so you know what to expect.
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