Succulents for the Indian Climate

What exactly is a succulent?

Succulents are plants that are thick, fleshy and engorged in order to help them retain water in arid, dry climates. The word “succulent” comes from the Latin word “sucus” meaning juice or sap. These plants store water in various locations such as leaves, stems or roots. Succulents are usually grown as decorative plants as they have a strikingly unusual and beautiful appearance and also survive with minimal care.

Succulents
Succulents

What sort of climate succulents desire?

In deserts, temperatures fluctuate from 20-25⁰C every day. On extreme days, it can reach 43-49⁰C easily. Minimum temperatures can be as low as -18⁰C. Succulents have adapted to these extremes and will easily survive low temperatures as long as they are kept dry and receive enough warmth and sunlight during the day. However, if subjected to long periods of low sunlight and low temperatures with added moisture from frost or snow, succulents don’t survive for very long.

Succulents prefer sunlight
Succulents prefer sunlight

The optimal temperature for healthy succulent growth is somewhere around 21⁰C. These plants are not supposed to be watered a lot and favour dry conditions. As the temperature drops, you will notice that their colour intensifies

Is India’s climate suitable for succulents?

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) designates 4 climatological seasons:

Winter:

Lasts from December to February. Temperatures average around 10-20⁰C in northwest regions and rise as one proceeds towards the equator, peaking around 20-25⁰C in the southeast

Summer or Pre-Monsoon:

Lasts from March to May. During May, temperatures average around 32-40⁰C around most of the country

Monsoon or Rainy:

Lasts from June to September. Dominated by the humid southwest summer monsoon, which slowly sweeps across the country beginning late May or early June. The temperatures are often between 24-33⁰C

Post-Monsoon or Autumn:

Lasts from October to November. Temperature averages 20⁰C in far north and around 30⁰C in far south

Looking at the above data from Wikipedia, it can be concluded that the average temperature in India is mostly around 25⁰C, which falls right around the optimal temperature that succulents desire.

Map explaining India's climate
Map explaining India’s climate

Top 5 succulents to grow in India

Zebra Haworthia:

This plant has zebra-like stripes on the plant is the reason behind its unique name and also makes it easily recognizable

Zebra Haworthia
Zebra Haworthia
Query Description
Origin Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
Scientific Name Haworthiopsis attenuata
Placement On your desk or shelf
Water Requirement Summer: Water evenly and generously during the summer & allow the soil to dry out completely between watering. Winter: Watered infrequently like once in every 15 days
Sunlight Minimal, too much sunlight would lead the leaves to turn white or yellow
Soil Should have good drainage so consider porous sandy soil
Advice Avoid direct and excessive sunlight and frequent watering, water only when the soil is dry

Adenium Desert Rose:

The prime feature of this plant is the swollen trunk. A nice swollen trunk of the Adenium Desert Rose plant signifies good health and if the trunk is skinny, then that indicates the requirement of moisture.

Adenium Desert Rose
Adenium Desert Rose
Query Description
Origin Sahel, south of the Sahara (from Mauritania and Senegal to Sudan), tropical, and subtropical East and South Africa and Arabia
Scientific Name Adenium obesum
Placement Outdoor garden, near window, balcony, or terrace
Water Requirement This plant grows during the rainy period followed by a dry & dormant period. Water moderately in summer & spring and reduce that in winter
Sunlight Choose a southern window where there is exposure to enough sun for the plants to flourish and bloom
Soil Moderately moist in spring and summer & reduce watering in fall and winter when the plant is dormant
Advice Avoid direct and excessive sunlight and frequent watering. Water it only when the soil is dry

Love plant:

The name is Love Plant because of the unique heart-shaped leaves. They produce small balls of nectar whose colour may be red or brown and they smell faint.

Hoya kerrii
Hoya kerrii
Query Description
Origin South-East Asia- South China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and the Indonesian island of Java
Scientific Name Hoya kerrii
Placement Indoors, on your study table or drawing room coffee table
Water Requirement Only 2 watering sessions per month is enough for growth. Too saturated soil can lead to rotting
Sunlight Moderate light is required. Indirect sunlight would be best
Soil A mix of potting soil, heath soil, and peat
Advice There should not be excessive watering. Lukewarm rainwater can be used in the morning to allow the pot to dry during the day

Moon Cactus:

This is a small grafted cactus. The top cactus of the moon cactus has a mutation that causes it to lack the chlorophyll that makes the cactus green. They are mostly available in pink, red, yellow, and orange colors and grow only up to ½ inch in height.

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii
Gymnocalycium mihanovichii
Query Description
Origin South America
Scientific Name Gymnocalycium mihanovichii
Placement Your call 😀
Water Requirement Thorough watering is required. But water only when the soil has dried out completely
Sunlight Bright but indirect sunlight is best
Soil Cactus soil has superior drainage and will dry out quickly after watering
Advice Never overwater

Jade Plant:

This is a plant with cute, small, thick, oval-shaped, and fleshy leaves with woody stems. As per Feng Shui, this plant attracts financial gain.

Crassula ovata
Crassula ovata
Query Description
Origin South Africa & Mozambique
Scientific Name Crassula ovata
Placement Kitchens & offices with a south-facing window are typically great spots with just enough light
Water Requirement Water the soil during spring and summer when it is growing but allow a dry spell between watering sessions
Sunlight 4 hours of direct sunlight is enough
Soil Sandy Porous Soil
Advice Jade is sensitive to salt in tap water so always use distilled or filtered water

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