Succulent Burns and their Summer Care
There is a common misconception that succulents are the most light-loving plants that like to lounge in the direct sun all day long, no matter how scorching it becomes. Have you heard of this?
However, in spring and summer, the sun can play a cruel joke on your favourites. During the long cold months, the plants get trained to withstand the harsh cold weather and need to be gradually taught to face the harsh sun again. Cruel days in hot summers can cause irreversible burns to your succulents. This not only looks awful but also threatens their health. In this article, we will talk about watering succulents in summer and how to protect the succulents from getting burnt.
Is too much sun not good?
Sunlight is necessary for photosynthesis, not only for succulents but also for the whole plant world. But the worst thing is that when a succulent gets burned, he can’t perform photosynthesis through the burned tissue of his leaves. Excess sun for succulents can not only be dangerous but also fatal.
Yes, succulents love sunlight and many grow perfectly in direct sunlight during a part of the day. They also perfectly tolerate the heat of 27 degrees and above. But when two factors are combined: direct sunlight and heat above 27 degrees, be sure that your succulent is already in trouble! Without you, he will not be able to get out of there and for that, he will have to grow wings and fly to a more obscure place.
All the culprits are the UV rays and their intensity, which causes burns, not the heat itself. However, high temperature is also risky, it leads to loss of water and increases the temperature inside the plant, which can quickly dry up or become more vulnerable to getting burns.
Especially when the waxing on the succulents is uneven and wiped in some places, they lose their most valuable protection and become a target of the merciless sun, and quickly get burnt in these worn-out places.
Early signs of succulents burns.
When a succulent gets too much sun, he is stressed. If he undergoes this stress gradually, he can adapt to the excessive heat and sun by producing special pigments that colour him in bright colours, which acts as his sunscreen. However, if he has not yet had time to acquire the colour and suddenly found himself under the strong force of direct sunlight, he is guaranteed to get burned. You will see faded stains on the leaves. Usually, these spots are beige, brown, or even almost black and appear on the top of the leaves. They have a rough structure compared to the smooth, healthy leaves. These spots are burnt leaf skin tissue, that is, burned.
The sunburned succulents look very frightening. Before a real burn, you will see pale beige shiny spots, still smooth, with no growths. This is the first sign of the approaching danger and at this stage, the problem is reversible. If you notice this in time and provide shading before a real sunstroke, the results will not be so terrifying and after a while, the tanned sheet will recover.
Leaves that have managed to get stains more seriously, severely changing the colour, without any growths – remain just a cosmetic defect. In this case, the leaves themselves did not die and are still capable of photosynthesis in green healthy parts of the leaf. Each leaf is still able to pass moisture and nutrients through its cells. Over time, the plant will continue to grow leaves from the centre of the socket and one day, naturally refreshing, will drop these ugly burned leaves and regain its original perfection. Although, if you do not like these leaves, you can separate and use them for reproduction. This light degree of a burn will not prevent the leaves from producing new babies.
How to protect succulents from the harsh Sun?
Using a shading grid is the best way to protect your succulents from the negative effects of excessive heat and/or the sun.
A shading grid is used to cover greenhouses and open ground to protect plants from the sun. The material of the mesh is a canvas with cells, imitating the shade, allowing to distribute the light evenly. The mesh is mainly made of synthetic threads. Mostly, polyethene fibre is used in the mesh, which is characterized by environmental friendliness, resistance to various natural phenomena, wear resistance, and other advantages.
Professional succulent growers grow their plants under this protective net to keep them in perfect condition for further resale. Fortunately, you can buy such a netting in any garden store or order it in online stores.
Introduction of succulents to the sun should be gradual, for example, every 2 days adding each time for half an hour more stay in direct sunlight. Then, watch how the leaves gain awesome colours and decide whether the plant is ready for more light or vice versa to less.
Some succulents, such as agave and aloe, are very resistant to direct sunlight. Other species, such as sempervivum and aeonium, are very vulnerable to sudden increases in temperature and scorching sun.
If you are not sure if your plant can withstand the strong sun, use shading.
How do you water succulents in the summer?
Sufficient watering of succulents is crucial in the summer heat. This is exactly where the rule does not work when you have to wait for the soil to completely dry out. In summer, the succulents will lose all their water supplies much faster than it happens in the cold months. Not only do they need moisture, but they also need to cool down with the moisture of their roots.
Watch for signs of dehydration of the succulents, so you can clearly understand when watering is needed.
In summer, succulents should be watered either early in the morning or the evening. Thus, you do not have to worry that the water heated by the sun will boil the roots of plants. Succulents grown in the open air are not as vulnerable to overheating roots as those grown in pots. In the open air, plants on all sides are well fenced with earth and this saves them. In pots, on the contrary, the container itself transmits heat to this little earthly lump in which your succulent lives and the heat just has nowhere to spread. In summer, the succulents, as well as all living creatures, can be harmed by both dehydration and excess sun.