Succulents that Grow Outdoors.
People growing their succulents in the open air or containing them outdoors always notice that after a heavy rain succulents look brighter and healthier. The water has a beneficial effect on succulents. Rainwater supplies them with dissolved organic minerals and washes away the dust that prevents photosynthesis.
Moreover, it dilutes and washes away salts, harmful chemicals that are densely embedded in the soil from tap water. The supply of nitrogen, especially during thunderstorms, is another good bonus for the succulents. It sounds strange, but thunderstorms and lightning bolts feed the plants. In agriculture, they know that discharges from clouds are beneficial, turning nitrogen from the air into its oxides, which are then assimilated by plants and give an increase in yield. Plants do not assimilate nitrogen in the form of gas and thanks to bolts of lightning, the plants will have no shortages in their nitrogen content. Lightning turns gaseous nitrogen into other nitrogen components which are necessary for the formation of plant tissue and seed development.
Growing succulents in the open air are more suitable for regions where there is no continuous rainfall and the earth has time to dry well during the day. But the weather is unpredictable and it may happen that the rainy days will last longer than required and can end up being very dangerous for the succulents. In this case, it will be useful to build a protective shelter, which will help to get rid of excess water. For example, it may be a reinforced film for greenhouses. As a rule, such waterproof films not only protect plants from heavy rainfall but also pass a lot of light needed for succulents and do not collapse under the influence of ultraviolet rays. If you keep your collection in pots outdoors, such a shelter is simply necessary because the aeration in the pots is much weaker. The soil dries longer and the risk of rotting from overwetting is high. Moreover, the shelter also acts as a protection against burns, which can take away the perfect beauty of your dear succulents.
If your succulents grow outdoors in pots and get caught in the rainwater, be sure to make a sufficiently loose breathable soil and the pots have a good amount of drainage holes!
It is worth understanding that the cultivation of succulents in the open air and the air in cities with a humid climate is not what is needed for succulents. There are risks not only of soil mould from excess moisture but also rotting and plant death. Succulents already by definition have “succulence”, i.e. “juiciness”. Nature has laid down in them the ability to stay for a long time without water. So when it gets too humid outside, it is better to bring succulents into the house.
However, rainwater in moderate amounts and when the soil dries up quickly is good for succulents. Collectors who grow succulents in the open air often notice how new leaves grow after a good rain. Supplying rainwater to succulents helps them grow at a more impressive rate.
If you live out of town, then your succulents are lucky. You can collect rainwater and use it for irrigation. However, you have to be careful. You should not collect water from zinc roofs, as some zinc compounds are harmful to succulents. It is better to use rainwater from roofs made of artificial material. Moreover, it is highly recommended not to collect water after a long dry period, because such rainwaters may contain a lot of dirt and chemicals.
Succulents are plants that love the sun, fresh air, and free space. We try to “domesticate” them, teach them to live in the confined spaces of our city apartments and please our eyes. But no matter how hard we try, we will be unable to create better conditions than in nature, which is why succulents seem very unpredictable to us.
Not everyone has a field to grow succulents, and in this case, the best gift for succulents would be to take care of them on a ventilated balcony with night temperature differences.