Growing Succulents

Christene Gilbey, owner of Sun Worshipper Succulents in Belleville shared her love for these amazing plants at the April meeting of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society. As a child, Christene, remembers harvesting “stones” from her parents’ potato fields! Fortunately, this experience did not ruin Christene’s love for gardening. While she was living in an apartment with no yard, she turned to small easy-care succulents. She opened Sun Worshipper Succulents in November, 2020 and has shared her love for these plants with others.

Succulents are perfect plants for small places. 

It is necessary to use a well draining soil mixture. Christene mixes her own soil at her store and this succulent mix, “rainbow mix” can be purchased at her store. The mixture is ½ potting soil and ½ perlite.

For gardeners who forget about watering their plants, succulents are perfect for you! The soil should be totally dry before watering…and if you forget, the plants are very forgiving! It is best to water from the top and try to avoid getting the leaves wet. Do not let the plant sit in water. Christene uses bamboo sticks to test for dryness…if dry, then and only then is it time to water. 

These plants need 6-8 hours of sunlight each day. It was interesting to learn that the amount of water and light can bring out the colour of the succulents. 

No fertilizer is needed…. these plants survive on neglect!

Like all plants, pests like mealy bugs, fungus gnats and powdery mildew can be a problem for succulents. When Christene purchases plants for her store, she quarantines the new ones for two weeks to ensure there will be no bugs. 

Christene enjoys checking thrift shops for containers for her succulent arrangements. Her shop offers a “drilling” service to drill holes in containers using a diamond tip on the drill. That hole in the base of the container is essential for drainage as succulents do not like wet soil.

Although succulents can flower, Christene says the flowers are neither fragrant or outstanding…. flowers fade but foliage is forever!

Members were given the opportunity to “shop” after the meeting. It seems that many members are now becoming “succulent worshippers” just like Christene!

The store, Sun Worshipper Succulents is located at 191 Dundas Street East, Unit # 3. Belleville. Phone: 613-970-1556 email… The hours are Wednesday-Sunday 10-5. 

MAY 7 MEETING @ 7 pm Tweed Public Library

Lorraine Johnson, a writer, editor and community advocate for the natural world will provide practical information about creating a welcoming habitat for insects and other wildlife. 

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