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We all need air to survive, and plants are no different. But how much does air really factor into how healthy our environment is, and what kind of air flow do plants need to thrive?
In short, air quality plays a major role in how your plants develop, succulents included. Air circulation, in particular, plays a major role in how your plants grow, what illnesses they may contract, and how much light they need.
Bad air circulation, better known as stagnant air, has several negative effects on succulents:
For starters, all plants require carbon dioxide to convert to oxygen during photosynthesis. Stagnant air limits the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide in a room and thus deprives plants of their much-needed CO2. Without enough carbon dioxide to fuel photosynthesis, your succulent will stop growing, or at least grow much more slowly.
In addition, your succulent’s roots need to breathe, which is why it’s so important to plant them in soil with high drainage, and avoid overwatering. Stagnant air can also limit your roots’ access to fresh air for aeration.
If stagnant air can limit how much your succulent’s roots get to aerate, then chances are, you’ll struggle with problems relating to overwatering or high moisture content in your soil. Fungal gnats are bound to take over in soil that remains moist for extended periods, and these pests love to eat at your succulent’s roots or lay eggs in moist soil around stagnant air. Along with fungal gnats, you may also find mold growth, mildew, or mealybugs plaguing your plants.
Keeping air flowing, even a little, is excellent for not only your mental health but for your succulents as well! Positive air circulation gives your plants plenty of fresh air (and carbon dioxide) to work with, thus allowing it plenty of supplies to photosynthesize without any difficulty. Alongside boosting growth, circulating air can not only prevent moisture-based pests from appearing on your succulents but lessen their chances of appearing at all.
So, your home is filled with stagnant air. How do we change that? In general, there are a few things you can do immediately to improve your home’s air circulation:
Letting in fresh air and a soft breeze is one of the most accessible ways to improve airflow in your home. Opening doors within your home can further improve air circulation since you’ll be expanding the available space for air in your home to move around in. You can also place your succulents near these windows to get them optimal access to fresh, circulating air.
In addition to opening a window, you can also add a fan to physically circulate air 24/7. Placing a fan near an open window and letting it oscillate can blow fresh air into your house more quickl0y than with just an open window, and in the warmer months, fresh air can help decrease the temperature of your home. If you want to place a fan near your succulents, make sure that it’s on a very low setting, so you don’t damage the plant.
The third option we recommend is to check your home’s air filtration system. All houses and apartment buildings come equipped with an air filter to keep dust and dirt from blowing into our homes whenever the heat comes on. If your air circulation is typically decent but has recently become stagnant, your air filter may need to be replaced. You can find replacement filters at your local hardware store or online– just make sure to check your furnace before buying.
Air circulation isn’t the only factor to consider when assessing the air quality of your home. Humidity plays a major role in a succulent’s environment. Some succulents may thrive in more humid areas, and others may need dry air to thrive– while this factor may seem unchangeable, you can readily control the humidity of a room using either a humidifier or dehumidifier as needed.
If controlling air circulation isn’t the easiest task, there are still plenty of succulents that can thrive in any environment. These three succulents are our most recommended for homes with low air circulation:
The Christmas Cactus is a popular houseplant, and rightfully so. Its beautiful green stems and bright pink, red, or white flowers are eye-catching in any environment. Plus, this succulent is tough to kill! With relatively high humidity requirements (between 50 and 60% humidity), the Christmas Cactus can live well in stagnant air, as long as you don’t let your home fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
With over 40 species hailing from all over Europe, Asia, and Africa, Sempervivum succulents are ideal for nearly any environment. This genus of succulents is best known for its compact rosette shape and its notable offshoots– hence the popular nickname, “hens and chicks.” These succulents are incredibly hardy and can thrive in both indoor and outdoor environments with little difficulty. The “chicks” are also relatively easy to propagate as well!
Yet another hardy succulent, the Haworthia Zebra is best known for its compatibility with the most inexperienced of plant parents. This succulent can last for long periods with little sunlight, little water, and stagnant air. This plant is great for compact gardens as well, as it only grows to about five inches at full maturity.
If you’re looking to expand your succulent repertoire, or you’re just starting your journey as a plant parent, check out these lovely succulents for your home.
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