The ONE Simple Thing Succulents Need to Thrive and 5 Reasons Why Wind is It

“A few decades ago, scientists conducted an experiment in the Arizona desert where they built “Biosphere 2” – a huge steel-and-glass enclosure with air that had been purified, clean water, nutrient-rich soil, and lots of natural light. It was meant to provide ideal living conditions for the flora and fauna within. And while it was successful in some ways, in one way it was an absolute failure. Over and over, when trees inside the Biosphere grew to a certain height, they would simply fall over. At first, the phenomenon confused scientists. Finally, they realized that the Biosphere lacked a key element necessary to the trees’ health: wind. In a natural environment, trees are buffeted by wind. They respond to that pressure and agitation by growing stronger bark and deeper roots to increase their stability.”

– Jay Shetty, On Purpose Podcast
Striped aeonium outside benefits greatly from wind

With succulents, we may think that we’re providing ideal conditions for growth by providing them with light, water and soil, but we may actually be missing one essential element necessary for true success. The experiment with Biosphere 2 showed that trees need more than just purified air, clean water, nutrient-rich soil, and natural light to grow to their full potential; they also require the pressure and agitation of wind to promote growth and strengthen their bark and roots. Similarly, succulents require certain environmental factors to thrive, including the right amount of wind.

Brown echeveria wind

Reason #1: Wind Stimulates Growth and Strengthens Stems and Roots

Wind helps to promote the growth and development of succulent stems and roots. The pressure and agitation of wind stimulate the plant to produce stronger and thicker stems, as well as deeper and more extensive root systems. This strengthens the overall structure of the plant, making it more resilient to environmental stressors. One succulent in particular that greatly benefits from circulating air is Senecio rowleyanus or ‘String of Pearls’. In online forums and groups, the vast majority of people that have problems with their ‘String of Pearls’ are growing them indoors with no air circulation. Unsurprisingly, they all suffer from overwatering.

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Red kalanchoe wind

Reason #2: Wind Prevents Fungal Diseases and Pests

Stagnant air can create a breeding ground for fungal spores and pests to multiply, leading to potentially devastating consequences for your plants. However, a consistent flow of air helps to prevent these issues from occurring and keeps your succulents healthy and thriving. Provide the right amount of airflow to prevent moisture buildup around the plants. Without enough air circulation, succulents can become waterlogged and susceptible to fungal infections or root rot. Additionally, a lack of airflow can lead to weak stems and poor growth.

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Red echeveria wind

Reason #3: Wind Helps to Regulate Soil Moisture Levels

Wind can play a crucial role in regulating soil moisture levels and preventing overwatering. Wind helps to dry out excess water in the soil and prevent waterlogged conditions, which can be detrimental to succulent growth. By promoting air circulation around your plants, it helps the soil to dry out more quickly, allowing the plant to absorb necessary moisture without becoming waterlogged.

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Green and red echeveria wind

Soil that is too moist can cause a range of problems for succulents, including yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and even death. When soil is waterlogged, it becomes anaerobic, meaning that there is little to no oxygen available for the roots. This can lead to root rot, a fungal disease that can quickly kill your plants. By providing the right amount of moving air, you can help to prevent these issues and ensure that your succulents thrive.

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Graptosedum california sunset in pink wind

Reason #4: Wind Prevents Weak Stems and Poor Growth

When succulents are grown in stagnant air, they tend to experience weaker stems and stunted growth. In order to ensure that your succulents grow strong and healthy, it is important to provide them with adequate airflow. This is where wind comes into play.

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Echeveria gooch wind

Wind stimulates growth and encourages the plant to develop strong, sturdy stems. When succulents are exposed to gentle breezes, it causes the plant to move and sway slightly. This movement creates resistance, which in turn strengthens the stem. As a result, the plant develops a strong foundation that allows it to grow tall and healthy.

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Echeveria dusty rose wind

Furthermore, wind also helps to prevent the plant from becoming “lazy.” When air is stagnant, the plant does not have to work as hard to stay upright. This causes the stem to become weaker, leading to overall poor growth. However, when exposed to moving air, the plant has to work harder to stay upright. This increased effort leads to a stronger stem and a healthier plant overall.

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Echeveria agavoides wind

Reason #5: The Right Amount of Wind is Key

While wind is essential for the growth of succulents, it’s important to provide the right amount. Too much wind can be just as detrimental as too little, causing damage to delicate foliage and drying out the soil too quickly. Therefore, it’s important to strike a balance and provide enough moving air to promote healthy growth without causing damage to your plants.

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Crassula babys necklace outdoors wind

To achieve the right amount of wind, you can consider placing your succulents in an area with natural moving air, such as near an open window or on a covered patio. Alternatively, you can use a fan to provide a consistent, gentle breeze. It’s important to monitor your plants regularly and adjust their growing conditions as needed, including the amount of moving air.

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Colorful succulent arrangement wind

It’s crucial to provide the right amount of wind for your succulents to grow strong and healthy. This can help prevent moisture buildup, fungal infections, and root rot while promoting resilient, healthy growth. By providing the right growing conditions, including wind, you can ensure that your succulents grow to their full potential and continue to thrive for years to come.

Colorful echeveria wind

(Side note: I recently discovered Jay Shetty’s podcast called “On Purpose” where he talks about so many lessons on overcoming adversity, creating good habits and improving work-life balance amongst other things. All of the podcast episodes I’ve listened to so far have been applicable in my life one way or another. Definitely worth a listen if you’re searching for a new podcast to stream. You can find it on any podcast streaming service or on his website.)

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Bumpy echeveria wind
Stoic succulent 6 wind