Guest Author - Linda Genis
Not only do succulents demand little in the way of water and fertilizer, the tools you need to care for them include many implements you already have in your home. The tools listed here will meet your needs, particularly if your succulents are in containers.
First on the list are sharp scissors and hand pruners. The scissors can trim brown edges on leaves and snip thin stems. The pruners are for thicker stems. Clean your scissors and pruners with a solution of 10% bleach and water to avoid spreading disease from plant to plant.
Thin latex gloves enable you to do fine work. If you are not working with a thorny plant, heavy gloves can be cumbersome and get in the way. Cotton gloves with nitrile fingertips work well too and hold up to a lot of wear. If you are working with cactus, wear heavy leather gloves with gauntlets to protect your arms.
Window screen is useful for placing at the bottom of containers to keep the soil from washing away. Iíve used landscape fabric for this purpose but it does not drain as well. A roll of screen is inexpensive and will cover the drain holes of many pots. If it seems like a roll is more than you will use, split a roll with a gardener friend.
Needle-nosed pliers are just the right thing for pulling out dead leaves from under plants where your fingers canít get a good grip. Removing dead leaves will help keep your plants healthy. Tweezers can be used for smaller spaces.
When youíre potting tiny succulents, a chopstick can be used to make a hole for the stem. Next time you get Chinese takeout, save the chopsticks! For a larger hole, you can use an old spoon or a small garden hand shovel. After potting there is sometimes soil on your plants. A small brush can get in crevices and aid in removing errant bits of soil.
The spray bottle is for misting the soil where you are rooting cuttings or for moistening succulent wreaths. Q-tips are handy for swabbing mealybugs with alcohol.
Until you have to dig up a large agave from the ground, these simple tools will be all you need for succulent gardening.