What do I do with succulents, low light lovers and a yucca cane?


I bought succulents, low light lovers and a yucca cane. I don’t know how to replant them correctly – what soil do I need? What pot size? Is there a certain time when I should do this? How often do I water them?


That’s actually three questions in one. So let’s look at each plant or group separately.


The best soil for succulents is a 50-50 combination of organic and inorganic materials such as a soilless mix containing equal parts of a non-peat moss based potting soil and construction sand. Bone meal maybe added to the bottom of the pot to encourage root development.

To fertilize use a half strength water-soluble fertilizer with a ratio of 1:2:1 applied once a month from spring to fall. Withhold fertilizing in winter. Over fertilizing can cause soft new growth.

A succulent plant stranded in the middle of a large pot will not be happy. It may survive, but there’s no incentive to grow much. The ideal size pot for most succulents is one about five to ten per cent bigger than the size of the plant at the surface. For rosette type succulents, this would mean that an Echeveria of around 3 inches across would fit into something that is around 3.5 to 4inches across, or just a little bigger than the rosette.

Echeveria and many other succulents don’t have much in the way of tap roots, so they can be planted successfully into a shallow bowl planter.  Other plants like Jovibarba heuffelii need more depth with their extensive tap root system.

Whichever type of planter you use, make sure it’s got adequate drainage – i.e. a drain hole. For more in-depth information on succulents see this Toronto Master Gardener Garden Guide at:


Low Light Lovers

You don’t specify which low light lovers you have so here are a few favourites:

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)  Most ferns do well in low light situations and will burn and turn brown if they get too much sunlight. Keep Boston fern evenly moist and it will continue to grow bigger.

Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra) This plant can take a lot of neglect. It will grow in extremely low light situations and doesn’t mind dust, low humidity and drought.

Flamingo Flower – (Anthurium)  This plant has bright red flowers with a central yellow-white spike. Anthuriums are protected in their natural habitat by being shaded by the canopy of trees, so they can take quite low light situations and still flower.

Zee Zee Plant (Zamioculcas)  thrives in standard indoor potting soil, as long as you let the soil dry out slightly between waterings. Place Zee Zee where it will receive bright filtered or reflected light, such as a north-facing window. Direct sunlight as it can scorch leaves.

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia) likes filtered light or a northern exposure. It will appreciate standard potting soil, average home temps, and average humidity. Water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Except in autumn and winter, apply a complete fertilizer regularly. Turn plants occasionally for even growth.  Dieffenbachia will not survive constant overwatering. If the plant becomes leggy, cut it back to 6 inches from the soil line. Clean leaves regularly with a damp cloth.

Yucca Cane

Soil for a yucca cane may be of poor quality, but it should be heavy enough to hold the plant upright. It must also be well-draining. For best performance of potted yucca plants, the soil should retain some of the water and nutrients. A three to one mixture of sand and peat is a good medium for growing yucca in containers.

Yucca cane plants grow as indoor houseplants and as outdoor ornamental plants in the garden. Yucca thrives at temperatures between 16 and 32 degrees C. with partial shade. With our freezing winters in Toronto, plant your yucca canes in containers so they can be brought indoors during the cold months.

Place your yucca plant in a sunny window or area that receives full light for part of the day.

Water the plant only when the soil is dry. Fertilize using a 19-6-12 slow release fertilizer according to label directions every three months. You can take this plant outdoors during the late spring and early summer.

To plant, place 1 inch of pea gravel in the bottom of the growing container. This will help the water drain. Fill the container with a mixture comprised of three parts peat moss and one part sand before replanting. Repot every two years, choosing a growing container at least 2 inches larger than the previous pot.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Yucca Houseplant Care: Tips For Growing Yucca In Containers https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/foliage/yucca/growing-yucca-indoors.htm