Mermaid Tail Succulents are rare and hard to find. That’s why, when you manage to get your hands on one, you want to take care of it right. Since these succulents are from South Africa, they can seem a little exotic, but the requirements for proper care of Mermaid Tail Succulents are similar to those of any other succulents.
Mermaid Tail Succulents thrive with minimal watering, well-draining, sandy soil, warm temperatures, and at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. They can handle hot temperatures and even partial shade, but overwatering and cold temperatures are the two things that can quickly kill a Mermaid Tail Succulent if you aren’t careful.
If you want to learn a little more about the care of a Mermaid Tail Succulent, keep reading below.
How Do You Care for a Mermaid Tail Succulent?
There are four main things to consider when taking care of any plant. These are:
These four things, in balance, determine whether your plant is happy or not. But every plant needs a slightly different combination. In the case of a Mermaid Tail Succulent, they are pretty tolerant but still have some preferences.
Mermaid Tails are succulents, which means they do fine with very minimal water. Even if you forget to water your Mermaid Tail Succulent for a while, it will be fine and perk right back up once it gets a bit of watering.
Generally, for watering, you want to make sure that you follow the soak and dry method. This means that, if possible, you want to take your succulent and dip it in water for a few seconds. If it is in a pot too large to lift, you can pour in a large amount of water until it starts to drain from the bottom.
Then, you leave it alone until the soil is completely dry again. This method works great as long as you have the right kind of soil.
Most succulents, including Mermaid Tail Succulents, are used to living in more desert-like conditions. Having well-draining, sandy soil is the best for these plants. That allows them to not sit in liquid for too long, even if they get overwatered.
Mermaid Tail Succulents are not able to handle cold weather at all. Even above-freezing temperatures around 40°F (4°C) are often far too cold for these plants. Instead, they prefer high heat and a lot of it.
They are dormant during most of the hottest part of the year, and grow the most during winter time. So if you live in an area with a lot of cooler weather in winter, they may not do well outdoors.
Some plants can’t handle any direct sunlight at all, while others thrive on it. Mermaid Tail Succulents are part of the group that thrives. They enjoy having at least six hours of full sun. However, they are pretty adaptable plants and will also do fine in areas with partial sun.
How Often Do You Water Mermaid Tails?
Depending on the age of your Mermaid Tail, you should water it anywhere between daily and every few days. When it is young and just starting, you will want to water them daily. However, as they grow older, just every two to three days is fine.
Before watering, you always want to make sure the soil is dry. If moisture is sitting in your soil, it is a good idea to wait before watering again. Mermaid Tails are easily able to withstand drought, so it is always better to underwater rather than overwater them.
Unlike most other succulents, the Mermaid Tail Succulent is dormant during the summer months. They tend to awaken and grow during the winter months instead.
Since they are not growing very much during the summer, you can slow down on watering during this warmer season.
The method for testing when it is time for watering again is the same. If the soil is dry, it is a good time to water them, otherwise, wait until the soil looks dry and insert a finger to test. If you are unsure, it is best to wait, as they can survive very long dry periods.
Also, when planting this Mermaid Tail Succulent, you will want to make sure its soil is well-draining. If water is staying in the soil for more than a few days, the soil is likely holding too much and isn’t draining as it should.
What Does an Overwatered Succulent Look Like?
Generally, a good sign that any succulent is overwatered is the fact that they get soft and mushy. Most succulents, including the Mermaid Tail, store water in their stems and leaves. When they get too much water, they try to store too much.
When that happens, their cells will burst, causing them to become mushy. The leaves and stems will also turn black or brown, similar to a bruise.
This is a sign that they are overwatered and that the roots are rotting due to the amount of water they are receiving.
Should Mermaid Tail Succulents Be In Direct Sunlight?
Mermaid Tail Succulents enjoy a lot of sun. Where possible, they enjoy around six hours of direct sunlight a day. However, they can handle partial shade as well, depending on your yard or home.
This plant can handle extremely hot temperatures, but it doesn’t do well in the cold. Usually, anything below 30 to 40°F (-1 to 4°C) is too cold for Mermaid Tail Succulents.
How Do I Know If My Succulent Is Healthy?
It can be hard to tell sometimes if a Mermaid Tail Succulent is happy. They are often dormant during summer and growing and happy during winter months.
However, if your plant is firm and standing up well, and is a solid green color, they are likely healthy. The leaves may get a blue or purple tinge if they are treated well.
They are also quick to grow. If you have a big pot or they are planted outside, your Mermaid Tail Succulent will probably start spreading soon if growing conditions are good.
Overall, these are very tolerant species. As long as they aren’t wrinkled or mushy, you are likely treating them well enough.
How to Propagate Mermaid Tail Succulents?
One of the best ways to grow more Mermaid Tail Succulents is via propagation. This is because technically, Mermaid Tail Succulents are not a separate species. Instead, it is a Senecio Vitalis that has crested. These are also known as Narrow-Leaf Chalkfingers. When the plant has a mutation, it can look like a mermaid tail, hence where Mermaid Tail Succulents get their name.
These succulents are very rare, and high demand has only made them more so. This is why it is better to try and propagate Mermaid Tail Succulents. If you take a mutated one and try to grow a cutting from it, you are more likely to continue the mutation.
Cuttings are the best way to propagate these succulents. If you have a part of the plant that has broken off, you can use that piece as well.
- To start, get a sterile knife.
- Next, cut off one of the leaves, or a few if you want to try several new plants at once.
- Leave the leaves out to dry and allow them to grow a callus. This will usually take a day or two.
- Once successfully callused, replant in soil. The same soil you use for your full-grown Mermaid Tail Succulent is a good choice.
- Make sure you provide your cuttings with plenty of soil and space to grow roots.
- Don’t water the cutting for a few days after planting. This allows it to have time to adjust to a new environment and reduces the stress on the plant.
Can You Revive a Dead Mermaid Tail Succulent?
It is important to note that once a stem or leaf is dead or deformed in some way, there is no way to change that. For example, a sunburned plant will not be able to go back to its normal look until the areas that are sunburned fall off.
Usually, when a succulent has something wrong with it, it boils down to two main fixes. You either need to change up the amount you are watering or repot your succulent. Occasionally the temperature or amount of sun may need to be adjusted as well.
First, check your watering, as it is the easiest. If the soil is very moist and your plant looks brown and mushy, it is likely being overwatered. If the soil is dry and your plant is beginning to look dark and wrinkly, it may need more water.
If the soil seems fine and is draining well, you may want to go ahead and just change out the soil and pot for your plant. It may be root-bound, have a fungus, an infection of some kind, or the roots may be mushy. Any of these can be fixed by repotting and maybe adding additional ingredients like fungicide.
There are a few times where it is unlikely you will be able to revive a dead Mermaid Tail Succulent. The first is if your plant is soft and mushy along the main stem or throughout most of the leaves. Once a plant has burst its cell walls, it is almost impossible for the plant to recover. The burst cell walls cannot be replaced or fixed.
If there are a couple of leaves that still look healthy, you can cut them and try to grow another plant from them (see steps to propagate, above!).
Now that you know what steps to take to treat your Mermaid Tail Succulent well, you are ready to keep it growing and thriving. As you can see, these are fairly easy plants to take care of and are great for those gardeners that are a little forgetful.
In fact, they do a lot better with forgetful parents than with those that are over attentive. Mermaid Tail Succulents do best with well-draining, high quality soil, warm temperatures, direct sunlight, and minimal watering. They can handle being left on their own, and may even quickly spread out if they are given enough space to do so.