Make the most of Succulents, Slugs and Snails

Make the most of Succulents, Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails are a common annoyance for any gardener. They are sneaky eaters, and you almost never see them before they have eaten away your precious plants. They are the slimiest pest a succulent gardener might encounter – literally and figuratively! During winter, when it is wet and cold in the Western Cape, they have a ball of a time chomping away on your plants.

Both slugs and snails thrive in cool, moist conditions and are mainly active during the nighttime. They like to lay their eggs in the darkest of corners in the soil under plants. And, they can lay up to 100 eggs each time – not only once a year but several times a year. After the eggs are laid, they develop and hatch. And, in perfect conditions, snails can live for a few years in your garden. 

Spotting slugs and snails infestations on your plants are relatively easy because they usually are the first pests active in early spring. Because they prefer the cooler months, they get active as early as the end of winter before other pests are active. Of course, the unmistakable snail trail is an immediate giveaway. Together with the scalloped edges on plants and leaves where they have recently been eating. On succulents like your Cotyledon orbiculate, they like to eat the leaves from the upper side. This leaves big holes in the fleshy leaves. And, all this happens overnight …

Spotting Slugs and Snails

But how do you get rid of this slimy pest? Being a prolific pest, you probably won’t be able to clear your garden from slugs and snails completely. But you can try a few methods to help prevent them from damaging your succulents.


This is the most environmentally-friendly way to keep slugs and snails at bay. Crushing up eggshells into small pieces and scattering them around the base of your plants or even on the plant itself, acts as a deterrent. Slugs and snails have delicate skin and the sharp and piercing edges of the eggshells are unpleasant for them, meaning they will keep clear of the succulents with eggshells around. This method is poison-free and safe to use around pets and kids. Eggshells are also entirely biodegradable, and a source of calcium for soil.

Beer traps

Beer traps are easy and straightforward to maintain. Simply take a small bowl or cup and bury it to the rim in an infested area and fill it to about halfway with fresh beer. Slugs and snails are both attracted by the smell of the yeast in the beer and will venture in, drowning when they reach the beer. Keep on topping up the beer every few days and remove dead slugs and snails.

Poison bait

If you want to wipe out the slugs and snails and a deterrent is not enough, there are several options available in several different forms – pellets, meal, and in liquid. Pellets and meal bait can be scattered around plants or placed in piles in a particular infested area, like against walls and under thick plant growth. This poisonous bait needs to be consumed by the slugs and snails to be effective.

Slugs and Snails don’t love poison, neither do kids and pets

Use with caution if you have small children or pets as this is poisonous!!!! And, is also deadly for wildlife. If you have to go this way, please avoid buying bait, meal or liquid bait with metaldehyde as an active ingredient, but go for the safer, iron phosphate bait instead.

Alternative methods

Handpicking is also an option but not for the squeamish among us. Using rubber gloves or tongs to pluck and dispose of the pests at night gets them out of your garden.

Inviting natural predators of slugs and snails to your garden, such as frogs and toads, is also an option. Frogs and toads are able to eat a significant number of slugs and snails and may help keep the numbers of other problem insects, like mosquitos, down. Having a water feature in your garden will attract frogs and toads. Slugs and snails look harmless, but to your plants, they are not, and hopefully, you’ll find one of these methods an effective way to keep slugs and snails away from your beautiful succulents.

Slugs and snails

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One aspect of plant care that often causes a few headaches is pruning. How and when it should be done varies from plant to plant, and if done improperly can harm your plants or delay your flowering or fruiting time.

Here are a few basic tips so you can enjoy your flowers, fruit and even your pruning:

First things first …


 I am a tool fanatic, and proper pruning is impossible without the right tools.


They are used for the young and thinner branches and always should be sharp to avoid tearing and splitting twigs and branches.

Lopper or long-handled secateurs

They give you more strength to cut thicker branches, and also give you added leverage to reach way into bushy shrubs or up into a tree.

Pruning saw

For the thick branches or trees or older shrubs.

Hedging shears

For the pruning and shaping of formal hedges and topiaries, or general trimming of shrubs.

All these tools should be kept sharp so that they will cut cleanly and easily. It is also good practice to wash all these tools after use with soapy water and to sterilise them by wiping it with ethanol. This prevents the spread of pests and diseases in your garden. Always dry thoroughly after cleaning to prevent rust and grease all the moving parts.

Pruning tips for al shrubs, roses and fruit trees

1. Remove all dead, diseased or broken twigs and branches;

2. Remove water sprouts, suckers and crossing branches;

3. Remove all crowded and crossing growth that doesn’t allow air circulation (especially when in full foliage);

There is one basic rule for shrubs, climbers or groundcover and succulents that only flower once a year: they need to be pruned or trimmed immediately after flowering has stopped.

In autumn and winter, you should prune back the following shrubs after flowering:

Plumbago, Barleria spp., Lavender bushes, Leonotis, Senecio spp., Thrachelospermum jasminoides, and Hydrangeas.

Hydrangeas need to be pruned mid-July, and you need to prune one- third of the plant back.

Roses and fruit trees (deciduous fruit trees) also needs pruning in their dormant season. With roses half to two- thirds of the branches needs to be pruned back. Always cut above an outward-facing node.

Bonsai and formal hedges need regular pruning or trimming to keep their shape.

Pruning encourages new growth, helps manage the size of plants, promotes better blooms and fruit, and also healthier plants. After pruning, remember to give your plants a good mulch which will help your plants with that extra “vooma” when new growth starts.

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Euryops is an indigenous plant group from the Cape for the Cape. Winters in the Cape can be wet, windy and cold but with Euryops in your garden, your day will be filled with warmth and colour.

Euryops is a group of evergreen, hardy and bushy shrubs that grow fast, and are wind and frost resistant. They need a sunny position and will tolerate some semi-shade but will flower less. Plant them in well-drained loamy soil that contains plenty of compost. They are good landscaping plants where colour is needed, and because they are fast-growing, they quickly fill a gap in any sunny position. They are great plants for mixed borders, mass planting and rockeries. Euryops are low maintenance and only need pruning after flowering in spring to keep its shape. Also, every 2 to 3 years prune back hard to keep plants from becoming woody. In spring, give a good layer of compost, especially in coastal gardens.

Euryops are free-flowering shrubs that attract birds, bees and butterflies to any garden with the flowers also lasting some time in a vase.

Euryops pectinatus:

Common name: Golden Daisy Bush or Harpuisbos (afrikaans)

It is the shorter more compact growing Euryops with attractive, soft grey-green foliage and bigger, yellow, daisy-like flowers throughout the year but more in winter and spring. The flowers stand above the foliage, making it a striking eye-catcher specimen in any garden. Deadheading will help to prolong the flowering season.

Euryops virgineus:

Common name: Honey Daisy

The common name says it all of this Euryops. When flowering, it smells like a pot of honey and hundreds of bees will hover around the bush. Euryops virgineus’ foliage is a fine, dark green, fern-like foliage and at the end of winter hundreds of small yellow flowers will cover the plants for weeks. 

If you need an indigenous plant with little fuss and a lot of joy, then Euryops is the plant for you.

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Indoor Succulents: An easy way to decorate your house

Indoor Succulents: An easy way to decorate your house

My favourite houseplants aren’t actually that unusual or exotic. The plants that make me happy are, and you have guessed right, yes, it is succulents! I love to use them in my house, not only as houseplants but also in informal flower and plant arrangements. Succulents remind me that beauty can be found in the ordinary and that not everything has to be structured in life.

The surprising variety of sizes, shapes and colours makes them stunning decorative houseplants. Miniature varieties such as Haworthia will fit on the narrowest windowsill, and trailing types such as Senecio (Curio), provide striking displays in hanging baskets. They are among the easiest of plants to grow indoors and are every bit as beautiful as they are rewarding. Anyone interested in foliage house plants should consider growing succulents indoor.

Growing Succulents Indoors requires 3 basic rules

Start with the right soil and container

If you are planting your own succulents, buy and use a fast-draining cactus mix. If you can’t get hold of a cactus mix, make your own by using 4 parts potting soil and 1 part  either coarse sand or perlite. Also, ensure that your pots have enough drainage holes as good drainage is vital. Because succulents grow slowly, they seldom need repotting.

Watering your indoor succulents

Killing your succulents by overwatering them is far more common than underwatering them. Succulents like it when the soil dries out between watering. You must know that indoor succulent plants require a certain amount of neglect. They need little watering since they have the ability to store their own water supplies within their fleshy leaves, stems and roots. If you water small pots once a week and large pots about every second week, it will be sufficient, but always check and feel first if the soil is dry. Remember they need less watering in winter than in summer.

PS. If you were lucky to receive a succulent houseplant in a container without drainage holes, you have to water even less.

PPS. In addition to watering, fertilize every spring with a liquid fertilizer.


The trend of modern architecture towards larger windows and open interior spaces, as well as the use of air-conditioning for heating and cooling, provide excellent growing conditions for indoor succulents. They grow best in bright light, and even a few hours of direct sunlight will help to develop their best foliage colours. Just imagine how Sempervivum tectorum, Euphorbia triculli and the Euphorbia milii will flower in bright light. NB: please remember Euphorbia species are poisonous and caution should be taken when using indoors. Portulacaria afra, Senecio ficiodes, Cotyledon orbiculata and flanaganii, Crassula ovata and muscosa, Aeonium arboreum, and Echeveria elegans will get leggy if not in bright light. East, south or west windows that get a few hours of direct sunlight, is the best position for succulents. Sansevieria trifasciata and Aloe vera are the exceptions and they will tolerate fairly low light levels.

Succulents, given the proper conditions and a minimum of basic care, will provide pleasure for years.

Please send us some photos of your indoor (or outdoor) succulents.  We will love to see them!

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Have you dreamed of having succulent and healthy plants in your office, hospitality venue or home, but just don’t have the ‘green fingers’ or the patience for it?

Family owned and run, Alimandi can take away the irritation and hassle out of managing and maintaining your flora aesthetics.  We are here to bring life and excitement to your venue.

With a strong belief in enhancing your venue, while still maintaining a family orientated and sustainable lifestyle, filled with fun, excitement and love, our decorative pot will bring life to your day.


On a monthly recurring basis, we rotate your pots, giving you peace of mind, and taking away the frustration of maintaining your own plants.   Think about those open tables, walls and focal areas, where a potted succulent would fit perfectly.

These rental pots will make a remarkable difference to your venue and best of all there is no maintenance needed.


All our clients can bear witness to the value of our decorative pots, and constantly give us positive feedback in that they have given a fun and lively enhancement to their venue.

  • Plants absorb Carbon Dioxide and keep Oxygen flowing, and they purify the air by removing toxins
  • Further, they help to deter illness, ease tension and lower stress levels
  • Plants create a relaxed and happy ambience whilst helping you to ultimately appreciate life better through improved concentration, heightened attention, enhanced creativity, increased productivity and enriched overall well-being
  • The air purifying and filtering properties of plants ultimately foster a healthier and happier environment

It may seem far-fetched that greenery can have such an advantageous effect on such a simple yet important thing such as our daily lives, but the results and especially smiles speak for themselves. The benefits of plants are of paramount importance for indoor and outdoor environment quality.


We encourage you to use this notion to inspire your creativity even more and to let yourself discover your wildest dreams through the benefits of healthy and life-giving pot plants.

They will not only look amazing but make you, your staff and your customers feel incredible too.

pot plants


To find out more about our monthly pot plant contracts, and get ready to breathe life into your venue, simply send us an email today.

We’re looking forward to chatting.

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