Posted on: Thursday, April 14, 2016
Intensely colorful, fleshy, architectural and easy to care for, succulents find their way into all kinds of horticultural applications: landscapes, dish gardens, terrariums, vertical gardens, even living roofs. Interesting and attractive succulents provide high visual appeal when potted in containers calling for high-design settings and in rock gardens, along paths and challenging dry spots in the garden.
Technically, all cactus are succulents, but all cactus are not succulents. Cold hardy succulents like Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks and Delosperma (Ice Plant) create conservation-minded landscapes in all climates. More tender succulents like Aloe, Aeonium, Echiveria, Crassula (Jade) and Senecio are ideal for our climate and also make great indoor plants thanks to their ability to withstand dry, arid indoor conditions. Once gardeners discover the multitude of fascinating shapes and colors and how easy these plants are to grow, they can’t stop adding succulents to their planting palette.
Succulents prefer bright light, such as found on a south-facing window. Watch the leaves for indications of correct lighting; some species will scorch if suddenly exposed to direct sunlight. The leaves will turn brown or white as the plant bleaches out and the soft tissues are destroyed. An underlit succulent will begin to stretch, with an elongated stem and widely spaced leaves; provide better light and prune the plant back to its original shape. Many kinds of succulents will thrive outdoors in the summer.
Succulents are much more cold-tolerant than people might assume. Desert conditions feature marked contrasts between night and day, often with fifty degree variants. Succulents thrive in colder nights, down to even 40ºF. Succulents prefer daytime temperatures between 70ºF and about 85ºF and night temperatures between 50ºF and 55ºF.
Succulents need water in their growing seasons, Spring and Summer. Potting mix should dry between waterings, but do not underwater; the plants will stop
growing, get brown spots on the leaves or lose their leaves without enough water.
During winter dormancy, cut watering back to once every other month. Overwatering results in plant rot, the single most common cause of plant failure. While an overwatered succulent might at first plump up and look very healthy, the cause of death may have already set in underground, with rot spreading upward from the root system. Don’t ever allow succulents to sit in water. Overwatered plants will discolor to yellow, white or otherwise lose their color and become soft. Succulents at this stage may be irreparable, but taking it from its pot, clearing way dead, rotten roots and repotting in dry media may preserve the plant. Cuttings can generally be propagated from the parent plant despite the damage.
Succulents should be potted in a fast-draining mixture that's designed for cacti and succulents. Plants generally have shallow roots that form a dense
mat just under the soil surface.
We recommend EB Stone Cactus Mix: an ideal potting mix for all types of indoor cactus and succulents containing Fir Bark, Lava Rock, Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, Sand, Redwood Compost and Mushroom Compost For vertical gardening with succulents and cactus, we recommend SummerWinds Natural and Organic Potting Soil to resist erosion and help retain water in vertical gardening containers.
Snap a rosette from the mother plant, leaving a piece of stem attached. Set the cutting aside in a dry, protected place, out of direct sun, until the cut end dries and seals (three days to a week). Plant the healed rosette in loose, well-draining potting soil or succulent mix. Water regularly, letting soil dry out between waterings.
Succulent Container Garden Plans
We found some great containers from Better Homes and Gardens with recipes that we thought you might like.