Thursday, June 4, 2015

Gardening With Succulents

Welcome to my garden! 





As we enter our 3rd or 4th year drought here in CA, water rationing has started for the season. The rules are stricter than ever! This is bad news, especially for an avid gardner like me. But, fortunately I can still add plenty of succulents!



Over the years I have learned to love these beauties. They are super easy to grow, and thrive on low water!



There is a lot of advice out there about how to grow succulents. I pretty much ignore all of it.




People write about specific soil mixtures, and cactus dirt to potting soil ratios. They talk about drying cuttings in the sun before trying to transplant them. Some speak of sun requirements, heat and cold exposure and pests. But, you won’t hear about any of that from me.




When it comes to growing succulents, I break the rules.




Growing Succulents From Cuttings

Over they years I’ve bought only about half of my succulents. Many of them I’ve propagated from cuttings given to me by friends and family. 




Succulents are very easy to grow from cuttings. The common advice is to let them dry for a couple of days before replanting them, but I don’t bother. I just trim a piece off of one plant, stick it in the ground (or in a pot) and water it. *Most* of the time it’ll take root!



Soil for Succulents

I don’t mess around with special soil mixes or formulas. When I want to grow succulents in a pot, I just stick cuttings directly into regular potting soil. I water them generously once or twice, and then sit back and wait. Most of the time I have a new plant within a month or two. 



I tend to kind of crowd them in, so that if (and/ or when) the occasional cutting doesn’t take root, I just pluck it out. If it gets too crowded, then I trim them and put the cuttings in the ground somewhere else. This means more succulents, win-win!



Many people only grow succulents in pots, but they are just as happy in the ground!





When I want to grow them in the ground I poke a hole in the dirt with a gardening tool, and then place the cutting or plant directly into the dirt. 





Light and Temperature Requirements


Most of the advice is to place succulents where they will receive direct sunlight. But I have some growing in the shade too. 

The two pictures below are of my succulents that receive almost no direct sunlight. 

 


There is little doubt that succulents can take the heat. We have many days that reach 100 degrees or more, and mine do just fine. 
During the winter our temperatures aren't too extreme. However, there were a few nights that reached 28 degrees last winter. My succulents all froze and looked terrible. I thought they were gone forever. But, come spring they all bounced back, better than ever!


I've read that they don't like humidity, but since I've successfully broken all the other "rules" of succulent growing, I suppose anything is possible!

Aesthetics

Because the beauty of succulents is in their subtle color variations and tones, I always plant them in a way that maximizes their differences. 
For example, I work a lot with contrast, often placing a light colored plant directly next to a dark hued one. 


This brings the viewer's attention to the areas of high contrast, and therefore to the plants themselves.
I also work a lot with color, placing complimentary colors next to each other whenever possible (for example, blue with orange, red with green, and yellow with purple).


Another thing to consider is texture. In the photo above, not only are the plants an array of colors, but they are also of varying textures. Long spiky plants mingle with soft fuzzy ones.



Mix It Up

Succulents need not be grown only with other succulents. I have them integrated with all kinds of other plants! 
In the photo below they grow happily with a miniature palm and geraniums.


I tuck them into ground cover, like with the Baby Tears below.


I even have them happily growing with trailing evergreens and Scented Geraniums in a window box.



Succulents Bloom!

Glowing succulents doesn't mean you need to sacrifice the joy of seeing flowers bloom. Every year many of my succulents burst into bloom. They fill my garden with color and make the bees very happy.






Grow Them Anywhere

Succulents are very hardy, and happy in many places other plants wouldn't be able to stand. 

They creep along the burning hot pavement of my driveway...


...they thrive in the spaces between old unused cinderblocks...



...they're at home a rock garden...



...and they will also live indoors!


So, in conclusion, as you can see, I have a lot of succulents! Now, with very little work or effort you, can too!


One of my favorite online sources for purchasing succulents is Annie's Annuals. Or, if you live in CA many local nurseries stock their plants.

Thanks for stopping by!

Spiral Aloe



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5 comments:

  1. i love succulents! they grow there like grass, practically. if i lived locally, i'd snip my own for cuttings!
    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right?! They're so easy, I love them too!

      Delete
  2. Your succulents all look amazing, a really fantastic display.
    I shared just the other week about how I take succulent cuttings, you really can just break 'em off and pop then in some soil can't you? These babies really do want to live and are pretty hard to kill!
    Here in the UK the winters can be too cold to leave some of them outside but I have a planter with some that has done really well year after year.
    I think more and more in dry places they are the way to go and as you show, they can be so varied. Lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they are fantastic, and so easy. hank you for your comment!

      Delete
  3. They look lovely mixed in a border like that! Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!

    ReplyDelete

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