All types of succulent plants, you see them everywhere. In dish gardens, terrariums, pots, planters, on patios, even in modern foundation plantings.
Succulents are plants without frills, geared to modern living. Functional plants that can stand today’s rapid pace.
If your air-conditioned room is too dry, it reminds them of their native warm-temperate or semi-desert home. If the children swoosh by too close, the pieces often root where they fall.
There are hundreds of different succulents.
From tiny button sizes, you can grow in 1” inch pots to trees too tall to fit into a conservatory.
But, beware. Once you fall under the succulent spell, you may find yourself searching for rare varieties to add for your collection.
Dedicated fanciers hunt for succulents in nursery catalogs native to South Africa, Madagascar, and Mexico.
Growing Succulents No Botanic Degree Required
Growing succulents does not require you to have a green thumb. Plant them in any good potting soil.
If you mix your own, use a sandy loam and add some clean, coarse sand, and coarse leafmold or peat moss.
Strive for an open, porous compost through which water will drain freely.
Heavy soils drown plants by holding too much water around the roots.
If the succulent potting soil is damp, don’t water the plants right away.
And when you do water during the first few weeks, give them only a little so the soil will dry out again quickly. Healthy new roots start best in soil that is almost dry.
Spread out the roots and pot plants firmly. When using individual pots, small ones are best at the start. Later, as the plants grow, you can transfer them to larger containers.
Succulents Good For Decorations
Dish gardens of succulents make good decorations. For the best effect plant, many kinds close together in each dish.
The bowls or dishes used for planting are usually glazed pottery without drainage holes, and excess water can escape only through evaporation.
So never soak the soil.
Give enough water to keep the plants plump but not enough to induce much top growth. Actually, the plants should be on the dry side most of the time.
Succulents enjoy thelight They want the sun, so don’t put them too far away from the window.
If you intend to succulents on tables where there is no direct light, keep them on the dry side – hardly water them at all – and they will keep in good condition.
Succulents To Consider For Your Collection
Here are some succulents you will want for your collection. You can see a number of them in full color throughout this article.
Agave striata (echinoides) – a dwarf century plant. Its many narrow stiff leaves have white threads on the margins. Young plants spring from the soil near the base. The tall, slender flower spike has inconspicuous flowers.
Aloe humilis – forms small, compact rosette clusters. Most aloes are from Africa and vary from small 3-inch rosettes to tall trees.
Aloe brevifolia – thick, blue-gray leaf rosettes covered with blunt prickles. Flowers are bright red on tall, slender spikes. Young plants grow around the base.
Aloe variegata – an old favorite called tiger or partridge breast aloe. The stiff, triangular, keeled leaves – pale green, blotched, and margined with white – grow in rosettes. In late winter, short spikes of slender, brilliant red bells appear.
Bryophyllum – also known as Kalanchoe. Produces many young plantlets at its leaf crenations.
Crassula argentea tricolor – the sturdy, tricolored, jade plant. It will grow into a good-sized bush with a thick trunk, but small plants are more common.
Echeveria elegans – commonly called Mexican snowball. It has thick, blue-white leaves in compact rosettes and spikes of fleshy pink bells. Grows in hot, dry places and is useful in dish gardens or carpet bedding outdoors.
Echeveria gibbiflora metallica – a large rosette often a foot in diameter. Has bronzy-red leaves and a tall single stem that bears a spike of pale red flowers.
Echeveria pallida – a Mexican plant with pale green leaves forming quite a large rosette. The flower spike is 2’ feet long with many bright red bells.
Echeveria setosa – commonly called Mexican firecracker. Leaves are covered with white hairs, and flowers, on short spikes, are bright red and yellow.
Faucaria tigrina – called tiger jaws. This African succulent has thick green rosettes, each leaf white-flecked and rimmed with teeth.
Large, bright yellow flowers appear in autumn.
Gasteria verrucosa – a South African plant with thick leathery leaves, lying in one plane, covered with glossy white bosses, bears tall flower spikes with slender bright red bells.
Graptopetalum paraguayense – ghost plant. This handsome, long-lived species grows more beautiful with age. The stems of the mature plants tipped with their rosettes of thick, pink-white leaves, bend gracefully. The ghost plant thrives under adverse conditions.
Haworthia margaritifera – pearl haworthia. Handsome, and easily grown, it has a small rosette of thick, deep green leaves with many white bosses on the backs. Haworthia papillosa is larger and has larger bosses.
Huernia pillansi – cockleburs, a member of the milkweed family, closely related to the starfish flowers.
It belongs to a curious group of African plants called ‘dragon flowers’ because their blossoms are open mouthed. This is the only one that bears soft, hairlike prickles.
Kalanchoe marmorata – readily recognized as the pen wiper plant by its heavily mottled purple leaves. It forms a tall plant topped with a cluster of white flowers.
Kalanchoe synsepala – from Madagascar, has large obovate leaves of dark green. Flower spikes have thickly packed heads of pale pink blossoms. Produces stiff slender runners with young plants at the tips.
Kalanchoe tomentosa – panda plant. A fine plant from Madagascar. The leaves, densely covered with silvery wool, turn rich cocoa-brown at the leaf crenations.
Pachyphytum oviferum – thick, white-powdered ovate leaves that turn violet-pink during cold weather.
Sansevieria – rugged plants that will do well under the most adverse conditions. There are many kinds, and the most popular is striped with yellow.
Sedum rubrotinctum – (S. guatemalense). This quick-growing species is very useful. Given poor soil and full sun, its leaves turn bright red; in richer soil and with more water, leaves turn bright, shiny green.
Sedum pachyphyllum – red tips. Has pretty yellow blossoms. If kept dry and in full sun, the leaves turn violet-rose tipped with red.