Succulents relish hot, dry situations that mimic their natural arid homes. As well as being well suited to tough conditions in the garden, succulents look good planted together in containers to decorate your entertaining outdoor areas or as gifts.
They also work well planted into a vertical garden that is mounted in a warm, sunny spot. Large succulents such as Agaves and Yuccas can be planted to create a bold statement in a large container as focal points in a garden.
Rosette-forming succulents such as Echeveria, Sedums, and Sempervivum are well suited to containers as naturally compact. Also, try Senecio, Lithops, and Portulaca. Small cactus can also be included in a succulent garden.
For a larger container, select Aeonium, Crassula, Portulacaria, or Kalanchoe. For a garden effect, arrange a collection of pots of different heights, each planted with a different succulent.
Agave attenuata is a top choice for a large container or container grouping. Where spines are not an issue, Echinocactus make beautiful container plants.
Select several plants that complement each other but offer a contrast in plant shape, texture, and color. To make a garden in a single container, select a broad but shallow pot with drainage holes in its base. Fill it with succulent potting soil, then water it well. Make sure the water drains away, leaving the mix moist but not wet. Place the plants in position still in their pots, arranging them to make the best effect.
Once you are happy with the picture you have created, remove each plant from its container, and plant it into its new position. Handle cacti with tongs or a piece of cardboard or folded newspaper to avoid coming in contact with the spines.
Firm the plants into the potting soil, water gently, then add a layer of fine gravel as a mulch.
Although these plants tolerate dry conditions, they will establish more successfully with regular watering. Allow plants to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering in winter, particularly in cold areas, but resume it in spring as plants begin to grow.
Inspect plants regularly, removing debris such as fallen leaves or twigs. Keep plants in check by removing unwanted growth and trimming away damaged or discolored leaves. Some growers also remove flower stems to maintain the leafy effect of the planting. If a plant gets too big for its position, remove it and replace it with a smaller specimen.
These plants do not require high fertilizer levels but can be fed once a year in spring with slow-release plant food.
In frost-prone areas, place your succulent gardens in an area sheltered from frosts, such as beside a wall or patio. Although they are sun-loving, cactus and succulents tolerate light shade.
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Although most succulents are not typically grown for their blooms, they come in an amazing array of colors and leaf textures. And combining them in creative ways is part of the fun. The plants you choose and how you arrange them is a personal choice. However, it is important to choose plants that are in scale to one another and to the container in which you plant them. For instance, small containers call for miniature varieties while huge pots can take very tall specimens.
Furthermore, because succulents store nutrients and water in their leaves, the root systems are quite compact. This means you can position plants close together in containers. Most garden centers have entire sections devoted to succulents, and the plants are often organized by size. Sample planters might be available for you to find arrangement ideas.
In many areas, you’ll want to grow your outdoor succulents in pots. For instance, container grown succulents can be easily out of rainy areas if a huge rainstorm is expected. Growing succulents in pots also makes sense if you want to bring them indoors for winter. When bringing them back out in spring, it is simple to move these potted succulent plants into varying degrees of sunlight as you acclimate them to the outside.
Succulents are well suited to the confines of a potted environment, even unusual containers, provided that adequate care is given.
Research the potted succulent plants you grow before planting if you know their names. Many will likely be of the Crassula genus.
Try to pot succulents with similar light requirements together and provide the recommended lighting. Most succulents need at least six hours of sun per day, which is full sun. Almost all prefer morning sun to be included in those hours.
Some succulents need bright light, but not full sun. Some require partial shade, so please research before you put a succulent plant outside in full sun. These plants stretch out if they’re not getting enough light.
Fertilize succulent plants lightly. Use a low nitrogen fertilizer or a weak compost tea. Most experienced succulent growers say you should only fertilize once in the spring season.
While pests are rare on succulent plants, most can be treated with 70% alcohol. Spray or use a swab on the delicate leaves. Repeat the process until you no longer see the offending pest.
If the succulents begin to grow too big for their container, it may be time to divide and repot.