Saturday, August 03, 2013

What I've learned about succulents.

Like it or not succulents are becoming more prominent in our local landscapes. Depending on your own particular aesthetic for plants, you may already love these water thrifty wonders, or perhaps instead turn up your nose at their odd shapes and growing habits.

I myself was mostly indifferent to succulents before coming to work at Mission Hills Nursery, preferring tropical look of leafy plants. Yet I have changed my tune. Why the change? I stopped and took the time to really look at them. I've learned the value of their undemanding character and their hardiness for both indoors and outdoors.

Succulents are a great choice for shady spots, they do acclimate to sun but will always look better with some shade, especially in hot areas of the county. Found naturally in the wild sheltering under overhanging bushes. At Mission Hills Nursery we have a large shade cloth/sail to protect them from the hottest part of the day.

Echeverias, the rosette style comes in a range of colors, from sunset reds, pinks and yellows to cool aquamarine blues and creamy lavenders. Alternately, the bold reds tingeing the leaves of succulents such as Flapjacks (Kalanchoe thrysiflora) and Sticks on Fire (Euphorbia tirucalli) are due to direct sun exposure.

String of Pears (Senecio rowleyanus), Donkeytail (Sedum morganianum), Haworthia and Hatiora are excellent choices for houseplants. Depending on your home environment you may have to only water your succulent houseplants one per month....pretty simple right?  If you want to really keep them happy water them with Cactus Juice, a calcium rich fertilizer you mix in water.

Another trait of succulents is how well they do in poor, rocky soil...many times you can just plunk them down in a bare patch of earth and they will get right down to growing.  That bare stip alonside the garage that you never remember to water?

Try succulents for a no fuss ground cover, or think about adding a couple of new specimens for a low maintenance, ever-evolving plant mosaic.

It's true, succulents eschew the typical plant look, opting instead for bold statements made with chunky, funky thick leaves that hold water, change color in the sun, and take root just about anywhere.

If I have peaked your interest in succulents stop in and see me, I'd be happy to help you navigate the wild, wonderful world of succulents.


No comments: