Getting Started with Succulent Gardening
Even in the driest of seasons and the harshest of weather, succulents thrive beautifully, drawing upon the built-in reservoir of water within its leaves. Coupled with the ease with which it grows and how easy it is to propagate, you can see why it has become a very popular kind of plant among beginner and seasoned gardeners alike.
These hardy plants are bold, brightly colored, and come in a variety of forms to suit every garden. With their distinctive shapes, they can be styled in pots and terrariums, then combined with small rocks or seashells, for the perfect teeny tiny self-contained garden. And because it can subsist with minimal additional water, it is a good plant to focus on during drought season.
Setting up your succulent garden
Succulents can grow practically anywhere: outdoors, indoors, in pots, window boxes, in antique stone troughs—even in that chipped teacup you dropped one time. When starting succulent gardening, consider where you want to position them. You’ll want to place them somewhere with adequate sunshine and a bit of shade. Putting them too far away from the sun can make them grow leggy—that is, grow stems between the leaves—to extend towards the sun, while putting them directly under harsh sun conditions can scorch and burn.
After you’ve selected where you will be planting your succulents, you’ll need to stock up on well draining soil as this is what you’ll be using. If you’re planting in pots, make sure your pots and other containers have adequate drainage holes to allow the excess water to seep out. Otherwise, it can cause plant rot.
If you’re not in a rush, get your succulent garden started by asking for cuttings from nearby gardener friends. If you’re first in your area, purchasing a single plant of each variety from your local nursery is enough because they’re quite easy to propagate. Combine smooth-leafed succulents like echeveria, aeonium, crassula, sempervivum, sedum, agave, and cotyledons for a visually pleasing garden. Sempervivums, echeveria and sedums are good clumpers and spread well, so they’ll populate your land easily. Larger succulents like agave, aloe, and yucca are great focal points as they have attractive forms and colors.
No water? No problem.
Lack of water is not a problem for succulents as they store their own. They usually get their fill from rainfall, then allow the rest to drain away. Succulents can go for long stretches without additional water, but they will not grow much. But neither will they shrivel up and wilt, thanks to their reservoir. If rain isn’t forthcoming or if they’re indoors, water your succulents when the soil is dry. Give the soil a good watering and allow the rest to drain away. Don’t water the leaves to avoid leaf rot. Overwatering can kill succulents, so when in doubt, hold back.
Go forth and multiply.
Succulents can be propagated from cuttings and leaves. Tug leaves off your succulents. This is a perfect use for plants that have become leggy. Be gentle with pulling. You need to get the whole leaves so it can take root. After removing the leaves, cut off the top part of the rosette, leaving part of the stem intact. Allow them all to dry until the cut parts have dried and thickened over. Then, lay them on the same well-draining soil you use to grow them. It’s best to keep them indoors in indirect sunlight. At that point, it’s a waiting game until they take root, give or take a few weeks. Keep them there, spraying the roots occasionally until they grow into little plants that can be transplanted to their own soil.