Love plants but never seem to be able to keep them alive? Meet succulents. These fleshy florae know how to put up a fight in the harshest of conditions. Yet, they are hailed as must-haves for their simplicity in care and exotic looks. In this guide, we explore the wonders of keeping a succulent garden and how to spruce up your space with them.
We’re suckers for a succulent garden
Charming as indoor plants and top picks for environmentally conscious gardeners — succulents are a hit. Whether you are new or experienced in creating a succulent garden, you’ll find something for your needs. We explore the benefits of succulents, how to grow them and growing set-ups to inspire your indoor and outdoor green spaces.
Succulents come from the Latin word ‘sucus’, meaning juice or sap for their fleshy, water-storing leaves, stems or roots. They originate from dry and desert regions on continents worldwide, apart from Antarctica. As they grow well in arid climates of soils, they need little water and thrive in sunlight. Succulents come in a variety of types and colours, including:
- Aeoniums — succulents with fleshy petals in a rosette, in green yellow and garnet.
- Agaves — appear like artichokes with a rosette shape, originate from the Americas, vastly range in size.
- Aloes — tapered and serrated fleshy leaves filled with gel. They create starfish-like rosettes with bright orange and yellow-bloom spikes.
- Cacti — this variety of succulent often includes spines and come in many shapes (round, columnar, or paddle-like stems).
- Crassulas — come in two distinct varieties stacked or branching. Come as silvery grey, bright yellow, and variegated cream-and-green with a bit of red.
- Echeverias — iconic succulents with tightly formed rosettes, creating hen and chick clusters. Appear like cabbages on continually growing stalks.
- Euphorbias — include non-succulents. These instead have milky sap (sometimes hazardous irritants or toxic) with bead-like flowers.
- Haworthia— smaller dwarf varieties best grown in pots on the windowsill, look like miniature aloes.
- Ice Plants — bright blooming groundcover succulents.
- Kalanchoes — colourful tiny flowers or with felt-covered leaves. Great in hot climates as they are heat resistant and quite tough.
- Portulacaria — a small-leaved succulent plant found in South Africa. Has reddish stems and green leaves, but variegated versions are also available.
- Sedum — trailing succulents with stacked and concentric or bean-shaped leaves, with star-shaped blooms in summer. Great for rock gardens, fillers for containers or as ground covers.
- Sempervivum — thinner, pointed leaves with a compact, sphere shape, often creating appealing clusters.
- Senecio — come in a wide variety of shapes and colours of deep green, bluish, or striped with thick and fleshy leaves. Flowers are daisy-like and yellow, or red-orange puffs, then bloom dry into dandelion-like tufts.
If you intend to keep them indoors, make sure to plant them in well-draining soils and keep watering minimal to about once a week. You can also use colourful pebbles or marbles to cover growing mediums for your potted succulents.
Benefits of succulents
We can’t get enough of succulents and you will soon know why with these fabulous features.
These plants are hardy, not just for their waterwise properties in the garden, but are also pest-resistant. You may experience bacterial or fungal diseases if you overwater them indoors. Rare cases of pests may include scale, mealybugs or spider mites.
They can thrive in either high light and low moisture, to wet and humid environments.
These plants double as healing tools. Not only are they great for medical uses (they can reduce high blood pressure, cure sore throats and skin ailments) — but also act as a mood booster. Their colourful presence lifts spaces and assists in aiding focus. Altogether a delightful decoration or thoughtful gift.
Creative display ideas
Succulents are hardy plants that do well in extreme heat conditions but are also delightful indoors. Explore how you can have the best of both with these ideas.
This refers to all the growing elements in a garden versus hard landscaping (which uses rocks, boulders, and concrete walkways).
- Use fewer succulent varieties in a spaced-out presentation for a minimalistic effect.
- Utilise vertical planning. Consider which plants have upright vertical growth and alternate with globular and bushy type succulents.
- Select the types you want to use and repeat the style of planting for a cohesive look.
Think of decorated table tops in entertaining areas, adorned bedrooms and or whimsical shelving or floating features.
- Repurpose containers like teapots, tiered cupcake stands, wooden boxes or other thrift shop finds.
- Use natural elements like seashells. Try large conches as a home for multiple succulents, or small sea urchins for the smaller singular succulents.
- Hang succulents on walls using driftwood or boxy frames. Explore our ideas on vertical gardening for inspiration.
- Try the modern look of transparent hanging globe terrariums.
- Get quirky with planting on roofs of birdhouses or filling out bird cages with filler and spiller succulents.
- Get festive and create a succulent wreath for the front door.
Celebrate the love of succulents
With all this information and inspiration, it’s time to get stuck into your succulent garden. For information on our products, advice on succulents and more, contact us.