Gardening has grown into a widespread culture with many different outlets. Like everything else, we’ve adapted our gardens to suit our individual tastes and preferences. You might take that as a given, but gardening hasn’t always been like this.
During a long period of history, international spices were a very valuable trading stock. However, it’s easy to forget that individual plants also have environmental and climate requirements to produce a healthy crop, when the local store can offer us every fruit and veggie on the planet, just like that.
Succulent Plants – What You Need To Know
Succulents is a group of plants that originate from steppe, semi-desert and desert regions. During their evolution, they have adapted well to environments that don’t offer too much or too big a variety of nutrients.
Before we go on, check out our succulent plant gallery !
These plants have survived well in drought regions by evolving their leaves and stems into meaty, sponge-like structures that retain and preserve water far superior than other plants. Some species use their entire volume for water storage, including roots and tubers. This allows them to soak up a reserve of water to use when there is none available. Which means no need to water them daily.
Additionally, they have done well to adapt their root systems to some of the roughest terrains like sand and rocks, so you could say they stand their ground. Furthermore, they do exceptionally well in good soil.
You’re already familiar with some succulents like plant families like cacti who are stem succulents. There are also the common Aloe and Agave who are leaf succulents and many many more.
Exceptions due, most representative of the succulents and cacti are very adaptive and can thrive with little maintenance. They need little watering during the year and almost none during winter, when they are dormant.
Feeding your succulents is even less of a hassle. Some gardeners don’t feed their succulent plants at all, although that can be a powerful solution to some problems. Nutrients also make your succulents vibrant and more beautiful, fresh and lively.
Ideas for Gardening with Different Kinds of Succulents
Because of their evolution, some succulents and cacti look very outlandish and you can use this feature to create specific designs and landscapes that approach gardening from a fresh and original angle. Due to the wide variety of succulents and cacti, you have many forms, shapes, sizes and colours to choose from. You can say you have a rich palette of plants to paint your gardens.
1. You can use contrasting shapes sizes to create rhythm and diversity in your garden
Succulents have a wide variety of sizes. From small thorns and shrubs to full size palms and trees. They can be combined in multiple layers to achieve diversity in your garden. Because each plant has evolved to develop water-saving and drought resistant features, their body parts like leaves and stems take on different shapes. You can use that to guide the eyes into the accents of your garden. Additionally, you can create visual rhythm, by alternating the order of your plants.
2. You can combine succulents with almost any container and pot out there
Succulents can really grow in everything. Some are small enough to fit in your average tin cans, fish globes and even mugs and shoes. This can unlock your creativity and allow you to use interesting flower pots and containers in combination with your unique looking plants. For larger planters, you can use a combination of plants to create miniature gardens. If you live in a flat and have little space to spare for plants at home, an arrangement of succulents in your windows box can be an amazing solution.
Apart from the container, you can also experiment with your soil. Succulents have little requirements for soil, except that it must drain well. That makes them a perfect candidate to try out an arrangement with gravel and colourful stones.
Remember where your succulents come from. When designing a landscape with succulents, often establishing a desert feel can make the garden so much more appealing.
Succulent plants can combine well with other garden features and decorations. You can use them on the sides of your patio to frame the path ways around your garden.
3. Succulents are superb plants for vertical design, hanging or living walls
Most succulents are relatively low rise plants and are somewhat rigid in the sense that they can support their body weight very well. That factor, combined with the low irrigation requirements makes them excellent choice for vertical arrangements.
Living walls are one of the hot trends in gardening for 2016. Succulent plants play a major role as the common pick for such designs. It’s fairly suitable for both large surface arrangements, and single, minimalist designs.
How to care for your succulents
Here some quick tips on caring for your succulent plants. If you’re just starting with gardening, we suggest a more thorough growing guide by Succulents and Sunshine.
Some succulents come from sunny locations, so you should position them to receive about 6 or 7 hours of sunlight. They don’t need to be right on the window as the light can become too hot in the early afternoon. East or West facing windows are good locations for your indoor succulents. You can also position them near or exactly on the windows so they can benefit from the temperature differences. If you cool your house relatively the same, then the windows will be a bit warmer in the summer and a bit colder in the winter.
Succulents like to have a bit of a temperature differences throughout the seasons for best results.
Succulents can grow in almost any soil, provided it drains well. Their physique is such that they will try to suck all the moisture for later use. If your soil or container doesn’t drain well the excess water will prove problematic.
Make sure your containers have drainage ! Glass containers typically don’t so go and check
Succulent plants are amazing for water-conservation. You need to water them less frequently than most other plants. If you keep them indoor, where the sun is less intense, you can bring that even further down. It’s important not to over-water and monitor the moisture. Too much can cause the plant to rot and die.
Succulents like a dry air, so secure good air circulation and flow through your soil and containers. Make sure they are well ventilated to prevent rot.
Gardening Trends Are Controversial
Scientific advancements in biology and internal chemistry, technology and globalisation have made possible to grow everything, everywhere. This has caused a global shift in gardening trends, where plants from all over the world are combined into complex design to shape a living work of art.
Of course, there are many controversial arguments in the use of any technology in a typically technology free activity.
One of the rising trends for eco-enthusiasts is localism – an approach to gardening that stimulates the cultivation and preservation of local species to maintain the diversity in the global flora.
On one hand you have it easy on your efforts to achieve and maintain the garden YOU want. On the other if you leave all the work to the gardeners or the dozen of systems in your garden that do the growing instead of you, you’re not really DOING gardening.
If you’re like most people, you’re really looking for the golden average of the two extremes, where you’re still the gardener at home, but it doesn’t feel like a second job. The rest of this post will discuss how to approach gardening from the most accessible angle and enjoy your newly found activity.
Urban Environment Is Less Plant-Friendly
Although plants are the most versatile life form on the planet and can adapt to almost any conditions, some prove to be quite difficult to cultivate. The main problem of cities is the lack of space. Unlike most toys and hobbies, you can’t just stick a flower in a pot and place it in any available spot around your flat. Plants need a place where the sun shines and in most apartments, that space is at a premium.
Furthermore, they require moderate temperature, water and soil maintenance and well as pest and disease protection.
When you commute 3 hours a day to work and back, and tackle all other home chores sometimes it’s hard to do something as basic as watering your plants as to allow some time for relaxation is a priority.