Outdoor Living

Succulent Success

Succulents are a favourite of mine – they are usually a no fuss, easy to establish, structurally interesting addition to any indoor or outdoor lifestyle. Granted, in order for them to be a no fuss option two things must occur: 1. the gardener must have a basic understanding of plant biology and, 2. as always, the right plant in the right space mantra applies. Succulents and cacti (the difference is usually associated with the presence of absence of thorns) operate in a different way to most other plants – this makes them exceptionally good at dealing with low water, poor nutrient soils and neglect.

Whilst many of them are particularly tough and able to withstand just about anything you can throw at them, two factors remain true – some succulents need warmer temperatures and cannot withstand frost, and too much water is a bad thing.

Depending upon where you live, you may have succulents that need to be an indoor variety – sanseveria – Dracaena trifasciata (commonly snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue), for example thrives outdoors in QLD, but is an indoor plant in Tasmania. This is related to the natural habitat and location of its evolution and therefore adaptations – the tropics. Whilst I have success with most succulent outdoors, there are a few that I need to keep my eye on – jades and pancake or flapjack kalanchoe (not so good with frost) can be out in yard until the depths of winter – then I move them undercover outdoors when frost season begins. A few tropical ones (as discussed above) are indoor all year – but the rest are tough and hardy in the Tasmanian climate. In fact, many thrive in our climate.

Succulents and cacti are incredibly versatile for arranged pots. They are exceptional at growing from cuttings, and because of this, the scope for creating spectacular display pots is virtually unlimited. Any vessel you can imagine, providing it has suitable drainage, can host an array of succulents. Group colours and textures for a beautiful display. Water occasionally, place in a semi-shaded position and let the succulents do all of the hard work for you.

Great for beginners – if you are new to the gardening game – be that indoors or out, lean in to gardening with a succulent or two. Before you know it, you will be hooked!

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