Sustainable Potted Plants


Choosing the right long-lasting potted plants can determine how beautiful and healthy an area of your home or garden looks. Many plant species do well with a lot of attention and insider knowledge, but no plants are more sustainable or easy to take care of than succulents. Succulents come in many forms and are some of the most interesting, rewarding plants you can own.


When picking sustainable potted plants, consider the amount of sunlight and available space you have for your plants. Succulents like cacti don't need much space, but an aloe or jade plant can grow very large over time and will need appropriate space for its leaves to move. Sunlight is a big factor for succulent plants, and most cactus varieties will require a sunny window sill for optimal health.

Common Types

Echeveria x imbricate only grow up to 6 inches in height and are grey-green in color with round, spade shaped leaves. They are well suited for long life in small counter top pots. Crassula ovata or 'Jade' is a very popular indoor tree-like succulent that can grow up to 6 feet tall. Crassula rupestris x perforate or 'Baby Necklace' is great for hanging baskets. It can grow to 12 inches and has fat, box-shaped leaves along a long stem. Aloe vera is a plant long used for its medicinal properties. It grows long, spear shaped, soft spine leaves that contain a thick viscous fluid. When the leaves of the Aloe vera are broken, the fluid can be applied to burns for comfort, or the skin for its moisturizing properties.


Sustainable potted plants like succulents need to root in a fast draining soil made up of roughly fifty percent soil and fifty percent of a large grained material like perlite. This helps to maintain root health and will prevent water damage and root-rot. Succulents are very easy to propagate. This is often done by cutting a stem right below a leaf and allowing new roots to grow in a small container of water before repotting.


Succulents need plenty of sun and must be sheltered from cold weather if they're to thrive. Water should be given rarely, only when the soil is dried out.


Pests and bacterial infections can be the most serious problems facing your potted plants. Spider mites, aphids, mealy bugs, scale and fungus mites all pose dangers to your plants if not looked after. Over watering your succulents can quickly end their comfortable hassle-free lives. According to Sheri Hunter of Colorado State's Cooperative Extension, early signs of over watering include flowers becoming moldy, root-rot, young and old leaves falling at the same time, leaves developing soft brown rotten patches, and standing water under the plants base.


After noticing one or more pests feeding off your potted plants, there are a number of techniques to help you combat them. Insecticidal spray can cure your plants but might endanger the health of cats, dogs or children that have contact with the leaves. Washing the leaves with a mixture of two teaspoons of detergent per gallon of water will help to eradicate pests. Always prune leaves that have heavy infestation and separate affected plants away from healthy ones.

Keywords: sustainable plants, aloe vera, succulent plants, growing succulents, easy care plants

About this Author

Agustus Miller has been living and writing professionally in Brooklyn, N.Y., since 2005. He has contributed to publications such as "The Brooklyn Star" and Mountain Xpress. Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and creative writing from the University of North Carolina.

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