Succulents are plants that store water in their leaves, stems and roots. This does not mean that they never need water; it is important not to water them too much. Succulents are native to warm, dry areas. They like full sun, but do not require it. Many produce colorful flowers and have beautiful, delicate leaves. As a garden accent, house plant or planted in the ground in a selected part of your garden, succulents are easy to grow and enjoy. The very wonderful thing about succulent plants is that almost all of them can be grown from cuttings. Even the leaves of some plants will develop roots and grow.
Planting Succulents in Containers
Select succulent plants by visiting a nursery or get cuttings from mature plants. Succulents do very well grouped in separate containers. You can also plant several varieties in one container. Create a container garden with plants of different shapes, colors and sizes that complement one another.
To grow a new plant from a cutting, place a small branch (3 to 4 inches is long enough) from a plant you like in a shallow container with drainage holes that is filled with sandy soil or packaged soil for succulents. Note: Use the container you want to keep the plant in rather than a starter pot that will require transplanting later.
Place the container in a sunny location. Water the cutting carefully. In a week to 10 days it will develop roots and start to grow. Keep it moist until you see new growth. Once the new plant is established, allow it to dry out between waterings.
When transplanting an established plant, remove it from its pot remembering to handle the delicate roots carefully. Place it in sandy soil or packaged soil for succulents in a shallow container with drainage holes. Place the container in a sunny location. Water the plant carefully. Allow it to dry out between waterings.
Planting Succulents in the Ground
Use established plants when putting succulents in the garden. Choose plants that are appropriate for the garden area you plan to use. Plants with very delicate foliage will do better in containers. Plant succulents with other plants that have similar water requirements.
In a sunny location, prepare a shallow hole with a trowel or a shovel and spread some sandy soil or packaged soil for succulents in it. Water the planting area to be sure there is good drainage.
Remove the succulent from its pot remembering to handle the delicate roots carefully. Place the plant in the prepared soil. Plant it just deep enough to cover the roots. Water the plant carefully. Once the new plant is established, allow it to dry out between waterings.
About this Author
Kathleen Sonntag lives in Carmel, California, where she is a writer, teacher and editor. She is a Master Gardener and writes articles for gardening publications. Sonntag has written and edited reading test passages and has edited children's books, cookbooks and memoirs. Her articles appear on GardenGuides.com. Sonntag holds a Bachelor of Arts from University of California, Berkeley.