The 411 on all things succulent.
By Charlie Thigpen
Photography by Beau Gustafson
When artfully displayed, succulents can be as eye-catching as a flower arrangement. Some of our customers have even used them for centerpieces for special events. These popular, drought-tolerant plants come in all shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. They last longer than cut flowers and you can enjoy them all spring and throughout the summer—in fact, many are tough perennials that will last for years.
What They Need
Succulents need lots of sunlight but because most have thick, fleshy, water-filled foliage, they require minimal water. They do need good drainage and hate sitting in mushy wet soil. Many people kill them with kindness by watering them too frequently. Always allow the soil to dry out between watering. To ensure proper drainage, we often mix gravel or course sand with our potting soil.
Succulents should not be planted in closed terrariums where the conditions stay damp and humid, but they will grow in an open terrarium as long as they receive several hours daily of bright sunlight. If you use them in an open terrarium, be sure to fill the bottom of your vessel with a couple of inches of gravel and, when watering, do so lightly.
Plant Succulents By Contrast
Because these plants come in different colors, shapes, and sizes, be sure to place totally different looking plants next to each other. Plant dark-colored plants next to light-colored ones. Place low-growing succulents next to more upright growers, and large-leafed selections next to small-leafed selections. For example, set the upright, big-leafed, pinkish-colored Echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg next to Lemon Ball sedum, which is a low-growing, fine-leafed chartreuse creeper. The plants separate visually, making each plant really stand out. Always place the larger plants toward the center of containers and allow the low creepers to spill over the edges of the planter.
Don’t forget succulents for your next tabletop arrangement or for your garden. They won’t require much maintenance and many of these foliage plants do produce unique blooms, which are a bonus. Spring is here, but summer is around the corner, so remember these trendy plants that will beat the heat while looking cool.