Succulents are not only beautiful plants that give your lawn and garden a touch of colour and diversity, they are also nearly indestructible. They are the perfect plant life to have for those especially who may not have the proverbial ‘green thumb’ or those who don’t have the time needed for upkeep.
So what are succulents? These plants have fleshy thick leaves and organs which store water within their leaves, stems and/or roots. They are hardy plants that have adapted in order to survive in arid environments all over the world.
This adaptive structure within these amazing plants is what has resulted in a vast array of plant shapes and leaf forms, including tight rosettes, paddle leaves as well as trailing columns of bushy and teardrop leaves.
Cacti, aloe and agave are amongst the best known succulent plants. Cacti especially are excellent as display plants in many gardens. Succulents are among the easiest plants to grow and maintain, which makes them one of those perfect garden plants for New Zealand residents.
The rules for caring for succulents are pretty uniform when it comes to growing and caring for the various types of succulent plant species.
Succulents fancy bright light and most will let you know when the light level they need is correct by showing changes in their leaves. Certain species of succulents can scorch if they are abruptly exposed to direct sunlight.
If their leaves turn brown or white that is an indication the plant is bleaching out and the soft tissue of the plant is being destroyed. When deciding which succulents to have in a garden it’s important first determine whether or not they need to be gradually placed in full sun or if they need partial shade.
On the other end of the spectrum, if the plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, the plant will start to ‘stretch’ and have an extended stem with broadly shaped leaves. In order to save the plant it will be necessary to prune the plant back to the primary shape and place it in an area with more sunlight.
Succulents are not nicknamed the ‘camels of the plant world’ without good cause. Because they store water in their leaves they require minimal watering. The best rule of thumb is to water succulents just enough to keep them from withering.
A plant that is not getting sufficient water will stop growing and start to shed its leaves, as well as develop brown spots on the leaves. Overwatered succulents will appear soft and discoloured with their leavings turning yellow or white, causing them to also lose their colour.
Water them well at least once or twice a week, unlike other plant life they don’t need to be watered on a daily basis due to their ability to retain water within their leaves, stems and organs. The best advice for caring for succulents is to learn which plants are best suited for the environment and the area in which you will be showcasing your plants.