Succulents have long been recognised as pot-plant superstars. They look good throughout the year, feature an enormous variety of leaf shapes and sizes and are low maintenance. Some even have beautiful flowers.
Perfect for time-poor gardeners, they won’t die if you are occasionally too busy to water them. And when released from the confines of containers, succulents can be used to create fantastic contemporary garden beds.
Succulents live naturally in dry and arid parts of the world so they are very waterwise and perfect for those hot, dry sunny areas in gardens where little else will grow. Known as xerophytes, they have developed storage structures in their leaves, stems or roots that hoard enough water to survive periods of drought.
Grow in pots
Succulents are very hard to kill but give them some TLC and you will be rewarded.
Position your succulent in a sunny spot. Lack of light will cause it to become elongated and turn the leaves pale, and eventually it will collapse.
Plant in a potting mix especially formulated for cacti and succulents.
Feed in spring with a six-month slow-release fertiliser such as Osmocote. Or use a soluble fertiliser in early spring, summer and autumn.
Water when the potting mix is nearly dry and do not overwater, as succulents dislike wet feet. Once established, a weekly watering is sufficient for most potted succulents.
Grow in garden beds
Create a stunning contemporary garden bed with a mix of succulents.
Use different heights and shapes to create interesting foliage forms and combine them with waterwise perennials and shrubs for a low-maintenance bed.
Mulch around the succulents with black, greyor white pebbles for a stylish look and to prevent weeds from growing.
Prepare well-draining soil – a sloping bank is ideal. If drainage is a problem, use a raised bed. Do not overwater, as most succulents can survive on rainwater only.
Feed in spring and summer with an all-purpose plant food.