Take a walk on the structured side! When is comes to design elements, we are living in a blended age of minimalistic features where less is more and vintage styles where anything from the past goes. Plants play a huge part in completing a home, and current trends lean towards plants with form and texture. This is seeing an increase in the demand for easy to care for plants with strong form and texture, both of which succulents are.
Designers are using them inside on tables and in living areas, while outdoors they feature heavily in containers both big and small. In the floral world they are popping up in bridal bouquets, wreaths and as table decorations and on wedding cakes.
Succulents are at the top of the list when it comes to low maintenance and being easy to grow. They are so forgiving that you can get away with not watering them for weeks and they will continue to thrive. Technically succulents are a group of plants that store moisture in their large fleshy leaves to use as a resource to draw upon when water is in short supply. This makes them exceptionally durable throughout long hot dry periods as they require little or no moisture to survive. However the kinder you are to succulents the bigger they will grow and the more they will reward you.
When the growing gets tough
Succulents have shallow root systems, this makes them ideal for those hard to plant spaces that have little soil or room for potting mix. A crack in a brick or block wall is all some plants need. Pots and containers are perfect homes for these no fuss plants. Rather than investing in pricey containers, re-purpose something you already have, like an old colander, gumboot, tyre, preserving pan, picture frame or kid’s bath tub.
The tall and the short of it
Succulents come in loads of shapes, size, varieties and types. The most common ground hugging varieties are Sempervivum, houseleek or hen and chicken plants, Echevaria and Sedum, these all have compact low growing habits. Mid size options are Aeonium, Crassula, and Euphorbia hybrids. For something taller look to Aloe and Agave.
Grow your own for free
Most bushy and ground hugging succulents grow from cuttings or snippets from the parent plant. Place these into an old coffee cup filled with seed raising mix or pumice and within a matter of weeks new roots will appear. As the cup disintegrates the cutting will be ready to plant out.
Low growing succulents make brilliant hanging basket plants, simply line a basket with moss or a coir liner, fill with Tui Outdoor Container Mix and plant in rows around the basket. Choose different varieties to create contrast and interest.
Inside or Outside
You choose, succulents are happy both indoors and out. The only thing you need to be aware of inside is that dust can settle on the foliage and block the leaf pores. Deal with this by placing outside and watering with the hose or by placing the plant in the shower and allowing to dry.
Take one to work
Succulents are the ideal pot plants for the office, and if you don’t over water or feed them much, they will grow in an old tea cup, happily for years.
How to plant
Established plants are easy to plant out, for the best results plant into a good rich potting mix or blend sheep pellets into the soil before starting. The succulents will quickly establish themselves and bulk up quickly to fill the space.
No rules here, they do thrive on neglect, once a week or once a month. Once the plants are established they are very durable.
By Rachel Vogan.