Sensational Succulents

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.

Basket cases

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.

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Sensational Succulents Comments

  • what other plant thrives on lack of water

    Gloria Edwards

  • inspired by the article, love the textures - good for vision impaired people too - an all year round display which is great

    Barb Smith

  • i love growing them, some really good advice there ty

    ginny reeves

  • At age 75, I clearly remember as an 8yo being given a "Sitting Mexican" planter......his tummy was a place to plant something. I chose a single peanut-cactus segment which grew and grew, flowered heaps of brilliant orange-red flowers. I was in LOVE! To this day, I've delighted in the world of cacti and succulents. Hope you do, too!


  • I have 17 different types in my garden & am always looking for others,great for a coastal garden.

    Jennie Hayman

  • I would like to know also as have very dry raised garden beds.

    Helen Harris

  • Is it necessary to have holes in the bottom of the container?

    Lyn Rowntree

  • Where can I get the house leek plant from in nz


  • Hi Kera, we suggest checking at your local garden centre or nursery. We had a look online and some nurseries do have houseleeks (genus - Sempervivum). Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team.


  • Hi there, I'm wondering what the name of the plant is that you have at the top of this page with the red tips please.


    • Hi Leanne, this plant is a succulent called a Sempervivum, or the hen and chicken succulent. They are very robust, hardy and endure long periods without water. In winter the colour often intensifies when the temperatures are colder and the plants are not actively growing as much. They are super easy to grow from snippets or cuttings too, and are wonderful options for tubs and containers. Happy gardening from the Tui Team 

      Tui Team