Succulents, delicious eye-candy!

These fleshy plants with surprising geometric shapes have everything you could wish for in a plant since they’re so beautiful and easy to care for. It’s pretty clear why they’re so trendy!

Succulent” is the name given to plants that are adapted to surviving in arid, desert environments. They have the capacity to store water in their leaves, roots or stems. Cactuses belong to this group of plants, but usually the term “succulent” is meant to only refer to thick-leaved plants that don’t have needles or spikes.

Native to the Americas, Africa and the Mediterranean coastal areas, there are hundreds of species with divers shapes, sizes and colors. Aeonium, crassula, echeveria, kalanchoe, sedum for inside the house; houseleek for outside… Take your pick! Most present surprising graphical shapes that seem to have been created by top-end designers, with smooth, waxy leaves. The wax and taut skin helps reduce water evaporation, and protects the inner parts of the plant from the often scorching air in their native environment.

Easy-peasy succulents

SucculentApart from their diversity and their uniqueness, what makes succulents appealing is that they practically don’t require any care at all! They need neither fertilizer, nor pruning, nor repotting and watering is only needed about once a month. To water them best, practice immersion: dip the entire pot in a pail filled with water for an hour or two, so the soil and plant can soak water up. After a couple hours, lift the pot up out of the water and drip-dry. You’ve just let it experience a flash-flood, and the plant is now set for another month!

The only important need they have: light. Feel free to place them near windows, and in summer you can also bring them outside to bask in the garden.

Ornamental succulents

Thanks to the extremely low water needs, succulents can be planted in all kinds of containers and locations.

Trendy designer home aficionados love planting them in glass bowls, terrariums, recycled tea tins…

They’re also very well suited to pot arrangements: match and mix several different succulent varieties in a large pot and cover the soil surface with a layer of ornamental gravel or pearls.

The substrate on which the succulents grow must drain very well. Use special cactus soil mix, or mix together one part earth, one part soil mix and one part sand.

Generous succulents

Preparing cuttings from succulents is very easy. Simply snip off a stem or leaf, let the wound dry up somewhat in open air for a couple days (not in direct sun), and then plant the wounded portion down in a moist blend (garden soil and sand).

After a couple weeks, once the roots have appeared, you can repot them!

A succulent leaf simply placed on soil and sprayed with water will start sprouting a new plant.

Laure Hamann

edited and updated by Gaspard

Image credits: © FHC, cutting: Irish Bulan & Family

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