Not just a houseplant, succulents can thrive in cracks and crevices, rockeries and sandy or gritty soils and really do add a touch of the exotic to your garden.
Use them within a drought tolerant planting scheme with plenty of sun and sharp drainage. Plus, some succulents are hardy enough to stay in their outdoor positions all year round. They also make a lovely feature in pots scattered around a patio or within your garden.
Succulents can tolerate very windy conditions and still be happy, so are great for a coastal location. There are even many specimens that can survive low temperatures as long as they have sharp drainage and plenty of sun. Unlike most plants, succulents store water in their leaves and stems, so if kept outside they will look after themselves.
Native to North Africa's Canary Islands, Aeoniums are active growers in the spring and autumn when light levels and growing conditions are in their favour. Aeoniums are dormant during the summer so don’t panic if the rosettes become tighter and growth slows.
Echeveria is a large genus of flowering plants native to semi-desert areas of Central America, Mexico and northwestern South America. They come in all different colours and sizes; Blues, pinks, purples and more. Unlike Aeoniums, Echeverias actively grow throughout spring and summer and in autumn/ winter will go dormant as the temperature drops below 10 degrees C.
Aloes are native to Africa, the Mediterranean and Madagascar. They have showy flowers that bloom regularly, with the biggest display of flowers from February to September. Some blooms are tubular shaped and come in shades of orange, red, or yellow, while others are bicolor similar to the flowers of a Kniphofia (red hot poker plant).
Top tips to ensure your succulents thrive in your garden:
- Ensure they have good drainage- if your soil is quite heavy in clay, add a generous amount of grit and sand into your planting hole or pot.
- Ensure your succulents are planted in a spot in your garden that gets full sun.
- In colder areas prone to frost and snow, bring your planters and pots into a greenhouse or porch for winter protection or cover with a horticultural fleece each night during cold spells. Succulents being kept in a greenhouse in colder areas are best kept dry from November to March to prevent the risk of rotting.
If you follow these simple points your garden succulents will reward you with beautiful architectural and colourful leaves and even flowers!