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Any p.uo or porch wij| become the center of attraction when decorated with a few succulents. The pots may be of iron, wood, marble or ampfe clay. On the top step is a fine specimen of Opumia aaculata in full bloom flanked by the tall, columnar Lemaireocereus morbus On the second step, in a marble pot, is the ever popular Kaianchoe tomemosa and that favorite Prickly Pear. Opumia microdots var. rufidc The laU plant on the lower step left is Crassuia per/olio¡a, and «he bushy little rosette plani in the center Aeonium haworthii

the drainage hole is free at all times for proper soil aeration. This and all other phases ot maintaining succulents in the home are discussed fully in Chapter Eight.

Dish Gardens

All too often the beginner s first encounter with succulents begins with the purchase or gift of a novelty dish garden from a florist. It may be a little ceramic dachshund or cat or burro, filled with an odd assortment of plants, with a cylindrical cactus growing behind for a tail; or a hollow piece of Cholla wood in which a variety of seedling cacti are decorated with tiny artificial flowers. Whatever it is. it is sure to be hastily planted, overcrowded, and short-lived. The containers seldom have enough soil or provision for drainage, tropical plants and succulents requiring entirely different culture are jammed together indiscriminately, and even the most careful watering ai d care cannot make them live more than a month or two. All this has given succulents, and more especially dish gardens, a bad name.

Although succulents can be grown in novelty containers without a drainage hole, great care should be taken to fill the bottom one third of such pots with broken crocks and charcoal, to make the soil extremely light and sandy, and to water most sparingly at all times. Actually such containers are not really suitable for succulents, no matter how clever they may be, and anyone interested in growing succulents well should use properly drained containers. There are innumerable shapes and sizes available, and one that is neither loo shallow nor too small should be chosen, for a group of succulents planted together need plenty of soil in which to grow. The elegant trays and dishes used by the Japanese for planting their miniature trees, or bonsai, are available at oriental import shops and are not only inexpensive but exquisite in color and form for succulent dish gardens.

Aeonium blooms and rosettes form a striking arrangement here, bin even more wonderful is the fact that they will remain beautiful for work or water, without fading or wilting.

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