Succulents Growing Conditions

Succulents in their natural environment

Natural Environment

Aside from Antarctica, succulent plants are found on all continents. The driest continent, Australia, has surprisingly few native succulents, largely because of its history of prolonged droughts. At first this seems illogical since succulents have an adaptation to dry periods. They do, but only to short, predictable dry seasons, not the prolonged dry spells characteristic of parts of inland Australia. The continent with the greatest number of succulents is Africa. Again, we see almost no...

Cactus on a grand scale

While many cactus can be kept small and contained happily in pots for years, there are just as many that have the potential to reach grand proportions if given ideal conditions. With dry, hot and very sunny summers as well as frosty winters, Jim has found that cactus grow best for him when they are planted in the garden where their roots can grow unrestricted. This cactus garden is large by anyone's standards and gives Jim the freedom to grow plants big. A great assortment of succulent types...

Succulent Success

Copyright 2002 Altila Kapitany and Rudolf Schulz All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission in writing from both authors. Schulz Publishing Box 40, Teesdale, VIC 3328, Australia tarrex ozemail.com.au gecko connexus.net.au

Introduction

Will these plants grow for me in my garden or house How big will they grow and will they flower These common questions are asked at one time or another by every gardener. With succulents the answer is simple. They can and will grow and flower for anybody, but not everywhere. What makes for successful succulent gardening is experimentation, one key to success. It is not uncommon to have gardeners trial plants in their garden for their suitability, at times just moving them from place to place to...

A nature strip

Michele lives on an average size quarter acre suburban block with an established garden full of mature trees with a thick and shaded understory. Her pleasure in gardening covers all plant types and this can be seen by the seemingly overcrowded and mixed 'forest', as she calls it. Several years ago Michele decided to expand her garden on to the roadside nature strip and now this small area contains over 100 species of succulents. As this grass covered area was mostly sunny and dry with poor...

Near the house

The garden hose can only reach so far. Even so, any plant used around or near the house has to have the ability to survive without watering. Alexander spends many months at a time overseas and has to leave the garden unattended. Succulents, while not the only plants that he grows, are by far the best performers. V The most important thing of all in creating a successful succulent garden is good planning. Note the slightly raised garden beds which improve drainage. This former rose garden area...

Further information on plants illustrated or grown in this garden

Height and width are based on favorable garden situations and beginning with an 80mm size pot plant. Height and width are based on favorable garden situations and beginning with an 80mm size pot plant. A statement of harmony by the front door. The shapes and colour of this Cotyledon orbiculaia blend with the surrounding limestone wall of the house. i A view of the seaside which is only a short stroll from Fiona's property.

A cactus garden

Jim and his family operate a vegetable farm on a large country property. Whenever Jim has spare time he heads out to his desert garden of cactus and other succulents. However, having to work the vegetable business very intensively on a seasonal basis cuts severely into recreational time in the garden. What first began as an interest in cactus, passed down from his father has seen Jim transform the vacant land near the house into a desert scene. Cactus are his main pleasure, proving themselves...

Some challenges

With such a perfect environment for cactus, what can go wrong It is interesting to see some of the obstacles and challenges with which Jim is sometimes faced. No garden is without obstacles be it a rose garden or a bed of marigolds, and yet here there are very few problems in comparison. Requiring almost no attention for pests and diseases or watering, Jim likes the cactus looking natural and the bigger the better. Handling these giants, moving them or cutting them back is a skill learnt from...

Country farmlet

Alexander has succulents growing across much of his five acre property around the house, in a greenhouse, out in the field as well as around the farm dam in very useful Alexander has a long history with succulents going back twenty-five years. 'Il all began with my wife surprising me with some plants which she had bought via mail order. 1 was overseas at the time and when I returned, I found twenty tin cans potted with these strange fat leaved plants. My first impressions were not favourable...

Succulents in the garden

William likes most plants but uses only those that are practical in his scheme of gardening. Plants with very low maintenance requirements and a strong year round visual appeal are especially desirable. To enjoy the most with the least effort, succulents, grasses and strappy leaved plants have been more widely used. Through experimentation over the years those plants which might have seemed desirable but have not performed well have been rejected. As you might expect, succulents have proved to...

Arranging and mixing pots

Craptopetalum

All the succulents are in pots of various types and sizes. Diana finds that the type of pot makes all the difference to how the plant looks. Of course, there is the added bonus of being able to move the potted plants into arrangements that would otherwise not be possible if planted in the garden. lt lt Bringing the best plant forward can be enjoyable, especially when visitors come over. A large decorative concrete pot, mass planted with Craptopetalum paraguayense and Sedum nussbaum-erianum,...

Care requirements

Although this nature strip garden needs hide or no care to survive, Michele still prefers to tend it when she can. The more effort put in, the better it looks. After an extended overseas trip, it was a pleasant surprise to find that her succulents had fared better than the rest of the garden. Watering is not necessary but it can be helpful in the driest months or to establish small plants or seedlings. aa An arrangement of assorted sedum flowers in a vas< is a colourful reward after tidying...

A city courtyard

Craptopetalum

Diana gardens within the confines of high walls that surround her inner city property. Space is at a premium and yet a great deal is achieved within the small area. Diana loves flowers in the house and for over thirty years she has gardened with everything from annuals, bulbs and old world' roses. These are still grown around the narrow side and back garden of the house. Having a naturally busy lifestyle and raising four children, less time was spent in the garden than she would have liked....

Seaside Garden

I A view of the seaside which is only a short stroll from Fiona's property. A statement of harmony by the front door. The shapes and colour of this Cotyledon orbiculaia blend with the surrounding limestone wall of the house. Fiona and David have two acres of garden called 'Karkalla' by the ocean near a seaside town. Natural low growing and wind swept indigenous vegetation dominate much of the countryside here, including much of their garden. Fiona prefers the natural environment and promotes...

The entrance

The first casual impression as you enter William's garden is one of disorientation. There are no sweeping lawns or avenues of trees. In fact, little if anything of what one would expect of a great garden. Besides obscure art, among other things, using recycled metal, the first grand vista is of a dry gravel covered open space with low crowded shrubs around its perimeter. Then the magic begins. Pathways meander in every direction. The fullness and luxuriance of the garden only then becomes...

In the field

A plantation of Brachychiton rupesliis, a native Australian succulent (and a caudici-form). They can tolerate frosts as well as harsh dry conditions and will be shapely by themselves, increasing in beauty and value with age. They are generally dwarf compact trees without ever growing too tall or having branches that could break and fall. Brachychitons can be grown in large pots and tubs where they can easily be pruned into interesting shapes as with bonsai. Brachychiton rupesliis also has a...

On the steep hillsides

Whereas some of William's garden is on level or gently sloping land, much of it is steep, requiring extra skill in the planning. Steps, retaining walls and embankments are positioned with suitable pathways to match. ** Aeonium arboreum 'Zwartkop' is being used to mark the edge of the pathway. Z The steep slope is softened with good plant placement. Silver while Cotyledon orbiculata is planted in masses to the left of the path, with blue Senccio mandraliscae clumps on the right. The yellow...

A hillside country garden

William Martin's 'Wigandia' is a three acre garden established on a hill of volcanic scoria. With strong winds and minimal access to water, this would have seemed a daunting task to many. Using imagination and local knowledge, William has achieved what others wouldn't even dare to try. He pieced together his own special masterpiece. This garden, which is interesting and pleasing to the eye, as well as challenging, is low in maintenance. Much admired and featured in numerous publications, it has...

Succulents in containers

Surviving only on irregular rain, succulents have been chosen for all the outdoor pottery for their resilience in harsh conditions. Because they maintain year round visual appeal they are used nearer the house and alongside pathways. X This almost looks like a (lower arrangement in a vase ready to go on the coffee table or to a floral art show. Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum growing out from between Sedum praeltum. Cotyledon orbiculata with Euphorbia characias v. wulfenii. 7 A very shallow...

Annual succulents

As ihe early spring bulbs finish their flowering cycle the self-sown annual succulent, Dorotheanthus bellidoniformis rises to take the stage. Several years ago Michele planted some seedlings, and since then they have been coming up naturally each year. Originally they were to fill out bare patches between larger or slower growing succulents. As they were so successful, they are now welcome and encouraged wherever there is space for them. Portulaca grandiflora is another well known annual...