Plant of the Moment - Succulents

October 15, 2015

 

One of our knowledgable Horticulturalists Tim, has been talking about his love of succulents and their many varieties. Here is what he has to say on these popular contemporary looking plants.

 

There are so many different shapes and styles of succulents! It’s true that most of them don’t grow very large but they are definitely among some of the most unusual looking plants around. There are star shapes, varieties that look like crumpled up paper, and some that look just like smooth little pebbles.

 

Just a few of the common names will give you some idea of the shapes and sizes on offer. There are ‘Mexican Snowballs, Painted Ladies, Milk Bushes, String of Beads, and the charmingly named ‘Wart plant’… to name just a few!

 

What all succulents have in common is that they store water, usually in the thick fleshy leaves and stems. This is what allows them to survive in the dry arid places they are native to, and it’s also this that makes them one of the most forgiving indoor plants. It has however, also lead to one of the common misunderstandings about succulents.

 

So often people say to me: ‘ Ah yes, they never need watering do they?’ While it is true that they don’t need much water in the winter months from October to March, if they aren’t watered in the spring and summer they won’t grow much and will eventually die. In fact, throughout the summer they should be watered generously, quite often just as much as many regular house plants!

 

One succulent just about everyone has heard of is the Aloe, due to extracts from it having been used in herbal medicine for centuries. It’s probably now more popular than ever and crops up in supplements, skin care products and even in drinks.

 

(Photo credit to: http://www.designloveinspiration.com)

 

I think we seem to be using succulents more and more recently because they fit so well into modern minimal interiors. Because of their unusual forms, clean lines and often subtle colours, they just seem so at home in a contemporary setting.

 

I love seeing a row of four or five succulents in simple clay pots on a modern white windowsill; you can get up close to see all the detail and they look almost like man-made sculptures.

 

(Photo credit to: http://www.mfirsthome.com)

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