Succulents are the architectural and drought hardy leaders of the plant world. They’re from the arid regions of the globe. The main species such as Aloes, Agaves or Kalanchoes, are quite well-known. Succulents have fleshy leaves, stems and sometimes, even the roots store water so it can be used throughout the drier months. They have other adaptations too, to save water -
• absent, reduced, or cylindrical to spherical leaves to reduce water-loss through leaves.
• reduction in the number of stomata (the cells that enable water-loss through transpiration).
• stems, rather than the leaves, as the main site of photosynthesis.
• a compact, reduced, cushion-like, columnar or spherical growth habit, a smaller area to face the sun.
• ribs, enabling rapid increases in plant volume and decreasing surface area exposed to the sun.
• a waxy, hairy or spiny outer surface to create a humid microhabitat around the plant which reduces air movement near the surface of the plant, thereby reducing water loss.
The flowers are often magnificent, although you may have to wait until maturity for most to flower. Good drainage and a hot dry spot are essential for these plants.
To ensure there is sufficient drainage, and to create an interesting space, raising the beds is often recommended. Incorporate crushed sandstone, river sand and 2 bags of potting mix. Place out succulents to create a mini ‘Arid’ landscape and plant. Watering well initially is essential, and mulching the area with deco granite, creates an aesthetic surface, as well as marinating moisture in the soil. Xeriscaping is dry landscaping with plants that have no need for supplementary irrigation.
Agave desmettiana’ El Miradore’s Gold’ - ‘El Miradore’s Gold’ agave
Agave attenuate - Fox tail agave
Crassula ovata ’Gollum’ - ‘Gollum’ Jade
Agave attenuata x ocahui - Blue Glow agave
Euphorbia caput-madusae - Madusa’s head
Kalanchoe thyrsiflora - Flapjacks
Senecio serpens - Chalk Sticks
• Succulents are dry hardy plants that retain moisture and need watering about every 2 weeks
• Use pebbles or granite mulch, as straw and pinebark retain moisture and will cause rotting
• Most succulents have flowers but you may have to wait till maturity for them to appear
www.anlscape.com.au - (deco-granite/ crushed sandstone)
Garden Gate Nursery, Dural - (plants)
www.scottsaustralia.com.au - (potting mix)