Next to edible plants, succulents are probably one of the hottest topics in the gardening world. They’re sculptural, and modern looking, and are much easier to care for than vegetables. I know whenever I (re)read Debra Lee Baldwin’s book on succulent container gardening, I want to run outside and combine my succulents in new ways.
The other day, I went into a garden center during my lunch break looking for tomato stakes (I have a vegetable garden growing at my office). They were all out of stakes in the size I wanted, but while there I noticed that they had a bunch of succulents on sale for 15% off. Lemon, meet lemonade! I am sure I am a garden center owner’s dream customer. “Hi Fern, no, sorry, we don’t have the $3 worth of stakes you’d like to buy, but here, why don’t you spend $15 on some succulents!”
Anyway, I snatched up two of the plants they had on sale (A and B) and combined them with the Burro’s Tail sedum and a pot I already had.
- A – Aenoium ‘Plum Purdy’
- B – Echeveria ‘Doris Taylor’
- C – Sedum morganianum also called ‘Burro’s Tail’
Potting up succulents can be kind of tricky because it’s easy to accidentally knock off their fleshy leaves. But basically, I follow the same method I use for potting regular plants. I placed the aeonium first, because it was the flashiest part of the combo and I wanted to make sure I oriented it just right. Then I squeezed in the echeveria because it was the next largest plant. If a plant doesn’t quite fit in your pot, you can gently tease the roots and knock off some of the dirt to reduce the size of the rootball. Finally, I put the sedum in front. If anyone knows of a trick for potting those guys without squishing a ton of leaves or causing them to pop off left and right, I’m all ears.
Something I learned from Debra’s book is that a lot of succulents do better in part sun or filtered light. Since moving my other succulents into a spot with less direct sun, they’re looking even better than they did before. This pot will go near my front door that gets a bit of direct morning sun, then light filtered through a tree, and no direct afternoon sun. Hopefully it will be happy there. I’ve killed the last two plants to reside in that spot (I rarely go through the front door and I forget to water that pot).
Another thing you’ll notice is that I put gravel down to cover the exposed dirt. This is also something I picked up from Debra, she’s a big fan of top dressing. It does make the pot look finished, and has the added benefit of reducing the frequency of watering and gravel prevents soil from washing out of the pot during rain storms.
- Review of Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin
- Plants for Windy, Scorching Hot Balconies
- Drought Tolerant Plants for Container Gardens