Tasty: Perfect Greens for Summertime

With plants, just like people, there are savers and there are spenders. Where water is the currency, succulents are the thriftiest of their kind, their fleshy leaves hoarding water for times of drought. This built-in resiliency makes them a perfect option for problem locations in the lawn: outdoor patio containers embeded in scorching sun, windy spots that make roses wither, rocky slopes where lawn won't grow. Garden enthusiasts in the dry West have actually been utilizing succulents in water-thrifty xeriscapes for years. Now more nurseries across the nation are bring these interesting plants, some of which grow well even in wet or cold environments.

John Spain, a Connecticut-based gardening specialist who pioneered ways of growing succulents outdoors in the frozen north, discovered their advantages years back, when he often traveled for company. "The only plants that survived without any care in my makeshift greenhouse were the succulents and cacti," he says. Today he likewise tucks succulents among alpine plants in his 2,000-square-foot rock garden.

A Size And Shape For Every Situation
At least 60 plant families have some succulent types. The adaptations that these plants have made to hold on to moisture make them specifically intriguing garden specimens.

Amongst the most familiar succulents are sedums, including that perennial preferred Sedum spectabile 'Autumn Joy,' which grows 18 to 24 inches high and bears remarkable rosy-red flower heads in late summer season. Another sedum, two-row stonecrop (Sedum spurium) is a low-maintenance groundcover with fine foliage and white, pink, or purple flowers in summer. Low-growing Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' has yellow flowers.

Another groundcover, ice plant (Delosperma spp.) has small, fingerlike fleshy leaves and flowers completely sun with masses of daisylike flowers all summer. Delosperma nubigenum is a noninvasive type that bears yellow blooms.
Chicks and hens-- the typical name for the similar-looking but unrelated Echeveria x imbricata and the more cold-hardy Sempervivum tectorum-- is a longtime favorite for containers, rock gardens, and growing in the crevices of stone walls. Sempervivum's ground-hugging rosettes can be green, red, chartreuse, or purple to silvery blue in color. Echeverias are available in rose, green, gray, and mauve, often with a contrasting edge color or a stripe. Both multiply without much effort, sending out shoots with their progeny connected; these might root on their own if they touch with soil. Otherwise, they can quickly be removed and rooted.

Desert-loving yuccas, agaves, and aloes, with their swordlike and strappy leaves with sharp ideas, include a sculptural element to any garden. These massive specimen plants have long been associated with the dry Southwest, there are durable ranges that hold up against below-freezing temperature levels.

That indoor classic, the treelike jade plant (Crassula ovata), is another favorite for outdoor containers-- though it is not durable in cold climates. In the exact same family, child necklace (Crassula rupestris x perforata) looks like a string of buttons or beads.

The lesser-known, multistemmed Aeoniums bear striking rosettes, in some cases variegated, in tones of green, red, and blackish purple, at the ends of their branches. Equally good as container and garden specimens, these generally grow 18 inches to 3 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet large. They don't tolerate freezing temperatures, however, so they have to winter indoors in cold environments.
Planting and Care
Succulents typically require very little care, the majority of have one requirement that is absolute: great drainage. Many have shallow roots that expanded so they can make the most of even quick rainstorms. But the roots catch illness if they stay damp.

In desert locations, some succulents grow even in clay. In wetter climates, however, mix sand and airy lava rock into the planting area. browse around this website Dig holes just as huge as the nursery containers or even a little less deep, so that the plant crowns don't settle below the surface area.

Crucial, don't overwater. Though container plantings need more water than those settled into the ground, probe the soil to be sure it is thoroughly dried prior to watering. And always empty any standing water from saucers. In garden areas, feel the soil 3 to 4 inches below the surface to make sure it's completely dry before providing plants an excellent dousing.

Periodic rainfall might mean you'll just require to water succulent plantings once in a while, even throughout the sultriest weeks of the year. That's when you may really value the savings benefit these plants provide-- not simply the lower water costs, however the additional hours freed up from coddling your summer garden.

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