Simple, easy succulent containers

succulent containers tended.wordpress.com

Here is a cute group of succulents in terra cotta and handmade ceramic pots. The grouping works well because the pots are all natural tones including some soft blue greens that echo the blue green of the plants and the handmade ceramics emphasize the sculptural quality of the plants. The succulents are all different types of echeveria (I especially love the luminous white/silver) so the forms are variations on a single theme. I like to plant one type of succulent per container, and just rearrange the containers when I want a new combination.

Buy your succulents in the tiny 2″ pots so you can afford to try tons of varieties. They will grow quickly and give you plenty of babies along the way. I don’t do anything special – I give them the cheapest potting soil, full or part sun, and weekly water. Ceramics can get pricey so if your mother doesn’t go through a ceramics phase, you can get fantastic ceramic pots at estate sales, garage sales, or flea markets.

kalanchoe container tended.wordpress.com

This is one Kalanchoe pumila. Believe it or not, this started out as a single plant in a little tiny pot (this planter is aboutĀ 1.5’x3′ to give you an idea of the size). It grows like crazy and if you want more, just break off a piece and plant it. I love this one because it gives a full, lush look of a something leafy but only needs to be watered once a week (or less).

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A succulent garden

agave, kalanchoe and echeveria tended.wordpress.com

Agave, Kalanchoe luciae ‘Flapjack’, Echeveria ‘Afterglow’, and Baby Jade (also called Elephant Food orĀ Portulacaria afra). Here, the Agave is used as a focal point and the other succulents are planted in drifts. I love this treatment and it really shows off the beauty and uniformity of their forms.

Make sure you really want an Agave before you put it in the ground, because it will grow to be a big, heavy, thorny monster. It’s beautiful, easy to grow, and hard to kill. They tolerate most soils, including heavy clay. Although they don’t need much water, they will happily survive a wet California winter without rotting.

Kalanchoe will rot if it’s overwatered. It dies after flowering, but its offsets will regrow in its place. It will die back from frost, but usually regrows. If you’re planting this one in the ground, you may want to amend your soil a bit so that it’s got some drainage.

Echeveria and Portulacaria are pretty straightforward. Interestingly, Portulacaria is native to South Africa and is being used for habitat restoration. It’s not a true jade (Crassula) but the cuttings root just as easily.